How To Create A CRM System For Your Service-Based Business

What is CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It typically encompasses when a customer enters a sales funnel, to the end of the relationship. For each business and even for certain services this can vary. Here are the four main areas of a CRM system:

The Beginning

You want to track as soon as someone becomes a client or potential client
What service/product did they buy/or were interested in and how did they come to your business (channel, promotion, the more details the better)

The Middle

What happens once they enter your process
Client Onboarding: All the steps from the first contact to starting work or buying the product
The Middle & The Work may be all-in-one

The Work

What happens when you begin a project for your client
What are the steps involved with that process from beginning to end


Follow-up sales pitch
Follow-up schedule for contact


It’s important to have a CRM system in place to manage your clients and potential clients, to ensure clients have a consistent experience, to track the effectiveness of offerings and promotions, to reduce stress/disorganization and to make sure you’re maximizing your sales funnel.

Steps To Get A CRM System Started

Step 1: Determine when someone will enter the process.

The client process could potentially start at direct marketing, inquiry, a pitch/quote, discovery call or for some businesses it’s when that person becomes a client. You will need to decide on what point someone will enter your CRM process.

Step 2: Write down every single thing that happens after Step 1, up to you starting your work with the client.

Do the best you can, typically if you are not actively doing it; it can be hard to capture each step. The next time you have a client or potential client, go to your notes and fill in the gaps.

Step 2 can have two different paths 1.) The person buys, and that leads to the longer client process 2.) They don’t buy which should have its own follow-up process (see step 4).

Step 3: Doing the work process.

Even if each client is a little different, there should be a process or structure you use to guide your client through your working process. Document as much of this process as you can (communications, timelines, systems used to communicate, programs used to do the work, etc. ) all the way to wrapping up with the client. Do Step 3 for each service you offer.

Step 4: The follow-up process.

First, decide is this someone you want to work with either again or to pursue as a client. Sometimes people just aren’t a good fit. If that is the case, then have a process for that, and you don’t worry about them anymore.

Now whether they are a client or was a potential client you missed you should have processes in place to follow up with them. Write out a plan and timeline with how and when you will follow up with these prospects/past clients.

Step 5: The tech.

Once you get the process mapped out, you can start looking for software and ways to manage all of it or parts of your process. Of course part of the client process is payment, I utilize both Paypal & Stripe and those run through Acuity.


There are a lot of different systems to use to help support your CRM system. I highly recommend you document all your steps, and then figure out what system might work for you.
I’m not sure there is a “perfect” CRM. Many business owners will change what system they use as their business grows. You also may need to use a combination of a few systems.

What I Use

I use Trello + Zapier + Acuity.* Trello houses all my checklists/documentation, files related to clients, and tracking them through the work process. Acuity handles scheduling and payment.

Though for some packages I utilize Dubsado when customized invoicing is required.

Get my CRM Trello Board Template + set-up walkthrough as part of Manage Your Business With Trello.

Other Options


Is a good basic program for service-based bosses, who need multiple payment schedules/invoicing, and have multiple stage processes with clients. If you are just doing say a coaching call and that’s it, I highly recommend using Acuity and then having another system to track clients.




These are just a few options, so you have an idea of what’s out there. Of course, there are tons more. Don’t get overwhelmed by the technology or picking a system, start with figuring out your process and move forward from there.

*The Trello, Acuity, and Dubsado links are referral links where I get a free service if used.