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1.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for architecture firms?

Posted 10-11-2017 19:16

What CRM systems would you recommend that firms consider, especially as an upgrade from Excel? A member wrote in to ask:

I am seeking any information you might have for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems appropriate for architecture firms. I'm looking for a system in which to track:

Client's Name
Scope of Project 
Status of Project
Currently, I'm using Excel to do so. I appreciate any information you have and/or recommendations of others to contact regarding my query!

Is there software that's especially easy to use? Or that is particularly well suited to small firms?

Do you have tips on getting started with a CRM, or how best to set it up for use?


Emma Tucker
Manager, Knowledge Communities
The American Institute of Architects
Washington DC

2.  RE: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for architecture firms?

Posted 10-12-2017 18:15
We have been looking around and doing our own beta testing of various CRM platforms

HubSpot- too complicated, lots of feature, fine if you have 5000 active contracts....

Zolo- Too complicated

https://www.lessannoyingcrm.com   Seems OK, did not look too much

We have decided to set up with  OnePage CRM.  Easy interface, more scaled to a small company, very affordable, $+/- $12/user/month, etc.

Jim Zack, AIA principal


156 south park • san francisco, ca • 94107

t. 415.495.7889, ext. 201 • f. 415.495.7869


3.  RE: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for architecture firms?

Posted 10-12-2017 19:00



It depends a bit on the size of your firm (# of users), what you want to do, if you want a web-based product or something you install on your local machine/network, and how much you want to spend.


If the software is easily configurable (e.g., add user-defined fields and screen design), then everything you mentioned is theoretically possible in a small and basic software package.  But you'll need to compare features to understand what you do and don't get with each one.  Comparing them will also help understand what you need vs. want vs. don't want.  Look for free trials for online software, that way you can try before you buy.


Sample architecture industry-specific solutions:

·        If for some reason you want an industry-specific solution (which you may not need)...

·        This functionality is built into industry-specific ERP solutions, such as Clearview InFocus (but it does many other things)

·        Or is available in standalone products, such as Deltek Ajera CRM


Sample industry-agnostic solutions:

·        There are more choices than you can shake a stick at, but some that I've heard of:

·        HubSpot CRM (and its FREE)

·        Freshsales

·        Contactually

·        Zoho CRM


When I find something that might work, I like to use Google to search for "XYZ alternatives" or "XYZ competitors" to see what else pops up.


Good luck,





Kerrick Britz



4.  RE: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for architecture firms?

Posted 10-13-2017 09:56
We currently use Microsoft Dynamics 365.  It's easy to use and does most of what we need. Our Director of Business Development is very happy with it and the reports that it generates.

Nicole Dress AIA
BLT Architects
Philadelphia PA

5.  RE: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for architecture firms?

Posted 10-15-2017 20:03
Suggest you contact Tina Myers, CAE, Deputy Executive Director of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) 703-549-6117 x224.  SMPS has done extensive research on CRM and possibly Tina can point you in a direction to find out the different  systems available and if reviews are available.

CRM is a valuable tool for all firms; however, one needs to have a Marketing Plan relative to the size and type of client your firm is interested in and then analyze the available systems that fit your firms size.

I was involved as a speaker at an AIA Convention when SMPS was being formed where a forum of AIA Members and SMPS Members discussed the marketing function in a Professional Service Firm.  There was a good working relationship of the two organizations at that time and I hope you can take advantage of the connection and obtain information to assist AIA with their CRM concerns.

If I can provide you any additional assistance please feel free to contact me.


Duncan M. Black, AIA, SMPS
Amherst, NY

Duncan Black AIA
Amherst NY