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I'm building a small video production company. I want to keep track of performers and crew I work with, so I'd like to use an online CRM.

There will be fewer than 50 people at first, and I don't imagine expanding past 100 people. It will be important for me to keep & view photos of each performer, in any "list view". I'd also like to keep a log of who has worked with whom of various shoots, as well as the most recent date I worked with each person, a "grade" for each person, web links, and other simple data (male/female, age range, hair color, etc.). I'll need to be able to filter based on all those quantifiable values.

I've been a programmer for years, so if there's an inexpensive CRM system that allows you to create your own relational database structures, allows photographs, and allows custom reports and filtering, that would be perfect!!

A few months ago when I checked it seemed that Salesforce would be too expensive. However I'm open to it if there are no other choices.

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Insightly allows you to do this without programming knowledge. There's a free version you can try, the main issue will be the cost, and whether the plan you choose limits you too much. You will need to plan out how many fields etc you require to work out which plan you need.

Pricing is here: https://www.insightly.com/pricing-3/

Ease of use I find the interface fairly easy to use once you've got the hang of it. The learning curve is minor, and the support is reasonably good.

Relational Database Manipulations You can enter additional fields for users, organisations, projects, and you can set up your own filters to work with these fields plus the usual ones that appear in insightly already.

You can set up new relationships, although I have found the existing ones to be ok, you may well want different ones, you can set up pipelines, as well as custom activity sets. This doesn't require any programing knowledge it's easy to do in the back end.

Automation You can BCC an insightly address so that conversations are kept in insightly, I used an Outlook Visual Basic rule to automate this process for every email I send. If it's a new person it adds them to contacts for me. You can find that here: http://www.extendoffice.com/documents/outlook/1107-outlook-auto-bcc.html

Pictures & Videos You can change the pictures for people, as well as organisations. There's a full file repositry, you need to check there's enough space on the plan you use. If you send an email with an attachment and use the BCC rule it adds the file to Insightly too. You can also use project BCCs which would then assign the file to the actual project/opportunity. I haven't found an easy way to automate that at present.

Tasks It also allows you to add tasks, effectively acting as a project management system too if you want it to. You can assign these to people in your team as necessary. In fact as you go through your project you can also have a project pipeline, which I find useful.

Reporting You can use a number of reports, and these can be based on your pipeline so you understand future business prospects/finance, but also based on a lot of other criteria too.

  • Thanks for all this detail! I gave you an up-vote. I believe I looked into Insightly months ago, and it didn't have some features I want. For example, do you know if it will list people's names in rows, along with a selected picture of each next to it? I reeeeeeeeeally want that option. – CreatedByBrett Apr 24 '15 at 17:49
  • Yep, it does that, by default it is set up as Picture > Name. If you want more information you need to click on the name. If you need more info up front you could create a filter, then it would show only the information you require, i.e. create an additional field: actors | cameramen | producers | etc. then filter by that field and actors only. Then it would show just the names and pictures of the actors (for example). Thanks for the upvote :) – Eoin Apr 27 '15 at 10:54
  • Thanks for that info! When I get some time I'll do some reading on their site. I'll probably download the free trial too and see how I like it. If I end up using it I'll try to remember to mark your answer as The Answer. :) – CreatedByBrett Apr 27 '15 at 16:53
  • Best of luck to you & thanks – Eoin Apr 28 '15 at 17:08

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