woman using crm software to manage client relationships

The Best CRM Software for Designers, Artists, and Real Estate Agents

13 min read

In often emotional and largely visual industries, interior designers, architects, real estate agents, brokers, and artists face unique challenges in managing client relationships, projects, and business growth. Adopting the right Customer Relationship Management software can revolutionize the way these professionals interact with clients, handle projects, and streamline operations. This article explores the best CRM solutions tailored to meet the specific needs of each of these creative professions, providing insights into how these tools can enhance efficiency, improve client satisfaction, and drive success throughout the entire sales process in their respective fields.

Features to Look for in CRM Systems

Artists, designers, and real estate agents each have specific needs when it comes to CRM software, but there are core CRM features that can benefit all these professionals in managing their client relationships and business workflows efficiently. Below are some important CRM tools and features to look for.

#1 Contact Management

A robust contact management system is the backbone of any CRM. A basic contact management system stores and organizes all customer data and contact information in one place, making it easy for your sales team to access phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses.

More advanced systems also record communication histories, ensuring you can always track past interactions and maintain continuity in conversations. Recognizing important dates such as birthdays or anniversaries adds a personal touch that can strengthen client relationships.

#2 Project Management

For creative professionals like designers and artists, project management within a CRM allows for tracking different stages of creative projects, from conception through completion. It helps manage timelines, set milestones, and assign tasks. Real estate agents benefit similarly by managing property listings, client showings, and closing activities, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.

#3 Task and Workflow Automation

Automation tools within a CRM can perform routine tasks such as sending out follow-up emails after meetings, scheduling reminders for upcoming appointments, or automating parts of marketing campaigns. This not only saves time but also reduces human error, freeing up professionals to focus on more critical or creative tasks.

#4 Customization

Each business has unique needs and processes. Customization in a CRM allows you to modify the software to fit these specific requirements, such as custom fields in client profiles, tailored workflows for different types of interactions, and personalized dashboard views that highlight the most relevant information.

#5 Integration

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that integrates seamlessly with existing tools (like email clients, social media platforms, accounting software, or portfolio websites) centralizes workflows and reduces the need to switch between applications. This integration ensures that all client interactions and data are synchronized and up-to-date across all platforms.

#6 Mobile Access

With the increasing need for mobility in jobs like real estate and design, a mobile-friendly CRM is essential. It allows professionals to access client information, update project statuses, and respond to inquiries while away from the desk, providing flexibility and improving responsiveness to client needs.

#7 Sales Tracking and Reporting

CRMs with sales tracking capabilities allow you to monitor transactions, manage commissions, and keep track of financial details related to artwork sales or design projects. Robust reporting tools help analyze these sales data, monitor business performance, and make data-driven decisions to improve sales strategies and client engagement.

#8 Client Portals

Client portals are secure areas where clients can log in to view the status of their projects or transactions, communicate directly with the service provider, and make payments. This transparency builds trust and enhances client satisfaction by keeping them informed and engaged throughout the process.

#9 Data Security

Data security is paramount, especially with the handling of sensitive client information. Strong security features, compliance with regulations like GDPR, and regular updates are necessary to protect data from unauthorized access and ensure privacy.

#10 Marketing Automation Features

Integrated marketing tools within a CRM system can automate and streamline marketing efforts, from scheduling social media posts to sending targeted email campaigns based on CRM data. These advanced CRM features help maintain a consistent marketing presence, engage potential clients, and generate leads without requiring constant manual input from sales teams. Valuable marketing and service tools include the following.

Task Automation

This encompasses automating repetitive marketing tasks such as sending follow-up emails to reinforce customer relationships, scheduling email campaigns, and managing social media posts. By automating these tasks, professionals can ensure consistent communication without needing to manually handle each step.

Email Marketing

Integrated email marketing tools allow for the creation, execution, and management of email campaigns directly within the CRM. These tools can help segment audiences, personalize messages, and schedule campaigns to be sent at optimal times to maximize engagement.

Social Media Management

Some CRMs include tools for scheduling and posting content to various social media platforms. This allows for consistent social media presence without having to manually update each platform individually.

Marketing Campaigns

An advanced CRM platform might offer features to plan, execute, and track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. This can include tracking responses, managing promotional offers, and analyzing engagement metrics to refine marketing strategies.

Lead Generation and Management

Marketing automation also includes tools for capturing and nurturing leads. This can involve creating landing pages, managing forms, and implementing lead scoring systems to prioritize follow-up based on a lead’s engagement level.

Fuel your creative fire & be a part of a supportive community that values how you love to live.

subscribe to our newsletter

The Best CRM Solutions for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Customer relationship management software can be especially useful for real estate agents and brokers to manage their client interactions, streamline processes, and improve customer service. Below are some of the best CRM software options for real estate professionals.

Zillow Premier Agent CRM

Zillow Premier Agent CRM is favored by real estate agents for its seamless integration with Zillow’s extensive real estate marketplace. This integration offers agents the ability to manage and nurture leads directly obtained from Zillow inquiries.

Features include robust lead management tools that help agents track lead activity and interactions, a marketing platform for creating targeted campaigns, and tools for enhancing customer communication. The CRM also helps agents stay on top of every inquiry with real-time notifications.


LionDesk is a feature-rich CRM favored by real estate agents who appreciate advanced communication tools. It includes capabilities like video emailing, which allows agents to send personalized video messages to clients and leads, enhancing engagement. Text messaging and automated lead follow-up systems help keep the communication consistent and timely. LionDesk also provides transaction management features, making it a comprehensive tool for managing all aspects of real estate transactions.


Propertybase is built on the Salesforce platform, offering a highly customizable and scalable CRM solution. It is well-suited for both individual agents and large real estate firms. The CRM features include advanced marketing automation, lead management, and transaction management tools.

Agents can customize the CRM to fit specific workflows and integrate with other tools, making it a versatile choice for diverse real estate operations. Integrate with Salesforce Sales Cloud for a more comprehensive approach.

Follow Up Boss

Next on our list of the best customer relationship management (CRM) software available to agents is Follow Up Boss. Follow Up Boss excels with its user-friendly interface that simplifies the process of lead management and client communication. It’s designed to help real estate agents automate engagement with prospects, track all communications, and organize all client interactions in one place. This CRM is particularly effective for teams looking to increase conversion rates through improved follow-up strategies.

Wise Agent

Wise Agent is designed specifically for the real estate industry, offering comprehensive features such as contact management, marketing automation, and transaction management. The system helps agents organize client information, automate marketing campaigns (including email and social media marketing), and manage the entire transaction lifecycle from initial contact to closing.


Contactually, now part of Compass, focuses heavily on relationship building. The CRM provides tools that help real estate agents prioritize their contacts based on the potential value of each relationship. Features include automated reminders to keep in touch, the ability to segment contacts into different buckets for personalized communication, and analytics to track interaction effectiveness.

CINC (Commissions Inc)

CINC is a CRM tailored for high-volume real estate teams, focusing on lead generation and management. It offers a suite of tools designed to capture leads, nurture your sales pipeline effectively, and convert them into clients. Features include a robust lead routing system, automated marketing campaigns, and detailed performance analytics to help teams optimize their sales processes.

Real Geeks

Real Geeks offers a CRM that is straightforward and effective, integrating closely with their own website builder and marketing tools. This integration makes it a suitable choice for agents who rely heavily on online lead generation. Plus, the user interface of this CRM tool is simple let elegant. Features include lead capture forms, automatic lead nurturing emails, and tools for tracking lead behavior on the website, enabling agents to tailor their follow-up strategies based on real-time data.

The Best Customer Relationship Management Software for Design Firms

For design firms, having a CRM that can handle project management, client interactions, and creative workflows is crucial. Here are some of the best CRM software options tailored to meet the needs of design firms. Each of these CRMs offers distinct advantages that can help design firms manage client relationships, track projects, and streamline operations, ultimately contributing to better project outcomes and client satisfaction.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM is renowned for its comprehensive feature set that includes marketing automation, sales tools, and customer service functionalities, all integrated into one user-friendly platform. For design firms, this CRM can manage client interactions seamlessly across different stages of the client lifecycle, from lead capture to ongoing client engagement. Its robust marketing tools help create and monitor effective campaigns, which are essential for firms looking to enhance their brand presence and client engagement. For smaller teams, Monday Sales CRM could also work for customer management.


Insightly is particularly effective for design firms because it combines CRM capabilities with project management tools. This integration is crucial for managing the full lifecycle of design projects, from initial client consultations to final deliveries. Insightly helps organize contacts, manage leads efficiently, and track project milestones, ensuring that all team members are aligned and that client expectations are met.


Freshsales offers a streamlined and intuitive interface that simplifies the management of sales processes, which is beneficial for design firms aiming to enhance their sales activities without sacrificing client interaction quality. It includes features like lead scoring, email tracking, and advanced analytics, which provide insights into client behavior and help personalize the sales approach based on client needs.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a versatile option for design firms of all sizes due to its extensive customization options and affordability. It supports not just CRM functionalities but also project management, which allows design teams to track project progress and collaborate effectively. The ability to customize workflows and fields means that the CRM can be tailored to specific business processes, making it a very flexible tool for creative environments.


Pipedrive is designed to optimize sales activities through an activity-based selling approach. For design firms, this means having a clear overview of where each client is in the sales pipeline, with tools to manage numerous client interactions and projects simultaneously. Its straightforward design and powerful pipeline management features ensure that no opportunity slips through due to oversight.


Nimble is ideal for smaller design firms or freelancers who need a CRM that integrates closely with social media platforms. It excels at consolidating contact information from various online sources into a unified client profile, making it easier to manage relationships and stay connected with clients and prospects. This can be particularly valuable for networking and building brand visibility in the creative industry.


Salesforce is the go-to CRM for larger design firms requiring a robust, scalable solution that can grow with their business. It offers extensive customization capabilities and integration options, allowing firms to tailor the platform extensively to their specific workflows and client management needs. Salesforce also integrates with a myriad of third-party applications, enhancing its functionality and adaptability.

Copper (formerly ProsperWorks)

Copper is well-known for its deep integration with Google Workspace, providing a seamless experience for firms that are heavily embedded in the Google ecosystem. This CRM automates many mundane tasks and aligns closely with tools such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive, facilitating an efficient workflow that minimizes the switching between applications. Its focus on usability and automation makes it a great choice for design firms looking for a straightforward, effective CRM solution.

The Best CRM Software for Artists and Galleries

For artists, a CRM needs to support creative workflows, manage client interactions for commissions or sales, and often integrate with portfolio management tools. Below are our CRM picks that are well-suited for artists, ranging from independent creators to those working within larger collectives or galleries.

Artwork Archive

Artwork Archive is not just a portfolio management tool but also integrates CRM functionalities that are specifically designed for artists and galleries. It helps manage entire collections, track sales, and handle client interactions effectively within a single platform. For artists, this means having a centralized place to manage their artworks, document their provenance, and manage sales and exhibitions, all while maintaining relationships with buyers and collectors.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM offers robust tools that are ideal for artists who need to manage a broad range of interactions and engagements. Its scalability and flexibility make it suitable for artists at different stages of their careers, from emerging to well-established. It helps manage sales pipelines, marketing campaigns, and customer service processes, providing a comprehensive view of all client interactions and opportunities to engage potential buyers and gallery representatives.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM provides an affordable solution with extensive customization options, making it a great choice for artists who need to tailor their CRM to match their unique business processes. It supports the management of client relationships, sales, and marketing efforts, which are crucial for artists looking to expand their reach and professional network.


Insightly is particularly effective for artists involved in complex projects or collaborations, such as public art installations or large-scale commissions. Its project management features help track project progress, set milestones, and manage deadlines, while CRM functionalities ensure that all client interactions and details are meticulously organized and accessible.


Nimble excels as a social CRM, making it particularly valuable for artists who utilize social media platforms to engage with their audience and build their brand. It integrates social media interactions directly into the CRM, allowing artists to track conversations, manage contacts, and engage with fans and clients directly from a single interface.

Streak CRM for Gmail

Streak CRM for Gmail is uniquely designed for artists who manage most of their business communications through email. It integrates directly into Gmail, transforming the email inbox into a powerful CRM tool. This setup is ideal for managing client communications, tracking projects, and following up on inquiries without needing to switch between multiple applications.


Freshsales is favored for its intuitive interface and robust sales automation tools, which can significantly benefit artists aiming to streamline their sales processes. It helps manage leads effectively, automate follow-ups, and track sales progress, ensuring that artists can focus more on their creative work while still advancing their commercial opportunities.

Capsule CRM

Capsule CRM offers simplicity and ease of use, which is perfect for artists who are new to CRM systems. It provides essential CRM functions such as contact management, task scheduling, and sales pipeline management in a user-friendly interface. This can help artists organize their day-to-day activities and client interactions without the complexity of more elaborate CRM systems.

CRM Superlatives: Which Are the Best Overall?

Evaluating CRM software across various criteria like value, pricing, feature set, and suitability for team size can help professionals in creative fields like design, art, and real estate choose the best tools for their specific needs. Choosing the right CRM will depend on the specific requirements of the business, including budget constraints, desired features, and the size of the team.

Each CRM listed provides unique benefits, so it’s important for users to evaluate each based on these key aspects to find the best fit for their professional needs. Let’s take a look at closer look so you can make the right choice.

Best Value CRMs

  • Zoho CRM often represents the best value for designers, artists, and agents due to its affordable pricing and extensive range of features that cater to both small and large businesses.
  • Insightly also offers great value, particularly for those who need both CRM and project management capabilities integrated into one platform without a high cost.

Priciest Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

  • Salesforce tends to be on the pricier side due to its extensive customization options, scalability, and the depth of its features. It’s a powerful tool but may be more than a small firm or individual needs.
  • Propertybase, built on Salesforce, also falls into the higher price range, particularly suited for real estate firms that require comprehensive feature sets and customization.

Greatest Variety of Features

  • Salesforce and Propertybase (since it’s built on Salesforce) offer the greatest variety of features, including everything from sales and marketing automation to detailed analytics and app integrations.
  • HubSpot CRM is also feature-rich, offering a wide range of tools for marketing automation, sales tracking, and customer service, making it highly versatile.

Best for Big Teams

  • Salesforce is ideal for big teams as it can be extensively customized to fit large-scale operations and multiple workflows in large design firms or real estate agencies.
  • CINC (Commissions Inc) is specially designed for high-volume real estate teams, offering robust lead generation and management tools that can handle the demands of a large team.

Best for Small Teams or Solopreneurs

  • Nimble is excellent for small teams or solopreneurs, especially for those heavily engaged in social media, as it integrates social media interactions into the CRM efficiently.
  • Capsule CRM offers simplicity and ease of use, making it ideal for those who are new to CRM systems or who operate on their own.
  • Streak CRM for Gmail can be a good choice for solopreneurs who manage their business communications primarily through Gmail, allowing them to organize and track interactions directly within their email inbox.

Final Thoughts on Selecting the Right CRM for Your Firm, Brokerage, or Gallery

Selecting the right CRM software is clearly essential for professionals in design, art, and real estate sectors, each with unique requirements and workflows. Whether you’re part of a large team needing a robust, feature-rich platform like Salesforce, a small team seeking affordability and integration like Zoho CRM, or a solopreneur needing simplicity and direct social media integration like Nimble, there’s a CRM out there tailored to your needs.

Carefully consider what factors such as cost, features, and scalability mean for your business to ensure you choose a tool that not only fits your budget but also enhances your operational efficiency and improves client relationships, ultimately driving your business success.

Which CRM software do you currently use? Do you love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments below or submit your feedback to editor@designdash.com.