Tips for choosing a CRM
Blog | Art Business

How to Choose a CRM for Your Art Gallery

More than ever, choosing the right client-relationship management (CRM) solution is critical for businesses in the art industry — and it involves understanding the digital needs of your gallery, advisory or auction house.

By Team ARTERNAL on Thursday June 16, 2022
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The ideal platform includes a robust, industry-specific set of features that will leverage data and will be something your employees will actually enjoy using.

More than ever, choosing the right client-relationship management (CRM) solution is critical for businesses in the art industry — and it involves understanding the digital needs of your gallery, advisory or auction house.

CRM has become an industry unto itself and shows robust growth. A recent report by Grand View Research estimates that the market was valued at $43.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 10.16% percent from 2020 through 2028.

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source: grandviewresearch

While more providers will invariably serve a greater range of needs, the wealth of options also presents a challenge for art dealers and galleries looking to select one that provides the best fit and allows for the business to evolve.

What Is CRM?

At its core, CRM is a way to keep track of client and sales leads. In the past, this might have been accomplished with a simple spreadsheet or Rolodex. But as the art market evolves and a new generation of collectors rise in prominence, the need for a CRM solution that incorporates technology in a smart way will only grow.

Keeping track of inventory, updating client databases, coordinating exhibition calendars, sharing insights on client preferences, automating the invoicing process, monitoring social media, and measuring the impact of marketing efforts are just some of the ways that CRM can create a powerful repository of knowledge. But it’s also more than that.

The right CRM will endow dealers and galleries with the ability to collect, analyze, and leverage data in a way that can help them increase sales in a modern, efficient way. While personal connections will always remain
an important part of a successful art endeavor, industry-specific digital tools — also known as ArtTech — will help owners and dealers manage their information, as well as their artists and their clients, much more effectively.

The smart implementation of technology will make succeeding in an increasingly complex marketplace easier.


Client relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with clients and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships to grow your business. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to clients, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

ARTERNAL’s Smart Mail CRM Pipeline

Industry-Specific Features

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to CRM. A retailer might value data about clients frequent-shopper purchases, brand loyalty, and social media trends. Meanwhile, a mortgage lender might prefer to keep tabs on financial news, legal and regulatory developments, credit ratings, and insurance trends.

The right CRM provider can help an art-related organization understand buying patterns at art fairs and seasonal auctions, coordinate targeted communications, keep track of clients’ personal details, and send bespoke emails at scale — all in real time and with a high degree of security.

For the art industry, an evolving set of regulations — such as Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures that have been boosted by new anti-money laundering (AML) regulations — also makes it necessary for a CRM platform to be able to automate some processes in order to keep staff members focused on what they do best, which is usually not due diligence.

Know Your Customer (KYC)

Ready for a platform that understands your needs?

Let your relationships and expertise bloom. ARTERNAL addresses industry pain points with our Smart Mail CRM, intuitive inventory system, and financial insights.

4 CRM Considerations To Keep in Mind

While there are many CRM platforms on the market, selecting the right one requires evaluating the options on an array of criteria. A number of factors and features may sound attractive, but for galleries, here are four things to look for in a CRM provider

1. Integration

Software that plays well with other apps or websites — particularly those with which employees are already familiar — are likely to be used more often.

Whether a CRM service will connect with existing programs a business already uses, such as Google Workspace, MailChimp, or Microsoft Office, will create a more cohesive whole and can help speed up its adoption rate among employees.

CRM Integrations

Email integration is one of the most common CRM features out there, but attention should be paid to how those email contacts are handled, what additional information can be added to client profiles, and how that data is shared in a controlled manner within the organization.

The ability to automatically connect and sync sales data with financial software, such as QuickBooks, will help a business save staff time and effort.

ARTERNAL's Contact Management System
ARTERNAL’s Contact Management System

2. The Right Strengths

Looking at all the ways in which a gallery’s employees collect information and communicate within and outside the organization, a CRM tool should be able to work equally well for all types of users, whether they are focused on sales, marketing, or post sale client success. CRMs each have their strengths and weaknesses, so it makes sense for businesses in the art industry to focus on one that offers the right features, not necessarily the most bells and whistles.

3. Solid Training and Support

CRM providers offer varying levels of training for employees, whether in the form of personalized instruction, interactive tutorials, or online user guides. Often, the ideal approach is a multifaceted one that gives employees, who will be using the CRM platform day in, day out, the opportunity to learn in a manner that best suits them. The other component to consider is what customer support options the provider offers, whether it’s a live chat or an online troubleshooting resource.

4. UX (User experience)

Finally, user experience is key. The CRM platform’s interface should ideally be intuitive, or at least somewhat easy to navigate for newbies as well as digital natives, because the investment in a software solution won’t be worth much if employees are unable or unwilling to interact with it. Another feature that should help promote usage is whether the CRM has a mobile app so that employees always have ready access to the organization’s relevant data.

ARTERNAL iPad and iPhone app


It is our mission to empower art professionals with data and deep insights that paves the way to more opportunities in the art world. If you’re ready to grow, ARTERNAL’s Database, CRM, and Inventory platform helps provide you the tools you need.

It unifies the marketing, sales, operations, and finance teams with a view of the customer. Each custom record can be accessible by all customer-facing teams allowing you to track each contact from the very first relationship. And by combining a sales CRM, inventory management, finance, and operations solutions in one platform, it provides you with the tools you need to build relationships with collectors with rich data and actionable deep insights.

Sign up for a personalized consultation with our team of experts, and they will take you step by step through your customized playbook. Your playbook will be fitted with proven plays that guarantee your gallery has the right data and tools connected to engage your collectors and delight them in every part of your business.

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