We have been extremely fortunate to work with some great clients, and solve some tough but ultimately rewarding challenges. Implementing a CRM is often a scary, overwhelming task for many, but if you work with the right team, it becomes much easier to handle. Ultimately, the goal is to create a smooth transition that keeps sensitive data while providing some much-needed automated support via the CRM.
One example of a successful transition is our work with the nonprofit Rise Above CO. Focused on preventing drug use in teens, Rise Above had a substantial network of contacts that needed to be maintained. Unfortunately, the database they used to store contacts for fundraising become unavailable. This meant that they needed find a new home for their data, without losing anything important in the process.
You knew in your bones you could make it on your own as a consultant or subcontractor. You were tired of using your skills as someone else’s employee, so you decided to start your own business.
Now you have mixed feelings. You’re relieved, because now you are your own boss. But perhaps you are also overwhelmed. You might have scared yourself, thinking: How do I get started? How am I going to do this? Help!
Is this you? Well, you’re lucky! Until just a few years ago, small business owners had to get it all done using Microsoft Office and QuickBooks. Now, because of the cloud, all kinds of apps exist to help you manage your business. Some of these apps are available for free, others for a low cost.
I believe small business owners should use apps that talk to each other. Having one centralized database where you can see all the details of your interactions with your clients is a great way to manage your business. Helping small business owners achieve this is why I became a small business CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) coach!
© Can Stock Photo / stevanovicigor
Build a list
Keep in mind: small business is community based. That being said, it is essential that you start tracking the people you meet at each stage of the relationship building process from day one.
Start by building a list of the people you meet while you are out there networking and talking about your business. How do you do that? You might as well start off on the right foot, by using CRM – Customer Relationship Management.
Insightly CRM is a great option for consultants. Why? Because Insightly allows you to manage your contacts, create a sales pipeline to track your potential clients, and track your projects and tasks. And you can get started for free. Can’t beat that.
So, your business is expanding – congratulations! With such rapid growth, it only makes sense that you are considering getting a CRM. There are a myriad of reasons why that is a good business decision, from automating functions to enabling sales team to have better visibility over what is going with clients. Once you have done your research, you know exactly what product will fit best with your business needs.
However, one of the sticking points of a CRM is its implementation. You have likely learned that adoption, and the subsequent learning curve tends to be the biggest hurdle. The likely question then, is how can you ensure a successful implementation? Here are a few ways to make the process smooth and seamless.
1) Lead by example
The only way to keep your team engaged throughout the process is for you to stay engaged as well. Show up for meetings about the implementation. After the meetings, check-in with your team to learn about their concerns. Use the system, and show your sales team how the CRM is helping you to support them in their roles.
2) Get your team engaged
If you manage the sales team for a growing small business, you have your work cut out for you. Every week, there are more leads to follow up on, and they’re all different. They all became leads on different dates, they all have different needs and wants, and they’ve all had different interactions with different sales reps.
There’s John Smith, and one of your sales reps, Harry, is pursuing him. He became a lead 6 months ago. Harry’s called him 4 times, and in one of those calls he told Harry he doesn’t like calls after 4 p.m. You’ve sent him 16 emails and a packet of promotional materials. He’s been on your website 5 times and read one of your eBooks.
Then there’s Mary Jones, whom another rep, Jim, is after. Mary just became a lead last week. Jim called her once, and during that call she told Jim she doesn’t like calls—she prefers emails. So, you’ve sent her your introductory, welcome email. She’s been on your website twice, first when she filled out an online form and read a blog, and a second time when she read the same eBook as John
That’s a lot to remember, or to manage with Excel spreadsheets. Now multiply it by 5, or 10, or 100, or 1,000. How do you keep track of all those interactions, preferences, and varying degrees of sales-readiness?
Businesses, whether large or small, often struggle with processes and operations – especially in their implementation. As businesses grow, so do daily functions, and many struggle to keep things running smoothly while still continuing to grow. While this may sound challenging initially, we have learned just how beneficial automation is for long-term and short-term success.
A perfect example of this our ongoing work with a skin care clinic to automate their business, and help them sustain their growth. Prior to our services being engaged in March 2016, this clinic had a few systems in place.
However, none of them were integrated and that made it hard for them to keep up with their rising growth. They continued to receive order notifications at an unprecedented amount… but all of their order notifications went straight to their email inbox. While an inbox is great for email, it is not really an efficient system for tracking order fulfillment.