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.
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.
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.
Have you heard of Connector Apps?
One aspect of our business that is of continued importance to us is creating seamless, integrated solutions for our clients. Though sometimes it is tricky to design apps and other methods that allow for increased connectivity, our overall goal is to create an experience that is easy and convenient, while solving our client’s business needs.
One method through which we accomplish this is through connector apps. You might be wondering what that term means, but it is simply creating an app that connects two solutions and allows for better integration between different systems. One example of this is our app, Scheduler Link. Scheduler Link connects Acuity Scheduling to Infusionsoft.
InfusionSoft is a CRM with e-commerce and marketing automation functionality, and is tailor-made for making business operations error-free and smooth throughout the process. Acuity Scheduling is a booking app, making the appointment process far more streamlined and easy to navigate – they also have great customer service.
John is the owner of a Colorado based distribution company. He recently hired Mike to help him with sales. Mike lives in Kansas. With a growing sales team, John wanted more visibility over how sales activities are progressing.
In small organizations, when the sales team hears that now they will have a CRM, their first instinct is to resist, because they worry they will be micromanaged.
This was not a problem in John’s organization. Mike used a CRM in his previous job. He understands that tracking sales activities in CRM would give John visibility over his workload. It would also enable John to be proactive, and take action to support Mike in his role when necessary.
You’re probably reading a lot about how the cloud and software automation continue to make businesses run more efficiently. What you maybe didn’t know is that there are a lot of cloud systems that provide automation for small businesses. These two together add a lot of value to small business owners who use customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
CRMs have become some of the most useful tools for customer communication, data organization, and automation services.
One CRM like this is the affordable and powerful Insightly, a program we’ve integrated into numerous businesses. We want to tell you a story about how Insightly helped a travel agency in Colorado, Chalets USA, that targets European tourists coming to the U.S. during ski season. This story should give you insight into how automation and the cloud integrate to aid many tasks otherwise taking hours to do.
© Can Stock Photo / swisshippo
If you do any amount of face-to-face networking, you know how business card quickly pile up. Once your wallet or organizer fills up, you dump the business cards you’ve collected in a file or drawer. Or maybe you wait until you have enough cards to wrap them with rubber band and store in a cute box, like this one!
Sure, it’s good to have those cards lying around for when you need to get in touch with a contact. But with so many cards, can you reliably find the contact you’re looking for in a timely manner? Unless you are super organized, it’s tough to find the card you need at the moment you need it.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Tips to keep your CRM data sharp!
No doubt you’ve heard the old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Well, it couldn’t be truer when it comes to managing your business data. A cluttered CRM will hinder your business processes and your customer engagement.
You’ve worked hard to get your CRM configured just right for your business! It serves you well, and you’re growing–Congratulations! Now you’ve hired additional people, and they’re all working hard, adding new contacts, new companies, and new opportunities. As you may have already experienced, things can get really messy really fast if you don’t have some processes and guidelines in place to keep your information clean.
CRM Spring Cleaning Steps
We have some tips for you on how to clean and maintain your CRM data. In the spirit of spring, begin now! Moving forward, if you adopt this mindset and establish good habits, from now on spring cleaning won’t be so daunting.