We were delighted to invite Julia Blake from Blake Consultants to talk to us about CRM systems, explaining what they are and why we need one, regardless of our business size. Here is what Julia had to say:
There’s an old-fashioned perception that Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) are digital behemoths for huge organisations, requiring massive investments of time, money and technology. Not so, below we share 11 reasons why your service-based business can benefit from a CRM, whatever your size.
1. To keep all of your contacts in one place
As you might expect, today’s CRMs are customisable which means you can keep all of your contacts in one place. You might have a current client list in a spreadsheet, with suppliers in another, store contacts in Outlook or Google and have a stack of business cards on your desk which you have collected while networking.
If the latter is true, it’s likely that too much of your time is spent trying to find the phone number or email address of that interesting person you met somewhere, sometime in the last few weeks.
2. Turn your two-dimensional spreadsheet into three-dimensional data
Much as we all love spreadsheets, they don’t work for keeping in touch with people and often you’ll end up with too many versions stored in different places. A CRM changes a two-dimensional list into a three-dimensional, interactive tool, which can be played with like a Rubik’s Cube, allowing you to slice and dice your data any way you want.
A cloud-based CRM system will enable you to record a contact’s details (even scan the card with a business card reader and automatically input it) and set up a follow-up task while you’re out and about, email direct from the system and log phone conversations for all your contacts. It’s this level of automation that saves business owners time and money.
3. To smooth out feast and famine
With the best will in the world, no-one can be in two places at the same time. When you are delivering business, you can’t be generating interest, keeping on top of your pipeline or doing any of the other back-office jobs you need to do, to keep your business growing.
The right CRM tool will prompt you to do things in a predetermined sequence; you’ll be nudged to action tasks so that you don’t forget them. It will not only help you manage your contacts, but move new opportunities through your pipeline, your existing clients along your product staircase, and manage your deliverables – so the tasks that it reminds you to do can be across 100% of your business, if set up correctly, of course.
4. To equip you with first-class digital memory
It’s been shown that we can only hold seven (give or take two) things in our mind at any one time – George Miller, a cognitive psychologist at the Harvard University Department of Psychology identified this way back in 1956. It’s now known as Millers Law – so don’t worry when you forget things, or your head feels like it’s going to explode. It’s not just you! Let’s face it: running a business means all the jobs fall to you, even the ones that aren’t making you money.
A CRM system will help you run your service-based business in a more efficient, organised way. It will free up head space to spend on the areas which generate revenue and therefore help you grow your business. Most importantly, it can help you consistently deliver the quality of service your clients deserve.
A CRM system can keep track of everything you need to complete your actions, from a note of a recent conversation to a reminder task to call them and follow up. It effectively provides you with best-practice processes for encouraging an opportunity to convert to a sale and to move them on to delivery. It removes emotion from certain situations by establishing the processes beforehand and then the CRM will prompt you to undertake the next task – it’s as easy as that. Save yourself from re-inventing the wheel and make every day a productive day.
5. To set up your business for growth
Until you are ready to take on some dedicated help (be that an employee or a VA), you will need to stretch yourself as far as you can. You’ll be able to stretch yourself a lot further with a CRM system which has been designed specifically for your service-based business. A good CRM will integrate with an email delivery system and your accounts package – a lot of your business processes can be automated so that things are ticking along whilst you are engaged with delivery. Not only that, relationships with any associates or suppliers can also be managed, keeping them in the loop on joint projects and opportunities, which is vital when you are growing your business.
6. To adopt best sales practices and keep an eye on your pipeline
So many growing businesses don’t have a pipeline, but how can you truly run, let alone scale your business, unless you do? Understanding where opportunities are in the sales process helps you plan and manage forecasts – and keep the boat afloat. Understanding what actions need to be taken to convert the lead into a sale, and being reminded of those actions, will give you the best chance of winning the deal. A good CRM system will enable you to see all your opportunities in one place so you can see the total value and what needs to be done to realise that value.
7. To adopt best service delivery practices
Your clients come to you because they have been referred or searched for you. They have bought into what you offer; they want or need your services; and they deserve the best – but you don’t need to re-invent the wheel every single time. They deserve to receive the best of what you have to offer and that is a service which is tried and tested and improved over time.
With a CRM system you can set up a series of tasks which enable you to deliver this best practice consistently. It will prompt you to carry out actions when you need to, so you are able to help more clients.
8. To get a 360′ view of your client and still communicate 1:1
A good CRM will give you the ability to have a 360˚ client view and offer 1:1 communication as it will integrate with your email delivery system and your accounts package. GDPR comes into play here as well – make sure you use the correct lawful reason for processing for the correct group of contacts.
9. To encourage your clients along your product staircase
The easiest source of new business is usually from existing clients. A product staircase is a visual way to think about upselling new services to existing clients. They already know, like and trust you, so if you’re not helping them to work with you more, you’re not doing them any favours and you and your business are missing out too.
10. To find more sales opportunities among existing leads and accounts
By understanding who your ideal client is, you also understand the problems they face and how best to contact them. Having your leads and prospects in a CRM system means that you can slice and dice your contacts as you want and need to, ensuring that you send communications containing relevant and specific messages, increasing the chances of them wanting to work with you when they realise they have a need for which you offer a solution.
11. To save you money and time
Although I’ve saved it for last, this is probably the most important reason. A good CRM system saves you money and time by giving you the ability to increase revenue and decrease costs, ultimately increasing net profit.
Most of all, a good CRM enables you to be out there delivering your service and being present in your business while it captures any new enquiries and gets ready to remind you to undertake the actions you need to when the time is right.
Service-based business need a CRM system regardless of their size. Because CRMs are so customisable, you can have one designed to fit your existing business but which can also grow as you do while being flexible and reflecting your ideal client avatar, business model and goals.
All you need to do is invest time to think about how your processes work, who your ideal client is and what you offer them, then you can populate your CRM with your clean and enhanced data. And learn how to use it, so it becomes part of your day-to-day business life.
Thank you to Julia for sharing her wisdom with us today. Julia focuses on helping small business owners to scale and grow their business, using CapsuleCRM to increase their revenue, reduce costs, make the most of their contacts, manage their pipeline and deliver great customer service. To find our more visit her website – Blake Consultants.
And of course if you have a marketing challenge, we would love to hear from you, please get in touch to arrange your no obligation discovery call.