12 Reasons why Coaches and Consultants need a CRM. Guest blog by Julia Blake

Capsule CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system has been an essential sales and marketing enabler for many years at a corporate level.  But if you’re a coach or a consultant you might consider a CRM unnecessary.  You may be concerned that the return doesn’t justify the investment.  I’m going to help you see this in a different way by sharing the top reasons why ambitious coaches and consultants need a CRM.

  1. To keep all your contacts in one place

Firstly, today’s CRMs are fully customisable.

This means you can keep all your contacts in one place. Currently, you might have a client list in one spreadsheet, suppliers in another, and maybe some contacts in Outlook or Google. And what about that stack of business cards on your desk, collected while networking, still waiting to be input? Sound familiar?

  1. Turn your 2-dimensional spreadsheet into 3-dimensional data.

I love spreadsheets but they don’t work for keeping in touch with people and you end up with too many versions, stored in different places.  A CRM is purpose built for interaction. They change a two-dimensional list into a three-dimensional, tool, which can be played with like a Rubik’s Cube, allowing you to slice and dice your data any way you want. Perfect when you’re looking for a certain type of customer or people that you’ve worked with in a particular way.

What’s more, a cloud-based CRM will enable you to record a contact’s details, automatically with an app, and create a follow-up task, email them directly from the system and log phone conversations.

  1. To reduce feast and famine

With the best will in the world, you simply cannot be in two places at once.  When you are delivering your productised service, you can’t be generating interest, keeping on top of your pipeline or doing any back-office jobs that keep your business not only ticking along but growing.

  1. Efficiency breeds success

The right CRM will prompt you to do things in a predetermined sequence; you’ll be nudged to action tasks so that you don’t forget them.  The right CRM will not only help you manage your contacts, but will move 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 you set up a CRM correctly (ie in a bespoke way for your business), you will save time, money and lost opportunities.

  1. There’s a limit to how many things you can remember at any one time

It’s been shown that we can only hold around 7 things in our head 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 will help you run your coaching or consulting business in a more efficient, organised way. As a result, you will free up head space, be able to grow your business more effectively and still deliver the quality of service your clients need.

Make life easy for yourself and get some CRM help. Here are some examples of how this can work:

  • keep a note of a conversation with a contact and set up a task to make a follow up call
  • set up best-practice processes for converting opportunities to sales and for delivery of services
  • remove emotion from business transactions by establishing processes beforehand (your CRM will then prompt you to undertake the next task)
  • save yourself from re-inventing the wheel and stop being unproductive.
  1. 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, and that will be a lot further with a bespoke CRM system .

A good CRM will integrate with an email delivery system and your accounts package, thus automating a lot of your business processes while  you are with your clients.  Not only that, relationships with any associates or suppliers can also be managed, keeping them in the loop on joint projects, which is vital when you are growing your coaching or consulting business.

And, when you are ready to ramp up a gear and grow your team, the whole thing will take less time and energy because all your processes and systems already exist. They can simply pick up for you with the CRM to guide them.

  1. To adopt best sales practices and keep an eye on the pipeline

So many coaches and consultants don’t have a pipeline, but how can you truly run, let alone grow, a 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 will enable you to see the total value of your opportunities in one place and understand what needs to be done to realise that value.

  1. To adopt best service delivery practices

Your clients come to you because they have been referred or searched for you. They are bought in to what you offer, they want or need your services, and they deserve the best, which is  a tried and tested, consistent service.

With a CRM you can set up a series of tasks which enables you to deliver best practice consistently.  A good system will prompt you to carry out actions when you need to, so you are able to help more clients.

  1. 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 too – make sure you use the correct lawful reason for processing for the correct group of contacts.

  1. To encourage your clients along your product staircase

The easiest source of new business is most likely from your existing clients – they already trust you, so if you’re not helping them along your product staircase, you’re not doing them any favours and your business will be missing out too.

  1. 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 means that you can use the data to ensure you send communications containing messages which resonate with them, so increasing the chances of them wanting to work with you..

  1. Save you money and time

This is by far the most important reason to have a good CRM. It will save you money and time. It will enable you to increase revenue and decrease costs, meaning you increase net profit.

Most of all, a good CRM enables coaches and consultants to be out in their business, doing more of what they want to do and less of what they don’t (but need to).  Whilst you are out there helping your clients, your CRM is capturing any new enquiries and getting ready to remind you to undertake actions when you are back at your desk (or on the go – the mobile apps are very good too 😉 )

 

In Summary

As a coach or consultant, you need a CRM as much as an enterprise does, but not the same CRM. Instead, you should look for a CRM that has been designed with the small to medium business in mind.  You need one that is flexible and created to be a bespoke tool reflecting your ideal client avatar, business model and goals.

Just make sure you invest the time in thinking about how your processes work, who your ideal client is and what you offer them, then populate it with your clean and enhanced data. And learn how to use it, so it becomes part of your day-to-day business life.

If you are unsure why you need to know who your ideal client is, or how to create your own Ideal Client Avatar you might like to check out my free eBook which will help you.

You never know, it may just be a life-changing experience for you and your growing business.

How I can support you

My goal is to help you, as a business owner, to grow your business by getting the most value out of your three most valuable assets:

Your contacts/data

Your processes and systems

Yourself

When you make the most of your contacts/data you are in the best place possible to increase your revenue. When you have efficient, repeatable processes in your business, you reduce the cost of sales. Both these things give the you  more headspace to focus on growing your business. The overall result is an increase in net profit.

I’m always happy to have a chat – you can contact me at julia.blake@blakeconsultants.co.uk  I have been working with CapsuleCRM for over 9 years and helped many clients like you increase revenue, reduce costs, make the most of their contacts, manage their pipeline and deliver great customer service.

I do this by designing and installing Capsule to meet your needs, offering a bespoke CRM to suit your business requirements.  Capsule really is a great solution for coaches and consultants and when it is integrated with Mailchimp and Xero you have really solid foundations in place to grow your business.

To find out more or arrange a time to discuss how I can help you, please contact me. Thank you.

When Iife gives you lemons, make mangos?

Marketing strategy

No I haven’t pivoted Pinpoint Marketing into a catering business, but I want to tell you a food related/shopping story instead. I was in my local shop (shopping safely and at a distance of course) looking for mango chutney to accompany a dish I was making for us back at home. The shop I am talking about has been so convenient with its location, its range of stock and the friendly staff. They literally sell all things and never seem to run out of stock. I hope they continue to do so well once this pandemic is over. Anyway, I couldn’t see the chutney so I checked at the counter when I was paying for my other items. The young man kindly told me no they didn’t have any and they didn’t stock it either in general. Plus he told me I was one of a few that has asked recently. I was tempted to suggest they did start stocking it as they were clearly missing out on sales and service and value. I thought that might be seen as rude or pushy, so I didn’t.

Have customers or potential customers asked you for something that you don’t offer? I know have been asked. How do you respond?

Marketing is a wide ranging subject with many meanings and perceptions, so I often get asked about building websites or designing a brand or copy writing on a technical matter.

How do I respond? I don’t change to be a jack of all trades and loss my authenticity. And I don’t overpromise and undersell.

So, how do I help? I have built up a network of associates so I am able to say “I don’t offer that service no” but I can refer you to someone who does! This way, I don’t stress about taking on work I can’t or don’t want to do, the client doesn’t get let down with no solution and someone I know and respect gets some new business. Everyone wins!

So next time you are asked for mangos, lemons won’t do, but don’t say a flat no. Think how you can say yes, directly or indirectly and offer a solution that doesn’t compromise but one that adds value and what is actually needed!

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and go on a journey …

user experience

Empathy is a word that is very much relevant in today’s world, both personally and business wise. Therefore, the phrase putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is also very much relevant. As business owners it can be easy to sometimes think and feel and act in a way that only we have considered eg what suits us or our budget or our timelines and goals. More than often this way is the right way, but sometimes this way or our actions haven’t taken into account our customers. Customers as you all know are key as without them, we do not have a business, let alone a thriving business.

So what do I mean by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and with empathy? I am not saying don’t do what feels rights or put yourself/your business at the bottom of the list. I am saying and suggesting that perhaps you use this time or set aside another time in the future to review your customer journey or otherwise known as the user journey.

What is a user journey?

According to my dictionary, user means “easy to familiarise oneself with, understand, and use”.  And journey means “act or process of travelling from one place to another”.  So essentially a user journey is about taking someone who uses/may be intending to use your product or service from the place they are in, to the place they/you want them to be eg the place where they can make a purchase.

Why would you look at or review your user’s journey?

What experience does you user or customer have? Is the journey or the process easy for them or tricky? Are there lots of steps or unnecessary points of contact? Is the interaction complicated or too involved? Do they get the information they need to decide quickly and efficiently or is manual intervention needed from the business that slows things down? Is it easy for them to make a payment or book a slot/get a delivery or make an appointment?

How is it for you from the owner’s point of view? Is it clunky or automated and streamlined? Is it easy for you to miss steps or forget to do something?

How can you map out your journey?

There is no right or wrong way for your user journey to flow, but it is worth considering and reviewing if improvements can be made easily, that make a real difference to the customer. This mapping looks at the journey itself. The steps or the touch points.  For example, for a customer looking to buy a skincare product from a small business, may follow this route:

Step 1 – hearing of the product – social media, website or via a networking event or word of mouth referral

Step 2 – sample – can they request one by email or phone or a form online? Or, in the past and hopefully again, can they order one via an event or from a shop?

Step 3 – to buy – can they buy online if ecommerce is set up on your site or via links on your social media profiles? (a lot of people do expect online purchasing as an option these days) or do they come to the supplier and buy face to face? Or can they buy via an email or phone order? Or are all of the above options available?

Step 4 – payment and delivery – if face to face purchasing hasn’t happened, is there the option to pay safely online and arrange/book in a delivery?

Step 5 – after sales – do you follow up and check they received the item? And importantly, have you asked if they are happy/satisfied with the product?

It’s all about thinking things through eg making the process as simple as possible and involving as few steps as possible and automating as much as you can. It is also about minimising their frustrations or opportunities for them not to make the transaction. And a good and easy user journey is also about good customer service.

What next?

Test out your user’s journey. Get a big sheet of paper and some pens and mind map it out. Write out the steps and draw lines connecting them up. Once you write it out then it is easy to see the number of steps involved as well as how it flows or doesn’t. Or ask someone to test this journey out for you and feedback with their experiences, good or not so good.

Once you have done this, ask yourself how do the shoes fit now?

Ask yourself Why first

Marketing strategy

Who remembers playing pin the tail on the donkey at children’s parties? I don’t recall whether I was particularly good at this game or not, but I enjoyed it nevertheless and I remember it being very popular back in the day. So why am I telling you this?

When I am working with a new client or a potential new client, the word “why” will always come up in the initial conversation. This could be why do you do what you do? Or why do you think you need my help? Or why are you doing this or why are you doing it this way? In my mind, marketing isn’t a tick box exercise and any marketing or promoting of you or your business shouldn’t be done without reasons or goals in mind. This is all about knowing your why. Us small business owners do not have an abundance of time or money to burn, so we need to spend our time and money wisely.

So how do I work for you?

I will ask a new client or prospect lots of questions, either via them completing a form (available at https://pinpointmarketingconsultancy.co.uk) or we chat in person (when it is safe to do so), or via the phone or email. These questions include:

What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

What does the business do?

What is your USP?

Who are your competitors?

What marketing do you do already?

What are your goals

And so on ….

Why do I ask these questions?

The answers help me paint a picture of where the client is and where they want to be. Then I can use their responses and my experience to point the business in the right direction to get from their now to their ideal end place.

Why do I do it this way?

By asking questions, its means I don’t assume. I don’t bring in any pre-conceived ideas. Plus the client has a chance to speak, tell me how they feel and also an opportunity to gather their thoughts and share these before making any decisions.

By me asking all these types of questions in the way that I do, I ensure that the tail goes on the donkey in the right place at the right time through informed decisions and choices not guesswork. And as a result, the client wins. One client who had a session with me to run through the form and questions said, “A session with Nicole on marketing for my career coaching business was definitely time well spent. I now have much more clarity about what I should be focusing on. Before the session it felt like there were so many options that it was difficult to know where to start. I also received a great report from Nicole with lots of extra tips and advice. Many thanks Nicole; it was all so helpful.” Read more like this https://pinpointmarketingconsultancy.co.uk/testimonials/

So before you embark on your next marketing campaign or marketing decision, ask yourself “why” first.

Marketing business tips