Today, I’m talking with Sara Kappler of Sara Kappler Consulting. Sara is all about systems and tools to help your business with the back end — KPI dashboards and CRMs. As a software consultant, she helps business select and implement technology to help them grow.
Just as my business has evolved, so has Sara’s — the pain point she saw over and over was keeping track of where her clients were with new leads and with clients. Sara found an opportunity to delve into CRM software — CRM is the acronym for Customer Relationship Management — at last count, Sara knows of over 600 different CRM options!
Sara focuses on helping the business and team members have the tools they need to help them be productive and have metrics and insight into the business and sales processes. I brought Sara onto the podcast because my audience has been asking about CRMs and I needed to bring on an expert.
According to Sara, any business that has more than 30 customers could benefit from a CRM. It’s businesses that are interacting with their customers repeatedly not necessarily a one and done kind of communication. It’s relationships that you are building. It’s continuing service that they are providing with their customers. Most people who come to Sara are using Excel, or Trello to keep track of leads and clients. Some aren’t using anything to keep track of their interactions with their customers (and that’s totally okay, start where you are and iterate!) They are struggling to put together a complete picture from the customer perspective. What Sara means by this is looking at things like:
- When were they last contacted?
- What has been said to them?
- What questions did they ask?
- What were the answers?
When businesses are just a one man show 30 customers can be handled in their head most times. But when the business starts to grow and the team grows, then people quickly realize the need for a CRM so that everyone can be on the same page when the business owner starts to delegate client work.
Whether you are using Excel, Trello, or good old fashioned paper and pen, you are doing something. It’s much easier to move into a structured system when you are already doing SOMETHING. If you don’t have anything going yet then it’s a matter of asking yourself what your pipe dream is and ask yourself what you want to see at the end of the day with the work you have done.“I’m a big believer in starting with the end in mind.” -Sara Kappler #podcast Click To Tweet
The number one thing Sara finds her clients wanting is to follow up consistently. And when consistency falters, that’s when CRM conversations start. You want some kind of system behind the scenes that will help you stay on track with your communications with your customers. Some of these things include:
- Celebrating client anniversaries
- Special Promotions
Sara’s customers usually know they want things like better follow up with the customers. They usually have some kind of idea about sales and number of clients KPI. Most of the time though, they don’t know what they don’t know. It’s not until you get into the CRM and see the possibilities that the light bulb goes off and they start to think I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this before. There are KPIs that people don’t even realize they should be tracking for their business like:
- How long is the sales process?
- How long on average does it take for you to respond to a customer inquiry?
KPI is the acronym for Key Performance Indicators, which simply means something that you are measuring in your business. So in the case of what I do and see, it’s something like email open rates or number of sign ups for a webinar. The KPIs that Sara is referring to are ones that are internal to your business.
I was curious — when starting with a CRM…
Let’s say someone has 7 active clients, 3 of them are in a group program and 4 are 1:1 in different stages. Do you go historical on those 7 clients or do you go forward with everyone after those 7 clients when setting up a CRM? Sara believes you should always try to go back to track. There two most important things are:
- Referral source- Where did this client come from? One of the most insightful things you can see from CRMs is where your clients are coming from. Tracking this is going to save you time later and make the whole system much more insightful because it’s really the base for your ROI the most elusive KPI out there.
- When did they purchase something from you? What kind of service/product was it?
You should try to go back and look at your current clients and try to fill in the blanks. You then would track these things with every new client going forward. The more you track the more you’ll get out of your CRM.
There are different ways you can use a CRM. The CRM you use will depend on the types of tools you are using. If you are living in your email and you are communicating with your clients through email then you absolutely have to get a CRM that has an Two Way Email Sync. It will pull the information from your email into your CRM automatically. The same goes for if you are having phone conversations. Some CRMs have excellent phone integrations in them so it will log the calls that you are making in the CRM platform for you. Automatic touchpoint logging is critical. If you are using any kind of automation form, you have to set those up to feed directly in to your CRM.
Other ways to feed people into your CRM include a business card scanner. There are apps that come with your CRM that will scan business cards from an event and put that information in the right place so you don’t have manually enter that. You have to look at the business in question, look at the systems they are using, look at the processes they are using, and you try to automate it as much as possible. You look for a CRM that plays well with the tools you are already using.
I wanted to include an update on Voxer communicating with a CRM system. Voxer communication doesn’t have any means out of the software yet… but you can push from your CRM to Voxer, which means that if you want to post a note to Voxer for a client, you can do so inside your CRM, connect the CRM and Voxer within Zapier and send that message to the client… logging the client response is, however, a manual process.
At this point in the conversation, I turned back to discussing the Tech Stack Framework — we have a whole episode on it which you can listen to here: ***TECH STACK FRAMEWORK***
A CRM is most often going to sit at the base level of your tech stack. (Recall: you want to make sure your tech stack is solid.) And because it’s a base tool, fully implementing the CRM so that it can serve your business as much as possible is the ultimate goal. Be sure to select a tool that “plays nice” with your other tools.
CRMs have two main components. One is contacts which we have already talked about. The other is pipelines which is your process. These are usually called deals and they address things like what are people purchasing from you. On that side of things there is a ton of automation. CRMs will integrate with your quickbooks and different payment processing systems and anytime someone makes a purchase from you, that information should be feeding into your CRM automatically.
Ideally, once you do the initial set up, you should be going into your CRM daily, looking at the dashboard, using it to see who you need to follow up with, but all this information you are looking at should be transferring into the CRM automatically. Even if you don’t have complete integrations, if you know the shortcuts so you aren’t copying and pasting, that’s the next best thing.
Think about when you go to the doctor, the first thing they always ask you is if your insurance or address has changed. Why are they always asking that? Because they are working out of a CRM. Their whole staff has been trained to do this because someone somewhere figured out that this is the best way to make sure they are getting the money for the services they are billing out. Every business is like this! There is one question that can be asked, it’s something upstream, something manual, that will really add value to the way the business is running.
Sara has several favorite CRMs. They are:
- Trello– great for small business
- Copper CRM– best integration with GSuite
- Pipedrive– this is good for a business with a lot of forms. Good for high volume business and will integrate with your phone.
- HatchBuck– this one is good for a business that is managing email and exchange with existing clients, but also have an online business component.
Sara finds that with most CRMs it’s the initial setup that is important and then quarterly check ins to make sure everything is moving smoothly. Your dashboards are only going to be as good as the data. If you don’t set your tools up in a way that it’s going to benefit you it’s like throwing everything straight in the trash. So instead of doing this, use something that is going to help you move forward and make smarter decisions.
If you are noticing that it is taking 17 interactions with someone to get them to buy a $300 products and it’s taking 12 interactions with someone to get them to buy a $3000 product. This is telling you a lot of information. But if you don’t have a CRM that allows you to track this information then you don’t know how effective everything else has been. Without having data, it’s hard to know things like:
- If you should spend more time on your smaller offers/bigger offers.
- How many touch points you have.
- The frequency of touch points.
There are a million different things you are going to learn about your business if you start tracking these things.
Personally, my tracking system isn’t very good. So I’m calling that out now so that maybe in 6-8 months Sara can come back on the podcast and we can look at what I’ve learned 🙂
I’d love to see you embrace a CRM — and Sara offers a CRM matchmaking service specifically to help you find a CRM based on your tools. If you are DIY kind of person, then do your research. It’s not a marriage. CRMs have free trials and monthly license fees, so if you start one and it doesn’t work you can try another.
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