There are many benefits of using a CRM software for a professional services business. Whether you run an accounting practice, law firm, consultancy, valuation company, financial services, HR consultancy and other business in between, using a CRM can be a game changer.
Consider some of the common challenges professional services face
Efficient note taking - Often day-to-day operations can be chaotic, very manual, and disorganized. Contact details are scattered across business cards, notebooks, spreadsheets, or across several apps.
Organized follow up - Despite your best efforts, leads can fall through the cracks because understandably it’s hard to remember or find information. Not only that, you may also need to follow up individually with everyone, costing extra labor and time.
What many entrepreneurs and their teams don’t realize is that there’s a simple fix to all that chaos.
One of Keap’s award-winning partners, Mandy Brasser, covers what a CRM is, the benefits in implementing one in your business, and the functionality that’s possible with a CRM as seen with her own professional service clients.
What is a CRM?
A CRM, also known as a Customer Relationship Management system, is defined as a central repository that stores key information about your customers & leads.
You can use it to:
- Record personal and other details of a contact such as phone number and email
- Store the history of interactions with your contacts
- Create alerts, tasks and more
The functionality of a CRM has expanded over the years from being an online phone book to now incorporating elements of automation, particularly related to your marketing activities. This is where small businesses can truly take advantage of the power of a CRM to take them to the next level and help them foster positive client relationships.
Keap is a CRM and sales and marketing platform built to help you dramatically grow your sales and save time by eliminating business chaos.
How Professional Services Benefit from CRM Software
Service-based business owners and their teams can not only revolutionize their organization with the right CRM, but also see vast improvements across the company.
Single Source Of Truth
When businesses have to consider multiple sources for information, it can become confusing, messy and make you look unprofessional to prospects and clients. By maintaining a CRM with up-to-date data, you can have a central database available in the cloud, where all team members can access and know it is the single source of truth.
Time and Labor Savings
The increased efficiencies possible with a CRM means that professional services can free up staff from performing manual tasks. They can either get team members to work on other value-added tasks, or potentially save on labor costs when automation is in place.
Serve More People
Professional services exist to help people. The ability to set up a CRM and automation allows firms to scale and grow due to increased efficiencies. Doing more with less means that businesses can serve and help more people with less resources to do so.
Convert More Sales
Plugging holes in your marketing and sales follow up will allow businesses to convert more sales. This is difficult to consistently do without a proper system in place. We know that 44% of people don’t hire service providers that are slow to follow up. Therefore, it’s important to set up timely reminders and the relevant automation to ensure you are capitalizing on these leads in your business.
Get Your Life Back
Free up valuable time and headspace knowing core parts of your business are taken care of. Particularly when manual repetitive tasks have been set up, it means that you can stop working long hours doing manual work.
One of our consulting clients automated a booking process in her business that now saves her 20 hours per week. She no longer works until 10 pm at night manually sending out emails and text messages to clients confirming bookings, and can spend that time with her family instead.
The functionality in a CRM has expanded over the years. Here are a few of the main features available to a professional services business.
Client management done via a contact record allows a firm to capture useful data on a lead or customer. This can include name, phone, email, company name, address, social media handles, birthday and more. You can also create your own custom fields to capture specific data that will be helpful for you.
For example, one of our accounting clients uses a CRM to capture the type of business entity the contact has, so they can tailor specific communications to them.
Capture information that you can use to group contacts in your list, also known as segmentation. You can use data on the contact record and tags to help you identify people with the same attributes.
For example, for a law firm you may want to find all the customers you’ve created a Will for. With a CRM, you can access a saved search that automatically picks up all your customers based on your set criteria. This gives you instant possibilities to find and connect with those individuals with targeted email interactions. In this example, this is helpful to ensure that they review and update their Will on a regular basis, generating additional paid work for a law firm.
When firms grow it can be hard to recall all the interactions you’ve had with an individual. Having a CRM capture the contact history, including date stamps of interactions can be incredibly useful.
Consider a lead you haven’t spoken to in 6 months. Let’s say they reach out after being quiet for so long. By using a CRM, you can go to the contact record and view the history of interactions and notes. The contact had reached out about their tax return 12 months earlier but didn’t proceed. You may see some notes on their file stating that at the time they didn’t proceed due to finishing up a previous engagement with another accountancy firm.
This is incredibly helpful information to prompt you to reach out and discuss the opportunity of moving firms. Having these details puts you in a proactive and powerful position that makes you look like you have an excellent memory, making you look professional, plus gives you confidence in the discussions you have with your contacts.
A solid CRM will allow you to easily capture leads in your system:
- Manually add them in yourself (here’s how you can tailor a form to add manual leads in Keap)
- Use a business card scanner
- Capture leads directly on your website automatically
These leads could come from referrals from your existing client base, events, expos or from general enquiries. The ability for a CRM to capture leads helps businesses to maintain a single source of truth by having all contacts in one database. It also means a firm can take advantage of automation once a contact has been added.
Beyond the online capture and storage of contact data,sales and marketing automation software is the real game changer in a modern CRM. Automation allows you to systematically deliver repetitive tasks and actions on autopilot. You can set them up once and then they will continue to run for relevant contacts.
In the case of a CRM software for professional services, there are many examples where this can be beneficial, but here are three specific examples:
Automate the delivery of a value-added nurture sequence.
One of our clients in the property valuation space implemented an 18-month nurture campaign. As clients typically don’t value their property every other week, it was important for this firm to continue to touch base with their leads and clients. This led to thousands of dollars in additional sales from referrals and additional purchases of those contacts needing to re-engage them for another valuation.
Another client in the consulting space automated their entire proposal process. This saved significant time moving away from creating manual proposals, plus allowing immediate delivery of quotes to prospects. This significantly reduced the timeframe to close deals and increased sales conversions.
We also helped an accounting firm setup their free consultation for new prospects. By automating appointment scheduling as soon as a new inquiry came in, they could select a time that worked for them online, then we had custom reminders sent out to them to remind and excite them about the upcoming appointment. This boosted show up rates which in term impacted sign ups as well.
Most professional services firms have a defined sales process to track their business development activity. A business advisory client took advantage of a kanban board sales pipeline to outline their 5 sales stages so they could get visibility and easily track their sales opportunities.
Tips to Maximize Your CRM’s Capabilities
If you’re considering implementing a CRM in your business, here are some tips that I can suggest after years of helping clients do the same.
Clean Up Your Data
Clean data in, means clean data out. To get the most out of a CRM, you need to clean up your data and maintain it.
The possibility and power of a CRM and automation is endless! This can lead to shiny object syndrome as you may want to implement all your business processes right away (I know, I’ve been there too!). It’s important to reflect on your business priorities to make sure you focus on what will make an impact on your business right now.
If you’re spending hours preparing manual quotes, then that might be the first place to start. If you don’t have a customer onboarding campaign in place and you have a high drop off rate when clients sign up, then this might be something to immediately address.
Keep It Simple
Yes, there are many bells and whistles available in a CRM. But as your automation journey evolves, keep things simple.
If you haven’t got a customer onboarding campaign setup, perhaps start with a 6-week nurture, being delivered via weekly emails. This may be expanded out to include videos being delivered in a member’s area, tasks for the team to reach out to them and include 6 months of weekly emails. If you wait until you have everything ready for the ultimate onboarding experience, it may be 18 months in the making and your customer retention may suffer in the meantime.
CRM Software For Professional Services
As many professional services businesses weigh up the benefits and effort to implement a CRM, hopefully the details above help paint a picture of what life can be like when you’ve got a powerful tool like Keap in place.
You’ll be organized, more targeted, create consistent experiences for your audience, convert more sales, save precious time, and get more of your life back! Your audience will know you as being more professional and trusted for having these systems in place, which is critical in the professional services space. By investing in yourself, your business, and a solid system like Keap, it will allow your business to remain competitive to scale and grow.
About the Author
Mandy Brasser is an international award winning Keap Certified Partner and Founder of Streamline For Success based in Australia. She’s been providing personalised support to help leverage the power of automation to save time, boost sales and help grow small businesses since 2014.