The main purpose of a customer relationship management system, CRM, is to bring in systems into your business so you can grow a sustainable business.  Let’s discuss how that happens and which CRM software is the right one for your business stage.

The fact is, we don’t converse directly with our clients as much as we used to as 97% of shoppers do some form of research about your business online before they pick up the phone or make an online inquiry.   If you are marketing online; Social, Google or Email marketing, a CRM system will allow you to identify which Google Ad, Facebook Ad or lead magnet engaged your ideal customer and that person is ready to buy.

There are 5 elements to running your business; Marketing, Sales, Product/Service Delivery, Finance [Billing/Payments], Staff.  When you add automation – a key delivery of a CRM, then you can develop a business system that incorporates the old/new ways that works for your business.

When you automate these [or aspects of these] 5 elements you get to free up the creative energy [which is a finite resource = why Jobs and Zuckerberg have a predictable wardrobe], you get to focus on customer service and engagement or staff training or organisational structure and strategy.  Wherever your focus can be better used.

A great system will allow your clients to make a booking with you 24/7, pay their invoices when it is convenient i.e. after the kids are asleep, or confirm your quote at night when they have headspace.  This also will take the menial work away from your sales team so that they get to engage with your clients with confidence and with a personal touch.

Technology is helping balance the playing field for Small Business owners when you identify the right software for your business these tools on offer to your benefit.

The main pain point with growing a business is making sure that quality of customer service and engagement that you did when you were doing everything in your business is templated and the quality is ensured because in your systems you have put the best of you in there and now all your team has to do is deliver that.

When you bring in systems into your business, you can design your automations by how you want things to happen in your business and easily track what needs to be done and how.  This in turn influences your clients experiences, this is one of the main ways that you can differentiate yourself.  When you provide a unique user experience on each engagement with your business pre and post sale, you become WOM worthy.   This is how over time you get to build the golden goose of leads, by referrals.

Automate The Stages of Buying;

Let’s start with people who don’t know your business exists.  You do activities in your business to bring about the Awareness of your business.  But we know that there is a small percentage of buyers who may buy on the first engagement with your business so you need a way to re-engage them.  So, e-com businesses usually offer the 10% off their first purchase offer by joining their newsletter – re-engagement is then enabled as you have your site visitors email address.

But you can automate and track so much more with a CRM.

Customer Relationship Management Review

Having given all 4 CRM’s I am about to discuss a good test run in my own and clients business this is the feedback I have from a user and marketing point of view.  As I only work with Small Business owners from solo-preneurs to a team of 20 this is my point of view of when and why these software should be used, if at all.

Depending on whether you are on your own or have a team I have recommended these CRM’s in the order in which I think you should start.  Active Campaign great for a solo or team of two or three, Zoho [on and offline business] and Infusion Soft [service and product based], then if your drive is to be super big then Salesforce [chain of stores etc].  The key to making a CRM work for you is to do what you need to when you are small but as soon as you scale hire a Star Player, someone who does great work, to help you master this tool as it will be the key to your success.

One of my must have’s when it comes to choosing any software is the following; the support systems [fast response from support techs], Live Chat, and/or a really skilled coach/teacher on the software that is easy for you or your team to understand.  All of the CRM’s I have recommended have sales targets and you are number to each of these, so always learn through a 3rd party.

The Plays You Can Automate

marketing automation software for small business

Each of these elements of your business can have some form of automation implemented into them.

The best to elaborate the power of automation is in how it evens the playing field for Small Business owners.  A very smart automation specialist we work with said, “Entrepreneurs have a tremendous amount of power and opportunity to make a massive impact in the world but it’s lying dormant because they are struggling to leverage automation correctly.   All we had to do to unlock that power is deliver a system and process they could follow to make automation easy”.   All the moving pieces to use automation in your business can be really overwhelming but with star players or coaches you can make it through the puzzle.

But by leveraging automation and technology correctly can help develop and design a journey for their clients and to be able to easily check where the bottlenecks are.

Start with a blueprint, design your plays on each of the levels, and then execute with quality delivery.  When this is done right, the power that is within each small business that has been laying dormant can then be unleashed to make the impact that you as a small business owner has set out to make.

Let’s talk about the 4 CRM software options.

Active Campaign As A CRM;

I love Active Campaign, it’s a great CRM to start out with because it teaches you about the basics of how to build a really good list & automation.  It also helps when you go to scale up to another CRM as when this is built out properly you take good habits with you.  It’s also cost effective and it has a free version to get your toes wet with.  It also teaches you about email marketing and that is where you will really shine with this.

If you have an e-comm store and all you do is ship and you don’t want to segment your audience then MailChimp is good enough, but it is not a CRM it is an Email software.  Active Campaign is an email Software but it is also a CRM, you can track who downloads what from where on your website.  Which campaigns have they opted into and when, you can segment people with tags into hot, warm, cold leads.  This is important as keeping a clean list will save you $$$ as your business grows – cold people the ones who are not ready or interested in what you sell, you can automatically tag them due to their inactivity and then delete them AUTOMATICALLY.

In a nutshell, AC is a great starter software for Audience Segmentation, user tracking with downloads and forms you have on your site and for building up your list.  When you start your business, it is best to keep things simple, then when you are ready, the transition to Infusion Soft is a really easy one.

A great Coach to help you with AC = Barry Moore.  He is an awesome Aussie who is generous with his time and energy.  He keeps things simple.  Feedback from others; Barry shows you how to do things right & that saves you money in the long game plan.

Infusion Soft 4 Serious Automation;

I am not going to lie this is a bit more complex, but there is a great education platform for this software too so I feel super confident recommending this one to you.  They have live chat support, webinar and online groups to help you through it if you want to go alone.  Start right and this software will be your PA, help you qualify clicks to your website so you aren’t distracted by the tyre kickers and then, be your best Salesperson, ever!!  You, replicated and the intelligence of your best sales person shaped into intuitive conversations.

Infusion Soft does have add on features as well but there is a lot that comes with the base package, there isn’t much you need to add on to this powerful system.  One of our IS, Infusion Soft, coaches said it is not about using all of IS but putting 100% of your business through IS.  So what you do over and over again, how you can design a play = a campaign for that and then that helps you build a great business.  Tip; automate how you onboard new team members, it helps build great culture in your business.

For Infusionsoft training. Link; SixthDivision  

Salesforce Maybe Not For Small, Small Business:

I have experienced the oversell of Salesforce and their automation is just dead sexy if you have about $60k a year [$120 per user on your team = just the CRM, buying the add-on apps and having someone to customise it for your business] to drop on their software and your CRM set up person.

Salesforce CRM is selling you what you can pay Zoho $19AUD for.  The features of Salesforce is in the add ons, the premium support is not premium at all.  Simple set ups were so complex for them to do, that out of sheer frustration and time wasting I left.  $120USD per month, buys you one license to the CRM only, all the automation features are part of a package that will cost you over $10k per annum.   You can do all of this and more for half the price with Zoho.  Both CRM’s are getting into AI, one is made in India, and one is in the US, that is it.

This software is currently being used by Infusion Soft when they outgrew Infusion Soft, the migration is fluid between the two, but Infusion Soft is a pretty big business adn that is where Salesforce shines.  When you have the budget to pay for the team and the software then this blue collar CRM will be good for you.

Don’t get lost in the oversell of any software and buy the one that’s right for your business.

Zoho as a CRM

OK I have set up Zoho as a CRM for a team of 19, it is a pretty dynamic tool.  They have different packs with apps that you need to do all that your business requires.  One is more Business to Business (B2B) orientated one is more Business to Customer (B2C) orientated but Zoho One does both, you just need to choose the apps you need and nothing more.

They have a great support team, Live Chat on their CRM and Accounting software.  Everything else is support ticket.  There are some great people on Upwork that can help you, but if you have a great digital strategist or marketing person with a head for systems, then setting this up with Zoho support will be enough till you get to the hairy work.

They have conferences in Australia and around the world regularly where you can go and meet their tech and sales people and pick their brains for apps you could add to your suite in Zoho.  I am about to dive into their Campaigns – email automation software but from what I can see it is going to be basic, so this is good if you have simple plays in your sales and marketing that have a clear start and finish line.

What Marketing Automation Can Do For Your Leads

And here’s a keyboard, connected to the entire world.  Here’s a publishing platform you can use to interact with just about everyone, just about any time, for free.  You wanted a level playing field, one where you have just as good a shot as anyone else.  Here it is.  Do the work.

Seth Godin

Author, Marketing Genius

 Remember; if you can track it, you can improve it.

How Do You Segment Your Audience?

I can't help everybody.  But if you are selling your own digital or physical products, or courses online that creates a positive change in your end customer life and you need help identifying your blind spots to launch, automate or grow, I can help you.