As a speaker looking to grow your business, you must think about building an infrastructure that will support that growth. Often this means that in place of the Excel spreadsheets, post-it notes, legal pad, or folders in your email program you have been using to manage your business, you will need to opt for more sophisticated tools and solutions. One tool every speaker should consider is a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system. Here’s why I think a CRM is essential for a growing speaking business.
3 Reasons You Need a CRM in Your Speaking Business
While there are several essential tools you need to run a growing business, a CRM should be thought of as the backbone of your systems as it acts as the primary location where your contacts (customers, vendors, leads, etc.) and all communication and actions with them is collected. Think of it as a great big filing cabinet where you go to get all the information you need.
Here are three reasons a CRM is essential for your growing business:
With a CRM, you can collect all communications and documents related to a contact in a single location. This allows you to be more productive (no more searching through endless files and papers!) by being able to retrieve information quickly. As an example, you can store notes about a call you had with a potential lead in your CRM and perhaps even a copy of a proposal you sent them. The next time you call them to follow up, you have all the information at your fingertips when opening their contact file. Not only does this save you from having to recall your last conversation from memory (which for those of us over 50 can be difficult!), but you appear much more professional in the contacts eyes because you are well prepared and organized.
When you engage a client about an event and start asking specific questions (how many people will attend, what speakers did you have last year, what’s the budget for this slot), you can add this into the CRM as well. Then, when you do get the booking, you are merging date, time and other key information right into the speaker agreement (see page 178 of The Wealthy Speaker 2.0 for a screen shot of a sample database).
Also, by collecting all the information in a central location, if you have an assistant or other team members that help you prepare for your events or follow-up on leads, by saving all the information in the CRM every team member can see exactly what information has been discussed and shared in real-time. This ensures that everyone on your team is on the same page and saves a lot of time and endless conversations updating everyone.
Knowing the Value of Your Contacts
CRM’s come in all shapes and sizes, and you want to find one that will handle as many of your communication functions as possible. This will allow you to understand the ‘value’ of each of your contacts.
Some CRM’s, such as Infusionsoft, which is what I use in my business, also serve as your email marketing software. This allows you to send mass email messages, or broadcasts, to your contacts and also track the actions taken with those emails (opened, unopened, clicked a link, etc.). Each week we send an email with a teaser of our weekly blog post and then track to see exactly who has opened the email and who has not. When I am talking to a prospect and see that they have read everything we have sent in the past six months, I know that they are engaged. To me, this means they may be easier to convert to a sale, and thus their value increases.
While Infusionsoft is a pretty hefty CRM and not ideal for every business or those just starting, there are many others to choose from including Nimble, Hubspot, Pipedrive and Insightly. Do you have a favorite CRM? Please tell us your choice in the comments below.
Managing Your Leads, the Sales Funnel, and Events
A good CRM can also serve to manage your leads, the sales funnel for turning those leads into customers and events that you have landed. By allowing you to keep notes, set reminders and add various steps of the event process, you can easily stay on top of everything that needs to happen to ensure that your participation is flawless and nothing is missed.
For those of you with an eSpeakers account, it can be integrated into five popular CRM’s, including Insightly. This allows you to fully utilize all of eSpeakers amazing features, which have expanded way beyond just being a calendar. If you want to keep your event organized, this is the best software out there to do it. Receiving an email reminder for each piece of the event checklist can be very helpful. Their system can keep everything from the hold, to the contact, to the conference call with the client, to the shipping of the product and email of the final invoice, all in one place and then integrate that with your full CRM.
We will be doing a podcast with Joe Heaps of eSpeakers next month to talk more about this and how to use the program to get more bookings using their Marketplace.
Hopefully, you now see how useful a CRM can be to growing and supporting your speaking business. Just remember, though, no matter which system you choose, it will only be as effective as its users. So be consistent and use it to its full capability and you will quickly see how managing your contacts, sales funnel and events can become much easier!
See you soon Wealthy Speakers!