Today’s topic is all about customer relationship management software or CRM for short. This is our continuation in this multi-part series of launching a new business from scratch and we’re using a childcare center business as an example. 

In yesterday’s episode, we talked about the different software that you need to track things properly. So the other element to proper tracking is leveraging a customer relationship management software. Now, there’s a lot of different tools, I will share with you some of the different ones that I have used, and some of the ones that I suggest you look at using. Before I do that, however, I want to make sure that you understand the “why behind using this tool” and the “why behind why you need this”. 

Now, rather than as you continue to launch or after you’ve launched or when you hit a certain level when you start to deploy marketing, which is right around the corner, you’re going to start to garner some interest—interest by way of people sharing your content, interest by way of people commenting on your posts. You’re going to start to get phone calls, start to get digital leads and people opting in to receive things. 

For example, if you put out certain assets, such as landing pages and say, “Hey, if you fill in your information will give you this type of download.” So you’re gonna start to get those leads, and contact data. And then as you nurture those leads throughout the process, they’re eventually either going to turn into long term nurture that means they really don’t end up joining your childcare center, for example, right away or they’re going to turn into some kind of customer. And then in the example that we’ve been using, they would be turning into a family that enrolls their son or daughter or their multiple kids at this new center. 

You’ve got the tools to track where the lead came from. So let’s say you have this Facebook ad running—a family sees it, they click on the ad and fill in their information. You call them back, have a conversation and you secure a deposit. 

The tools that you will set up rather will tell you that that was a Facebook lead. So you can now start to see again, what leads are coming from what sources and which of those are leading to revenue—that’s part of the equation. But the other part of the equation is that I need you to track that deal throughout the whole process. I need somewhere in the Cloud that I can go and read the conversation—I want to be able to see all the follow-up activities. 

Where the customer relationship management tool comes in handy is tracking any in all interactions that you have with a prospect or a customer, everything from start to finish. So what should happen when you have this set up correctly, is that when they feel that Facebook leads form out—that lead should automatically get entered into the CRM without you having to do it. It then should trigger a task for yourself or someone on this new team you’ll be forming to follow up with that lead and then you would continue to track that deal throughout the process. 

The CRM tool ends up becoming where all your leads are being stored. It ends up being where all of your notes and history are being stored. Because what you’re then going to need to be able to do to further make better marketing decisions, is you’re going to need to be able to run strategic reports. You’re going to need to be able to look and see. It’s not just gonna be “great, we got 100 leads from Facebook at $50 a lead”, but you’re gonna want to then analyze that further. 

  • How many of those people wanted a virtual tour? 
  • How many people were you able to get a hold of? 
  • How many times have you tried to reach out to those leads (which we’ll talk about in further episodes of how to properly and effectively follow up once those leads come in)? 

Now, you’ve got to start to enhance the marketing metrics that you have to move from just leads and cost per lead to what’s the cost per sale. What is the cost per enrollment? How many leads does it take to get to a certain amount of phone calls to a certain amount of enrollments? 

Let’s do simple math:

100 leads

50 – get a hold of (which is not a good number)

30 – just happen to see your ad and they’re not really interested in in your child care business

20 – you have a more in-depth conversation

10 – seemed qualified

5 – successful enrollment

So you know, then that the math throughout the process goes accordingly. For every hundred leads, you’re generating five enrollments and then you’re going to continue to back into that math to start to make sure that you’re in alignment with the plan that you had set in several episodes ago of reverse engineering where you want to be when you open. 

Is that a good number—100 leads have five enrollments. Is that profitable? Where are those leads coming from? Could you then benchmark that against another source? So you do direct mail, and maybe you only get 50 leads, but you have 40 conversations and 10 enrollments. I’m not saying that’s going to happen. I’m just giving you again an example that if you have that data, you’re then able to continue to tweak and pivot and modify your marketing strategies. 

Far too often when I ask businesses where they’re storing their leads, while they write the notes down on paper, or they have it in Microsoft Word or Outlook, for example, and that’s where they’re putting things. You need everything in a central place and anyone that’s going to have an interaction with those potential prospects. Your customers need to have access to the tool so they can add details. 

Every phone conversation should be tracked, every email and that whole process inflow should be tracked. If you’re sending newsletters, greeting cards, and what you’re going to do, it’s going to continue to get bigger and better as time goes on—you’re going to add more fields. So maybe you’re going to know not only the kid’s birthdays, which you’ll need to know, but then maybe the parents’ birthdays or the parents anniversaries, and you’re going to start to send some different campaigns and things like that there. This ends up becoming your repository for all your leads, and your customers. 

In terms of vendors and tools, you’ve got two completely different approaches that you can take. The first one is you can use in industry-specific one and for most industries, there are specific tools that you could use. We actually built our own customer relationship management tool for the childcare industry. We give it away completely free or you can use something like zohocrm.com, salesforce.com, infusionsoft.com, agilecrm.com is another. We tend to use agile quite often and that tends to be where we’re storing most of our data. And then we’re using Infusionsoft in tandem for more of the marketing automation, which we’ll get into in further episodes also. 

But you just need to pick something initially, don’t overanalyze it, don’t sign five-year contracts. For most people, while salesforce.com is a great tool, usually it’s overkill and it can be very, very expensive. You could be talking $500 a month and for a brand new business that’s just launching, that’s a little bit steep, especially when you’re not going to have a ton of data initially. So I would rather you use something like agile CRM at $30 or $50—it’s pretty inexpensive.

And then continue to grow with it. Because you can always export data and move it into a different system in the future if you so choose, but you need to have this tool ready to go from the beginning. Otherwise, you’re going to be playing catch up, you’re going to be saying “Well, I have a conversation with that person and Oh, I thought that we had these other people and they were going to enroll and these people gave deposits” and it really ends up becoming a massive mess. Get yourself a customer relationship management software.

Get out there, make a change, and take some action.