Highrise is a key service in NewPath Consulting’s service plans as well as the CRM it uses in its business.
Put yourself in a prospective client’s shoes for a moment. Imagine how it would feel to hear, “Hey, congratulations on that award, that’s terrific! What would you say was the key thing you did to move that project along?” or “I saw that link you shared about the [industry news]. How do you think that’s going to change things in the industry?” or “I see you’re a [sports team] fan. What did you think about that [call, penalty, trade, announcement, etc.]?”
Chances are, you would feel like the other person understands something about who you are and what interests you, and you would probably enjoy the chance to talk about yourself, your opinions, and your accomplishments. That would put you in a much warmer frame of mind to explore potential opportunities.
To build a successful business it’s not enough just to meet a lot of people or collect names in a database; you need to develop those relationships. What’s most important is how often people hear from you, and how they feel about those interactions.
What is CRM software?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a tool designed to help you structure and advance your ongoing communications with everyone who comes in contact with your business - potential customers (leads), prospective customers (leads you’ve qualified as prospects), and existing customers.
Some CRM programs are downloaded as software onto your computer, and others are in the cloud and you can access them from any device with an internet connection including, in most cases, a mobile app, so you can stay connected and up to date from anywhere.
Why use CRM software?
You may have good intentions about following up with people, but be honest: How well are you doing this on your own? Without a system in place, are people and potential opportunities falling through the cracks?
When you do reach out, are you armed with enough background information about the person on the other end? Can you trust your memory of what you’ve already discussed in previous calls, emails, or social networking messages?
Highrise, for example, is a cloud-based CRM service that allows you to quickly and easily scan a history of notes you’ve taken during or after phone calls, as well as emails sent back and forth with this person. You’ll never have to rely on your memory again!
You can also browse your prospect’s recent Twitter updates or their latest job moves from LinkedIn to bring more context into your conversation. (Click on screen shot to see full size image)
When is it time to use CRM software?
Many businesses start using CRM software when they get serious about direct sales; when more than one person is involved and coordination and collaboration is required. You’ll know you’re at this point when you’re attending trade shows, giving presentations, and in other situations where you’re collecting a lot of leads.
The CRM provides a shared view of where your company is at with its sales and marketing process. Any number of people can move forward a relationship with a contact as needed and no one will be lost. Of course ideally a relationship is built with the same person over time, but it’s wise to have checks and balances in place for the inevitable hiccups your team will go through.
In Highrise, the business owner can designate which team members can access which areas of the account, and choose which parts of the sales process to outsource and how.
This screenshot shows assignment of a task to one of the NewPath Consulting staff. (Click on screen shot to see full size image)
What else can you do with CRM software?
Use your CRM as a help desk
Sales and marketing aren’t the only functions that benefit from a systematic approach that’s documented and housed in a central location. Good customer support also depends on having a clear line of communication and dedicated follow up.
The Highrise team came up with a way to use their CRM for customer support. It starts by funneling customer support emails into Highrise. They outlined the process in this blog post: How we do incredible customer support (and run a support help desk).
Use your CRM to email a group of people and track responses
When you think of pre-written emails sent en masse to a specific group, newsletters probably come to mind. “Folks are numb to the gloss of email newsletters,” writes Chris Gallo of Highrise. He equates newsletters to “a blast of email to a group of people you don’t know or a list of emails you bought somewhere.”
The Highrise Broadcast tool, on the other hand, “is conversational. It’s for sending email to a group of people who really want to hear from you. People you do business with. Or people who’ve opted in to receive messages from you.”
For example, people who’ve just joined Highrise receive a note from CEO Nathan Kontny. “Our team averages almost a 60% open rate on all welcome emails using Broadcast. Lots of customers even reply to them, and start conversations with our support team.”
See Chris’s article: Send Emails that You Would Want to Receive.
To use this group emailing strategy effectively, you must get into the habit of creating a new record immediately after meeting someone. Depending on the tools you’re using, you can type the data into your computer, scan the business card using your smartphone, or merge the contact right from your email program.
Assign one or more tags to your new contact. You can create tags for where you met the person, how they came into your pipeline, where they live, which service they need, or whatever makes sense for your business.
Here is a screenshot of filtering contacts by tags in Highrise (Click on screen shot to see full size image):
Customer relationship management is about far more than serving your current customers. It is a powerful way to build and maintain strong ties with everyone who comes in contact with your business. When you show people that you remember, know, and understand them, they will feel cared for and motivated to stay connected with you.