Conversation with Elizabeth

Meet Elizabeth. She is the owner and founder of a small marketing company.

They only have a few employees, but are growing quickly. Traditionally, they have kept all their business records in Excel spreadsheets but, as their business grows, it is getting a little chaotic. Their team struggles to remain on top of tasks, follow required procedures, and often fails to document key client information.

They have never used a CRM before, but are excited about the potential efficiency and organization it will bring to their business. No one at their company is a CRM developer or admin and, therefore, are meeting with you to figure out how they are going to get the most out of their new system. Below, are Elizabeth’s comments regarding some organizational issues her company is currently struggling to tackle and some desired functionality she would like out of her new system:

One of the first issues I want to tackle is Contact organization. Currently, our Contact list for our Direct Clients, White Label Clients, and Partners are housed in the same Excel spreadsheet and we have an impossible time keeping track of who is who. We haven’t done a good job of differentiating them from each other in columns, so finding a specific contact can be an issue, especially if we haven’t communicated with them in a while. In our new system, I would like our contacts to be organized by type so that I can quickly separate who is a partner, who is a client, and what type of client they are.

“There is also a bit of chaos surrounding the organization of our Leads and Deals. Leads and Deals are housed on separate spreadsheets, but the closed ones are all mixed in with the open ones and it is a massive headache sifting through all the chaos to find the specific Lead or Deal I am looking for. We also have a really hard time remembering which of our Deals are at which point in our process. I want to be able to see all Deals in a specific stage, particularly Deals which currently need proposals generated or all Deals which have already had proposals sent. I also want to be able to view all these deals quickly without messing around with a bunch of filters every time.

“Let’s talk about Leads for a bit. I have a very difficult time getting my employees to follow specific procedures. If the new system has the ability to hold their feet to the fire a bit to ensure that they are following a specific procedure for each Lead which comes in, then that would be ideal. Here is the process I want them to follow when qualifying Leads: After leads come in, there should be a 15 minute follow-up call to determine what industry they work in, where they are located, and a rough estimate of how much they are looking to spend on ad campaigns. If they are still interested, we close out that Lead and convert it to a Contact, Account, and Deal. If they are not interested, we mark that lead as Lost. It would also be great if I could force my sales people to leave some notes before marking a Lead as lost so that there is a little bit more info on each Lead record. A significant amount of leads we get will receive no answer when we reach out to them. If this happens, I want my sales people to set a date to follow up with the lead in a few days. If they don’t answer a second time, we mark it as a dead lead. We don’t usually reach out to Leads through email and would like to keep it that way.

“Along the way, there is a lot of information that I wish my sales people would enter, but often gets forgotten or just not entered out of laziness. If there was a way to ensure that my people were entering the appropriate information every step of the way, then that would be ideal. One thing I need my employees to do a better job of tracking is WHY Leads are lost. I have no visibility into this and it is very frustrating. The most common reasons Leads are lost are: they already found a marketing agency to work with or they are no longer looking for marketing services. If I could have all lost Leads fall into one of these two buckets, and maybe a miscellaneous option as well, then it would be easier for me to get a little better visibility into what we need to change or work on in order to convert more Leads.

“A couple more things: When leads first come in, I would like a notification to be sent to my sales rep (we just have the one sales rep responsible for reaching out to all our Leads right now) to notify them that a new lead has entered our system. Typically, we want our leads contacted within 3 days of receiving them. I would like to be able to hold my sales person accountable to that. If we could create a to-do or task for them to reach out to those leads when they come in, I would be able to see how often they are contacting leads within the specified amount of time.

“Ok, now let’s talk Deals. Let me just start out by saying that, going forward, I would like my employees to update, or at least give them the opportunity to update, the Deal Amount as well as leave some notes at the end of every stage. We don’t have great visibility into how much potential Deals are worth, making it very difficult to forecast how much money we might bring in at any given point in time. I struggle to get my employees to enter this information for all Deals in the pipeline and would love it if this new system did not allow them to move a Deal to the next stage until they entered in the necessary info.”

“Here is our process for closing Deals. When Deals first get created, they are in the discovery stage. This essentially means that we still need to talk with the prospective client to figure out what their needs are and what the scope of the project will be. To move the deal to the next stage, we just need to get on a Zoom call with the client to talk to them for about an hour. After this call, I would like my employees to document which social media platforms the client is wishing to run ads on. When this call is finished the deal moves to the next stage where we generate a proposal for the client with a cost and time estimate.” 

“After generating a proposal, we email it to the client and give them a few days to review it. During this stage, there is not a whole lot to do but wait for the client to get back to us. Before a deal moves on from this stage, however, we want to document the project timeframe. From here, they can either accept or reject our proposal. If they accept and sign our proposal, we want to record the date that the proposal was signed, then mark that deal as Closed-Won. If they reject our proposal, we would mark the deal as Closed-Lost and document the reason the Deal was Lost. Same as with our Leads, I want people selecting, from a static list of options, WHY the Deal was lost so that I can quickly see where we are most often falling short. The most common reasons we lose Deals are: our rate is too expensive for them, we lost them to a competitor, or they are no longer interested in marketing services.

These are the most salient things to focus on for our new system, but if you think of any others which might be of benefit to us, feel free to add them to the scope of the project. I’m excited to see what you come up with!”

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