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CORE CRM: How to Use it and Win More Clients

Aug 17, 2020 | By Shafat Qazi | 0 Comments

Topics: Core, CRM, Client Relationship Management, Webinar, Featured

Successful businesses must manage interactions with their future and current clients. Client relationship management (CRM) is crucial yet it can be a time-consuming and tedious task that’s highly susceptible to human error. Maintaining constant updates on leads and opportunities, campaign results, and sales team performance for your entire organization can be a challenge if you don’t have the right client relationship management program that’s built to anticipate the needs of professional services just like yours.

In this Webinar Wrap-Up, Shafat Qazi, CEO & Founder of BQE Software, walks you through everything you need to know to get started using the brand-new Core CRM!
 

Video Transcription

Good morning, everyone. Today I'm talking about CRM. It's a brand new offering. It's in Beta. It's not even released yet, but it's at a point where you could actually start using it for your business. So I thought it'd be a good idea for me to walk you through this and have you understand what it can do for your business, and how we designed and structured it so that you can play with it during these two, three months that we're in Beta.

What is Core CRM? It's a client relationship management. Now, that's an important differentiator. It's not customer relationship management as Salesforce is, as an example. It is a client relationship management. It's designed for your firm, which is a professional service firm. We did a lot of research in making sure that we understand how professionals work day in and day out and how they can win more clients and keep the existing clients happy so that they stay with them.

What are the various parts of Core CRM? I have done a color coding here to describe the tasks I call admin tasks--or let's call them one-off tasks. This is something that you'll do in the first two months of implementing Core, filling in your lists and then the tables. So a good example would be an email template table or you may have a campaign table and things like that. That's something that needs to be added initially but also requires periodic updates.

Your on-going activities from meetings to emails and everything else that you do--your day-to-day activities--you will track through Core CRM. I want to mention that there is an overlap between admin tasks, sales tasks and marketing tasks, like to-dos, follow-ups, and emails. I'll explain that as we get into the product demo.

First the most important thing to understand is the hierarchy of the Core CRM.

Say your company is doing some kind of a promotion--marketing or branding for your business--and that effort shows up as leads. Now, leads could even come in when you meet somebody at an event--let's say a developer who says, "Hey, I'm building new homes in your area. Can I get your business card?"

You would get their business card. You work with that lead, convert that lead into a prospect, then into opportunities, and opportunities into clients. 

Or you might do a marketing campaign. Maybe you send out a newsletter to 10,000 potential clients and get 2000 leads out of that.

Out of those 2000 leads, you talk to them, you realize that 1200 of them are potential clients. We call them prospects. As you have conversations with your prospects you start creating opportunities with them, and then eventually you'll end up with clients. Notice the ratios here. If you get 100 leads, only 60 will become prospects, there'll be 45 opportunities created out of those 100 and then two and a half will become clients. By the way that is very typical of professional service firms.

This is what we call as the ultimate conversion rate. Your ultimate conversion rate today is probably in the neighborhood of two to 3%. If you're more than 3%, you're doing really well. You probably have a good CRM software, and that's why you're able to do it more than people should. BQE's ultimate goal is that conversion rate of two and a half percent increase to four and a half percent by both widening the funnel at the top. So notice that instead of 2000 leads, we want to get to 3000 leads. We widened the funnel at the top and we widened the funnel at the bottom. So instead of two and a half percent conversion rate, we're going to take your conversion rate to four and a half percent. 

A lot of extra cash comes in by simply having effective tools to take your conversion rate up to four and a half percent. Which by the way, is not a challenge if we can also widen the funnel at the top.

Now, who will use Core CRM in your firm? Typically in a professional service firm, whether you are an architect, engineer, accountant, or a law firm, you're not going to have a chief sales officer or chief marketing officer. For most smaller firms, principle partner of the firm is typically the marketing guy, or some senior project managers--typically these are the key people that go out and seek new business. 

The pain point that we know you are having today is: 1) Disconnected context. Let's say I get an email from a potential client. Nobody knows about it. If somebody else wants to contact that person, I have to forward the email address. It's just painful. Most importantly, what if you were out for two weeks and then that prospect feels like your company is being non-responsive.

You don't have the visibility of who's trying to win what kind of business. People are working in their own silos. That is a big pain point and one of the reasons that conversion rate is so low.  Also our inboxes have become a gumball machine, sometimes we miss opportunities. People contact us. We say, "Okay, I'll get back to this guy later on." But no, then you never find that email again. A lot of manual processes, a lot of bad data because you're entering those leads manually and then of course, inconsistent messaging. The principal of the company writes an email that has a different tone to it as compared to, let's say, a project manager or your chief sales officer. So everybody is exercising their own style, which creates inconsistent messaging and often not the right words used and therefore huge opportunities lost.

So that's why you need Core CRM based on what we learned from our research. Now let's dive into the demo.

First of all, notice that on my Core, I have three menu items. One is under my list where it says CRM, Beta.

You can see that it's a new thing. And you will also see that I have a CRM menu by itself, which has a lot of CRM-related menu items. And then I have a new one called Sales Tools, which also has the word Beta attached to it. If you do not have these three things in your Core subscription today, here's what you need to do. As long as you have the admin privileges to Core, you can  go to Add Subscriptions, go under Account and Manage Subscriptions. And in your Manage Subscriptions, you will add Core CRM. Look how I have added Core CRM, it says Free till September 30th. We are planning to release it in October so you will get it free for the next few months. And if you don't see it there, then go to the Add Packages and you'll find it there at zero cost, and you can add as many users as you like.

In my case, I have added five users. You can of course add more than five users. And then invite others to obviously go ahead and work on that. So now let's jump into Core lists. This is something that your admin team, principal partners should get together and work through these lists in Core CRM. I'm going to show you real quickly what the list screen in Core CRM looks like. This is the foundational list elements that you will manage. All your lists are here. How do you get your leads? Do you get your leads from a website, a newsletter, all kinds of things that you typically do. What are the various stages of opportunity that you want to track and the order of those opportunity stages. So basically creating your opportunity funnel.

So, a sales funnel within the funnel of winning a client. Opportunity types, I have created my own opportunity types of change order, new construction, remodel. I'm pretending I'm an architectural firm or an engineering firm. So this is the type of opportunities that I want to track. Lots of other things you can see here, priorities, you can also see various regions that you may want to track. If you are in Australia, you want to track your own regions. If you're in the US, of course, you want to track US regions. What else can we do? Campaign types, what kind of marketing do we typically do? A lot of these things like competition, you definitely have to fill that in. They won't be pre-filled for you. These will be blank by default.

So if you see a new competition, let's say there's a firm called Fountainhead Designs and they are coming up more in competition. So you might want to add them as your competition and track how many wins you have against them. So basically very easy for you to manage everything through this Core CRM list. Typically a one time deal, but periodic updates needed and something that you want to put your thought through. And yes, you can later on change it. If you did not like the way that you label it, you can change the label. That will not hurt your data. It would automatically maintain the data. So that was the list elements, which is again, the foundational element. Now, we come to the leads.

I'm not talking about campaigns and marketing today. I'm talking about leads. I'm going to skip the first step although Core does have campaign and marketing. But I'll touch from the point that you actually got a phone call from someone or you received that business card. So let's go add the lead. You don't need to add a lead one at a time. You can actually go ahead and add leads as a batch. So here are my 10 or 12 leads that I helped created in my Core CRM already imported in my Core CRM.

You could create leads in a batch and they will be automatically marked as pending. And I also am actually super excited about the fact that we are now introducing a new functionality in Core that allows you to import data from Excel spreadsheets. So under the More button notice that we now added import from CSV. So I have this box in here. I can drop my Excel file or CSV file in here. And as soon as I click on that upload button, and it will match my columns with my Core fields on the left and the columns picked from my CSV files on the right. So then if I like the matching, I'm going to leave it alone. Where I may not have a match, or I may have a field in my Excel file that doesn't have a destination in Core, I can simply remove it.

Once I'm done click on that, save and down and wow. Right there, you just saved yourself a lot of time. So save yourself a lot of time, whether it's vendor bills or whether it's anything else. We can also upload PDFs into Core directly and parse those for you so that you don't have to enter the data. So now that I have my leads, this is where I would manage my leads daily. Now, of course, what I want to do is show you how I would add a brand new lead. Let's say I got that phone call. I'm on the phone. I'm the admin person at this point. I'm not even a principal or a partner. I'm getting a phone call and I'm just simply taking down memo from the phone call.

It's a prospect named Jeff Garner from KD Homes and the status will be pending. I'm going to go ahead and sign this particular lead to Scott Jackson. I will ask the lead basically, how did they hear about us? And they'll say, "Hey, I found you on Google. And I picked you up from your website." I'm going to capture the address for that particular lead. And of course the rest of the contact information such as the phone number, and of course the email address. So very, very important that whoever's capturing the leads captures that. Then I can get additional details like what industry does this project fall under? So it's a residential project and I'll find out where it's being built. And how do they hear about us?

What was the source? So they said we Googled you on the internet. And I know that somehow we may figure it out, this is to a page, or an advertising, so it cost us $400. And if you have a lead scoring system, you can give it the initial score. So let's just give it 25, which is the initial score I'm going to assign to this lead now. The lead is in the system. So if I go back to my lead list, you will see KD Homes, right there, still in pending status. And of course now I can work on that lead. I can look at the details. I can add a to-do. I can send an email to the lead or even convert it to a prospect, which I'll show you in a little while, how to do that. And of course delete that lead if I wanted to.

So let me go back into KD Homes, just show you a few other things in there. First of all your marketing campaigns would be in this place. So if you send out the newsletter or a brochure or any other marketing email to this particular lead, you will see what happened. Any to-dos you might want to create for that particular lead, any notes you want to write, any emails that you may have directly sent or through central batch email, our marketing campaigns, all those emails would arrive and appear under that email tab. Now, very easy for you to go ahead and manage leads. The first thing you want to do is now that you've captured the lead address and everything, you want to go ahead and set up a follow-up for the lead and that follow-up could be set up for somebody else.

Let's say you are an admin person, but you want one of the engineers or project managers to follow up. So I want to have Scott Jackson follow up. Notice this little follow-up button. We make it available right in the List screen, so you don't have to go inside the lead to do that. So basically I want Scott Jackson to call KD homes and talk to Jeff. One thing that I wanted you to pay attention to is as I'm setting a follow-up for a certain date, it does tell me how many follow-ups does Scott Jackson have for that day. So if Scott Jackson's got already too many follow-ups, let's say 25, 30 followups, you may want to set up a different date for him to follow up with that particular lead.

So go ahead and save that, that follow-up is now done. If you want to add any notes, let's say for example, as an admin person, you did a little bit of research on the prospect, on the lead, and you look at their website and you want to mention, "Hey, I looked at their website, it could be a huge opportunity for a Hendrix Consulting LLC." Absolutely put that note in. 

All right. Now, one other thing that you can do with that lead is send an email. I'm going to go ahead and highlight that lead click on email, and I'm going to pick from my templates. Now, this is an extremely powerful feature. Core has capabilities of creating template fields, template emails with fields in it, dynamic fields in it. So for example, see how it says lead F name in the body, which means leads first name. So I'm sending an email template called check-in and I'm going to put a subject on it, whatever I want to do, the key being remember how I was talking about inconsistent messaging. So no longer will any of your employee, have to type their own email in terms of saying, "I'm checking in, how are you doing? Can we set up a meeting?"

Whatever you want to say, create that piece of masterpiece, hire a marketing consultant to write them for you and put them in Core CRM and you're done. Your messaging is going to be always beautiful, powerful and to the point and more importantly, impress that potential client. One last thing, if I wanted to send a batch email to all of them, say, happy Labor Day or whatever, I can do that right here also. So we do allow you to select multiple leads at the same time and send them an email saying, touching bases, everything going okay? Or here's a good thing I learned regarding COVID, whatever you may want to do to just remain in front of them by sending those batch emails.

Now Scott Jackson would log in and that's where it's going to appear on his list. And Scott Jackson will go to the follow-up screen and look at the notes and then make that phone call, put the notes about the phone call saying, "I had a good call. They're building 500 new homes in Orange County, so it's a huge opportunity. I am excited. I have set up a meeting with them and I'm going to go ahead and do next follow-up on it."

Now, I can go back to my dashboard and mark that intro call as done. And as soon as I do that, it moves to the bottom of the list. It gets grayed out and I know at that point in time that I am done with that list. Now leads become prospects and KD Homes is no longer a lead. We can make it a prospect because I did make the phone call. I did see an opportunity for 500 new homes that they want us to design.

Let's go make this lead into a prospect. How do you do that in Core CRM? We made it very, very easy for you. So you go to that one lead and convert that lead to a prospect right here, and you don't lose any information about that lead. The information that you entered at the lead level, remains there. Now you're creating and converting that into a process. So you basically copying or are inheriting that lead element and making it a prospect and notice what Core says, hey look, if you're going to make him a prospect, do you also see an opportunity and want to create an opportunity at the same time? I'm going to say yes, of course, I want to create an opportunity at the same time. So I'm going to go ahead and give it a name. Let's call it "KD Homes, 500 home project" and then the type of opportunity. It's a new construction, the description is KD Homes - 500 homes. I'm going to still put it as a probability or success rate or potentially at 25% at this point, it's too early for me to be overconfident.

Also I'm going to throw in a forecast on how much fee the firm will make on this project in the long run. I want to try to close it by tomorrow, which might be a little bit aggressive here, but you can set the target date the way you want. Then of course the stage where the opportunity is. You're still initial stage, you're still in progress. So now what I did is I created a prospect and with the prospect, I created an opportunity. So you can see I'm in the prospect screen right now and this is my prospect called KD Homes. It's copied everything from my lead, including how they came in, the address, all of that. And of course I can now add some additional elements to it if I wanted to, for one of the elements that you can do is tagging. We allow you to tag prospects. So that's very important. So I want to put a new tag on it.

I want to put a tag, let's say West Coast or Orange County. All of these tags that you want to later report, you want to say, how many leads do we have that are in the West Coast? How many leads do we have that are new homes or prospects do we have? You can easily do that. And of course at the prospect level, you get to assign a prospect manager. Now, prospect manager might later on become project manager. I don't know, but this is a good time to see that person who might actually carry on with that project.

So let's say you go ahead and assign Curtis James to that person. Now, you have a prospect. I just want to make sure that because I created an opportunity at the same time, I want to show you the opportunity too, we'll come and dig deeper into this opportunity later on. But I just wanted you to see that this automatic creation of the opportunity at that opportunity level. I have an ability to send an email using that opportunity as a source. And now this time I'm going to send an email template called Next Steps and I am going to welcome KD Homes and try to set up a meeting with them onsite.

Hopefully when we can go onsite, maybe do a Zoom meeting and be able to talk more about my firm with them. So one of the things that I was talking about that I'm looking at the prospect now, any emails that you sent, they will all appear in this box. So you don't have to go look for your email in your outlook or Gmail, it's all going to be at one point. And we are planning to integrate with Office 365 email and Google Suite. So those emails, if you got direct emails from them, those will also start appearing, which are basically the incoming. All your outgoing emails are already in Core so you're good there, you know at least what you said.

I'm going to mail them a brochure actually, let's put that in. So later on today, I want to have Janet mail them a brochure. So very easy to do and assigned to Janet, not to me. So Janet gets a notification in Core on her mobile phone, "Can you please send the brochure to KD Homes?" And then I will put my notes saying, "I talked to Tom at KD Homes today, and we scheduled a meeting with him" on such and such date. You just saw how easy it was for us to convert the lead into prospect, create an opportunity at the same time in one key stroke, and add follow-ups at the opportunity level.

You can add follow-ups at the prospect level just like you can at the lead level. So here I'm creating a follow-up to discuss the 500 home project with them and I see that I already have three follow-ups for that date. No problem. I can handle one more. So that's all it takes to basically go ahead and manage the prospect and manage the follow-ups and this followup that I just created right here to discuss the 500 homes.

Let's get into the resource library. What is it? Think of it as a filing system for all your sales and marketing related materials. You would typically store your marketing brochures, anything about company, awards, key projects, client testimonials, mentions in the news, etc.

You don't have to be looking for it in some file system, where somebody's local hard drive has the latest one, and you were using an old one--none of that. And of course you can also have your own resource. Notice I have my resources that's only visible to me. I can make some resources available to the entire company and some only to me, and of course, click on any brochure. It pops up right there within the application. You can scan it. You can take a look at what it looks like and make sure it's the latest one. So very easy for you even to move the brochure or add a file. You click on, add to resource library and you get all of these options.

You can even hyperlink a YouTube video that you want to add as a resource. And if you guys use Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, Box, or even within the resource library, you can add another resource into one folder or the other from within the library. So I love that and then of course you can also move files around from folder to folder if somebody put them in the wrong folder. The whole point being for your business and especially now that we learn from COVID that that local file system that you have at the office may not be reliable. So all your sales and marketing should be in one place.

Another thing that is unique about Core CRM, that you will not find in CRM like Salesforce is your ability to create quotes and proposals. I'm going to show you how we create a proposal in Core.

Under the CRM menu, you'll see Proposals and I have already two proposals in there in my sample company, but I want to show you how I can create a proposal using a template. So I can also have proposals as templates where, lawyers might have provided a legal language and I just need to add the rest of it.

I'm going to create one from a template called Standard Proposal. I will scan through it real quickly. I'll see that this is maybe reviewed already by my legal counsel or whoever is responsible for your business proposals. And once you click on continue, you basically fill in the fields. You can say, this is a proposal for KD Homes, and you can call it anything. It doesn't have to be called the same as the opportunity or the prospect, but I'm going to call it the same, but definitely do make sure that the prospect that you're tying this proposal to, KD Homes is mentioned otherwise you won't find it under that prospect.

And then of course, since we have already created an opportunity for KD Homes, we will tie it to that opportunity. Ignore the proposal amount, because it'll get automatically adjusted if you are going to include the quote. But if you don't have a quote, you can manually type in any amount that you want. What makes this section sweet is the Proposal Builder there. Now this proposal comes in and it's editable. So you can see I have a sample quote in there, which I am going to remove and I'm going to add a quote I already created for KD Homes. So right here on the toolbar, you will see, I have a special icon to drop it in a quote. I have KD Homes quote and will just hit that, add that quote and I'm done.

So now Core asks me, do you want the summary of the quote? Do you want full details? I want to ask it for full details, but I'm going to hide the tax column. Don't need to show them the tax columns, just the bill rate for each line item. Insert the quote. The proposal will be updated every time I update the quote. So that makes it much easier. And when I save it, watch what happens, if I go back to my proposal list, it will update my quote. So of course that makes it much, much easier for me not to have to worry about adjusting the overall value of that quote. So again, the whole point being you're going to send those proposals, please create your proposal templates, use the best language, cover yourself, get a lawyer to review that. And then of course, create proposals and use the workflow, the proposal, something you may want the principal partner of the company to review before you send it.

Say I got a proposal from Scott Jackson. When the principal approves it, Scott Jackson gets notified. Now the next section, which is something that you typically will spend a lot of time in is the opportunities. Now, you met somebody at an event, you know that they have a big project coming up. It's a 500 homes design project, and it's a huge opportunity. So you are going to go ahead and manage that opportunity on a day-to-day basis. So you'll go to the opportunities and you will see that opportunity right there for KD Homes that you had previously thought  will be a $350,000 opportunity. Notice for all your opportunities, what stage they're at, whether they are in progress, whether they're in RFP submittal, whether they are preparing a contract for them. Everything is here.

And then of course you hover over the notes, you'll see all the notes related to that opportunity. So the beauty is these are the opportunities that are assigned to me as one of the key person in my firm and I'm supposed to be constantly touching bases and working on these opportunities to increase my chances of winning these projects. So let's click on KD Homes opportunity. What do we see inside there? It's a new construction, 500 homes, high priority, and $350,000 potential revenue bucket. And then of course, Core does have capability to create sales goal for your company. So if you are trying to make a million dollars in this quarter in fees or new business, you can set that sales goal right here. 

Any proposals that are tied to that opportunity will automatically appear under the Proposals tab. As you can see, the documents would have any documents that you might have attached so you want to send them a brochure. You can easily attach that, and then the quotes and then your to-dos will all appear in one place. And then any notes you have written all appeared at one place. So very, very easy for you to even go inside the Proposal while you're in the opportunity and click on that proposal and be able to see that proposal. And go back into the Proposal Builder there and further edit it if you had a phone call and he wants something else changed on the proposal, very easy for you to do it directly from the opportunity. The whole point being is we don't want you to necessarily leave the opportunity screen. We want you to be able to manage your day-to-day business of winning new clients through that opportunity screen very effectively.

If you want to add a new follow-up for KD Homes, click on that follow-up link right there and fill that in, you know exactly how many follow-ups you have for that date. Just like you had on the previous ones, preventing you from overbooking yourself on follow-ups. So very simple, yet very powerful functionality for you to manage opportunities. The whole goal, being that you would basically want to win as many opportunities as you can. I want to mention real quickly that we have some great widgets related to Core CRM on our dashboard. You saw the follow-up widget right here. All my follow-ups for my potential clients are in here. I just finished discussing the 500 homes project, I can mark it down right there. All my prospects, whether I'm tracking them based on expected revenue or what I've already closed again, all at one place.

And then of course my sales funnel. This is the funnel that we have created for our company with various stages and how many prospects are in that stage, all my to-dos and all my opportunities for the entire company. Now, since I do have full permission, I am able to see everybody's opportunities and it color codes it for me, showing them. Scott, two opportunities in progress, one in contract prep. Steve Cohen has got one in the RFP submittal stage. So you can see those color codings in there that clearly indicate what stage these opportunities are. So very, very powerful. Dashboard widgets that hopefully will let you run your business and get that, put your finger on their pulse and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks when it comes to opportunity management and you can of course, click on it, go directly to that prospect or to that opportunity and start working on it.

By the way, this diagram here is just to indicate that this is the piece that we're adding, this is the piece that you already have. Everything on the right hand side is already in Core. This is a piece that we just added, which is Leads, Prospects, Opportunities and Campaigns and Proposals and Follow-ups and To-dos and Quotes. All of that is being added. This is just to give you a visual representation. Now, of course, I already mentioned that this is coming soon with online feeds so you will make more money. You will grow your business. Leads will be delivered to you so that you can then add them to the CRM. We will allow you to do mass emailing up to 5,000 emails per month at no extra cost. If you're using some kind of a batch emailing tool, you don't need to, because now it's included in Core CRM.

The proposals-embedded quotes is huge. You can take it from Microsoft Word, import it from there, and copy and paste it from anything. You can put logos, images, anything you want in these proposals.

If you want to commission your sales team or people who are responsible for bringing in new business, you want to make them salary plus commission, we have a built in commission system in there. And last but not the least, I like the resource library because all your marketing and promotional material is in one place, no more guessing who's got the latest copy of the brochure or key project documents.

I believe that you cannot improve what you cannot measure. So Core CRM will allow you to measure your efforts and therefore grow your firm.

Your growth starts with a lead, identifying a lead and bringing in more leads, converting them into opportunities, and therefore winning more clients. With Core CRM, your competition will be irrelevant. They won't even know what hit them!

Video transcription by Rev.com


Want more insights on Client Relationship Management?

To ensure you have all your basis covered in using a CRM, read  Basics for Client Relationship Management.d

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The Author

Shafat Qazi

Shafat Qazi is CEO and Founder of BQE Software. Engineer by trade, he created the original BillQuick software in his garage to help simplify billing, accounting, time tracking, and project management for millions of professional services worldwide. In 2017 he launched BQE CORE, a unified cloud business management software with built-in artificial intelligence, the first of its kind in the industry. When he's not working on a new invention, Shafat enjoys listening to music and traveling. So far, he's visited 51 countries and plans to visit at least 50 more.

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