Helping a Business Coach-Consultant
Organize, Prioritize Sales Process
By Patrick Boulay
NBM Business Advisor
Running your own small business can keep you insanely busy. It’s even worse for Robb Breding, a business and leadership coach. All his clients are also insanely busy business leaders and he needs to coordinate meetings and regular calls with each of them.
Robb is the founder and chief evangelist of REV Advisory Group and REV Performance Solutions, which offer coaching and consultation services for small business leaders with organizations ranging from 15 to 500 employees.
REV specializes on the people side of business and works with the business’ top leaders to grow personally and to overcome and conquer the challenges of organizational complexity. Successful businesses are growing ones. And with growth comes the pain of realizing that what got the business this far will most definitely not be sufficient to take it to the next level. That is where REV can help.
REV Performance Solutions are designed to help business leaders build and maintain a “Performance Culture” for their business. The key to a great culture is great people and Installing REV’s science-based and time-tested solutions for selecting, developing, and retaining “Top Talent” insures the business’ long term success.
Business Leaders also engage with REV personally through one-to-one and group coaching options. By joining a REV Advisory Group, business leaders gain a forum to discuss issues, solve problems and gain perspective from others who walk in their shoes every day. As the facilitator of the group meetings, Robb helps draw out the best solutions and ensures members are holding each other accountable for achieving their goals. In addition to peer-to-peer coaching, Breding also offers executive one-on-one coaching for leaders who are interested in a more intensive and personal approach.
After a year in business, it became clear that Robb needed serious CRM help herding his clients.
Finding the Right CRM
Since Robb had come from a retail background, he wasn’t that familiar with CRMs (Customer Relationship Management software). His retail businesses had used a POS (Point of Sale) system for customer retention. So, he started using Salesforce because he heard it was the biggest and the best.
“Managing all my clients and prospects, schedules and tasks, was critical,” Robb says. “I started using Salesforce, but not effectively.”
He found it too big, complicated and expensive for his one-person shop. He was using it to keep names, addresses, leads, appointments and deal tracking.
As luck would have it, Robb was at a networking event where Juan Ramirez was giving a talk about Zoho One CRM.
Juan is a serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is ZoomingSales CRM, an Authorized Partner with Zoho One, an award-winning web-based Customer Relationship Management system.
“I saw his presentation and could tell that Zoho One was a better fit and better value to me as a solopreneur who is chief cook and bottle washer,” Robb says.
“It sounded more robust than I had expected, and I was totally impressed with Juan’s role in customizing it for his clients as part of the CRM package. His services were not an add on.”
To make Salesforce useful, Robb says he would have had to hire a consultant to make it fit his needs. Because of Juan’s background in business processes and a thorough knowledge of Zoho One, he decided that it was the right CRM for his business and budget and made the switch.
Juan says the first step in setting up Robb with Zoho One was to do a deep-dive, discovery session into his business and identify his ideal clients, the sales and acquisition process and what areas of the business he wants to improve and when.
During the discovery process Juan creates a blueprint that maps out all the customized steps for Robb’s business processes. They first addressed what was needed immediately and what can be added later in stages as the business grows.
“Everybody has a process,” says Juan. “The best ones allow you to manage your business: How many leads do you have, how many are in the proposal process or presentation process, etc. To keep all his information in a single location, the CRM is integrated with his email.”
An important goal was to automate as much as possible, Juan says.
For example, creating auto responses to the first and second attempts to contact someone. When the first call is completed, an email is automatically generated thanking the prospect for taking the time for the call, etc. After the second call, another email will be sent with a different message. A brochure attachment can be included.
Zoho One CRM will also track how many meetings and calls it takes to reach a sale. Then you can analyze your pipeline and do forecasting.
Juan says it can also be set up to make sure salespeople are following the right steps in the process. If sending a brochure is important to the process, there is a prompt as a reminder and a check mark that it was done.
“When they meet the client, there is a checklist that ensures the right questions are being asked to qualify leads and that demonstrate the value you add,” Juan says.
The questions establish the prospect’s problem, their level of pain, who their competition is and what their unique value proposition is. The checklist helps keep the salesperson focused. And it works great for training.
These questions can provide metrics for analyzing the sales process and help generate more leads.
“A great metric that is often overlooked is an estimate of the customer’s lifetime value. That determines how you can justify the cost of acquiring a customer,” says Juan.
“For my Marcelita’s Cookies business, a box of cookies is $30 or $40. The lifetime value — assuming they order multiple boxes every year for multiple years — they could be worth thousands of dollars. Add to that there are a lifetime of referrals.”
Deep Dive Rewarding
Robb found the deep dive process very rewarding. “I really needed what he did for me,” says Robb. “We talked about my longer-term goals and he made sure we were set up so that Zoho One would be able to grow along with me. I really liked that. And it was affordable for me.”
Juan says that consultants like Robb are challenging because each sale represents a future time commitment. Their focus shifts to taking care of their new client at the expense of implementing and mastering their new CRM. Implementing Zoho One in stages lets Robb absorb new clients and not be overwhelmed in adapting to the new CRM.
Juan’s extensive background in mapping business processes for companies of all sizes has proved invaluable. Robb says the best part of moving to Zoho One was going through the discovery process with Juan.
“I really liked his white boarding. That brought a lot of value,” Robb says. “There were things I didn’t know were missing.”
Robb explained to Juan how he ran his business and his sales and client management processes. Based on that information, Juan organized it all on a white board.
“He mapped it all out step by step and helped me drill down, to identify clients by category, industry, lead sources and priorities.”
For example, Robb says that Juan helped him come up with a plan to use is advertising dollars more effectively based on the ROI, and he helped identify the strongest source of good leads.
“I already knew my high-touch networking was solid, but better understanding my best prospects made me more efficient,” says Robb.
“Even though I’m still a new user, Zoho One has accelerated my ability to execute my sales process. Because of Juan’s insights, I’m much further ahead than if I had tried to do the same thing on my own.”
Even after Juan sets up and customizes Zoho One for Robb, he will continue to meet on a regular basis to make sure things are on track, answer questions and make any needed adjustments.
“There is always room for improvement,” says Juan.
Because Robb’s business is growing, it is critical that he has time to learn and digest his new Zoho One features. In the future, when time allows, Robb will have the option of moving from QuickBooks to Zoho One’s financial package, which is an integrated suite of financial products for invoicing and inventory, merchant services, and expenses.
Juan says that the most immediate needs of small businesses he works with are sales process and lead generation.
“The CRM is the hub of all the data,” says Juan. “From there we can seed marketing, lead generation, sales, proposals and the calendar. You only enter contact information once. You do your work from one site. It’s all integrated.”
In building a strong CRM, Juan says you must start with the right foundation for your business and then add on as needed. Robb started with lead generation process and added a workflow component.
“You can’t help but get to know someone better by going through this process,” says Juan. “I feel good that we have been able to contribute to some of his success by helping create a platform that will help him grow in all areas of his business.”
Robb praised Juan’s commitment to working with him even after the first stage was completed. “One of the things I really appreciate about Juan is that I don’t worry about my CRM,” Robb says. “I can just call him and ask a question and not get a bill for every five-minute conversation.
“I trust Juan implicitly. He’s a good man. I know he wants me to succeed. I can tell you that there is no one else in the CRM space who does what he does. He has always been available. It is a true business relationship, not a transactional one.”
Zoho One is taking care of where Robb’s business is right now, including special reports to help keep track of everything. When he gets a lull in his schedule, Robb says it’s easy to jump back into Zoho One and continue where he left off.
“Zoho helps me keep everything together, prioritize my prospects and work new deals before new leads,” Robb says.
Robb is looking forward to future customization with Zoho One, especially when it comes to automating some of the steps in his sales process. “I know what I want. Zoho will get me there.”
In the near future, Robb says he will need hire an administrative assistant. The way Zoho One is set up will make it much easier to train a new person and make them productive sooner.
“I was a high achiever before Zoho One,” says Robb. “Adding it to my business has been an enhancement of that. It was pretty painless.”
− NBM Business Advisor