I was recently invited to be a guest expert on Maria Ross’ awesome MOMENTUM program, where we talked about systems and how they help consultants, coaches, and other entrepreneurs bring on more clients.
It's a topic I love, for three reasons.
Reason #1: I’m an unabashed nerd. I love using technology to make my life easier, save time, and help me run my business.
Reason #2: I also know what it’s like to not have the right systems in place, resulting in what I call The Scramble.
The Scramble is when you’re juggling clients, business admin, and business development... and dropping some balls here and there. It keeps you from truly being able to enjoy your business, and it makes work spill over into time with family and friends. And it keeps you from increasing your revenue. Believe me, I know.
I learned that the antidote to The Scramble is systems, and that’s what enables me to consistently sign new clients.
Reason #3: I love sharing what I’ve learned with other entrepreneurs so they can run their businesses better and make more money.
That's why I was so excited when Maria popped this question:
What are the five essential systems that entrepreneurs need to grow their sales? Here’s what I said and my recommendations for each, based on the dozens of systems I’ve personally used.
One caveat: this list is geared towards consulting and coaching business - people who are selling services to companies or individuals.
When most people think of CRM, they assume it’s only for large businesses. But a CRM is just as valuable to solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, if not more so. Anyone for whom signing a new client means building some type of relationship, needs a CRM.
CRMs allow you to stay in touch with key contacts, surface opportunities for new clients or referrals, and build and manage your pipeline. I recommend a CRM for every single one of my clients.
My recommendation: Nimble or Prosperworks
Even though it’s not a technology, a sales process is a critical system for any entrepreneur. When you know your sales process, you can use it to manage your potential client opportunities. You’ll start to see where clients get stuck, and how you can move them forward. You’ll also be able to start building your sales pipeline in a meaningful way. But best of all: no client lead falls through the cracks, ever.
My recommendation: map out your sales process in discrete sales stages. Then set it up in your CRM, or at the very least, in Excel or Google Sheets (shudder).
An email marketing program is an essential part of any entrepreneur’s systems toolkit. Being able to stay in regular contact with potential clients, referrers, and partners is critical to surfacing new opportunities.
For basic newsletters: Mailchimp
For more complex email automation: ActiveCampaign
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Use a to-do list app to reduce “cognitive load,” or unnecessary mental effort. Your brain is designed to do high-level processing, not remember what to buy at the grocery store. Use a to do list app to free your brain up to do the work it’s supposed to do.
My recommendation: ToDoIst or Remember The Milk
(Rest in peace, Wunderlist)
Getting a signature is THE critical step to closing a client, but it can also be the most annoying for the client to complete. Using a document signing program helps you shorten the sales cycle by -- literally -- making it easier to sign on the dotted line.
My recommendation: HelloSign
I want to hear from you: what would you add to this list? Just reply and let me know.
P.S. If you’d like to get better organized so you can work more efficiently, increase your revenue, and have better balance between work and life, I'm putting together a program to help you do that. But first I want to see if there's enough interest so I know if I’m on the right track. If this is something that's of interest to you, click here to sign up and you'll be the first to be notified when the program launches!