InfusionSoft – Think twice before sinking your money in this CRM tool

Champion Assistants Technology TeamI’ve seen a number of clients invest in CRM tools that are far more powerful than their businesses require – and more expensive than they can currently afford – because their business advisers have told them that they should invest in technologies now that will support their future business plans.  These business advisers instill the fear  in their clients that their company won’t be prepared in the future when their prospects and clients outweigh the capability for the company to manage them.  I have never witnessed a case where this was the reality.  In reality, the sudden onslaught of clients never comes, and even if it were to, most CRM systems are built so that all current data can be easily migrated with a learning curve for using the technology.

The biggest example I have seen in unfortunate CRM purchases is InfusionSoft.  I have seen InfusionSoft touted by so-called industry experts and gurus (think Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, Ali Brown) who advise info-marketers to invest in this CRM solution now in preparation for future business.  InfusionSoft has a number of drawbacks like not being able to paste text in various modules and difficulties pasting links to name a couple quick irritants.  The biggest thing about InfusionSoft is that it is NOT for info-marketers.  InfusionSoft is for businesses with actual sales teams.  To use InfusionSoft effectively the business needs to be sales-oriented, equipped with a multi-person sales force, have a database with hundreds of thousands of contacts AND have the budget to effectively implement this technology.  The time to migrate data, implement the tool and train a salesforce how to use it – and continue to update it – is extremely time intensive.  This is not the responsibility of a business owner either.  This is the responsiblity of an IT Leader.  While Champion Assistants provides the service of IT Team Lead, we are very careful to only work with clients who have a business that is both financially and mentally prepared for a company-wide CRM rollout.

Sadly, I have seen a number of solo-preneurs buy InfusionSoft on the recommendation of their marketing or sales advisor and start implementing the software only to find that it’s extremely cumbersome to use and their business only requires a fraction of the power of the tool.  InfusionSoft is not for contact management.  It is in fact a full-scale CRM tool.  Also, I have seen that the people referring this software get a handsome referral bonus, and I know there are ulterior motives at play as well.  For instance the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer Inner Circle has made huge amounts of money through their referrals to InfusionSoft.  They make so much money they actually hold presentations on buying InfusionSoft at their SuperConference and InfoSummit conferences!  It’s great business for them, but not necessarily the right decision for all of those people trying to follow the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer methods.

I advise against purchasing any technologies that require your business to grow into.  It’s difficult to predict if the tool will be outdated by the time you need it or if there would have been a better solution based on what your business actually needs at the time. Save yourself time and aggravation and focus on strategic growth instead.

Best,

Heather

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How To Reconnect With Your Audience

Have you lost touch with your core audience? Wish you knew how to stay in touch with everyone while still having time to run your business? There are ways to stay in touch with your target market, stay current on the trends they are most interested in, and still have time to run your business. Here are three of the best ways to stay in touch and stay on track!

Get Involved: Find out where your audience is and be there. This could be an online forum, networking group or other physical or online location. Take the opportunity to test out ideas with others and get their feedback and reactions.

Show Your Thanks: Show your customers that you appreciate them and they are more likely to become repeat customers. Send them a note of thanks. But don’t stop there! Continue to stay in touch. Make your customers feel like they are special, because they are.

Keep Talking: Communicate with your customers and keep them informed of what is going on not only with your business, but the industry itself. Whether you do so with emails, newsletters, a blog or some other format the most important thing is to stay in touch. In today’s market communication is key!

Dan Kennedy’s Gold+ Mastermind Group

I’ve been a member of Dan Kennedy’s Gold+ mastermind group for about 2 months now and definitely see why he is the guru for so many of the leading info-marketers. Dan Kennedy has a very straight-forward (what he terms “No BS”) style and is definitely putting himself out there! I joined the Gold+ group which has hefty monthly dues ($297 a month!) in order to gain insight into his strategy and be able to use this to help my clients. I’m also a Silver member of Ali Brown’s mastermind group, which I have definitely receive a lot of benefit from. Ali’s approach is a lot softer, and I love her online member’s only forum. Members discuss everything from article submission to teleseminars to creating info products, and it’s a super-supportive environment. It’s so exciting being part of these groups and gaining insight into strategies that really make products sell. If I didn’t know personally of some of these people making $100K a month I would never have believed it! Both Dan Kennedy and Ali Brown offer trial memberships at a nominal fee so they’re worth checking out if you do any kind of online sales.

Kind regards,

Heather

Teleseminar Targeted to Those of You Who Are Considering a VA

This Thursday I’m holding a teleseminar with Meggin McIntosh PhD, the Productivity Professor, and we’re discussing:
“Do *Only* What Only *You* Can Do: Working with Virtual Assistants”

Here’s the scoop:

**You’re busy.
**You’re super busy.
**You sometimes think, ‘I can’t believe I am doing this ______ (task, activity, errand, chore, project).’
**You’ve been heard to say, “If only I had someone to help me.”

Actually, this *is* an option…You can hire someone to help you, and in particular, you can hire a virtual assistant.

In this teleseminar, here’s what you will learn:

**How to decide to use a VA,
**Ways to access virtual assistants
**Best ideas for using a VA,
**Considerations when choosing one (or more) virtual assistants.

Join me in this free teleseminar “Do *Only* What Only *You* Can Do” on Thursday, March 13 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. (Pacific). To sign up: http://tinyurl.com/2kjhgh.
If you miss it, I will be posting the audio to my website at www.championassistants.com.

Are you OVERwhelmed?

Meggin McIntosh Ph.D, the Productivity Professor, has a great business focussed just on getting people whelmed.  Check out her website at www.justwhelmed.com.  It’s a fabulous (and obvious!) concept – we need to be whelmed, not overwhelmed or underwhelmed.  She offers great resources for achieving the right balance.  I don’t think I’m the only one who can’t shut my brain down at night to get a good night’s sleep, and this is just one of the issues she addresses.

She explains how to get in the zone and feel energized and jazzed by what you are doing.  In order to lead a balanced life she recommends delegating and remembering to stay focussed on what’s really important.  One of the neat phrases I heard her say was, “If you can’t say no, at least think twice before saying yes”.  Another helpful tip I got from her to help me turn off my work brain at the end of the day is to set up an End of Day process (routine/ritual).  It’s just too easy for me to carry work through my personal life, so an End of Day routine is very helpful for me.

If you’re over- or under-whelmed, make sure to check out her site and seminars!

Kind regards,

Heather

www.championassistants.com 

Recycling Electronics for Free or Even Make Money!

I have an extra laptop in my office that I turned on once in the past year. My main laptop runs Microsoft Vista and my older one runs XP, and I’ve just hung on to it for that just-in-case situation when I will need to run something on XP. Obviously, with just one use in a year, I really don’t need it. Recently, I started looking into recycling options and found a recycling program at Costco. The recycling is free and they may even pay you for the item depending on what it is and its condition. They send you a UPS slip to print out and you simply send it in. So quick and simple even I have the time for it! If you have a laptop, camera or game system sitting around gathering dust and need an easy way to recycle, check this out:

Costco.com
Trade-In & Recycle Program
For PCs, LCD Monitors, Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Game Systems & MP3 Players

Kind regards,

Heather

www.championassistants.com

 
 
 
 
 

Ali Brown – How to Leverage the Power of a Virtual Team

As a member of Ali Brown’s Silver Mastermind group, I attended the monthly teleconference tonight.  Great topic – virtual team building secrets!  Ali acknowledged while it’s fun doing everything yourself when starting your business, this just isn’t sustainable as your business grows and as you need your business to grow.  You just can’t make money doing everything yourself because you are not using your time optimally. “You’ll get what you’ve always gotten if you keep doing things the same way”.  If you are considering expanding your business or are already overloaded, then a virtual team may be the solution you and your business need.  Here are a few points to consider:

The first step is to identify your needs and write them down.  Understand where you are devoting your time, decide what only you can do and delegate the rest.  If you need to follow-up with clients after events, but never get around to doing that it is costing you sales.  Instead of repeating lost opportunities, create a process for following up with clients (like add business cards to Outlook, send an e-mail, invite to a seminar, send a postcard, touch base by phone) and hand that over to your virtual assistant to do for you.  Following up with 25 strong contacts after an event might cost 2 hours of service time, but could generate thousands of dollars – or more –  in sales.  How many people have piles of business cards sitting on their desks that aren’t followed through with?

The next step is to hire the right virtual assistant.  The basic thing to keep in mind is you get what you pay for.  As a virtual assistant, I think it’s perfectly fine for people to use the services of students or even outsource to India – for certain things like side projects.  For anything that is core to your business and core to your success you need to invest in quality help.  I would never trust a student, someone less experienced or someone overseas with my business bookkeeping.  I need to make sure the person performing the job is up to the task, reliable and is someone I can trust.  Also, make sure you are paying what that individual is worth.  If someone undervalues their skills, they may not stick around very long.  I have heard of someone who agreed to a job at a low rate and when she realized she undervalued herself and underestimated the project she got so nervous about it all she left that client in a lurch.  Paying people their fair value is just that – fair.  Both of you get what you need – quality services for the client and a fair rate for the assistant.

Moving forward with your virtual team: Set up the team you need to take you where you want to be.  Once you have identified your goals, make sure you bring on the expertise you need to reach them.  This could be one person or more depending on the skills and amount of time required.   A virtual team is a no-brainer investment in your business when you recognize the value they add.

Kind regards,

Heather

www.championassistants.com

Assisting your success…virtually!