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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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

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!

Do you know when to file taxes throughout the year?

There are a number of deadlines throughout the year to report and file taxes. This can be overwhelming for small business owners who are already busy with day-to-day operations and managing their business. An easy and helpful way to remember key dates is to download tax calendar dates right into Outlook. Visit http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=177839,00.html for easy instructions to do this. You can select the dates that are relevant for you and your business.

Kind regards,

Heather

www.championassistants.com

Your business-savvy virtual assistants!

Tax Filing Tips from the IRS

While the IRS isn’t exactly a business owner’s friend, they do have a wealth of information available on the small business portion of their website http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html.   You can easily apply for an EIN if you haven’t done so already, and you can find out what your tax responsibilities are regarding your employees.  In Washington State, the end of January is the deadline for filing B&O tax without paying a penalty.  Every year tax time is inevitable.  The best approach is to stay informed, find a great accountant and take responsibility for your finances.

 

Kind regards,

Heather

www.championassistants.com

info@championassistants.com

Your business-savvy virtual assistants!

Prepare Your Bookkeeping for 2007 Taxes

It’s January, and tax time is right around the corner. I know there are business owners out there who are hiding from QuickBooks or Excel to track their expenses. We work with all kinds of clients – from those who don’t ever want to open QuickBooks to those who want monthly reports but don’t have the time to enter the information.

Now is an ideal time to enter all 2007 business expenses and make sure your finances are in order. If you have made an effort to enter all invoices, bills and employee timesheets, then that makes tax preparation a much easier challenge. After all, good bookkeeping keeps the amount of time your accountant needs to a minimum and that can save you quite a bit of money. Nobody likes surprises during tax season, so the best thing is to stay on top of your finances throughout the year and dedicate special efforts to getting items in order and tying up loose ends early in the year. We realize not everybody has the time to do this themselves, which is why we offer bookkeeping services tailored to our clients’ needs. Make sure to contact us early to ensure we can dedicate enough time to your accounts.

Kind regards,

Heather

www.championassistants.com

info@championassistants.com