Hi, everybody. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been back here on a live, and basically over this past summer I sold my house. I bought a new house. I had temporary living arrangements. It was all madness, but today I’m coming back. My kids are back in school, and we’re getting settled in our new house and my new office, and I am back to answer a question that I’ve been seeing all over social media, and have also had different people asking me about.
The question is, “What is the best tool for, insert whatever you’re looking for?” So whether it be, “What is the best CRM tool? What is the best email marketing tool? What is the best tool for scheduling social media?” There are so many tools and technologies and things that you can use out there. It is totally overwhelming and really confusing to try to pick what you’re looking for.
What I see people doing is they go to the social networks, and they say, “I need an email marketing tool. What one should I get?” And then following that, you’ll see like 50 people respond. “Get ActiveCampaign. Get Drip. Get Ontraport. Get Infusionsoft. Get this. Get that. Get this.”
And the thing is is there’s all these different tools for a reason, because every tool has a very unique purpose and a unique set of features and functionality, so for somebody to just say, “What tools should I use for this?” And someone else to say, “You should go use that tool,” isn’t really a good suggestion. We’re going to dive into this over the next couple minutes.
Here’s the thing. You know that you have some processes that you’re working out, or some different things that you’re doing in your business, and you know that a tool can help you, but before you even get into the tool selection, you have to get really clear on how you want to use this tool. What are the benefits of using the tool for your business?
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For me, since I work in operations and automation across digital companies, I’m usually helping clients with a tool that will promote more efficiency in their businesses. For example, if someone comes to me and they say, “I want to be more efficient with the way that people are scheduling appointments with me, and I’m following up with them and having a CRM functionality to track the appointments.” Well, I start to get gears in my head of there are now processes and workflows that I have to be developed, and there are certain requirements that have to be met. Someone could come to me and say, “Hey Lindsay, I need to better schedule my appointments and follow up with people in a CRM.” I’d say, “Get ActiveCampaign.”
But that would actually be me not doing good due diligence, and me not being a good consultant, because there’s so much more to it then that high-level functionality. So the first step, when you are considering getting a tool, is I want you to step back and think about why you need the tool in the first place. This means that if you’re getting a tool for a process or a workflow, you need to have a map out of that process or workflow.
Another example is if you are developing a sales process and you need a tool to track the sales process for your team. Map out your sales process. Figure out what you want to track, how you want to track it, some of the different, say, deliverables of the system, what you want the system to be able to tell you back or the tool they’ll tell you back, and then take that information and go look at your different tools.
Look at Pipedrive. Look at ActiveCampaign. Look at Ontraport. Look at Infusionsoft. Look at all these different tools that can help you implement that process flow that you’re working on.
Okay, the next thing, step number two, is I want you to look at specific requirements of the tool. Requirements are a little bit different than the workflow, but it can sort of be one and the same in some ways. A workflow is a process, so it’s like a diagram of step one, step two, step three, step four.
Requirements are the very specific and detailed things that you want out of your tool. For example, do you want your tool to be able to sell email campaigns? Do you want it to be able to integrate with your website or your membership platform and a specific website or membership platform? WordPress in Kajabi, or WordPress in ActiveMember.
Getting really specific on these little details is going to save you a lot of time and money later on. Once you know your workflows, and you know all those specific details of what you need the tool to work with and be able to do from a requirement standpoint, then you are going to start looking at tools. At this point, ideally, you have a really cool process flow diagram, and then you also have a list of all the things you need it to do. This is the point when you can say, “Okay, go post it to the socials and see what the people say.” Show them your diagram, show them your requirements, and see what people say.
Then I’d also go to each of the software companies, and I would get demos and give them your list and your process and have them demo these very specific things for you. I would also look into independent consultants with these companies, having the different consultants show you what these can do. It’s great to go to software companies, and they will always provide you demos, but it’s also good to go to the people who are working in the tool itself on a daily basis from an outsider perspective, so they don’t necessarily work with the company itself, but they work in the tool regularly and get sort of their opinion. Then, potentially, you have someone to help you implement it later on.
Then I also want you to go, of course, get free trials of the tool. Test it out. Play with it yourself. When you’ve done these three steps… You have your workflow. You have your requirements. You’ve done demos and free trials and things like that, then I really want you to kind of sit with all the information you’ve gathered, and then determine the best tool for your business. Really make sure what you’re getting is a good fit for you, for you and your business, because what worked for somebody else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. You don’t have the same business. You don’t have the same processes and workflows, so just because someone says this tool is the best, it doesn’t mean it’s the best for you.
Do your due diligence, and in the end, it will ensure that you select the proper tool for your business and that you don’t go through this long road of purchasing, implementation, getting your team trained, only to realize six months down the road that it’s not a good fit, and you have to start all over again.