This blog was last updated in August 2020.
Attention business consultants and other service providers! Are you sick and tired of managing the daily operations of your business and getting bogged down and pulled away from the stuff you love to do?
I know I am! Getting nerdy with workflows and creating automation excites me.
But what do I hate?
All of the little things in between, such as…
…Going back and forth with emails asking, “does this time work for you?”
…No show leads at appointments.
…Keeping track of my pipeline and what I have to do next (because I really just want to help people now!)
…Creating custom contracts and then trying to track down signatures.
^ All of the above ?
This week I’m going to show you my favorite automation tools for business consultants so that you can learn to run your business with much more ease and efficiency.
Note: These are the exact workflows and tools that I have set up in my business, that allow me to focus on what I do best and eliminate the busy work.
Five Automation Tools for Business Consultants That Allow You To Focus on Your Customers
#1 Lead to … Get to Know You!
Are you ready to create a lead generating machine? Creating a workflow that allows you to grab lead information, and then follow up with them (automatically) will provide you the ability to grow your audience faster, increase positive lead relationships, and get more clients booked!
Establishing contact quickly is key to actually connect with your leads. An InsideSales.com study found that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first to an inquiry, and a HubSpot study found that response rates decline as the age of a lead increases.
Bring on Thrive Leads + ActiveCampaign
From opt-in box to follow up sequences, you can create a variety of automations such as sending leads:
- A “get to know you” indoctrination and welcome sequences.
- More information on your products and services.
- A link to book a meeting with your online schedule (see #2 below).
- Other additional, follow-up content.
Whether you want to create opt-in to help leads get to know you, or jump right into scheduling a meeting, this is an easy part of your business to automate.
#2 Schedule a Meeting… Follow Up with More Info!
According to automational.com marketing automation has become a standard need in 2018, and is incredibly important to help [you] focus efforts where they’ll have the most impact. Consequently, that leads to more sales and more revenue.
Enter Acuity Scheduling + ActiveCampaign
If you are ready to stop spending time trying to figure WHEN to schedule meetings, Acuity Scheduling paired up with ActiveCampaign will allow you to set your calendar and forget it. While you are working on other things, your customers can request and schedule appointments against the availability on your calendar. Once a meeting is scheduled, you can automate “what happens next” such as:
- Sending a “what to expect” at our meeting notification.
- Requesting specific documentation to be completed and submitted.
- Providing an introductory video to your services.
- Give an onboarding task so your client can get started with pre-work right away and be ready at the time of your meeting.
And of course, Acuity Scheduling always has built in appointment reminders, rescheduling, and cancellation procedures that are totally customizable based on your business needs!
For more information on how to choose an automated appointment tool as well as some additional options, check out How to Choose an Automated Appointment Scheduling Tool.
#3 Automate the Location… and Just Show Up!
Running a small business is no joke, and cost can add up! Conference calls should not be one of those nor should your ability to meet with clients regardless of geography and location.
Acuity Scheduling and Zoom are excellent automation tools for business consultants to make scheduling meetings and accessing online calls much smoother.
Bring Zoom Conference + Acuity Scheduling into the Mix
Zoom Conferencing is the perfect platform for small businesses to conduct video conference calls and share their desktop with clients. It’s simple and scalable. Paired up with Acuity Scheduling, you can’t go wrong!
Ever schedule a conference call but forget to actually put the conference dial-in information in the invite? Did you forget to record a strategy session when you were supposed to?
With the Zoom Conferencing and Acuity Scheduling integration Zoom will automatically add the conference information direction upon the appointment being scheduled by your customer.
You can customize Zoom to auto record your meetings directly in the cloud so that you can send and share it with your clients as soon as your done.
Now, all you have to do is make sure you show up!
#4 Gather More Information… and Keep Track of It!
Running a service based company myself, I know that keeping track of information is critical for my projects. Whether it be lead inquiry forms or customer surveys or data gathering, keeping track of my contacts submission, and being able to find the data quickly, is important to me.
Even if it’s not starting in my CRM, I like all customer data to end up in there… in a single place.
Integrate Gravity Forms + ActiveCampaign
This allows you to:
- Use conditional content to trigger specific automations (in English: send an automatic response based on a response).
- Keep your ActiveCampaign CRM up-to-date with client information.
- Receive copies of each response to you and your team’s email; as well as back to the recipient.
Although ActiveCampaign does have built in form functionality, and it’s easy to use… they are somewhat limited.
Gravity Forms provides a much more flexible form structure as well as a look and feel that you might prefer on your website. This helps create automated workflows for business consultants.
#5 Manage Your Pipeline and Legal Documentation …in One Place!
One of my LEAST favorite parts of running a business is all the legal and financial stuff. It’s just not fun… but it is VERY important (after all, I do want to get paid!)
I found that managing multiple deals and using different systems, to be confusing. I couldn’t find or was frequently losing information. What I needed to know; including status and where specific deal documentation was located, etc. – was all over the place. I had not streamlined customer management.
According to Forbes, CRM helps businesses build a relationship with their customers that, in turn, creates loyalty and customer retention. Since customer loyalty and revenue are both qualities that affect a company’s revenue, CRM is a management strategy that results in increased profits for a business. At its core, a CRM tool creates a simple user interface for a collection of data that helps businesses recognize and communicate with customers in a scalable way.
…enter my favorite workflow automation yet!
Power Up Your PipeDrive + PandaDoc
This means you can seamlessly integrate both your sales pipeline with your contracting and onboarding processes via a single workflow.
This allows you to:
- Leverage customer data in your PipeDrive CRM to auto-fill the contract fields in PandaDoc. No more copy/paste from one system to another!
- Monitor deals status from PipeDrive without having to constantly check into other systems to see if the contract has been signed yet.
- Collect signatures and then keep completed documents linked and archived through each system allowing you easy access at any time.
It’s so, so good!
Build Client Relationships Through Better Service
Even though some entrepreneurs may claim they can make millions with marketing automation while sitting on the beach with a margarita… that’s not our goal (yet).
You are here to provide your customers with better service and value… and you can’t do that if you are stuck in the weeds of your business operations.
No matter how large or small your team, you have a finite amount of resources to grow your business. Marketing automation enables you to squeeze more juice out of the hours available to you (Ventureharbour.com).