Unleashing CRM Superpowers for Clinical Pilates Small Businesses

Unleashing CRM Superpowers for Clinical Pilates Small Businesses

Our special guest Casey Hill from ActiveCampaign is back for the next episode of our customer relationship management (CRM) series, diving into the essentials of using CRM effectively beyond just managing contacts, particularly for clinical Pilates studios and similar small businesses.

The discussion unravels the true definition of a CRM, showing off the importance of visual tools like kanban boards for tracking customer relationships, and actions at different stages. Casey shares insights on leveraging CRM for sales, nurturing, and upselling, as well as for saving at-risk clients and identifying high-value customers.

The conversation also touches on the cost-effectiveness of CRM systems, dismissing other tools as incomplete solutions, and suggesting looking for features that offer actionable insights and task management.

Additionally, the episode covers the potential of CRMs in managing existing client relationships, delivering personalised experiences, and focusing on customer education.

The episode concludes with an acknowledgment of the next topics in the series, including a deep dive into Google reviews and standard operating procedures with a special focus on ActiveCampaign.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Continuing the CRM Series with Casey Hill
  • [00:00:32] Exploring the Essence of CRM and Kanban Boards
  • [00:02:14] The Real Value of CRM Beyond Sales
  • [00:05:15] Maximising CRM for Client Retention and Engagement
  • [00:09:16] Personalisation and Automation: The Future of CRM
  • [00:10:19] Harnessing CRM for Small Business Growth
  • [00:12:36] Looking Ahead: Next Steps and Future Episodes
  • [00:17:22] Gratitude and Closing Thoughts
  • [00:17:49] Teaser for Next Week: Mastering Google Reviews

"What I think of as a CRM is the ability to see those relationships at different stages, and the ability to have a task where you can follow up, you can take an action. To me, that is the true definition of a CRM."                                                Casey Hill - Senior Growth Marketing Manager ActiveCampaign

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Episode Resources

Episode Transcript

DAVID GUNTHER: Our customer relationship management series is off to a flying start, with super guest Casey Hill sharing his CRM superpowers, so clinical Pilates studios can improve their ability to sell, nurture, educate and super upsell their clientele. Will you join us for part two of our super CRM series, to learn your CRM superpower potential?

I do wanna go back to another thing that you said in the last episode, Casey, and get a little bit more of an explanation and spelling for our show notes... a kanban board, is that right? We're well known in Australia for making up names for things. G'day mate -


DAVID: - and didgeridoo, and hope the emu kicked your dunny down, and that sort of thing. But, what's a kanban board?

CASEY: A kanban board is basically the terminology for a visual CRM. It's actually a really important distinction. 'cause if you're a small business, one of the problems that you're gonna run into, almost off the bat is everyone is going to claim to be a CRM. MailChimp and ConvertKit and all these other tools, that I would argue are not really real CRMs and I'll explain why, they will all claim to be CRMs.

The reason is that a lot of companies will basically say, if we have a record and it has any kind of custom fields on it, we're going to call that a CRM . But what I think of as a CRM is the ability to see those relationships at different stages, and the ability to have a task where you can follow up, you can take an action.

To me, that is the true definition of a CRM, and so when you're looking at tools and hearing everyone say ' we're CRM', one of the things I like to look at is: is there the ability to see folks in different stages, and is there the ability to have tasks, to actually take action? In my opinion, if there isn't either of those two things, that's not a full CRM. You're only getting part of the equation.

If anyone is curious on that, there's a company long back called Pipedrive that were the first people that kind of pioneered this term, and now many of the leaders in CRM all have these kanban boards where you can see the visual stages of opportunities throughout.

Like I was mentioning when I was tracking my retail deals, I believe that CRM is for more than just sales. I just want to expound on that really quickly. When I was running my e-commerce business, one of the things I had to do was figure out, okay, how do I get more customers, how do I build relationships?

I was trying to get PR. I started reaching out to any kind of local outlets, any relevant outlets to my audience . Inside of my kanban board, I managed every single one of those people that I was in touch with, people that said, yeah, I might be able to do it, but not right now, and I moved those people across, so I kept vision on every single one.

As a company, we also go on a lot of podcasts, a lot of shows. In our CRM, I have a huge list. These 46 are recorded. These 24 people, we outreached, they said yes, but it's not on the calendar yet. These people didn't respond back. These people said in another quarter, and, because we have full visualization, we can track all of those relationships.

As a small business, you very well might reach a stage where you say, Look, we're doing the normal stuff. We're running the localised paid ads. We're doing all the stuff we're supposed to do, but we actually want to have some boots on the ground. We want to build some partnerships with other local businesses who might also have a shared audience. We want to get some PR or some media attention that is, again, localised and relevant to our business, we can drive attention.

It's super valuable to have a way to track that, to have that not just be whenever it falls in or you're relying on your inbox, but to have that be in a structured spot where you can view it. And so I think this idea of thinking about CRM as truly a way to manage relationships Instead of just, a glorified contact record, that to me is the essence of CRM, a good CRM delivers that for you.

DAVID: Yeah, and it has to be cost effective as well. Cost effective with your time and cost effective with the money that you're going to spend on it.

You mentioned a CRM there, oh, sorry. We're not calling it a CRM now, we're calling it MailChimp. We had MailChimp for about, maybe 10 years. I had the t shirt and everything with a chimp on the front. We enjoyed that for a while, but automation became a relevant thing.

Prior to MailChimp, we actually had a version of Salesforce. That version of Salesforce cost 600 per year. That's how far back we go with CRMs. That Salesforce got less useful, let's say in that context of the $600 version, and I think now you can pay $600 a minute. I'm not sure.

CASEY: It's very dense and pricey.

DAVID: Yeah, can be, and then we went on to MailChimp. MailChimp was lovely t shirts as I mentioned, but they were giving lip service to automation. It wasn't really something that they were doing. They were, like you were saying, doing something that's in the vicinity, but it's perhaps not exactly what you need.

You need to not spend so much money on it, and so much time on it, but it still needs to deliver you the things that it's going to deliver. Thanks for those explanations. Really helpful. And I'd like to talk about also existing clients and get your viewpoints there and information on existing clients.

Because I know that the CRMs are also very useful in educating and communicating with existing clientele.

CASEY: I think there's a couple of things with existing clients. I had that conversation point about saving at risk folks, right? So if you ever have any kind of subscription model, any kind of recurring model there's always this huge issue of turnover, of people leaving, right?

So, one of the things that can be really valuable is for you to be tracking and understanding what those engagement profiles work. I used to work with a whole bunch of boxes in the CrossFit space. A different service based industry, but I think very related to you folks. So, these boxes, it was the same thing. A slightly higher ticket item.

Turnover was basically the death note, and so what we started to do is we started to do two different things. Number one is the tracking of the relationships and seeing if people weren't showing up and looking and trying to map those attendance patterns to an at risk tag. If someone missed a certain number of sessions, we could have that at risk tag and we could just have someone from the team call them up, check in.

Sometimes that would be because the person was on vacation, right? Cool. Awesome. Enjoy. And other times we could flag and find something there.

DAVID: We could send a Bonjoro video.

CASEY: Exactly. We're joking about it, but that's actually a perfect example.

When you have an email strategy, you don't have time to send a personalised, one to one video to every single person. That would be crazy, right? But, having a system that can identify and tell you these three people are at risk for leaving, so you should record a video for them. That's the cool interplay of these tools playing together.

Regardless of whether you're using a tool like that or you're just calling them or whatever. It can help you flag and identify people that might be at risk, or might be running into problems.

It also can, on the flip side, help you identify your best customers. If you're a small business, your customers, the word of mouth that comes from them, is so powerful. I do a lot of consulting outside, and when I'm sitting in with a business, one of the things I want to do is make advocates out of those people. I think individuals don't realize how much a small gift, a small personal kindness, can really make someone just so excited.

Hey, you give them a shirt, it might be a piece of merch, something personalised that they said, and they just brought that in and that person was just so excited that someone took the time and did that personal thing.

Similarly a CRM can help you start to organise and say, these are the people who are always attending. These are the people who are not only attending, but they're buying your merchandise. They're buying the extra food that you have in the front. They're your high value folks.

You might be like, I know who those people are. It can help you not only identify but it can help you have a structured way to say, hey, here's a task to right now check in on those folks . That's the CRM, the relationship management side . But the other part that I think is important is the content, the nurturing side, that can come from the email piece.

When I went into every single one of these boxes, one of the things that amazed me was there was pretty much zero valuable content that went out besides events. The only thing that contacted people about was, we're doing this special event, we're doing this Christmas party, but there was nothing about the core of the practices they follow. Hey, you can try these different exercises at home. Anything that would help deepen that connection and keep building on that.

One of the other things we would do is we would say. What does your audience care about? Beside coming in and doing Pilates, what other areas of their life do they value? You can start to generate content that can be complimentary, and deepen that engagement.

Those folks who are consistently reading every single one of your emails and that are maybe sharing those out, those are also going to be continually more engaged members. That's also your opportunity to position more expansion revenue, so the other way we use that is to use it tactfully to position expansion revenue opportunities in front of the right people.

I don't want to go down the rabbit hole or make this seem too complex, because you can make it as simple or you can make it as complex as you want, but one of the things that I think is often amiss is when you treat everyone the same. You send the same message to every single person with no personalisation, no segmentation.

What happens is, that one person who loves you, they're actually willing to go spend a bunch, they would love to buy your merch, and if you just hit them with that email at that right time, they're gonna go do that. The other person, they're frustrated at you something happened. There was an issue with a refund or whatever, and if you send them that email they're actually they're more likely to leave because they're just pissed off.

Part of it is building a structure that all of that guesswork is just taken out. It just says, look, if someone has an at risk tag, which we assigned automatically based on some behaviour, we don't send them any of those expansion emails. Boom. Easy. You just set it. It's just a setting in your tool. There's no thinking about it, or processing. You just set that up, and from there you now have the ability to have these curated, tailored experiences for folks.

I know I get energised again. I've been in this space for 12 years. I've been working with small businesses. That's my bread and butter. My dad ran a business. My cousin ran a business. My grandfather ran businesses, so I come from that kind of entrepreneurial blood and that's what I love.

I love helping people take stuff they're passionate about, that they care and turn that into a livelihood, turn that into something that they can do. And I genuinely believe that systems are things that we can build to help. You're still going to be juggling a lot of hats. You'll always be juggling hats, but if it can be a few less hats in some of these key areas, that's more time back in your life to focus on the things that you care about.

DAVID: In our Clinical Pilates industry, we have fantastic technicians. They love what they do. They love to be able to provide the benefits to their clientele with mobility, with reduction of pain, with helping them to be able to do things like put that child on their shoulders, or go fishing, or play a game of golf.

The thing is though, they're getting distracted away from what they love by other things in business, and they'd rather just be that technician. So it's wonderful to hear that there's possibilities there for things to work automatically, let's say semi automatically. Be systemised, so these things can all happen in the background while you're teaching someone on a trapeze table how to do what they need to do, to get the results from your business.

That's where people want to be. They want to be helping their clientele build an excellent Pilates exercise habit. We like to say that a lot, but with this system, with a CRM that's working the way that you've described, you can have that ticking along in the background and assisting you with that very important task while you're at the front end as a technician as an excellent clinical Pilates instructor to help clients get that result. and as you say, it can be as simple or as complicated as you need for your business.

Not only in the studio, but digitally via their email, or any other way of being in contact with the clientele. That's excellent, and that time saving, automation aspect is just so important for us for small businesses for sure. I think we've covered most of the points that we wanted to cover Casey for this episode.

We do want to dig a bit deeper and I'm hoping that we're going to be able to use Pilates Can as an excellent example, that still needs to improve what we're doing with various aspects of our usage of ActiveCampaign as the CRM, so that our listeners can understand in a little bit more depth what it is like to build an automation, and what it's like to have that ticking away in the background and sending hundreds of emails to hundreds of clientele in the space of a couple of weeks, perhaps, or even more than that, depending on the size of the business, of course.

We'll be able to make that light education with a little bit of entertainment. Get things up on the screen so that people can see our account and what we're doing with our automations. There would be many in our industry who don't already have a CRM, or if they've got a CRM, perhaps they're not using it to the best possible way that they could. We're in that category as well, we can certainly improve. We'd like to think we've done some good things, but there's certainly many areas where we could improve.

CASEY: Yeah, absolutely. I think that would be awesome. I always like to peel back the hood.

I find that, when it comes to small business, my experience has been people hear stuff around email marketing, they hear stuff around customer relationship management. Oh man, that sounds cool, but it sounds heavy. It sounds like it's going to be extra work to set it up, and I don't know if I have the bandwidth.

I think sometimes just seeing what's possible in 10 minutes, 15 minutes, suddenly someone goes from that mental spot of that seems like a huge lift. If I could take this thing off my plate that I'm doing, this repetitive thing that I'm doing, and I could have that become automated, I could build a system around that, and it can be that fast. That's pretty cool.

DAVID: That's exactly the sort of thing that we do in the studio. We help people to achieve a level of movement and mobility that perhaps they haven't been able to reach in their normal life. We help give them confidence, so doing that on the business side is also very important.

I'm really looking forward to that. I think we'll have at least another five or six episodes there in this series about CRM, that our people can learn from and apply in their small businesses, so thank you for that, Casey. That's terrific.

We're going to bring this episode to a close now, but before we do that, do you have anything else that you'd like to add that we've perhaps glaringly missed?

CASEY: I don't think we've glaringly missed anything. I think there's always extra use cases we can unpack. I think there's clarity to be added to certain elements of this, but I think at a high level, what I would like folks to know is that there are tools that you can implement today that will take time off your plate and allow you to not be a stuck in repetitive tasks, and also able to communicate better with your customers to have a stronger relationship there.

I think that is really the message that I want folks to know. Obviously, I work at ActiveCampaign, I'm a fan. There's a lot of different tools out there, but if you were to put together a system that gives you that time back in your day, I think that's worthwhile, and I think also can help unpack so many different use cases of how you can drive more revenue and be a small team, but power of big business.

I actually really love that ethos and that message that we have at ActiveCampaign. It's like a slogan, right? Small teams powering big businesses, and that means a lot to me. I was sharing earlier that my family is all entrepreneurial. It's all big business, small team, meaning that there's only a handful of people, right? My dad's business, I think at the biggest they had 11 employees, and my cousin's business has four employees. Runs a little coffee shop. I'm around these small businesses, but they're learning these skills and it's so fun when my cousin reaches out.

Hey, I took your idea around subscriptions and now I'm selling subscription coffee directly and I have all these people that are paying me on a recurring basis. It's now all possible and it's powered because I'm taking these sales online and I was communicating with this newsletter. It's just so cool to see him light up with this new revenue arm. They're adding all this extra revenue on the side and they've built the system to have it all operate on autopilot and so, I think there's a lot of cool aspects about what is possible.

DAVID: It's fantastic to talk to someone who's so close to the small business industry. We are really a little bit special compared to larger businesses, with small numbers of staff, as mentioned, and small resources. But, if we can amplify those resources and do better because of that, then that's certainly what we're interested in, so everything that you've said today has been fantastically useful.

I want to thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for taking the time. I know you've got a very busy schedule with everything that you're doing there reaching out and growing ActiveCampaign, so we'd just like to thank you very much, and we look forward to working some more with yourself, or your team that may be able to help us with some of those areas in future podcasts in this series. That's fantastic, Casey, thank you very much.

CASEY: Brilliant. Thank you so much.

DAVID: In next week's episode: Google reviews. How to get more of them, and get them continuously. Google reviews are very important for being able to differentiate your business in a busy marketplace.

We're going to use Pilates Can as an example, look at the current standard operating procedures, then review those, and include automation with ActiveCampaign.

We have a very special guest helping us with our processes: Adam Tuttle, who has been national manager of Active Campaign in Australia and now works with ActiveCampaign back in the USA.

A very important episode as we dive deeply into Google reviews, getting them consistently, and getting standard operating procedures that allow you to do that with minimum fuss and maximum output.

Looking forward to that with, Adam Tuttle, Tara, our Pilates Can marketing manager, and of course myself, but, until then, stay awesome.

"It has to be cost effective as well. Cost effective with your time and cost effective with the money that you're going to spend on it."                                                                                   David Gunther - The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra

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