From Zero to Hero: Transform Your Pilates Studio with CRM

From Zero to Hero: Transform Your Pilates Studio with CRM

Join host David Gunther in the first episode of The Pilates Business Podcast's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) series as he sits down with Casey Hill from ActiveCampaign.

As a seasoned expert in software growth, Casey shares insights into his role at ActiveCampaign, where he focuses on developing organic growth engines and consulting with industry leaders on topics like SaaS pricing and marketing strategies. With a mission to propel ActiveCampaign towards 1 billion in annual recurring revenue, Casey sheds light on the transformative power of CRM for businesses of all sizes.

David and Casey explore the myriad benefits of CRM, emphasising the importance of personalisation, segmentation, and seamless integration with other business systems. They discuss practical strategies for leveraging tools like ActiveCampaign and Bonjoro for digital personal touch points, and highlight the critical role of email marketing in nurturing client relationships.

Through engaging conversation and real-world examples, David and Casey demystify CRM, empowering listeners to unlock its full potential in driving business growth and fostering meaningful connections with customers.

Don’t miss out on this latest, or any, episode of “The Pilates Business Podcast”.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Introduction to Casey Hill and His Expertise
  • [00:01:03] Podcast Welcome and Hello to Casey
  • [00:02:00] Understanding CRM and Its Benefits
  • [00:03:58] The Role of CRM in Small Businesses
  • [00:04:52] The Ease of Use of CRM
  • [00:05:01] Building Systems with CRM
  • [00:05:44] Identifying Business Gaps and Building Structures
  • [00:06:22] Using CRM for Business Growth
  • [00:07:56] Personal Experience with CRM
  • [00:10:26] Understanding 'All in One' Solutions
  • [00:13:19] The Power of Personalisation and Segmentation in CRM
  • [00:16:01] The Importance of Integration in CRM
  • [00:20:00] Personal Story: Transitioning to ActiveCampaign
  • [00:21:36] Bonjoro: A Tool for Personalised Digital Touchpoints
  • [00:24:38] Conclusion and Preview of Next Episode

"You can start to learn who those people are, and advertise to them accordingly. The people that care about that stuff make sure that they're the first people who get informed about the new release, about whatever specific thing in that domain that they're interested in, & you're going to maximise sales."   Casey Hill - Senior Growth Marketing Manager ActiveCampaign

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Episode Resources

Episode Transcript

DAVID GUNTHER:  Casey Hill is a Super-Ace, with over a decade of experience helping software companies grow in scale. In his current role leading growth at ActiveCampaign, Casey is building organic growth engines and quickly propelling ActiveCampaign towards 1 billion in annual recurring revenue.

Casey is doing that by creating millions of views on LinkedIn and pioneering new growth levers for ActiveCampaign and their customers.

On the consulting side, Casey works with some of the world's biggest firms, including places like McKinsey, BlackRock, and Colemans, where he provides institutional guidance to private equity and venture capital teams around topics such as: small to medium business marketing, vendor selection, SaaS pricing, SaaS marketing, CRM tool differentiation, market analysis, and inbound and marketing automation.

Casey is a treasure trove of experience with customer relationship management, and I can't wait to get into this episode. Let's go, let's do it. Here it is. The Pilates Business Podcast CRM series, first episode with Casey Hill from ActiveCampaign.

 Welcome to The Pilates Business Podcast. I'm very happy to have Casey Hill, who is senior growth manager at ActiveCampaign, join us today on the podcast to kick off our series on CRM, Customer Relationship Management. Welcome to The Pilates Business Podcast, Casey.

CASEY HILL: Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to chat.

DAVID: We're going to jump straight into it. Casey and I have really only just met. We've been toggling over email, and we've got a lot of alignment with what we're doing with the podcast and what Casey is doing with ActiveCampaign, a very useful CRM software that we've been using for a number of years now at Pilates Can.

Casey, for our small business owners that may or may not already be using some form of CRM, what are the benefits? What can you tell us?

CASEY: Yeah, for sure. So, CRM customer relationship management, it's very multifaceted. The first thing I want to let folks know is historically CRM has really just been associated with the sales motion, a sales tool. I hope by the end of this conversation, I expand how we think about CRM, and all the different relational modes that CRM can tie into. How it can relate to PR, how it can relate to partner relationships, and all these other cool functions that can happen.

I think as a starting point, if we start very basically, CRM is a place where you can store your data or your information on a customer or a business. When someone signed up, if someone is a member, if someone is trialling, or if someone just took a one off class, if someone is maybe a very engaged customer that has attended ten classes in a row, these are all variables that you can look at in a CRM, and you can organise folks around those.

You can use custom fields to have someone's birthday, so you can contact or reach out or send something on someone's birthday. You can know when their renewal date is coming up, so you can get a reminder task two weeks before to touch base and make sure that you engage that person.

I think hopefully over the course of this, we're going to unpack and dig into a lot of the use cases. But, as a starting point, I think that is the core. It's this central spot where you're keeping all the key information about your customers. It is enabling you to take actions to provide a better experience for folks and be able to save people who might be about to cancel. To be able to convert more people who might be interested, but you haven't quite pulled them over the line to becoming a paying member. Those all become wrapped up in this CRM motion.

DAVID: Casey, that's really interesting. As small business owners, we learn one really important thing, and that is that we have to do everything. We have to be the maintenance person, we have to be the marketing manager, we have to deliver the Pilates, and we have to look after staff issues.

Whatever comes up, we need to do it. If there's a hole in the wall because a client was rolling a ball on the wall and the ball went through the wall, then we need to fix the wall. So, it's really terrific to hear that there's one piece of software that can go across so many tasks that we have, particularly to do with our clientele obviously, the focus of our businesses.

That's really useful, and of course it's important to us that it's easy to use. That we have something at our fingertips that does the job for us and makes our life easier, not more complicated, not more difficult. What can you tell us about what the ease of use of a CRM should be and how that works? Perhaps with ActiveCampaign?

CASEY: Yeah, for sure. So I think the whole key around effectively using a CRM is to build systems, right? To build systems so that opportunities don't slip through the cracks. And one of the beauties is. Let's say that you have a system that when someone signs up to trial out, they're trying to decide if they want to be a member, They start that trial process.

You have a system that says, I'm going to apply a tag. Think of a tag as a label, right? I'm going to apply a label. Once you've set that in your system, that's going to happen every single time. So now it's systematised. In the same way that you tell the system, Hey, two weeks before their renewal date, I want to send some sort of reminder.

Or, someone who's bought these kind of products from me. Identify them in a certain way. So the first thing I would say is that when you're thinking about approaching these systems, start to think through where are the gaps right now that you have as a business and every business will look a little different.

Some people are really good at getting people through the door, but they have high turnover. They have high churn as I would call it, right? Some people it's about expansion. How can we get people to buy more stuff, different types of stuff. Maybe there's different types of membership packages.

And so the first thing is to give some thought to where are those gaps. And then, I think it's building structures. Just to give a specific example. Let's say that you're trying to grow your business and so you go to a local trade show or some sort of local event, right? And at that event, you meet 16 people.

You meet 16 people who say, I might be interested. So inside your CRM, you can have what they call a Kanban board. A Kanban board means you have a visual board of the stages that folks are in. So after you meet those 16 people, you have stage 1 says, 16 people contacted. You set up a follow up task automatically, you tell the system, have me follow up with all these people.

It generates a task that tells you, hey, reach out to these 16 folks. So you reach out, and 8 of those people book in a trial class, right? Those people now move from that booking, those people now move into the second stage. So now you have 8 people who've been contacted, you have 8 people who are now in that trial class, and then let's say 3 of those people sign up, and they become paying members with you.

Right now those three people move into that stage. What is happening now is number one, there's no scrambling to find people. There's no looking where were those people I found and what were their names and you're like trying to organise it in Excel spreadsheet? No, it's all right in front of you.

You can see the people where they came from. You can see where they are in that funnel or that process, right? Oh, these are the people that I haven't gotten any future contact with. These are the people who booked a class, and these are the people who became paid. And that's a good example of a CRM helps you stay on top of that.

If I can share a personal example, I launched an e commerce business. A little bit different, but I still used a CRM example that I think can be applicable. When I launched my e commerce business, I started direct to consumer. And at some point, I moved, about two years in, I moved to a retail motion.

What I did initially, I was trying to drive more business. I sent out a whole bunch of emails to every, I was selling a card game slash tabletop game. I reached out to all these local gaming stores and I basically sent my pitch, I sent my Kickstarter video and all the work we had done. Closed 5,000 of business.

But then, there was a bunch of people who were interested but they weren't ready to move at that exact point. They said, we want to see more of your sales performance, we want to learn more about this, we're interested but we can't put it on this purchase order. So what I did is I organised all those people in my CRM and I said, follow up in two weeks.

Or this person said their next purchase cycle is this date, so follow up at this date. I lined that all up and over the course of the next quarter I spent time following up as it made sense with all those folks and closed another 25,000 in business So that was for my person that was for arcon my personal e commerce business There is no way, as you noted, with all the hats that we wear as small businesses and running your marketing, your sales, your internal coordinating with the shop, there is no way that I would have remembered the specific times and days to follow up with people, pursue those opportunities, make sure that business doesn't fall through the cracks if I didn't have some sort of central structure to organise All of those pieces.

So I think that is as a starting point, a couple of different ways that you can start to think about how to leverage that CRM piece.

DAVID: Casey, I think that's a really valuable example. And the value of that is about 25,000 as you mentioned. And I don't know anybody in. The clinical Pilates business world that can afford to ignore 25,000 or make sure that they don't capture that 25,000 worth of sales.

That's so important to us and it's so important that it's easy to do. And I think that the industry term for all of this that we're talking about now is nurturing the the prospective clientele so that they do eventually become clientele and that they become regular clientele.

So is there, are there other things that we should know about that nurturing process and CRMs in general or ActiveCampaign specifically?

CASEY: My background for the last 12 years, I've worked in the martech space and I've worked actually almost all of that 10 years of that I've worked with what we sometimes coin, I don't really love the term, but they call it all in one solution. All in one solutions really means that the CRM piece, which is what we've been talking about might also come with an email marketing piece combined under the same roof. And so, ActiveCampaign is essentially that. We actually have separate products, so if you just want the CRM, you could get that. If you just want the email piece, you can get that. But I do think that email, when we talk about nurturing, I would be remiss to not bring email as a point of conversation into that because email can be something that works directly in tandem with your CRM.

I want to make sure that I'm using terminology in the same way that you're thinking of it. When I say CRM, customer relationship management, that term to me is strictly the contact management side.

It's the stages folks are in, it's the contacts, the automation. The marketing piece is what I call an ESP, an email service provider. An ESP is the bucket of all of the email piece. Send this email after someone opts in, wait five days, send an email. And coming in, my conversation very much focused on the CRM side, and in fact, AC sells both. They're actually separate products. There's a CRM product. That's all customer relationships, task reminders, the visual kanban board. Then there's a marketing piece. The marketing piece is all the email marketing, the drips and the flows. And we obviously have them together bundled as a combined product that you can get.

Back in the day, it was all multi-product. It was all combined email, CRM, and then they basically segmented it. They said some people on the sales side just wanna manage relationships, they wanna follow up with people.

So that was classified as the CRM side and then the email side was all the automations and the drips and the nurturing and the follow up. And so now you can get three different offerings on the pricing page. You can get just the CRM, just the marketing, or you can get both.

One of the details that I didn't share about that example before with those retailers is, I also put people on different drips depending on what they wanted. I published a letter that recapped all of our sales data, right? Any other retail deals, all the pertinent information, and that went out automatically to all the retailers that requested information on that.

There was other retailers, they didn't care about that. They just wanted to know about the core product, right? So I was sending them updates about the game, about the mechanics, about all of that. Those happened automatically. As simple as, in ActiveCampaign, I have a task, and on that task, I can choose a different outcome to the task.

I could say, one of my outcomes could be 'interested in financial data'. I could literally have that task appear, have the conversation with them, click that button, they start to get an email every two weeks, or whatever frequency I want, following up on that specific thing.

One of the things that's so powerful about marketing automation and email playing together is the personalisation, the segmentation, where you can really learn what do these people care about. In the very beginning, I was talking a little bit about tags and labels and custom fields, and I think that's where some of this magic happens. As you learn about your customers, you learn what they value. If some people have additional offerings, what are they maybe buying beyond the core offering?

You can start to learn who those people are, and advertise to them accordingly. The people that care about that stuff, make sure that they're the first people who get informed about the new release, about whatever specific thing in that domain that they're interested in, and you're going to maximise sales.

So when I think of businesses, I like to think of CRM and automation working together in tandem to contact and nurture people from an email perspective, and then where applicable, produce tasks, so on the human side, you can call folks, you can reach out to folks as needed. To, say, save a relationship, or what have you. I believe that those two mechanisms are best paired. Email and the CRM side.

DAVID: I agree, and that's been our experience over many years now. One of the reasons for that, and you really touched on that, is that personalisation, definitely. In a world which is so digital, these days. Where our clientele, they're certainly used to using their mobile phones to communicate and use their email and all of that sort of thing, but one of the things that they crave is a little bit of personalisation, a little bit of personal contact.

In fact, one of the feedback forms that we had from a survey just yesterday was that, because of COVID, we've got our Admin staff remote. Now, they're working from home. That works terrifically well in a number of ways.

However, we're missing out on that personal contact to an extent where pre COVID, we had staff that would say, 'Hi, Mary.' 'Hi, Jane.' 'Hi, Pete', and have a good day', and 'are there any issues with your account', or 'can we take that payment for you'? Whatever it might be, but it's a personal touch point and having those personal touch points digitally but personalised so that it's not expensive for us time wise for our staff.

It's just so important, and, of course, we need to have those non digital personal touch points as well, but if we're going to have digital touch points, they need to be personalised. They need to be relevant, they need to be timely, all of those things that you've mentioned.

I want to come back to one thing that you said there, all in one, and your definition there for a CRM was that it had email and automation. It certainly contained those things. We have a challenge also in our industry that maybe you can help us with, shine some light on for us, where we have scheduling systems that decide that, and they're scheduling, highly complicated reasonably complicated schedules of classes, how many people are in those classes. If someone's going to be not coming along to the class, then there's a wait list so someone else can jump in and utilise that space. Perhaps there's only four spaces maximum in the session like our semi-privates.

So, there's a market there for CRM, and we can do that as well as the scheduling that we're doing, and perhaps some marketing work as well. Use AI, and bring in a whole lot of things to be the answer to everything. I'll tell you my thoughts on that before I put you on the spot. My thoughts are that, some of these systems really need to concentrate on what they're good at and really build on that and really deliver that in spades and then be able to integrate well with other systems that are also concentrating on what they do well and in your case with ActiveCampaign and a CRM with email as part of that communication and automation process.

CASEY: One of the reasons you heard me kind of caveat that I don't love the term all in one is that it can be a very kind of non specific term, right? In the case of something like ActiveCampaign, you can build landing pages, you can manage contacts and relationships, and that's what I call the CRM side, then there's the email marketing side. The combination of those pieces is why sometimes it's referred to as all in one, but, as you point out, I don't believe there's any true all in one. I also agree with you, I don't think there should be. There's tools that are built to be highly specialised around some of these applications. So I think what's important for businesses, especially small businesses, is to look at how things connect together. I'm really glad you brought that up because I think a really important litmus test. When I have friends, family, people that come to me and know that I'm in this space and they're standing up some sort of business or motion and they ask me, 'Casey, how should I approach this?'

One of the first things I tell them is, how does it connect with everything that you need to run your business? How does it connect with your scheduling system, how does it connect with your payment processor? I think that is a really important test, and one of the things I'm proud of is there's a huge amount of connections that come into tools like ActiveCampaign.

We have a lot of native integrations with calendar systems like Calendly and a handful of others. Payment processors, things like Shopify, but also even things like Stripe. The actual payment gateway itself you can have be something that triggers or does something. And then you have tools like Zapier, where we can bring in and connect tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of other tools out there, to speak to and communicate with ActiveCampaign It's built to be a totally open API style system. I think for almost every small business I know, there will always be a handful of tools that you need to operate.

But you want to have as few as you can. Don't overcomplicate it, right? If you can get away with three, don't have six. And, make sure that the stuff that you have doesn't require a lot of redundancy.

A personal story, before I came and joined ActiveCampaign, I worked for a tool called Bonjoro, based out of Australia. They do personal video. They actually integrate with ActiveCampaign, if you ever wanted to do a personal video touch. I think it's a great program. But at the time, we were using MailChimp for our email, and we were using HubSpot free for our CRM. There was so much double work that was required as part of that, because we had to make sure that everything we gathered and all the relationships and conversations that were happening in HubSpot, we had to duplicate them in MailChimp, and vice versa.

We actually migrated in 2020 over to ActiveCampaign. We combined those two under one roof, the HubSpot CRM side and the MailChimp email side. It was just so much more seamless to have one source of truth with a core data live where we could manage those relationships, and so that was just a personal story.

I was actually the one leading the marketing team, so I was doing that transition, and it was just like that sigh of relief of everything plugged into one spot. There wasn't manual exports required. I think as teams, especially who maybe aren't super tech savvy or just getting into this, one of the things that is encouraging is when you can just build one system, and have that one system operating and driving a benefit for you and saving that time and you're not having to poke around in a million different places, for the spots that you need, because they're fundamental. Say your scheduling system, it communicates.

DAVID: I think that's probably the best explanation and story about how that works for a small business that I've ever heard. So thanks very much for that because that will ring very true with our audience. Particularly that sigh of relief as you get something right in your business, because that doesn't always happen, as we know in small business. We make lots of mistakes. We don't always get it exactly right. So, when we see something work and connect, we're there a hundred percent and it's such a good feeling.

I'm going to put that, buongiorno, did you say bonjour? How do you pronounce that? And how do you spell that, for the show notes?

CASEY: It's B-O-N-J-O-R-O dot com. It's a company based out of Australia, and what's really cool is, it's actually a built in deep integration with ActiveCampaign. What it means is, let's say every time someone signs up on one of your forums, you can get a little pop up on your phone, and you can record a video that says, 'hey David, saw you just signed up, just wanted to send you a quick hello', and it'll never forget.

The first time I actually used Bonjoro, before I joined their team so many years ago, the CEO is out in the woods, his kid on his back, and he's waving in my inbox, and I'm like, what? I assumed like everyone else ,this is some bulk mass email or whatever, so I click on it, and he goes, 'Hey Casey. The weather in Southern California must be horrible, huh?'

And I go, what the heck! That guy actually knew, and he says, we work with a lot of SaaS companies and so I saw that you put on the form that your major challenge was no shows on your calls, and we work with a ton of companies. We're happy to help. Just let me know what you need. And then halfway through recording, he goes and he stepped over like a stick or something. And he goes, 'Oh, sorry about that'. And it was the most human experience. I was like, that is crazy. And I responded and I said, 'I can't believe you actually took the time to record that'. Then when I joined the team, I learned that every one of us, and I did it too, we just took 20 minutes a day. We recorded these videos.

Anyways, I'm a huge fan of Bonjoro. And if there's a time where you think an actual video, so that human one to one touch would be a good compliment, direct connection in with ActiveCampaign. So you can literally say when someone fills out a form, pop it up on your phone.

And also, I don't want to go too down the rabbit hole, but the integration can look at any custom field that you have in your CRM. So if they give you any information about their preferences, or if you've gathered any data on them, that can show up right below the video. When you go to record that quick twenty second, thirty second video, you can see any of those relevant variables, which is how, when Matt sent a video to me, he knew I was in Southern California.

He knew my problem was demo, no shows. So anyways, it's a cool tool. I am more than happy to advocate for it.

DAVID: That's a great tool for sure. And it goes a long way towards helping solve that problem that we mentioned earlier, where we've got all of these digital touch points, but not so much. personalised touch points.

Even though it's still a digital video, if you've got your child on your shoulders, or you're on a bike somewhere up a mountain, or you're fishing in a stream, you're talking about that client, relating to what they're experiencing, and helping them provide a solution.

That's got to go such a long way to helping that relationship, and helping get a solution for that and I'm going to remember that tool in this way. 'Bonjourro', so it's like Brad Pitt in Inglorious Bastards, that movie where they were the only two words he knew in Italian, and he got through somehow. So, as small business owners, we get through.

Yes. I was on a roll with the dad jokes, so we're going to leave it there for this first episode with Casey. We've got another episode with Casey, make sure you're there for that. We'll have at least six to eight episodes on CRM, customer relationship management, and so we'll see you for the second episode next week with Casey Hill and myself, and until then stay awesome.

"It goes a long way towards helping solve that problem... where we've got all of these digital touch points, but not so much personalised touch points. Even though it's still a digital video... you're talking about that client, relating to what they're experiencing, and helping them provide a solution."  David Gunther - The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra

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