Career Strategies Group (the Group), based in Brewster, NY, provides nationwide services to attorneys, executives and other professionals looking to find new and challenging careers. They assist with every aspect of identifying and securing the best possible career paths for their clients. From career testing and assessment, resumes and interview preparation, to job search coaching and individual marketing plans, their services cover the entire spectrum.
The Group’s services are in high demand, and they are always looking for ways to streamline their prospecting efforts, as well as the applicant vetting and approval process, in order to better serve their constituents. But with such a demand for their services, they were finding it difficult to provide all of their applicants with the kind of personal, timely attention they needed. They were losing prospects due to an inability to respond to them quickly enough. CEO Bruce Blackwell realized there must be a better way, so he began to look into his options for solving that problem.
In the past, the Group had tried various CRM and marketing automation software solutions to make them more efficient. They were shelling out significant amounts of money each month, but were not receiving the value they needed from those solutions. Applicants were piling up, and Bruce’s team was finding it challenging to respond to them in a timely manner. A prospect would reach out to them, and it often took a number of days to respond. This was a problem, because if a prospect had to wait more than a few days for a response, it was possible they would look elsewhere. Once Bruce’s team was able to respond to a prospect, there were still various administrative tasks that needed to be completed to evaluate the potential client and their needs. All of this administration was being done manually, which further prolonged the process and certainly did not help to reduce the backlog of prospects.
In this type of business, personal relationships are critically important. A client needs to feel a comfortable and personal rapport with the Group so that the two can work collaboratively to identify and obtain the job that is the best possible fit for the applicant. At the end of the day, Bruce and team worried that—due to the excessive manual administration taking place—they were not able to provide the kind of personal attention that their clients needed to be successful. They were also failing to maximize their prospecting efforts; many of the leads they were generating were turning out to be a poor fit for their services, which further ate into their time. So, they decided to go back to the drawing board and evaluate potential solutions… yet again.
She employed three different CRM solutions in the past, but found that none of them was helping her to sufficiently solve these issues. She also employed a marketing automation solution for email marketing, but found that some aspects of the solution she chose were coming up short, and not allowing her to evolve in the way she wanted. She still faced the same pain points, and was a little disappointed that the solutions she implemented did not solve for these.
The Group finally looked into Agile CRM. After careful study, they decided that it was potentially the solution they had been looking for and decided to give it a try. With its end-to- end CRM, sales and marketing automation capabilities, it seemed like a good fit for their needs. With such a low price point, the risks involved were minimal, and the potential benefits far outweighed the cost.
Their initial impression was a good one, as the Agile CRM interface turned out to be much more intuitive and easy to learn than the systems they had used previously. They quickly found that the capabilities of Agile CRM surpassed their expectations, which were based on poor past experiences with other, less user-friendly solutions. They were able to easily create marketing emails, then send those out to everyone in their database in a fraction of the time. It became much easier and quicker to nurture leads with incremental email blasts, enabling them to remain front of mind for those prospects who perhaps were not yet ready to commit, but were likely to get there with a little nurturing. They had solved their prospecting problem; better leads were coming in and being qualified faster.
But the most impactful improvement that Bruce and his team felt after moving to Agile CRM was the drastic reduction of the time involved in manually completing those routine administrative tasks. The responses to incoming applicant inquiries that previously took multiple days are now being done almost immediately. The system’s automation and smart workflow capabilities enable the Group to trigger automatic actions in response to those inquiries. When a prospect submits an application, Agile CRM automatically sends back a pre-drafted welcome letter and information about the company, meaning applicants never get left waiting on a response. What used to take them days to complete, is now done automatically in a matter of minutes.
The Group has also put in place a triggered workflow that sends out an Agile web form—an eligibility questionnaire—to new applicants, which the team uses to ensure the applicant is a good fit. This alone is a huge time saver as it helps them eliminate ineligible applicants from the start, rather than the team having to spend time communicating back and forth with them, only to learn later that the applicant is ineligible and that time had been wasted. “Agile CRM eliminates so much manual administrative work, that I can’t even begin to calculate the resources and time that it has saved us,” says Bruce.
Bruce and team continue to grow their ability to use the system. “It’s such an extensive system, with so many capabilities, that we’re still learning new things and becoming proficient in new areas every day.” Now that the team is saving so much time, they are able to devote that extra time to higher valued tasks, like interacting personally with their applicants. They are finally able to deliver the level of personal attention that their clients expect. “The system makes business so much more personal,” says Bruce.
Bruce also now has additional time that he’s able to devote to the creative work that sets the Group apart from its competition. With more time to spend on developing new services and programs, and on writing blog articles and his constituent newsletter, Bruce is able to focus more on the seemingly smaller—yet equally important—details that differentiate an average business from an exceptional one. The sales process is much more efficient now, too. With the eligibility questionnaire in place, inappropriate leads are immediately screened out, so only suitable candidates are called. Because they are only doing in-person contacts with quality leads, they are increasing the rate at which they are converting those leads into clients. “When we do our job right and are able to focus on the best leads, that means that more of our clients are securing the jobs that they want, which makes it a win-win situation for everyone involved,” says Bruce.
Career Strategies Group is in a great place now, and is fully set up for success. Agile CRM has enabled them to take their game to the next level by empowering them to maximum the value and impact of the skills and expertise that the Group brings to the table.
Bruce, with his flip phone in hand, admits that he does not like to use his smart phone and doesn’t pride himself on his technological prowess. However, he is completely comfortable using the system and navigating its interface. “The system offers remarkably good value and is very reasonably priced for small businesses,” he says. “With Agile, you get a lot of bang for your buck. And it’s fairly intuitive and easy to use… even for a flip phone guy.”