When we started our services company, as with all start-ups, we were doing everything. We were the operations management, finance department, employees, administration department, marketing etc. We had to focus on establishing the business, doing the work and, of course, getting the clients. Initially you do what you can, fight the fires, choose your battles wisely and get as much money in as possible. But, at this stage of a business, there tend to be large leaks when it comes to client acquisition – one of which is lead capture.
Letting our leads go down the drain….
Initially the best we could do was answer inquiries with a “yes we can help” or “no, unfortunately not”. At this stage, as a completely new company, we paid directly for each potential client that contacted us – be it via Google Adwords, flyers, community advertising etc. We were not yet benefiting from referrals or much in the way of repeat business.
As the number of inquiries increased, we began to feel lost in the large number of calls that seemed to go nowhere. At the end of the day, besides having very targeted advertising, a large proportion of our leads were not suitable. And, believe me, when you are new and struggling, you see the “cost” of each lead that you have to turn away or lose.
The other problem we faced was that we had a number of calls where the lead wanted an estimate of the cost and then they were “gone”, so to speak.
So, one leak in our expenses we had to address, was the cost of these “worthless” or “unsuitable” leads.
What do we mean by lead capture?
The first step was to capture their information. We were, after all paying for it! So, we created the lead functionality in our PocketSME software
. In this system, you capture the details for all leads
i.e. every single person that contacts your company by any channel – phone, email, passing in the street (car signage can do wonders!)- for services of any sort.
Slice and dice your leads….
With the PocketSME lead capture system, you can create custom labels for each lead in order to categorize them according to their requirements, for example, some we used were:
- Requires services outside of the area in which we operate
- Requires services that we don’t provide
- Requires services outside of our operating hours
- And so on….
We also recorded the lead source, for example, Google Adwords, Facebook etc.
With this basic information it is easy to come to some conclusions about your business path, refine your marketing and get more clients.
Examples of the benefits we reaped:
Extending our business…
As example of our use of this information we looked at just how many leads we got wanting after-hours assistance. At that early stage in the business, we decided the need (in terms of the leads we were attracting at the time) was not enough to justify that we establish an after-hours service.
Checking our advertising success…
We could also now monitor the number of leads from our Google Adwords clicks. This is helpful for costing your campaign. Over time, you can also see changes in your advertising channels’ success rate. For us, we went through a patch where our Google Adwords advertising click-to-contact rate dropped drastically. In other words, suddenly we were getting the same number of clicks on our Google Adwords, but a much reduced number of calls from that advertising channel. This information enabled us to take action and prevent excessive expenses from our Adwords campaign.
Profiting from unsuitable leads….
Increase conversion rates…
Next what we introduced were “estimates” in our PocketSME software. This was to reduce the number of leads we simply “lost” because we gave them a verbal quote and that was it. Our process changed from giving verbal quotes to only providing estimate documents. This also enabled us to make use of estimate or quote marketing
. These leads could then be followed up on and resulted in more conversions.
Increased our marketing base…
Finally, with lead capture we were creating an ever-increasing email list – key for email marketing. Even if all of the leads are currently not your ideal customer, one day they could be. In many cases you can still offer them services of some kind, if not immediately, then going forward. This is functionality that we built into the PocketSME software so that you can maximise your lead conversion.
For example, we might have someone requesting the installation of a pedestrian gate – a service we didn’t offer. We could still at some stage inform the lead about the importance of garage door maintenance and offer a service. Chances are they have a garage door and chances are they haven’t had it looked at in a while plus, we also found, that, in many cases people didn’t know that they should have their garage door serviced!
Adding the lead capture module of the PocketSME software to our system took our business to a whole new level, increasing turnover and improving our advertising efforts.
Many businesses start with doing their invoicing using some sort of computer software such as Word or Excel, not online invoicing software. Perhaps keeping a list of clients in a spreadsheet and laboriously generating a new invoice with every sale or service provided. And there are established businesses that are also spending unwarranted amounts of time with this type of quote and invoicing system.
You can easily end up with hundreds of files and be so bogged down in the admin that it is difficult to see and keep up with what quotes have been sent or received; what invoices are paid or overdue. Often the latter require another
file. This admin is boring, time-consuming, at times confusing and a real chore.
Not to mention if you are writing quotes and invoices by hand! You may need to hire someone just to sort out all of the paper work and capture details.
You are not in the business of quoting and invoicing, so don’t make it a key element of your time spend. There are businesses where hours are spent daily on quoting and invoicing. There is no time to follow-up or really use the details and information gathered from your clients for business intelligence.
So, how do you make this task simpler and faster? You use online invoicing software. Now you can go for an accounting package but, often this is more than what you require, is complicated, is usually slow and revolves around invoices and not clients or customers. So, unless you are going to use it to its full extent, rather go with a simple invoice software, such as our PocketSME Invoice online software
. So, what is this quotes and invoicing software going to do for you?
- Reduce time spent on quotes and invoices.
- you can maintain a database of your clients’ details so that you don’t need to enter them or copy them over each time you create a new quote or invoice.
- You can draw up a list of your products and services including prices so that when you are doing a quote or an invoice, you can easily select it and have it “filled in” immediately.
- Convert a quote to an invoice with the click of a button.
- Create template emails for quick and easy invoice, quote and receipt emails.
- Set up your company details and logo so that it is added to each quote or invoice automatically.
- Easy capturing of payments.
- Create your quotes and invoices immediately whilst you are still with your client and get quick responses.
- No need to spend the evening catching up on quotes and invoices.
- Organisation and manageability
- Keep quotes, invoices, contacts in one ordered place.
- Easily track quotes and invoices so that you can follow-up if required.
- Sending invoices and quotes from a “proper” system with standardized emails and consistent item information increases the professional look of your business. It is a logical step in the growth of a business.
- Reduce costs
- If you’re doing your quotes and invoices yourself, you will know how time-consuming it is. How much is an hour of your time worth? Is spending that time on quoting and invoicing worth it?
- If you employ someone to assist with quoting and invoicing, you can reduce the number of hours that they need to work and thereby save on administration costs.
- Increase payments
- Our online invoicing software will easily enable you to see what payments are outstanding and you can send reminder invoices at the click of a button.
- Add online credit card facilities – the more payment options there are, the better.
- See whether invoice emails have been opened AND whether the actual invoices have been viewed.
- Doing on-the-spot business means clients receive invoices immediately after your transaction and pay faster.
- Follow up on quotes
- Quotes often “slip through the cracks”. It is difficult to keep track of them if you don’t have an ordered system. Just by following up on quotes you can increase your business.
- Multiple client contact methods
- With PocketSME Invoice not only can you send clients’ notifications via email, but also texting. You can truly be “in their pocket.”
- Free up your time for more important things
- By reducing your time spent on admin significantly, you will have more time to spend on the important aspects of your business, such as marketing.
- Manage your business from anywhere with PocketSME Invoice
- Add new clients, follow-up on invoices etc. from the comfort of your lounge, or a coffee shop, travelling on a bus or even whilst on holiday!
- The software is responsive so it is easy to use on your phone.
- Impress clients with immediate quotes and information.
- Quick access to contacts in the PocketSME customer database.
- Click-to-call and direct client email functionality.
- GPS co-ordinates of address is calculated and can be automatically inserted into Google or Apple Maps for directions.
- Data storage and back-up.
- Have all of your important client and financial information in one place with safe and secure storage and back-up facilities.
- You don’t need to worry about your phone being stolen or your computer hard-drive crashing.
- Increase your customer base
All-in-all, using PocketSME Invoice
is a logical step in the growth of your business. If you are not using online invoicing software, then it is advisable that you investigate switching over to an electronic system straight away. If you already are using a quote and invoice program, check that it is the best invoice software for you!
We have developed the PocketSME business software
so that it is suitable for all industries and organisations of varying sizes. Whether you are a one-man-band or you have multiple staff, the PocketSME business software is your “support staff”, your business facilitation tool and your marketer. Here is a list of some of the industries that we cover (obviously at a rather high level, but contact us if you are not sure):
- Repairs, construction and engineering services – plumbers, electricians, security, building, sanitation etc. Also, included are services such as car repairs and appliance repairs.
- Healthcare – from doctors and physiotherapists to psychologists and chiropractors. Vets are another industry to use our software.
- Real Estate – renting, sales, property management
- Personal services e.g. beauticians, hairdressers etc.
- Entertainment – hotels / bed & breakfasts, wedding services, events, catering services
- Legal Services
- Financial services – including insurance services
- Education – Tutors, pre-schools, after-care etc.
- Transportation – perhaps you have a fleet of trucks, or maybe you are running a school lift-club service.
- Retail – both online and offline. Whether you are selling vitamins as a side business or if you have a fully-fledged business selling decor.
- Manufacturers. Perhaps your are supplying home industry shops, preparing biscuits and treats from your kitchen or you are manufacturing particular parts for electrical industry.
- Business services such as IT, recruitment, management consulting, marketing, research etc.
- Freelancers – for example, writers
Our business software is for you!
Reap the benefits of:
- Quick and easy quoting and invoicing
- Reduced time spent on administrative tasks such as finance
- Automate recurring, boring tasks
- Ace your marketing
- Increase your turnover
- Increase the time you can spend ON your business and not IN it.
- More sales
- Be the expert in your industry
- Retain clients
- Maximize your leads
- Send emails and SMS’s from the system
- View client interaction
- Maintain a database of clients
Read more about PocketSME services