How to Use a CRM for Consultants + How to Set it Up Right

Here’s how ResultConsulting uses Salesflare

If you’re a consultant looking for best practices on how to set up and use your CRM in the best possible way, then look no further!

We have interviewed the team at ResultConsulting who consult their customers on how to generate leads and use CRM. Doing so, they generate impressive results for themselves and for their clients. And they allowed us to share a lot of their expertise and processes with you.

We’ll go through:

Let’s dig in. 👇

Consultancy Company using CRM: Spotlight on ResultConsulting

ResultConsulting’s consultants coach their clients to create a replicable sales process that consistently generates results, mainly using LinkedIn and email as channels of communication.

They currently offer five different services:

  1. Outbound: They help companies be successful with generating B2B leads on LinkedIn, as well as through complementary email sequences.
  2. Customer revenue: They help companies generate more revenue from their existing customer base by implementing systematic cross-selling and up-selling activities.
  3. Inbound: They help companies set up a repeatable sales process/system to qualify, manage and nurture inbound leads.
  4. Business development design & CRM setup: They help companies to create the representation of their business development model in Miro (a digital whiteboard app) and then replicate it in the CRM with sales pipelines, custom fields and sales dashboards.
  5. Sales conversion process: They help companies optimize the sales process in order to convert leads generated by their proven model into paying clients.

Their main customer base consists of B2B companies like marketing agencies, consultancies and SaaS companies. They deliver these services internationally, but mainly in Italy, as this is their home market.

Why they started using a CRM as a consultancy… and their impressive results!

Before ResultConsulting adopted Salesflare, their customer relationship management was a “big mess”, as they refer to it. They used a combination of Excel sheets and notes on paper, which didn’t allow them to properly stay organized. It came to a point where they looked for a way to professionalize their organization.

Back then, ResultConsulting was just Matteo and Giacomo.

the two founding consultants of ResultConsulting
Brothers in arms… literally! 👬

Looking for a CRM, they knew that the biggest roadblock towards success would be to actually use the CRM they chose. They knew that most CRM implementations fail, simply because the team doesn’t want to use them: CRMs generally require too much work to keep them up to date, plus they don’t really help sales teams follow up their leads (even though that’s what they tend to advertise).

That’s when they stumbled upon Salesflare, an intelligent sales CRM for consultants that largely keeps itself up to date and actively reminds you to follow up with prospects. They decided to give it a try.

They found that using Salesflare wasn’t as heavy as using competing systems, and by implementing Salesflare, they managed to organize their customer relationships better and they also started capturing sales data way more consistently.

Concretely, implementing Salesflare as a sales CRM brought about two major changes in their performance:

  1. In retrospect, they saw that before using Salesflare they lost about 60% of their existing sales opportunities because they simply forgot to follow up or didn’t follow up as expected. This means that implementing Salesflare allowed them to more than double their revenue (2.5x), simply because it helped them to follow up successfully.
  2. They also weren’t able to improve their processes based on hard data. This allowed them to identify bottlenecks in their sales process. Solving just one of those bottlenecks (!) allowed them to more than double their revenue once again (2.6x). More about this later on.

In short, they were able to increase their revenue more than 6.5x in less than 2 years (between 2020 and 2022), simply by better following up their leads and improving their sales process based one of the insights that became available.

Here’s in practice how their sales results evolved:

  • 2019: 30k in new contracts
  • 2020: 30k in new contracts
  • 2021: 92k in new contracts
  • 2022: 436k in new contracts
  • 2023: 500k in new contracts (on track)
  • 2024: 1M in new contracts (goal & preparing the machine)
ResultConsulting sales growth
Nothing short of impressive 😲

ResultConsulting implemented Salesflare towards the end of 2020 and have been working to improve their processes ever since.

Here’s what (part of) the team looks like today, in November 2023.

the full consultancy team at ResultConsulting
12 of the 17 team members during on of their most recent team meetings 💻

How consultants use a CRM: concrete best practices

Now, let’s take a look at how ResultConsulting uses Salesflare so you can learn from their success. Many of their best practices are after all applicable across consulting firms.

1. Add leads straight from LinkedIn using the sidebar

The team at ResultConsulting are true experts at consistently generating leads through LinkedIn, so a great integration between LinkedIn and their CRM is essential for them.

With the LinkedIn extension for Chrome, Salesflare is neatly integrated as a sidebar next to person profiles, company profiles and even your LinkedIn messaging inbox.

When the team at ResultConsulting reaches out to potential leads on LinkedIn, they add them straight into the CRM using the sidebar.

add leads to the CRM using the LinkedIn sidebar
Add a lead straight from LinkedIn into the CRM ⚡

It also helps them find the email address of their leads with the built-in email finder.

Find the email address of LinkedIn leads
Find their business email address with the built-in email finder 🔎

And if the lead needs to be nurtured, they are added straight into the right email workflow.

Add LinkedIn leads to your consultancy's CRM and launch email sequences
Add them to an email workflow/sequence straight away 💌

This enables ResultConsulting to build a system that consistently generates leads using LinkedIn, automated emails and CRM tracking. They don’t only use this system themselves but also coach their customers on how to apply it to their business.

If you want to learn more about it, check out this webinar on how the system works.

2. Nurture leads with constant value using the email workflows

As mentioned above, the ResultConsulting team often uses Salesflare’s LinkedIn sidebar to add leads into email workflows, but they also often target their existing CRM database with emails.

At the moment, they generally use 5 types of workflows, linked to different sales pipelines (more about the pipelines later):

LinkedIn Prospecting Pipeline (similar for other lead pipelines):

  1. A “Long Nurturing” email workflow targets leads that didn’t respond on LinkedIn with emails that span over a period of 6 months with different types of content. The workflow is triggered when a lead goes into the “LinkedIn no answer” stage.
    1. A “Hot Nurturing” email workflow targets qualified leads over a period of 2 months. It shares case studies, former webinars and other valuable tidbits. This workflow is triggered when prospects are placed in the “Postponed” stage of the “LinkedIn Prospecting Pipeline”.

Sales Pipeline (core sales process)

    1. An email workflow that is very similar to the “Hot Nurturing” workflow above is sent to any prospect that is interested in ResultConsulting’s services but is not looking to commit right away. This workflow is triggered when prospects are placed in the “Postponed” stage of the “Sales Pipeline”.
    2. When a prospect is placed in the “Lost” stage, they will soon start receiving an email workflow that is specific to their “lost reason”. These workflows are currently in development.

Not linked to a specific pipeline (all leads)

    1. As a “conversion marketing” activity, they regularly invite their whole lead database to webinars and send them case studies to educate them and finally convert them to customers.

They send the email workflows that are specific to pipelines in the name of the responsible sales person, by duplicating the workflow and filtering each audience by “opportunity owner”.

The general email workflows on the other hand are sent out in the name of one of the two co-founders.

3. Track leads with multiple pipelines and tasks to streamline follow up

To track different processes within their sales machine, the team at ResultConsulting has set up four types of sales pipelines in Salesflare:

  1. A lead pipeline per channel: “LinkedIn Prospecting Pipeline”, “LinkedIn Advertising Pipeline”, “Inbound Pipeline” and “Event Pipeline”
  2. A “Sales Pipeline” for their core sales process
  3. A “Customer Pipeline” for renewals
  4. A “Partnership Pipeline” for partnerships

Before we dive into what these pipelines are for and how they are built up, it’s important to note that the ResultConsulting team has processes in place to make sure the pipelines are always managed well.

One such core process is the weekly pipeline review. This weekly meeting has 2 important goals:

  1. To help each other move opportunities to “Won” (or to “Lost”) by discussing the different opportunities with their respective status, next steps and potential roadblocks.
  2. To keep the pipeline clean, by moving opportunities consistently to “Lost”. A way to easily identify these opportunities for ResultConsulting is filtering by “last stage change date is more than 60 days ago” and/or “last meeting date is more than 60 days ago”.

Now, let’s look at the respective pipeline types in a bit more detail.

1. Lead Pipelines

The lead pipelines are meant to track each channel through which they generate leads and its own specific process in the best possible way. Using marketing/sales lingo, these pipelines are used to convert marketing qualified leads (MQLs) into sales qualified leads (SQLs).

Here are the stages of the “LinkedIn Prospect Pipeline” as an example::

  1. Qualified account: This account is a good target and will be contacted on LinkedIn.
  2. LinkedIn answer: They respond positively on LinkedIn (MQL).
  3. Meeting scheduled: A meeting is scheduled.
  4. Meeting done: The meeting has happened.
  5. Opened negotiation (Won): The prospect wants to start discussing a project.
  6. Lost: The opportunity did not make it to “Won” (or not fast enough).
  7. Postponed: The prospect is interested, but not to start collaborating right away. They will be nurtured with the shorter “Hot Nurturing” email workflow.
  8. LinkedIn no answer: The prospect didn’t answer on LinkedIn. They will be nurtured with the “Long Nurturing” workflow.

2. Sales Pipeline

This pipeline tracks ResultConsulting’s core sales process. They use it to close SQLs at a staggering 73% close rate.

The leads that enter the “Sales Pipeline” usually originate from one of the lead pipelines. Where they come from is indicated in the “Lead source” field.

The stages of the “Sales Pipeline” looks as follows::

  1. Meeting scheduled: This is an incoming SQL who will get a discovery call. If it makes sense, a presentation is scheduled.
  2. Presentation scheduled: This prospect will get a presentation of ResultConsulting’s services.
  3. Presentation done: The presentation has happened.
  4. Proposal sent: The prospect received a proposal.
  5. Analysis signed: The prospect signed to perform an initial analysis, which will lead into the actual project later.
  6. Client (Won): The analysis is completed and the prospect signed to do the actual project.
  7. Lost: The prospect dropped off anywhere in the sales process.
  8. Postponed: The project has been postponed for max 1-2 months (otherwise it’s “Lost”).

3. Customer Pipeline

The easiest way to generate revenue in a company is… renewing contracts with existing customers. That’s why ResultConsulting has put a clear process in place to inform their customers about their success together so far, so that they maximize the chance of renewal.

The “Customer Pipeline” has the following stages:

  1. Customer to contact: This customer should be contacted soon to discuss renewal.
  2. Meeting scheduled: The meeting has been scheduled.
  3. Renewal = Result: The customer has set a target as a condition for renewal.
  4. Presentation scheduled: The presentation has been scheduled.
  5. Project presented: The presentation has happened.
  6. Won: The customer has decided to renew their contract.
  7. Lost: The customer has decided not to renew their contract anywhere in the process.

4. Partner Pipeline

ResultConsulting does not always go to market alone. They also sometimes collaborate with other companies to deliver their services.

The “Partner Pipeline” has only four stages:

  1. Potential partner: This company can be approached about a potential partnership.
  2. Agreement to define: The potential partner is interested to define a partnership.
  3. Partner (Won): A partnership is agreed upon and started up.
  4. Lost: No partnership was formed.

4. Collaborate flawlessly by sharing everything

ResultConsulting serves customers as a team and that team keeps growing.

At the time of writing (Nov 2023), they have:

  • 2 co-founders
  • 1 dedicated sales person (1 of the co-founders is the other sales person)
  • 4 business development reps
  • 1 marketing director
  • 4 part-time marketing specialists
  • 4 consultants
  • 1 project manager

That means streamlining collaboration through the CRM system is essential.

Using Salesflare, they are able to keep track of everything in one place: all communication, notes, files, tasks, opportunities, contacts, email opens and clicks … can be accessed by the whole team in an efficient manner.

collaborate as a consulting team in your CRM
You can collaborate easily by (automatically) keeping it all in one place 👀

It’s important to understand that the team tracks all of this from the very beginning, when it’s still a cold lead, so that things get more serious they have all the necessary information on hand to close the deal.

Another important takeaway is that ResultConsulting’s team develops clear guidelines on how to keep track of things in the CRM.

They for instance educate their team on how to correctly put the right information on each opportunity:

  • Value: they clearly define how they calculate the value of an opportunity
  • Start date: they explicitly set a “start date” in Salesflare, so they know the exact sales cycle, even if they created the opportunity later on
  • Stage: they define what each stage means so they clearly know the status of each lead, they can trigger email workflows based on it, and they can analyze the conversion rates in each stage of their pipeline
  • Lost reason: they also create definitions for lost reasons (and only create 5-6 options) so that they can analyze the results and use those to improve their approach

If the first bottleneck is getting the team to use the CRM, the second one is to have them use it consistently in the same way, and they understand this very well.

5. Use the CRM on the go with the full function mobile app

A part of ResultConsulting’s team works on the go, having face-to-face meetings with clients.

They use Salesflare’s mobile app to follow notifications, move leads through the pipeline, add notes, and get alerted about pending tasks.

carry your CRM on the go with a fully functional mobile app
You can keep tabs on literally everything from the mobile app 📱

While most CRMs only offer a limited experience on the phone, Salesflare’s mobile app offers 100% of the platform’s features. This means that the ResultConsulting team does not need to carry or even open up their laptops at all times to keep tabs.

6. Analyze conversion rates, lead sources, products and lost reasons to keep improving

While implementing Salesflare as a CRM gave ResultConsulting an immediate boost in conversion rates due to much better follow up, they gained at least as much by regularly analyzing the data tracked in Salesflare and coming up with ways to improve their way of working.

This also has already yielded spectacular results, often by making simple but groundbreaking changes. For example, they looked at the “Funnel Analysis” report in the Salesflare’s “Revenue” dashboard and noticed that even though they sent out a lot of proposals the conversion rate was rather low. Many proposals seemed to get stuck in the signing phase.

They figured out that maybe the process of printing, signing and scanning the proposal was holding back their sales. The solution was simple: they implemented a digital signature software called DocuSign. The results were all the more impressive: while beforehand only 28% of proposals made it to “Won” and the sales cycle lasted 60 days, all of a sudden 73% of their proposals converted and the sales cycle lasted only 40 days. This obviously made a massive difference for their business.

After this conversion boost, the next bottleneck to work on was the amount of leads that entered their sales pipeline. They started working hard on developing processes to systematically attract more leads, many of which they are teaching to their customers nowadays.

This led them to create a dedicated lead pipeline per lead source, so that they can continuously and separately optimize each of their lead generation processes beyond the specific lead generation tools.

Here are some of the sales reports they have set up to see how they’re doing.

Per lead source: won revenue, total (non-weighted) pipeline value, and average sales cycle.

track your consultancy's revenue results per lead source
Per lead source: won revenue, total (non-weighted) pipeline value, and average sales cycle.

Per service: won revenue.

report on won revenue per consultancy service
Won revenue per service.

Per referral source: won revenue.

track in your CRM which referral source generated which revenue
Won revenue per referral source.

7. Integrate with other sales tools to streamline everything

Finally, to keep their business processes streamlined, the team at ResultConsulting also integrates Salesflare with other tools in their sales stack.

A simple but core example is how they make sure that leads from the advertisements they run on LinkedIn (LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms) get entered straight into Salesflare using Zapier.

Of course, even more important are Salesflare’s close integrations with their Google Workspace inbox, calendar, phones, LinkedIn, etc.

This makes sure that the ResultConsulting team can be confident that they don’t miss anything, which results in a huge difference in sales results with how they used to do business before implementing Salesflare as a CRM, as discussed at the start of this article.

Looking for more best CRM practices for consultancies?

Or do you maybe have more best practices that we can share?

Then just reach out to our team using the chat on our main website. We’ll be happy to advise you on how you can use Salesflare to close more deals and build better customer relationships.

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Jeroen Corthout
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