I’m writing this post because I’m really pleased with the CRM system I’m using.. it’s called Hatchbuck and it’s doing wonders for my b2b service business.
Hatchbuck has completely changed the way I nurture prospects, from the first time I contact them until they become another of my awesome customers.
(Here’s the link if you want to go there right away.)
I’m going to go even further than that, Hatchbuck has changed the way I actually think about sales and marketing because it gives me real information that proves what works, what doesn’t work and just how customers really respond to different ways I’m communicating with them.
Actually up until about 3 months ago, I could never really remember what CRM stood for, probably because the guy in charge of IT at the last place I worked for misused the term for what should have been called an Intranet.
If you’re the same, here’s the Wikipedia version to clear up any confusion..
“Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.”
Yes, exactly what they said.
So why is Hatchbuck so good that I feel compelled to write this post?
How does it compare to others on the market? I don’t really have all the answers for you on the comparison front, but I can certainly share my own experience of why its a great fit for my business, by starting with my own circumstances.
I own a service business, a small b2b operation that helps Landscape Industry contractors provide professional 3D services to their customers that they can’t do in-house, so they outsource it to me (Click here for a sample if you’re interested).
My business is a high touch, high friction productised service business which means I need to get in touch personally (as opposed to automated-ly), and then stay in touch with every single prospect on my list for a long time before they trust me enough and have a project ready to push the button and give me a go.
I can’t acquire customers just by blanket emailing a massive list scraped from the internet, no matter how qualified I think each lead is.
No, I need to contact each one personally, introduce myself and go through my sales process step by step, as best I can.
I’m quickly going to explain what didn’t work before I move on to what’s great about Hatchbuck. You can just skip this bit if you want, but if you feel like sharing in the frustrations of a fellow entrepreneur and small business owner then read on!
Three problems I experienced as a result of my customer acquisition process..
1. Playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey
After about the third week, I simply couldn’t keep track of anything already. I couldn’t remember who I’d spoken to, what I spoke to them about, what sample they had seen or information they had. Even if I gotten along with them really well during the first call, sometimes even after I’d gotten off the phone, I had already forgotten what just happened.
I was overloaded and overwhelmed and felt like I was trying to play Pin The Tail On The Donkey, drunk, like being dizzy wasn’t enough to begin with.
I had attempted to create a spreadsheet in excel and it just turned into an almighty mess as I tried to keep track of thing using a colour coding system that was flawed form the beginning. This was just a month in, imagine how bad it got after 3 months with 50 new leads added to my list every single week!
Something had to change, so I started researching software systems that could help me out. The two that really stood out for me were HubSpot and Infusionsoft, both of which are absolutely awesome! This discovery however, led me to my second and third problems.
2. Major Feature Fatigue
Both HubSpot CRM and Infusionsoft are incredible but they’re packed to the rafters with features and clever tools that I just don’t need yet. Almost anything I’ve ever read about Infusionsoft usually mentions you just about need a degree to be able to use it effectively.
Many companies that use Infusionsoft actually outsource the running of it to other companies! I literally felt overloaded and overwhelmed but at complete opposite end of the spectrum!
As I mentioned, working with blue collar business owners calls for more personalised interaction. I can’t benefit from an 18month automated marketing campaign because my customers don’t respond to that, been there tried that. They respond to personal phone calls and highly personalised emails containing only the information they asked for and that we’ve previously discussed. Any sort of automated sequence and I’m out of the running.
Similarly, I don’t yet have an extensive social media and inbound content marketing campaign to roll out and I’m in no position to hire a team for that at this stage in the game. I’m just not that kind of player.. yet.. but that doesn’t mean I don’t need a solution to my problem all the same.
Anyway, despite all the superfluous features. both these systems would allow me to keep all my prospects and customers in one place, to log notes and send emails about each interaction, to make every interaction searchable with tags, and most importantly, to let me know how they’ve responded to the emails I’ve sent.
So, with all this in mind I decided I would make my decision between the two and run with it.. and this led to my third and final problem.
3. You want how much?!
Whoah! $200/month for Hubspot and that only allows me 100 contacts? I’ve already got double that! And Infusionsoft.. $200/month but I’d need a year to get it firing? Will they pay me to learn how to use it? I just couldn’t justify $200/month to use only a fraction of the package they offer.
Yes, yes I know.. how much revenue you will you potentially gain through the use of this system to double, triple, 10x your conversions? That’s all well and good, but when you’re bootstrapping, every dollar counts, so I’ll be the judge of when my business can afford $200/mth on top of all the other monthly subscriptions and software licenses I already pay to keep my doors open.
Back to the drawing board
I ended up back using my stupid spreadsheet and wondering if I’d made the wrong decision not to use either.
Naturally I searched for alternatives; I found Agile, Greenrope, Bitrix, Marketo, Eloqua and a few others and did the tours and read the reviews. All of these position themselves in relation to Infusionsoft but weirdly, all have really clunky looking interfaces compared to Infusionsoft. In my view, they all demonstrate clearly that they don’t carry the cost or complexity of Infusionsoft, but then have an interface which makes their platform look like it’s not as good either.
I’m not completely tech-savvy as such, but I can usually work things out if given a clean intuitive interface.. without it I start to recoil and lose my mojo to persist..can’t help it, it’s just the way I am.
Lucky for me, shortly after I met a guy at a conference and after we got talking and I explained my problem, he introduced me to this thing called Hatchbuck.
Here’s their logo (click through to check out their website)
Five things that sold me on Hatchbuck in the first week.
1. Excellent first impression
From the first webpage onward I knew this was the platform for me. They have an excellent series of introductory videos in the “Product Tour” section, a super clean interface and they’re totally focused on small entrepreneurial businesses owners like me and..for what it’s worth.. not a single mention of Infusionsoft or any other platform, anywhere!
The tone or voice of the Hatchbuck brand is very personal, easy to understand and completely free of complicated tech jargon. I literally feel like they’re talking directly and politely to me the whole time on every single page. It’s actually made me want to go back through my own website and change the way I talk to my visitors. The obvious thing to do once you’ve done the initial tour is book a live demo. This was my chance to actually speak with someone from Hatchbuck, tell them exactly what I need the platform to do and then see if it was up to it.
Although I’m based on the other side of the world from the United States, I resigned myself to having to get up in the middle of the night and booked myself in for the call.
2. Zero pressure to buy
The lady who contacted me direct from the U.S., Nikki, couldn’t have been friendlier. She listened to everything I had to say, all my concerns and then after that, listened again. When she was done taking it all in, she gave me the answers I was looking for, offered a fantastic overview demo of the platform and then sent me on my way. No pitch, no push, just a helpful.. here you go!
It didn’t take long for me to decide that Hatchbuck was the right CRM for my needs. Meanwhile, I received no pressure from them to sign up, there was no countdown timer or cut-off date to receive a special offer.. and I like that too.
I jumped back on and signed up within a couple of days.
3. Fantastic Support
Immediately after having signed up, I was emailed by Erin, another girl from customer support who introduced herself as my onboarding assistant. I could direct any questions to her via email of phone and she would help me out. Awesome!
After I then got caught up in work for a few days and never got round to importing some contacts, she sent a friendly reminder just to let me know she was still there and waiting.
Fortunately I hardly had any questions, none that couldn’t be answered in there extensive video library of step by step instructions. It’s like they’d read my mind and put all the answers there. I almost ended up calling the Erin just to have a chat because she seemed so nice!
The interface is so easy to use my Dad could work it out. It’s like there’s only just as many buttons on the screen as you need and no clutter, so it’s pretty quick to work out what you can do with it. Setting up email templates is probably what took me the longest to get my head around, and I had a couple of questions around that, but now that they’re done everything is a lot faster.
The price.. just $90/mth – that’s less than 50% of the others and right in the ballpark for me. I don’t know how long it will take me to outgrow Hatchbuck, probably a couple of years at least. During that time, I’d rather be outgrowing something, than sending twice the money and still be growing into the likes of Infusionsoft or Hubspot.
I actually still can’t believe the level of personal direct support I get. As in, there is actually a person who looks after me, personally.. for $90/mth. Am I making sense? It’s unbelievable value!
5. Instantly Transformed
Within a week I had imported 100 contacts, started sending and tracking emails, watching what my customers were doing with them and how they were interacting with my website as well.
This changed everything for me. I went from filling out a complicated spreadsheet that did my head in, to literally being about to see what interested each individual and what didn’t so I could start doing more of what worked and less of what didn’t.
Hatchbuck gives each prospect a score too so you can see who has interacted the most. Have a look at this screenshot (click to enlarge) where you can also see the various tags I’ve created that are automatically assigned to each person depending on their behaviour. The tags themselves also have a score so you can tell eg. how many times a prospect visits your pricing page.
This next screenshot (click to enlarge) is from the main dashboard which gives a running log of all customer activity. As you can see here, Daniel has shown a lot of interest in the various emails and I’ve sent to him so I know when I call him at our next scheduled time, the direction he probably wants the conversation to go in so I can help him to start getting the results he’s after, faster.
Hatchbuck lets me search for contacts by their behaviour, so I can add a filter to give me a list of who received my promo video, clicked on it and then read the article I wrote on how much information I need them to supply.
I’ve actually learned to be more patient, more persistent and above all more engaging with my prospects. It makes such a huge difference when you’re not actually left guessing.. “Did they open the email? Did they read my offer?” You can see if they did and see if they clicked. You can not only track this, you can set up a notification to be sent to yourself or your team when a customer does a certain thing. eg. If Joe watches your video, you can have Hatchbuck send you an email letting you know that he watched it with a note to yourself like, “Hey! Joe watched the video.. better give him a call tomorrow!”
And when I give Joe that call, I can make notes about what we talked about and add a task like, “Follow up the phone call with an email article.” then set a date. On the day I need to send the information (if I haven’t sent it already) hey presto in my inbox in the morning is a reminder of all the tasks I need to do that day!
This platform is so cool and I hope these guys go far.
If you’ve been struggling with any of the things I’ve mentioned, give them a go! At least try the demo, it’s FREE,
I can’t remember the exact details but I think they might have some sort of special on until the 31st of December for new users (sorry my bad for not remembering!).
Finally here’s their logo again which is also a link to visit their website.. Good Luck!
PS. If you mention my name to them, will you let them know again how happy I am with their service? Cheers!
I help Landscape Contractors and Designers save time and attract better Clients by improving their professional image.
My first service is called “Sketch to 3D” designed to help small business owners deliver industry leading 3D presentations to their clients without having to learn or use any software.
You send me a sketch of your design and I’ll finish it off for you! A 3D fly-through, a CAD plan and Concept book, in as little as 3days for a standard fixed cost!
Interested? CLICK HERE to watch a short two minute video I made to learn more.