When you hear “consultants,” you may think of fast-talking businessmen in fancy suits spinning a lot of jargon for high-priced fees. Think again. Today’s economy is a fast-moving, networked marketplace where experienced specialists work on multiple projects across different teams and organizations.
In fact, there’s a good chance that you are one of those specialists. You may have called yourself a “consultant” because you needed a way to explain your profession to an accountant or a party guest. But really, we’re talking about being one of those specialized professionals — legal specialists, graphic designers, management experts, communications advisors, and many others – that growing businesses count on for work that cannot be done in-house. In every industry, consultants are part of keeping organizations lean, efficient and competitive.
The independent consultant’s life is often characterized by:
- Working in different locations, such as client sites, co-working spaces or a home office
- Holding information in multiple places, including your own systems and/or the client’s systems, and
- Walking the fine line between being a business owner for your own practice and being a team member on your client’s team.
Not surprisingly, it takes a sophisticated solution to keep all of these moving parts connected and to keep you on top of your game.
Consultants Providing Expertise
Let’s look at some examples of consultants and see if you recognize anyone.
Zac, Graphic Designer
As a freelance graphic designer, Zac creates advertising and marketing campaigns. The companies that put their trust in Zac rely on him to come up with original ideas quickly. He works hard to keep his creative juices flowing — jotting down notes, developing concepts, and polishing his latest designs.
At the same time, Zac runs his own business, so he must also manage invoices, accounting, and business development. When Zac needs help, he hires other designers, making him an employer too. Yes, Zac certainly has a lot on his plate.
Jennifer, Tax Advisor
Jennifer is an accountant running her own tax consultancy. She uses QuickBooks for her clients’ accounting files. Every year as tax season closes, she swears she won’t take any more clients — but when the next year rolls around, she always takes on more.
Jennifer has a great handle on the accounting data — both her own and her clients’ — and she never misses a detail. However, she struggles to keep up with client communications and follow-ups. She needs a tool that integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks while giving her greater connectivity to her clients.
Alan, Placement Specialist
Alan is a placement specialist, which means he helps growing organizations find the right talent for their future needs. Alan will tell you that human resources and talent acquisition are about much more than just administration or confirming the candidate’s skills and training. Doing it right means aligning many factors: fit, aspirations, career stage, philosophy, and salary needs.
Alan meets people constantly, and while not every interaction results in a positive match, he never dismisses anyone. Each contact is part of his growing network of employers and employees that he’ll rely on for future assignments. With so many relationships to keep track of, Alan needs a sophisticated tool for managing all of his contacts.
Annie, Communications Advisor
Last but not least is Annie, a communications advisor. While communications professionals practice in many areas, including media relations, writing, and website development, Annie’s specialty is crisis communications — acting fast to develop productive responses to events and stories that could hurt a client’s reputation.
Annie has successfully managed the crisis response plans for some high-profile stories, and also for some that didn’t make the news (yes, that’s how good she is). Now, Annie wants to develop a marketing campaign for her practice. She can’t personally handle all the crises out there, so she wants to share her insights and best practices with a broader audience through email campaigns. She needs an organized system for managing her mailing lists and outreach.
Different Consultants, Different Needs
While Zac, Alan, Jennifer, and Annie have different areas of expertise, they have certain needs in common. As independent consultants, each of them needs greater integration between their accounting and client relations, better communication with clients, and the ability to do creative, meaningful work on the move.
Method:CRM for Consulting Practices
Method:CRM is the perfect solution for a growing consulting practice. Leveraging your use of QuickBooks, Method’s customer relationship management features help you take your work to the next level through innovation, automation, and mobility.
The best integration with QuickBooks
Consultants using QuickBooks are likely already tracking some data on their client accounts. But as your practice and client list grow, it’s time to take your administrative setup to the next level.
The good news is that Method:CRM has a seamless integration with QuickBooks. The moment you sign up, your QuickBooks data automatically syncs to Method. Moving forward, the connection provides a real-time, two-way sync. This seamless integration gives you a 360-degree view of each client account, including transactions, communications, and scheduled follow-ups.
Meanwhile, Method is also a great solution for tracking data that doesn’t belong in QuickBooks. For instance, you can maintain detailed notes on all billing and non-billing contacts, or create unlimited custom fields to track data specific to your consulting practice.
The best part is that sole proprietors can set up Method:CRM on their own, without needing an IT specialist. After all, whether you’re a financial advisor, accountant, graphic designer or another type of consultant, you have priorities other than software administration.
Enhance your outreach campaigns
For consultants like Annie who are looking for a tool to help with marketing, Method:CRM offers additional benefits. Method integrates with Mailchimp, allowing you to create lists of CRM contacts for email campaigns. And with Method’s QuickBooks integration, your marketing will be based on real customer insights. Filter your CRM contacts based on preferences, purchase history or past interactions to build targeted mailing lists for specific campaigns.
Greater mobility for consultants on the move
Consultants are always moving. Why? Because they’re working in other people’s workplaces and on other people’s schedules. Consulting is an on-the-go profession, which means consultants need a tool that can go with them.
The good news is that Method:CRM has a mobile app for iOS and Android. Whether you’re at a client site, at a coffee shop, or at the airport, the app gives you access to your essential CRM features, including client notes, contact information, and QuickBooks transactions.
Are you a consultant? What is your experience?
Do you recognize your own experience among those of Zac, Alan, Jennifer or Annie?
If you’re looking for a modern CRM solution to streamline your consulting practice, give Method:CRM a try with a free 30-day trial.
Image Credit: Writix