Tackling Technology Tools
It’s no secret the fitness industry is heavily data driven. It’s vital to have technology that can manage members, track numbers and overall help your club sell more memberships.
In 2019, Hockessin Athletic Club (HAC) in Hockessin, Delaware, launched new technology, including a new customer relationship management (CRM) software for incoming lead management. This allows them to capture all guest traffic digitally at the front desk, filter out guests who are local and direct them to the new CRM automatically. Then the CRM follows up with guests via email 72 hours after their visit.
“From there, our sales team follows up with them,” said Lisa Maguire, the marketing director for HAC. “Getting rid of paper and automating the process for information capture, lead identification and handoff to the membership team has saved hours of work. We’ve increased our local prospect mailing list by over 1,550 contacts just from the guest log alone since April 2019.”
HAC has also been able to capture and track the follow-up and buying process for another 1,400-plus prospects who come in through digital means, such as the club’s website, Facebook and Google AdWords.
The amount of marketing and sales technology services available can be overwhelming, but HAC has its system down pat.
“We use Envoy to capture our guests, Zapier to filter them and Agile CRM to manage them,” said Maguire. “For prospects, we use JotForm to lead capture from our website and landing pages, and Facebook lead forms to capture in Facebook and Instagram. The leads from JotForm and social media are also automatically sent to Agile via Zapier.”
Crunch Fitness also uses technology to maximize marketing and sales. Enterprise-wide, it leverages HubSpot as its marketing automation platform. With HubSpot the company is able to email leads and members, and enroll them into different campaigns based on their stage in the membership lifecycle.
“At our signature clubs, our sales teams utilize HubSpot to track and log communications across in-person, email and phone contact points,” said Chad Waetzig, the EVP of marketing and sales at Crunch. “In our Crunch Fitness locations, franchisees have the option to use a suite of tools from VFPnext, which includes a standardized sales presentation and a robust set of sales CRM capabilities.”
In addition to the technology tools listed above, HAC launched Keepme this year to track member behavior and automate communications surrounding retention. HAC also established Conversica in its club to help nurture cold leads and alumni for sales, as well as nurture new members and help integrate them into personal training, massage and other programs.
However, introducing these technology tools doesn’t come without challenges. From a marketing perspective, HAC is using Airtable to manage its tasks. At first glance, the program can seem daunting to customize, but over the last year, the team has been able to constantly adapt the software to make project management easier.
“We have a form other managers and departments fill out to request items from us, and from there we can select what types of marketing the task requires — flyers, TV images, Facebook campaigns, emails, etc. — and assign a status to each one,” explained Maguire. “This way, when one of us is out of the office unexpectedly, the rest of the team can pick up right where another has left off.”
While technology can be beneficial, Maguire said it is important to make sure your technology is saving your club time, rather than creating more work.
“As an example, our Envoy was a lifesaver for the front desk, but then we had all this guest data our sales team should be following up on, and it became an administrative nightmare because we see hundreds of guests each month,” shared Maguire. “Before Zapier weeded out our traffic of people who had already visited and been contacted, our sales team was spending hours sifting through the contacts trying to manage it manually. Rather than abandoning the software, we’re so glad we looked at alternatives for automating it. It’s amazing how many tools out there can help solve big problems in a really simple fashion.”
HAC has found implementing its technology tools fully to be beneficial to success. For clubs considering adding technology, Maguire suggests identifying the biggest pain points first. “For us, lead and project management were becoming larger and more difficult tasks,” she said. “We do so much more in our in-house marketing department now than we did 10 years ago.”
Before introducing a variety of technology, your club should ensure you have a way to measure success for any technology tool. “Know the metric before you buy,” said Maguire. “Sure, social media management tools are useful, but only if you use them. If they aren’t saving time, saving money or generating income, it might be time to move on.”
Club owners should also keep an eye on their technology subscriptions. “Make sure multiple departments aren’t paying for the same tools, and make sure you are cancelling ineffective subscriptions,” explained Maguire. “Even though some are low-dollar amounts, they can add up very quickly.”
Overall, when it comes to using technology to help maximize marketing and sales, Waetzig said to make sure you utilize systems that are sized correctly for your business and staffing model. Creating a sales and marketing plan, setting a baseline for performance and measuring your performance against that baseline will help your club tackle technology.