Exercise success: Durham’s Plan2Play launches CRM platform for health studios, gyms


DURHAM – There’s a new customer relationship management software solution for gyms and spas, and Plan2Play is based in Durham.

Plan2Play launched its CRM product ARC this week, an acronym that stands for Attract, Run, Connect and was developed to provide health, fitness and wellness entrepreneurs and small business owners with digital solutions to promote their offerings to expand and optimize the integration of leads. Customers and Members.

The company, which is co-founded and led by software engineer and entrepreneur Louise Fahys, CEO and technology entrepreneur Layton Judd, said in a statement that the software product interface “enables fitness facilities to interact directly with members and them at the same time space for communicating with one another and thus strengthening the sense of community. “

“I’ve been running a software-as-a-service business for 13 or 14 years,” Fahys said in an interview with WRAL TechWire. “I was very interested in Cross Fit and was fascinated by the community environment.”

This led her to think about how to cultivate the community among her co-workers outside of work. “If people could do something together, outside of work, I thought the performance would be better,” she noted. So she worked with Judd to develop a mobile application that would help employers organize face-to-face meetings outside of work, and launched it in early March 2020.

“It didn’t go as planned,” said Fahys because of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. “It was an important pivot time.”

Beyond the concept, beyond the product, the community is the differentiator

Judd and Fahys were out for a walk discussing how and where to shoot the concept. Judd told Fahys that even without an ongoing global pandemic, he wasn’t sure how he would or could sell the mobile app concept to employers.

“What other things are out there right now that don’t have the technology they need,” said Fahys. They decided to go back to the origins of the concept, the community that was being built in their local Cross Fit gym, and evaluate how other health and wellness and independently owned gyms are using the technology.

As it turns out, Fahys said, many owners start their own studios because they have developed technical expertise in a particular fitness modality, and they have developed that expertise by following a passion for that modality. What doesn’t often happen, Judd said in an interview with WRAL TechWire, is these owners choose to start a business and then choose a practice modality to pursue or obtain certification.

Image of the Plan2Play website

Fahys noted that she had something to do with it: she was a software engineer, a technical expert who decided to start a business as an entrepreneur. “I remember that moment when I was a software engineer and started a company and then I realized that I wasn’t going to do a lot or no software engineering,” she said. It turns out it’s the same for studio owners. Once they have their business started, a lot of time needs to be invested in running the business, not necessarily the teaching, teaching, or providing services that led to the business creation in the first place.

“In the fitness industry, and particularly in the boutique fitness space with independent owners or married couples, the technology in place doesn’t really offer a complete solution,” said Fahys. “There is nothing that can do anything. You have to find and pay individual vendors, like a website vendor and a CRM vendor, if they have a CRM at all. “

That’s what the company wanted to address, said Judd, who found it had spoken to more than a hundred owners and operators to conduct the company’s needs assessment prior to developing its core product suite. “Owners want this experience, but their time is the limiting factor,” said Judd. “That’s what our software addresses. It enables owners to step out of the hamster wheel and control every single aspect of their business. “

“We’re trying to provide a level of performance, which is to have systems built in that you can use right away,” said Judd. “And then there are ways you can make it your own.”

This is how it works

There are three critical components to running a health, wellness or fitness company, Fahys said in an interview with WRAL TechWire. First, owners and operators need to attract customers and potential customers. To this end, Plan2Play has integrated functions into its CRM product ARC, including tools that enable custom websites, manage leads and deliver targeted social media campaigns.

“We’re excited about what we’ve seen so far, with people because it really made a difference, because it allowed them to spend their time doing the things they love,” said Fahys.

Second, owners and operators need to be able to run their business effectively and efficiently, and spend their time where it is best invested, which is often not devoted to day-to-day business operations. Fahys and Judd have developed a second set of features to address this owner and operator challenge by using a software solution that enables collaboration and communication, as well as tracking and logging each customer’s activities and touchpoints with the company enables payment processing.

“The passion of any boutique fitness operator is that they have a passion for working with the people they serve,” said Fahys. “They enjoy making a difference for individuals and the cool thing about what we do and provide our service is that we can watch the owner spend more time with their customers.”

The final piece, according to Fahys, is building a community, not just a brand. In order to optimally connect with a community, owners and operators benefit from the connection of members of that community, and the ARC software product includes functions that are intended to promote interaction from customer to customer or member to member or customer to trainer and others.

Fahys developed the software for independent owners and the corresponding mobile application is designed for clients, members and clients of gyms, boxes and studios. According to a statement, the company charges studio owners a few hundred dollars a month, and the mobile application is free for members of those studios.

Fitness facilities are likely to be a testbed of what an economic recovery will look like after COVID-19, and a real test to see how, if or if consumer behavior changes temporarily or permanently, so much so that Xponential Fitness announced this week announced that it has filed the required forms with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct an initial public offering to raise capital on the stock exchange. Xponential Fitness owns fitness brands like Club Pilates, Pure Barre, Row House and CycleBar, which are based on franchise models.

While franchises aren’t currently Plan2Play’s customer target, these large corporate customers are potential customers, Judd said, because the software the company has developed is customizable and scalable.

What’s important right now, Fahys said, is that studios that reopen for in-person courses and events, and those who do, will likely increase their focus on in-person, community-oriented events, which means owners and operators alike will invest in building an active community among members, suggested Fahys.

Create an event with Plan2Play Connect from Plan2Play on Vimeo.

“The gym or the studio are natural places for people to make friends, and ARC makes it possible to facilitate those relationships,” the company statement said. “People usually want to do events outside of the gym,” said Fahys. “In the past, this was always maintained through social media, and not everyone is on these platforms, and they don’t really know how many people are interested, so people may be left out.”

But people are looking for alternatives to using Facebook, and the ARC platform has them for gyms and gyms. “Our app is included so you can send an event and notify all members,” said Fahys. “You can see what is happening in the community.”

“The cool thing about what we do and offer our service is that we can watch the owner spend more time with their customers,” said Fahys. “That’s why we’re here.”