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March 21, 2010 [ 3 Comments ]

CRM Acceleration Event Nears

The event takes place this Tuesday, March 23rd.  This has been one of the most exciting and dynamic events I’ve ever been involved in. We’re very lucky to have great presenters who are focused on delivering “remarkable content”. From Dharmesh Shah, co-author of Inbound Marketing, Umberto Milletti, CEO of Inside View, Mitch Lieberman, VP of Strategic Solutions at SugarCRM, Martin Schneider, Director of Marketing at SugarCRM and Chip Meyers, Sales Operations Manager at Insource Performance Solutions who pulls the whole story together as Inbound Marketeer and user of technology that allows his sales staff to take advantage of qualified prospects that his Inbound Marketing efforts identify.

What’s been so remarkable is that we have 190 sign ups. Which reinforces the power of Inbound Marketing. The bulk of those who’ve signed up for the event have done so by Inbound Marketing efforts through Social media. 

In preparation for the event for those who have signed up, pick up Dharmesh’s book, Inbound Marketing.  He’ll be signing books post event.  What you’re going to find is genuine and authentic information. I fully expect attendees to walk out with information they can use.

It’s not too late to sign up though our space is now limited.

March 14, 2010 [ 0 Comments ]

If the pizza man can, you can too!

It was a cold rainy day when I went to my favorite cigar shop (my occasional vice) and got to chatting with another patron enjoying a rainy day cigar. Just so happens this fellow owned a few Domino’s pizza franchises.  We got to talking about business and technology.  He was quite enthused with a technology that allowed him to take time to relax outside of his demanding business.

I never really thought about the issues “the pizza man” faced in order to make sure his locations run a peak performance.  Things like on time deliveries to clients, employees giving away too many freebies also known as theft, pizza waiting for delivery and so much more.

While we sat talking he received a few text messages that he explained we automated alerts.  For example, if there was a pattern of pizza’s waiting too long for delivery (thus a hungry and annoyed customer) he receive a text that included pertinent information like the manager on duty and average time pizza waiting to get to a driver.  Turns out that this technology is monitoring conditions in their franchise software. Any condition that exceeds store standards causes an alert in the form of a text.  As a owner of mulitple stores and managing many people, “the pizza man” was able to monitor mutiple locations all while not being onsite. The result, proactive management. Better customer service. Theft reduction. And more.

Although my clients are not retail shops typically, we have found that this type of Virtual Business Managemet to be just as important.  Take a Vice Presidnet of Sales for example and her need for alerts.  What conditions cause poor sales perfomance? Lack of lead follow up? Large deals with lack of activity?   Why wait till you receive historical reports (e.g. Proft & Loss, Sales reports, Win/Loss reports, etc). Why not monitor these conditions and receive your own alert proactively so you can re-write history.

Solutions like Vineyard Software’s KnowledgeSync provide the ability to monitor cross platform databases.  As an example KnowledgeSync can monitor your CRM database and your ERP data for conditions and send appropriate texts, emails and reports automatically.  For small and mid sized business who work hard to keep costs down yet need very proactive management for peak performance Virtual Business Management is a must have.   We’ve developed a number of Business Alerts for Virtual Business Management.  Many are free.  So, if the “pizza man can, so can you!”

March 9, 2010 [ 2 Comments ]

CRM’s New Frontier for User Adoption

For years Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has been about tracking interactions with clients, prospects and leads.  Sales people have (sometimes begrudgingly) created sales forecasts through opportunity management. Customer support creates tickets for problem resolution and marketing might use the tool to track campaigns.  All tasks are extremely useful to an organization.  As time has progressed, I’ve seen CRM go from simple contact management to fully automated work-flow systems. The results and information generated can either be amazing or frustrating.

Some companies have struggled to get users to adopt CRM applications (specifically sales people).   Sales people tend to be independent and just can’t be bothered with systems that don’t have a clear personal benefit thus the resistance to use CRM software.  And clearly good sales people have different personalty types than someone in accounting or finance.  I’ve often said that when you get an accounting degree, it’s a Bachelor of Science degree for a reason.  And sales, well- it’s more of an art.

One of the key reasons sales people resist CRM software is that the carrot approach is lacking.  There’s been nothing to date that drives sales people to use the software. 

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March 6, 2010 [ 1 Comments ]

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like Proactive Communication

We all know how important communication is in any relationship, be it personal, professional, or business. However it cannot be over stated how important in business that we use proactive communication, though it seems I state the obvious – I find the rule of proactively communicating to be under used.

First, how do I define proactive communication?  Simply stated, communicating before or immediately after being asked by your client for information relating to a sale, project or any “ping” you receive by the client. Your relationship with your client’s can only grow if you communicate openly and often.

Proactive communication is somewhat of a instinctive reaction. One has to sense if your client needs more information than you’ve provided. Remember, because your intentions are good and the information sits in your head doesn’t mean that the client may not need to hear what may seem to be the simplest of details.

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