Thursday, 26 March 2015

Zimplu CRM at CeBit 2015

Infographic CeBitIndustry 4.0 was the title of the 2015 edition of CeBit fair. Economy and The Internet of Things were the main themes of the event and discussion rolled around digitalization. Nexus Electronics felt at home between the tech solutions presented the past week. Zimplu CRM, The Uncomplicated CRM Solution got to stand straight in front of visitors among great competitors and represent proudly our company and Romania.

The official site of the trade explained in the after show report that “The beneficiaries of this year's enhanced business focus included some 3,300 exhibitors from 70 nations.” You can also see other numbers of CeBit 2015 in the infographic on the right.
CeBit posterTop managers and CEOs used this opportunity to do business more then ever, and so did Nexus Electronics. A lot of visitors stopped to see our delicious cake print and engaged us in interesting conversations about all of our solutions. We spoke with visitors from all over the world about our CRM software and explained the benefits of an uncomplicated solution for their business.

CeBit 2015 was also the perfect occasion to launch the mobile version of Zimplu CRM which makes the software even more accessible and easy to use. Now, our clients can handle sales teams, contacts, client support and meetings from anywhere at any chosen time. The only requirements are a smartphone and internet connection.

The participants expected innovation, networking and enlightenment and CeBit 2015 delivered. The experience was as great as we expected and we felt like being a part of an empowering international conversation about technology, digitalization and economy.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

How to Measure Client Retention Strategies

When it comes to growing a business, many entrepreneurs focus on getting new clients and forget about client retention strategies. Not attending your existing clients' needs can cause your business to downgrade revenue significantly. It is possible to keep it going constant for a while, but not for long.

New clients coming and going will taint your reputation and cannot take your business to a satisfying, peak level. We discussed some strategies concerning this issue in a former article about clients' loyalty.
But how do you know if your strategy is fruitful?

Photo source
The basic formula for measuring client retention is pretty easy: ((E-N)/S)) x 100 where:

E(nd) = number of customers at end of period

N(ew) = number of new customers acquired during period

S(tart) = number of customers at start of period

The notations can make the formula seem quite complicated, but it is not. Let's take an example:

You can start measuring from the existing, let's say, 400 clients and choose a time frame as you please (week/month/year/other period you choose). During that time frame you lose 40 clients, but you gain 80 new ones. At the end of the period you have 440 customers.

Putting that into the mathematical formula, you get:

440 - 80 = 360; 360/400 = 0.9; 0.9 x 100 = 90. Your retention rate for the chosen period was 90%.

Is 90% a good rate or not? It depends on your type of business, your goals on a certain market or industry.

There are some managers that get their business growth from new clients, like businesses based on subscriptions or memberships, but on the long run the market will be extinguished and the same businesses will have to attract the same old clients and make them pay again for the membership.

Most business owners understand the importance of retaining clients for a long-term partnership. They also love to talk about winning new ones, but dislike talking about loosing any of them. The reality of business world must measure both sides of clients' management. Tracking the client retention rate lets the business owner put both those metrics in perspective and provides an easy way to measure your results over time.

So, to what extent do your clients stick with your services?

Monday, 16 March 2015

How to Train Your Sales Dragons

On the business battlefield, the salespeople are your knights, the force that brings you the victory of signing a client. But first, you have to train them well about how and when to attack.

The manner of selling by following those three steps is applicable to almost 90 percent of the situations. Your salespeople can be taught to follow these steps, how to adapt to different situations and how to be prepared for a meeting with a prospective client.

For a successful sales meeting train them well to:

1. Find out what the client's needs are.

First impression is a weapon that few know how to handle. To be successful, your salespeople need to know how to act, talk and command respect from the person in front of them so the sale will take the path of a trustworthy discussion.

Teach them to hold the product's or sale's details for later and learn about the client's need. They should ask about the internal processes, the methods of organizing the company's activity or any other information that can become a stepping stone for introducing your product.
The representative of the client won't expect for a salesperson to care about the backstage of his business. He will be surprised and intrigued.

He will respond and explain his well-thought processes with the pride of a business owner and your representative will understand what his business needs.

2. Find arguments on how your product meets the needs of the client.

At this point we can agree that the salesperson understands what the client's needs are. Now (s)he has to pick up the client's weapon and show him how to use it better, faster and more productive.
The sales rep should choose several important points in the story, then rewind to the beginning and tell the same story, but this time with the product involved.

This will provide the client a simple approach on the improvements your product or service could bring to his business. The next step is to prove him that your story is as simple as you told it, it's real and it's viable.

3. Exemplify and demonstrate.

The sales representative showed the client what he can do with the weapon, but now (s)he has to let him try it. Explain exactly how the product or service works, show it to the client, create a demonstration based on some internal operations of that business. Let the client enjoy the benefits for a minute before going back to business.

This is the time where the salesperson can prove (s)he did his homework, as well. There are two keywords for this conversation: adapt and become memorable. The sales rep has to emphasize the benefits of the product or service that this client needs most. This is what Victor Antonio calls “provide insight” or “information beyond the obvious” in his video “Sales Tips - Insight, Questions and Use of Language“. The information comes from the previous conversation, which means adapting, and also from a strong background research, which provides the knowledge to be memorable.

This is also the moment to steal his attention and present the whole special business package you sent for him. Be careful! Teach them not to lose themselves in details or bombastic promotional approaches. They do not have to show everything your product or service can do. Too much information can clog the business owner's mind and make the product or service seem complex, but too complicated.

Training your sales dragons to follow these three main steps will benefit their personal approach and your business. You will learn about your clients, you will make them feel listened to, you will intrigue and then surprise them, you will make them feel good about choosing you as a partner and, of course, you will sell.

Monday, 9 March 2015

EQ or How to recruit salespeople

As a business owner, you probably do realize that more and more people pass the technical and psychological test in your recruitment process, but hiring them does not seem to bring more value to your business. There is still the 20% of your sales team that provide the 80% of revenues. The 80-20 is a valid rule, but you should wonder why this is happening and what makes the 20% special. Believing it or not, it’s emotional.

We, at Nexus, started by interviewing salespeople and following our instincts or just trusting them for the job. Turned out that many of the trusted persons left the job shortly after being hired. Then we decided to recruit by testing their logical skills and the results were similar. By trial and error, we found the best way to expand our team: we now test for logical thinking and a high EQ.

EQ or Emotional Quotient got into the spotlights as studies showed that this quotient is most inclined to influence success and business growth than personality or IQ.
The EQ reveals that a person has a set of competencies that prove he or she has the ability to recognize self behavior, moods and catalysts, and to respond best according to the situation.
According to Mike Poskey from Zerorisk HR, Inc., there is a set of five emotional intelligence skills that studies proved to be more important in the workplace than skills achieved by education or personality traits combined. 

In his article, “The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace: Why it matters more than personality”, he divides the EQ competencies in social competencies which determine how people handle relationships and personal competencies which determine how people handle their own behavior. Social competencies include intuition and empathy, political and social skills and personal competencies include the three Selves: Self awareness, Self regulation and Self expectations & motivation.

The EQ test results portrait the person that will come later to the interview and makes it easier to test the accuracy of his or her answers or if the person fits the needs of your company. And he or she has to fit. One unfit, influencer type employee can harm the productivity of a whole sales department and can decrease the company's incomes. On the contrary, suitable sales people can increase revenues even if they are fewer. So keep this in mind: more employees don't necessarily mean bigger profit. We actually experienced situations about 2 times more salespeople and 40% less sales.

Furthermore, experience taught us that any recruiting tests also need to be verified by personal interaction through an interview after you have in mind the characteristics of the perfect candidate. But you have to know exactly what you need! Start from this and only afterwards focus on finding emotional intelligence tests online, training your HR team to apply and interpret the tests or even externalizing the process.

Also, the beauty of this set of five competencies is that they can be trained and improved. After you get the right sales people, you have to invest continuously in their soft skills by training and coaching them to overcome their limits and develop their emotional intelligence.

If you care for other success stories, have two more great examples:

A Texas-based Fortune 500 Company had utilized personality assessments for candidate selection for a long time with little results in reducing turnover and boosting revenues. After switching to an emotional intelligence-based assessment and EQ training and development program, they increased retention by 67 percent in the first year, which meant $32 million extra from reducing turnover costs and increasing sales revenues.

Also, a large metropolitan hospital reduced their critical care nursing turnover from 65 percent to 15 percent within 18 months of implementing an emotional intelligence screening assessment.

Furthermore, one study conducted by a Dallas corporation measured the productivity of employees with high and low EQ scores. Turns out the ones with high scores were 20 times more productive than the ones with low EQ scores.

So maybe it’s time to change the way you recruit your sales people and hire only persons that can increase that 20% percentage, nurture them, help them grow and be patient at least 3 months to see results. Be sure your business will thrive and your employees will be optimistic, empowered and productive.
Photo source.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

What is CRM and Why You Do Need One

Whether you are starting a new business or trying to grow a small, existing one, the first thing you should do is organize everything about it. Have your customer database in order, know exactly what your sales team is doing and what partners you have beside you. All of these are not simple tasks when you begin gaining more and more customers.

And no, an Excel sheet is not the optimal solution for organizing. After that exact phrase comes the CRM. I believe you already know what a Customer Relationship Management solution is. And if you do not, all the information you need about it is this: a CRM is a software solution that can organize your entire activity occupying less space than an agenda and containing more information you can ever inclose in the Office Package.

Over time, CRM software got more and more complex and gained a lot of features that can help you do almost everything in an automated way. But statistics show that managers and salespeople use only 30 % of the features of a CRM. Taking that into consideration, my advice to you is not to suffocate your sales team with unnecessary features and stick to a basic, customizable CRM solution.

Try Zimplu for free and get a complex, but uncomplicated CRM solution.

Now that we cleared that out, let’s see what you can do with a CRM solution to improve your business.

Improve your customer relationship. The first thing your CRM can help you with is organize your sales team and your help desk team to serve better the needs of your clients. Know when to call whom and find their contact in seconds. Know what was your last conversation with that client even if you hadn’t talked to him directly.

Increase revenues. Believe it or not, a CRM solution will put a plus into your sales. Organizing your database, you will get to know your customers better and, afterwards, target your products strategically to the customers that need them most. Your efforts will be more effective and the profits will come easier.

Market your product better.
Knowing who bought what, when and how long took him to purchase can help the marketing team to launch their campaigns to the exact segment of population you target. Without a CRM that is an almost impossible task, but with the help of one, the public are segmented properly and more effectively for your business’s growth.

Ease your in-house communication. With a CRM you have all the data about your customers, sales team and partners in one place organized to be found in seconds. Every sales person’s conversation can be written down and everyone will know about what to talk about when calling that customer. Of course, a manager can get reports about sales and sales team every time he wants for a better leading operation.

Save time. The most important asset none of the people in business market have is time. Automation of your internal and external processes save you and your team a lot of time to spend on other important aspects like soft skills, aspects that can never be automatized and that will improve your business’s image and bring the human touch.

So think about it. Is your business big enough to need a CRM solution or is that the reason it is not?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Teaching Kids Entepreneurship Risk With a Doll

How many of you had any idea about starting your own business till at least high school? And how many of you followed that dream? Not many, for sure.
The fact that children thought so rarely about being entrepreneurs was also the drive of American Girl company to create a doll that can teach children the basic notions of starting their own business and transform their dreams into reality.

Grace Thomas doll and her bakery set

The story of Grace Thomas starts with a passion for baking with and for friends. After a trip to Paris she is inspired to transform her passion into a successful business. Her path follows the usual financial and bureaucratic procedures for registering the new “La Patisserie” simplified for the little ones.
The idea came naturally as a result of the high interest in stories about girls doing business. Cited by the Wall Street Journal, Julia Prohaska, senior director of global brand marketing for American Girl, also declared that “Marrying the idea of girls’ high interest in baking and cooking with entrepreneurship was just a natural fit.”

Besides the beauty of learning through games, the American Girls doll approached a real problem of the new generations: the low tolerance for risk. “We are creating generations of people who are terrified to make a mistake,” says Ted Ganchiff for Wall Street Journal, founder of the Science & Entrepreneurship Exchange, a Chicago-based nonprofit that runs classes about engineering and entrepreneurship for children between 9 and 15.

The so-called “Millennials” dramatically decreased the percentage of young people starting a business. “Only 3.6% of businesses today are started by people younger than 30. In 1989, it was 10.6%.” shows the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances cited by WSJ.
In addition, the gap between women and men entrepreneurs is still wide with around 200 000 business a month in the last five years started by women, compared to 325 000 started by men, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit in Kansas City.

Putting aside the great educational intentions, Grace Thomas is a $120 doll, the 2015 American Girl character, following the company’s tradition of releasing a special doll that can draw children's attention from traditional toys every year since 2005. Compared with the Barbie entrepreneur, priced $12.99, Grace Thomas is no bargain for a tight budget real entrepreneur, as the accessories, the business bakery and the make-believe ingredients, sell for $500.

Photo source.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

5 Things to Do for Your Clients’ Everlasting Loyalty

Establishing a circle of loyalty between you and your client can take a lot of effort, but focusing on the right factors can make this journey easier and faster. Here you have the main ingredients of a healthy, long-lasting B2B relationship.

1. Display of generous attitude

Being generous with your clients not only proves that you are interested in their business’s growth and their interests, but also touches their heart. That is the key ingredient when any business person decides to stick with a partner even when times are tough. Think about the relationship analogy: the proof of positive feelings must be constant and thoughtful for your bond to last longer and be fruitful.

This attentive attitude can depend on your domain and it involves nothing much than a little bit of proactive thinking or fast reaction. For example, make sure your service or product is easy to use and easy to get a hold on. Your clients have to think about you first and that is simple to achieve if you do something different, like a special discount or a personalized approach.

Another thing you can do is add an extra to your services. Extra helping your clients is a clear evidence that you want a business connection on the long-run and that your partnership is important to you.

2. Take time to learn about their needs

Clients, along with their customers, value quality service more than fast service. Put your knowledge before your working rate. This can insure your business loyal clients that understand the high risk of error during a fast pace of work. A Customer Experience Impact Report from 2011 states that “rude, incompetent and rushed” service was the number 1 cause of dumping a brand or a service. In addition, more than 50% of the customers engaged in a purchase of a product or a service went for the brand with a strong customer service reputation.
That can be easily translated in B2B cases because at the end of the other line is also a person that makes the calls. So, taking that into consideration, you will gain more loyal clients if you take the time to know what they want and how they want it done rather that delivering fast, but faulty.

3. Customize your services

After you get the time to get to know your clients and their needs, you should find a way to comply with them. Don’t worry about your business. You won’t lose money by trying to impress your clients. You will get even more. A Bain & Company survey conducted in 2013 showed that customers are willing to pay 20% more than standard equivalents for customized products and many companies are successfully charging a lot more for personalization.
In addition, your personalized services are going to stand out on the market and increase your positive reputation as a flexible and intuitive business partner.
Key engagement metrics for customize vs. purchasers of standard products

 Photo source.

 4. Get your brand story out there

When it comes to B2C relationship, a story well told is one of the most persuasive forms of writing or speaking available for a brand. Managing to carry away the customers, even for a little while, is a power that every company can work on and an efficient way to increase loyalty.

In B2B field, your brand story is, actually, your reputation and if it consists in a positive image in the eyes of your business partners and also your employees, you should thrive on it as much as you can. Make sure that your clients know you are trustworthy and tell them beautifully about your business values and mottos. If they believe your story and you prove it’s a true one, they will stick with you for a long time.

5. Be there first

It’s a fact that people get used to services and are reluctant about change when the competition brings no strong differential aspects. If your market is competitive enough but the differences between services or products are not crucial, a key action is to get a new client first. Change in business takes time and resources and if your service meets the needs of your client, be sure that he will stick with you for as long as you keep yourself up to the challenge. An important angle of getting new business is letting your potential client try your service for free for a small period of time, but just enough to get him used with your platform or way of making business.

In the end, there are a lot of variables to take into consideration when trying to raise your clients’ loyalty. The main idea is to focus your efforts on a factor that represents the base of sustainable and healthy growth for your company: the long-term bond between your business and your clients.

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