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.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The 80/20 Rule For Sales Department Maximum Productivity

A sales pipeline is a must know for any sales rep and many sales departments use this formula daily and successfully to sign more customers. Each customer goes through an initial contact, followed by a qualification step that decides the opportunity of a further meeting. If the meeting happens, the business proposal and closing the deal come after. The last step is actually the beginning of a new process: the after sales services.
Sales Pipeline
What is the secret ingredient that will make it work?
Even if sales departments respect the process described above, some of them still meet efficiency problems. This usually happens because all stages of the sales pipeline are handled by the same persons, who could be handling even the administrative tasks like billing or debt recovering.

The 80/20 rule for productivity
Sales managers should embrace this simple, unwritten rule, proved to raise human resources’ productivity: Each individual should dedicate at least 80% of his working time to the same type of tasks. In the sales department scenario, productivity will decrease if every member of the department is engaged in every sales stage, or worse, in administrative tasks.

Therefore, we strongly recommend to divide the people in the sales department in three main categories: Business Developers, Sales Representatives and Account Managers. Business developers will be responsible with finding new business and qualifying new opportunities. sales representatives will attend meetings, will do the business proposals and close the deals. account managers will handle the new customers during the contractual period.
how the sales department should be organized
Since skilled sales representatives are so hard to find, and their work is so expensive and valuable, the main benefit of applying the 80/20 rule is saving their precious time for actually selling. Thus, the number of sales will increase in a short period of time. Let small tasks and administrative work be handled by people whose jobs don't require the skill of a sales representative or account manager.

Finally, following the sales pipeline and assigning the right person for the right job will help the sales department become more and more efficient. This will help us achieve the maximum productivity within the sales department by increasing sales and by lowering costs.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Sales People Hate The Daily Activity Report

Most of the sales departments rely on the activity report sales agents send every day, week or month. It is a control measure, a way to know if the salesmen are doing their job and if they are doing it right. However, salesmen hate this. Who would like to fill a spreadsheet every day with all the phone calls he made, meetings and discussions? It is unproductive, the salesman would argue, while the sales managers accept that this is time consuming, but the only way to control their department.

We, at Zimplu CRM, know how much sales people hate to fill "unnecessary" documents, that's why we made a little upgrade to our Sales Activity Report and included all the details a user wrote into a note or a task. This way managers know not only that their employees are active but each detail of every discussion their employees had with prospects/clients.

This is not only about control, but delivering the proper feedback to the sales representatives and finding out insights about why opportunities are won or lost. It is the perfect way for a sales manager to deliver his expertise to his co-workers by giving the right feedback at the right time.

Here is a screenshot with our upgraded activity report in Zimplu CRM:
details about the salesmen activity in Zimplu

This upgrade was made at the request of our customers who want to have a better control of their sales department.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Evaluate The Marketing Channels You Use

There are so many possibilities to gain new leads for your sales department, just think about the multitude of marketing channels at your disposal: email marketing, telemarketing, direct mailing, social media, online advertising and so many others. You probably already use some, but which marketing channel generates more conversions, brings back most revenues and is better fitted for your company? If you could answer this question, directing the marketing budget towards the right channels will be a piece of cake.

Let's see how Zimplu CRM can help you in this particular matter. To illustrate, we created a dummy database:

First, we’ll add a custom field for Opportunities, with a few options available and only one possible choice. These options should include all the marketing channels used to promote your company’s products / services towards prospects. As you can see, we selected direct mailing, fairs, internet marketing, referrals and telemarketing.
Custom field with multiple single options
When a sales representative creates an opportunity, this field should be completed based on the answer the prospect offers when he is asked about his source of information regarding your company.

Now that the custom field was created, it should be completed every time, no exceptions admitted. Furthermore, we must create a Filter to see all the won opportunities for each marketing channel, just like it is shown below.
Filter database in Zimplu
We named this filter "Internet Marketing Revenues" and we chose to see only the won opportunities in the last 30 days, for the internet marketing channel.

Now we can see all the opportunities matching the conditions above.
all the won opportunities from internet marketing activities
We can now export this list to excel, where we can make further calculations like total revenues, profit and ROI for the internet marketing channel.

Apply the filter for every marketing channel you use and you’ll be able to decide, based on real data, which one is more effective in your case.

Monday, 26 May 2014

New Update in Zimplu CRM

Are You Ready for the Bomb?
Zimplu is ready to launch the bomb. A new big update is coming up with a major design change that will make your work even easier. We revolutionized the way task management is done with less buttons to click for a basic activity. In short terms, we made the sales representatives who use Zimplu to work more efficiently, to waste less time for each contact and, in the end, to make more calls or send more emails every day.

We know that the most used section in Zimplu CRM is the dashboard and this is where the change begins. The dashboard is the place where you find all the tasks you need to solve today and the sales you made this month and it gives you a great perspective of results and work that needs to be done.

So what’s new about the dashboard?
Imagine that you can check a task as done and create a new one with only 1 click, this is a new button we implemented to ease the work and to shorten the process of completing a task.

Also, whenever you will create a “Call” task, the phone number will show too, for “Email” the email address will show too, and for “Meeting” the physical address of the contact will show.

You have everything you need on your dashboard in order to get started today and each day will now be shorter thanks to the new changes made in the dashboard section.

Other changes
Do you still believe that employees should only be able to access your data from the office? That’s ok, even if Zimplu is a web-based CRM, your employees can access your company’s data only from your office by simply assigning a unique IP address from which they can log in. You will find this new option in the “My Account” section, make sure you got the right IP.

The new update is scheduled for Wednesday, 28th of May, 2014.

Here is a snapshot with the new update:

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