About Meera Sapra

Senior Marketing Manager at Zoho. I live in New Delhi, India. When I'm not working, I spend my time reading, creating comics or art.

Sales Prospecting: Why you should LOVE your CRM

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Mark Hunter over at thesaleshunter.com has an interesting post titled “Why I hate CRM systems for Sales Prospecting

The reason is simple — far too many salespeople either blame their CRM system for being so complicated that it prevents them from doing what they need to be doing. Or they use the lack of a CRM system as an excuse for not doing anything.

At Zoho, we’ve always understood this challenge. As a sales rep, your CRM system should work for you and not against you.

Which is why we’ve redesigned our CRM with a focus on simplicity and ease of use. Our main aim is to create a CRM that helps sales reps minimize the time that they spend within the CRM system. So that they can maximize the time they spend on actual selling.

Of course, we’re constantly evolving the CRM interface towards achieving this aim.  And it really helps when we get feedback from our customers, telling us whether we’re on the right track.

 

 

Adam Stone, CEO of D-Tools talks about how Zoho CRM helped him automate the entire sales process at his company.

And yet, of course, there’s more to CRM than just software. While we’re happy to take care of the software aspect of it, trying to ensure simplicity and ease of use, there’s a lot more that you can do at your end, to make CRM work for you.

Advice for New Entrepreneurs: #1 Don’t Rush

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“What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new entrepreneur?”

We asked our Facebook fans. And here are some cool responses we got, sorted by order of popularity / number of likes:

#1 Don’t Rush

Elnur D. Penahaliyev says:

Not to rush; to collect enough money before he starts to implement his business plan. And to collect the whole team of people who will work for this business, himself / herself should only work on how to increase efficiency and develop business, not to take part in daily work. This is important guys. 
Don’t start with insufficient money! Collect at least money so that your business can survive 4 months without any sales.

#2 Sell

One word of advice that says a lot. From Michael J. Hajduk.

#3 Have your product ready

Devin Kent Bryce says: Have a product or service ready to be sold before you start trying to sell it.

#4 Don’t be afraid

Mik Walker says: Don’t be afraid of being the one that steps out on your own. New ideas are just that!

Moshe Soffer says: Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Think different. And do at least 3 tasks a day.

Thanks to our fans for reaching out with these key pieces of Business advice.

And to our blog readers, we’d love it if you can share your personal favorite piece of advice in the comments below!

12 Business Resolutions for 2012

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What better way to start the year than with a list of resolutions that can help your Business grow and prosper in the New Year. We’ve put together a list of 12 such resolutions that you can pick and choose from.

So, here’s wishing you a Happy and Productive New Year 2012!

#1 Prioritize

“Start every day with strategic clarity by spending 10 minutes reviewing what one-to-five things you want to achieve this year, what your strategic priorities are for achieving them, and (most importantly) what businesses, activities and opportunities you have decided to say “no” to because they distract you from what is truly important.” – Kaihan Krippendorff, author

More Resolutions from Business authors

#2 Focus on Less

When it comes to focussing your attention, energy and business resources, less is certainly more. The best example of this, is Steve Jobs’ approach to Management.

#3 Sell More

We’re guessing ‘Sell More!’ is already among the top of your Business resolutions for 2012.

To make it even easier for you to achieve this, the all-new CRM Interface comes with…

  • Simplified user actions designed to reduce the time your CRM time, so you can focus on selling
  • Pulse. Taking sales tracking to the next level, by letting you follow what’s (not) happening in your Business
  • Social CRM Integration with LinkedIn so you can associate LinkedIn profiles and engage your customers better within the CRM system

And More.

#4 Watch your Cash Flow

Are you keeping an eye on your cash flow yet?

Effective cash-flow management is essential to the growth of all businesses. Simplify your accounting process, choose an accounting solution that helps you stay on top of your finances. And start making financially informed decisions today!

Optimize Time

The time and energy you (and your team members) spend on your Business projects is perhaps your most valuable resource. Make the most of this resource, by using time-tracking tools to track the time spent on your projects. Another way to do this, would be to integrate time-tracking into your invoicing process.

Remember, time saved is money earned!

Streamline your Support Process

Great support means repeat business. And thats reason enough to streamline your Customer Support. Customers now look forward to proactive and participative support. Your support process should take into account multiple channels and should be easily trackable and measurable.

#7 Get Paid Faster

An automated invoicing process can help track time and expenses while you focus on other aspects of your business. Work with an invoicing tool that comes with additional features such as reports, mobile accessibility and integrated online payment capability.

Create a Customer Community

Do you have an online customer support community where your customers and employees can interact, share feedback, discuss ideas and brainstorm?

If not, set up a forum where you can engage them and gather valuable insights.

#9 Go Social

Social media is more than just an extension of business ethics. Your customers are out there,having conversations about your Business (or your competitors). It’s all up to you to be a part of those conversations, engage your customers and prospects, provide support and share content that matters to them.

So does your Business have a clear social media strategy linked to your overall Business objectives?

If not, now might be a good time to start! Here are more reasons why.

#10 Don’t be afraid to talk Pricing

The price of products and / services that your Business offers is probably not the main decision-making factor for your prospective clients. But, it certainly is important.

Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to list prices on your Business website.

#11 Collaborate

Foster an environment that encourages employees across various teams and locations to collaborate effectively. Online tools for Project Management, Discussion forums and Web-Conferencing can help you on the way to achieving this.

#12 Stay on top of your numbers

In order to make informed Business decisions, it is critical to keep an eye on your Business reports. An online reporting and Business Intelligence tool can make it easy for you visualize and analyze your Business data.

All the best with your resolutions!

The Best of Business Advice – From our Customers!​

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“Don’t think about great ideas, think about people’s needs.”

El Mau Nuñez

“Cash Flow is Not a Paycheck” – Allen Gardner

“Great service means repeat business.” – Carol Ann Harstad

“Get out of your office and meet your potential clients.” – Jennifer Unruh

“Don’t wait, it’ll never happen if you don’t start.” – WireSpeed Systems

“If it ain’t profitable, it’s a bad business” – Duncan Yip

“Take a holiday…” – Martin Grill

Those are valuable pieces of business advice from our customers on Facebook.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? Tell us, by dropping a comment here!

If C-L-O-U-D were an acronym, what would it stand for?

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We asked. You answered. Most interesting responses from Facebook and 



Twitter
:




“Collaborate Live On Unsurpassed Development”
Mark Brutus Thurman




“Computing Leveraged Online for Users Devices”
WireSpeed Systems






“Computing Levitated Out of yoUr Desktop





Emil Chackot






“Computer Located OUtside Datacenter”
@skipbogsan




“Come-Lets-Organize-Upload-Distribute / Download” 
@warriorvibhu






And the funniest of them all…


“Children Like Oranges Upside Down”
Jack Kerr








Got any other interesting answers to contribute?  Leave us a comment here.

Email isn’t a productivity killer unless…

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As with every other productivity tool, what really matters with email is how you use it. If email is draining your work productivity, it’s probably because you’re doing one or more of these:


  1. you make it the aim of your workday to achieve Zero-Inbox status.

    Let’s face it: the more email you send, the more you’ll receive. Set aside some time daily to respond to selective emails that are urgent and important. Mark the rest for

    later follow up
    .

  2. you believe email is real-time.

    It isn’t. And doesn’t need to be instantly responded to. If you need

    (and only if you need!)

    to initiate a real-time conversation, use IM, or make a phone call. Or even better, make it a face-to-face conversation, if that’s possible.

  3. you believe in the ‘a folder for every email and every email into a folder’ rule.

    Heard of

    Email OCD
    ? If you’re spending a lot of time just moving your mail into folders, you’re wasting valuable time that could be spent on other important tasks. Instead,

    make automated rules
     for emails that absolutely must be organized into folders. Leave the rest in your inbox.

  4. you need to hunt for emails manually, one folder at a time.

    Every time you have to look for that all-important email that suddenly needs to be referred to,

    use an advanced search feature
     to fish it out. Not only will this save you search time, it will minimize your dependency on folder-organization too (see the point above)

  5. you use the ‘reply-all’ function for every email.

    Before you use ‘reply-all’ and reply to everyone who is marked on an email, think about whether your reply will be relevant and / useful for all the intended recipients. If not, mark the email to only those who will benefit from reading it. It’s good email etiquette and saves everybody (including you!) a whole lot of time.

  6. you use email for debates and discussions.

    A more productive way to encourage ideas, discussions and brainstorms within your team(s) and / customers is to use an internal discussion forum. At Zoho, we use

    Zoho Discussions
     for all such “discussions”.

  7. you only send / check your email at the desk.

    Being able to check email on your mobile device is a necessary evil. You can spend time outside your office, meeting your customers and prospects, and yet, still find time to

    check email while you’re on the move
    . Remember to do this judiciously though, for not all email needs to be read / responded to.

  8. you check email during face-to face / telephonic interactions with people.

    Avoid doing this at all costs. For one, it’s rude. Also, you miss out on important conversations and the chance to make an impact on your audience.

Are there any other email-productivity-killing-habits that you can add to this list? Which email habit are you going to change today?