If you want your business to innovate with its customers, start by building a customer community that others can vote on and contribute to so that the company can pull the idea through the process, said Mike Fauscette, Group VP, Software Business Solutions at IDC, in his presentation “Leveraging Innovation Management for Competitive Advantage” at the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City.
Once you have a tool that can collect customer interaction, take it one step further and let customers be involved in defining the process. It will open the doors to opportunity that you wouldn’t have had before, said Fauscette. Customer engagement improves dramatically once the customer feels they’re empowered to drive the business.
It’s also important to be visible and transparent. Meaning you want to set up a system that allows customers to contribute and know that they contributed, Fauscette continued.…
“If you don’t utilize CRM you lose everything. It’s so difficult to keep up with people. Not only in your own company but everyone you’re dealing with on a day to day basis. It’s imperative,” said William “Brimstone” Kucmierowski, President and Co-Founder of Hound Comics, a media company that not only publishes comics, but also cookbooks, TV programming, and lots more.
In my interview with Kucmierowski and his partner, Eddie “Luscious” Castillo, at the Small Business Expo in New York, Kucmierowski schooled Castillo as to what CRM actually is. He explained that CRM puts all the people you deal with on a regular basis in one place so you can actually manage them.
Kucmierowski has been a longtime avid CRM user. He was first a devotee of the desktop application ACT, but now he’s moved his CRM operations into the cloud.…
For years, Nancy Williams had been stuck in an aggravating and costly cycle of upgrading her desktop applications. Williams, who just launched InfoZario, an online/offline training business for information management finally decided to dump her desktop applications for cloud-based Zoho applications. She choose not only Zoho CRM , but many of the other applications in the suite as well, such as documents, spreadsheets, projects, and soon the mail client, she said.
For others still stuck in the desktop software upgrade cycle looking to move over to cloud-based productivity applications, Williams recommends starting with Zoho’s mail suite to get comfortable with using applications in the cloud. As soon as you feel comfortable with those applications, start using CRM immediately.…
ECS Business Services has a competitive sales environment where reps are very protective about their leads and clients. If they deployed a company-wide CRM application it would reveal all that intimate information. Zoho worked with ECS Business Services to come up with a solution.
ECS Business Services audits utility invoices, such as electric and garbage expenses, for large commercial properties. They make sense of complicated utility bills. They look at each line item to make sure their clients are not being overcharged, and if not, they look for ways to help them save money on an ongoing basis, explained Joel I. Kruger, Vice President of Business Development.
“It was archaic…It was old school. There was no method to the madness,” admitted Kruger of ECS’ organization method for leads, prospects, and clients that existed all of just 12 months ago.…
After five years in business SEO Works deployed Zoho to break out of its small business organizational chaos to become a medium-sized company managing 140 clients.
Based in Australia and San Francisco, SEO Works is a medium-sized company providing search services. They work with clients that want to increase their visibility with search engines. Having started with just a couple of employees, SEO Works has 24 employees today and a thriving business with hundreds of ongoing projects.
Nine years ago when the company started, they had everything a new business would want – leads and referrals. Unfortunately that information was captured in a haphazard fashion. Leads were written down on slips of paper, or copied into spreadsheets. For a couple of people in the office, that was manageable. Once the company had four employees, they were seeing some problems, admitted Keith Paulin, Group General Manager and employee number one of SEO Works.…
“Ahem, class, are you paying attention? Your first assignment is to find a project management tool that’s easy to use, friendly, and can work well with a CRM application.”
Believe it or not, that was the first assignment Robert Braathe of Braathe Enterprises gave to his students. Braathe runs a virtual internship program that gives college students real experience. And teaching project management is critical for operating in the real world, said Braathe.
“If you don’t have a project management tool in place, you’ll just throw a lot of spaghetti on the wall,” Braathe said. “With a project management tool you can keep things on track and do more things at once.”
At the Small Business Expo in New York, I spoke with Braathe about why he and his students chose Zoho. He said that Zoho met their comfort level. It was user friendly and most similar to Google Apps.…
The more knowledge a salesperson has about a particular customer or group, the better decisions they can make and insight they can gain, said Paul Greenberg, Principal of The 56 Group and Chairman of the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City where I spoke to him about the importance of integration.
Companies are gathering information about their customers from a variety of sources such as the social web, traditional communications, and the commerce transactions captured in their CRM.
“You’re much better off knowing all of that, than just a part of that,” said Greenberg stressing the importance of integration. Yet Greenberg knows that companies aren’t necessarily going to dump their investments in their web, financial, and CRM systems just for the sake of integration. Rather, they’ll look for ways to tie existing systems together.…