Market Dojo found the smart way of managing customer details – Zoho CRM for Google Apps

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Market Dojo is one of the pioneering e-Sourcing software providers. They are a UK based company and formed in August 2010. The founders have many years of experience in software, procurement and consultancy. They pondered over developing a SaaS product that would simplify buying and selling of goods and services, looking at a paradigm shift in the market, ultimately bringing sourcing software in house. And as a result Market Dojo was born. This software has the capability to help the procurement professionals run eRFQ’s, RFI’s, questionnaires and both Forward and Reverse auctions. The users can go out to the market, analyze conditions, collate prices and negotiate with the sellers. They also have new capabilities such as an innovation tool where you can asses supplier ideas outside of price.

Challenge:
Market Dojo is an organization with 3 employees all working virtually. Being one of the leading e-Sourcing software providers, they wanted to keep track of sales and find new business opportunities in the market. They also wanted to maintain the contact details of their customers and support them with ease. With such needs, finding a single versatile software that would serve all these requirements, was definitely a herculean task.

Market Dojo has knowledge of many different CRM software such as Salesforce, Goldmine, ONYX and Act. But finally they found that there still were some demands which these packages did not meet. They were relentless and kept searching for one such software that would help.

Solution:
After analyzing a lot of different packages and web research, Market Dojo found Zoho CRM in Google Apps Marketplace. Zoho CRM, a simple and easy to use CRM for small business, lets users close more business deals in short time. Users can track and automate sales activities, manage customer details and helps users connect with customers.

Market Dojo has been using Zoho CRM for more than a year now. “Zoho CRM has all that you require from a CRM system without the large price tag” said Nick Drewe (Co-Founder). Alun Rafique (also a Co-Founder) added “It helped us to easily track calls, contacts and opportunities. Although we are just about to start using it for marketing automation”. Zoho CRM assisted them to carry out the business without any hassles. Alun said ” Zoho CRM is intuitive, customizable, functional and also has a suite of other products that can interface into it.”
He also added “Zoho has let us use professional tools normally reserved for businesses with large pockets. Very similar to our tools and our philosophy.

Result:
With Zoho CRM in place, Market Dojo now runs its business in the cloud without any difficulties. “Zoho CRM is absolutely simple and quick to customize to tailor our business needs” said Alun. He also explained “For a small businesses there are no real ERP systems and you have to look at many products which do not interface together and you need to spend time and money to make them work. With Zoho there are a suite of applications that work very well together and thus provide a ERP system for a small business. As we are a tech company, the tools that have been developed by Zoho fit very well. The alternative is to look at a suite of best of breed products, although, as many of the Zoho tools are already best in class, there is no need.” And we are very happy to hear him say “Zoho has lots of other tools that we would also like to use such as Zoho Support, Zoho Wiki and Zoho meeting and the great thing is that they integrate and are very easy to pick up.”

 

 

Key to Customer Engagement is To Make the Customer Feel Valued

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Don’t confuse hammering your audience with marketing messages with customer engagement. You can’t force customers to engage with you. It has to be a decision the customer makes to want to interact with you in whatever manner they wish to engage, said Paul Greenberg, Principal of The 56 Group, at Zoholics, the Zoho user conference.

That engagement can be intense, casual, occasional, and/or frequent. And at any time that engagement level can change to any of the other states. Your job as a company is to provide customers with channels and capabilities to want to connect with you. If you get the customer in that state of mind, that’s engagement, Greenberg said.

Greenberg offered up the example of a company sending customers a coupon for 20 percent off every month for six months. They don’t expect each customer to actually come in and make a purchase every month, but the company is giving their customers the opportunity to make the choice to engage. Similarly, if you give people discounts to give to their friends, that’s another form of engagement that they select.

Engagement is proactive and it’s typically the customer who initiates it. What you’re providing are products and services and consumable experiences that make them want to interact with you. All you can ever do with a customer is “make them want to.” You can’t shove a message in their face and expect them to respond. You can try it that way but the typical response is usually negative, explained Greenberg.

“The goal is to engage the customer so they feel valued. So they’ll act and be proactive, not reactive.” said Greenberg.

Customer Spotlight – Brandography loves the efficient Zoho Invoice

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Four year old Brandography is bringing in a scientific approach to web marketing. Website marketing has been synonymous to creativity for a very long time and still is. A while ago, we had a chat with Jason Dailey, founder of Brandography, a long time customer of Zoho Invoice.

He says,

Effectively managing someone’s website necessitates a blend of scientific experiments to determine what works best and requires commitment to continue striving to achieve new (and greater) levels of success metrics.

With a 11 member team, Brandography achieves a gargantuan task of creating, executing and managing online marketing campaigns for several of their customers. Time is of essence here and Jason says,

“As a business owner, Zoho has saved me a lot of time, headaches and the need to hire additional staff.”

Jason has been using our online invoice software for a very long time now. He’s able to send invoices on the go from his mobile app and also receive instant payments as Zoho Invoice is integrated with popular online payment gateways. Read our latest Customer Spotlight on Jason and Brandography where he talks about Brandography’s beginning, tips for young entrepreneur and how Zoho applications have helped him save heaps of time to be able to do what he loves doing.

Just In: Advanced Analytics for your Zoho CRM Data​ – Powered by Zoho Reports

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We’re thrilled to announce the Zoho CRM – Reports integration, an important new update that gives access to a host of advanced analytics features to Zoho CRM users. These are features that enable you to be on the top of your CRM data and help you make better, informed business decisions.


Seamless Integration

Typically, CRM software providers depend on third-party BI vendors to provide plug-ins. The obvious issues with this model being the users now have to use two different systems, and such BI connectors can be cost prohibitive too. With this add-on, Zoho becomes a unique vendor who not only does both CRM and business intelligence, but also offers a seamless CRM/BI solution.

Advanced Analytics
Zoho Reports being a full-fledged business intelligence and reporting tool, makes it easy to ‘slice and dice’ your CRM data. With more than 70 100 pre-packaged reports and the ability to create any number of ad-hoc reports, this add-on is a must have for all those who see their Zoho CRM data as a goldmine that’s to be extracted for full value.

Sharing, Scheduled Emailing and Printing of Reports
Zoho Reports being accessible online with just a browser, makes sharing and collaboration with your colleagues easy. Not just sharing reports online, for those who like to see their reports as pdf/xls/jpeg, scheduled emailing and printing of reports is possible too.

Other than the above, Zoho Reports has a drag-and-drop report designer, which all sales managers will find very easy and intuitive to use.

All the above is now available with just a few clicks in your Zoho CRM account. The below slideshow explains how to set up this add-on.

As of now, we have launched this add-on for Zoho CRM Enterprise accounts alone, with plans to open it for CRM Professional accounts in the near-term. UPDATE: This add-on is now available for all Enterprise, Professional and Standard accounts.

Try out the 15-day free trial of the Zoho CRM Advanced Analytics Add-on now! More details about the add-on is available at http://zoho.com/reports/crm.

Leveraging your Staff’s Strengths for a Better Business

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This is a guest post by Shabana Shiliwala, who owns The Financial Sort, a financial planning company based in Austin, Texas.

As a small business owner with a limited number of staff, you have to make the most of each employee to run your business–the receptionist also does marketing activities, the accountant also does event planning, etc. So if there’s a part of your business that isn’t running as well as it should, maybe it’s because you don’t have the right person doing it.

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” is a question you most likely asked each of your employees during their job interviews. Now that you know them better, were their self- assessments accurate? What makes each of them tick? Observing their talents and strengths is the first step in understanding how to delegate tasks to the best person for the job.

Customer service: When someone in the office is sick, who is the first person to ask how he/she is doing? Who always gets a laugh out of everyone even in tense situations? Some people have a natural ability to see what others need and put them at ease, which are exactly the qualities required to provide excellent customer service: offering assistance at just the right moment by noticing when a customer is overwhelmed or confused and knowing how to engage customers to feel good about purchasing a product or service.

Event planning: Who always brings up the idea for an office Secret Santa, potluck or lunch outing, then takes the initiative to organize it? Who has the neatest cubicle area? Making sure your next event goes smoothly means not only having someone holding the reins who is analytical and thorough enough to not miss a single detail, but is also persistent and organized enough so that everyone involved knows what to do and stays motivated.

Marketing: You know who has an “eye” when you see it–how they dress, the type of greeting card they give you, the comments they make about advertisements. Whether it’s artistic talent or a sense of style, what matters is that you take notice and are impressed–exactly the reaction you want from your marketing efforts. The next time you’re creating a flyer, store display or signage, harness the skills of the employee who has an “eye” for design.

Maximizing the strengths of each of your employees will help your business run better because you have the right people doing the right tasks. But there’s a bonus–your staff will enjoy their work more when they’re able to do what they’re best at doing, which your customers can’t help but notice. Happy staff = happy customers = happy business owner.

Looking to Expand your Business?

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This is a guest post by Craig Keolanui of SmBizSuccessTeam. To read more from Craig, visit his blog.

The slowly expanding economy has many business owners wondering about their next step. For some businesses that next step might be hiring another employee or leasing some extra space next door, but for others that might mean adding an additional location. Another way to expand is to license your original business model/concept to others or even consider going the route of franchising.

Many business owners view expansion as additional sales and minimized potential costs. For example, hiring additional employees or leasing adjoining office spaces are low risk moves that can be easily reversed.

1. Opening up an additional location offers great rewards, but higher risk.
If you are looking to open up a new location, you will bear many start-up costs that you might not have realized opening the original location.

Phones, internet, rent, equipment and payroll can’t be shared between locations. However, marketing, supplies and other costs non-specific to location can be. Payroll can be a big expense for location expansion, so be prepared. How will the new location be managed? How many people will you need to staff to start with?

Expansions do not necessarily mean double the sales. Your current location will, more than likely, lose 10-20% of your customers to your new location. Of course, the new location will take time to grow to the volume of your current location. So planning ahead with a realistic time table is paramount to your success.

2. Licensing is probably the easiest way to expand your business idea or concept without cost or responsibility.
What’s the catch? Licensing is tricky because you are not providing the support, once the license agreement is complete. You can offer a certain level of support, but there are regulations that prohibit too much assistance, as that would be taking on the role of a franchiser. Licenses are essentially selling your business model or idea to someone who is willing to assume the risk of expansion by using your formula and trade secrets.

A few pros and cons:

  • Licenses sell for a smaller price tag than franchises
  • Some offer a level of support, come with small royalties – your call
  • Licensers take no responsibility for operations or profits, once the trial period is over
  • It is difficult to control geographical licenses, or adherence to branding standards
  • If you have ideas that are “local” in nature, licenses can be a boon to expand your business idea without assuming any risk.

3. Franchising is a great thing to consider, especially if marketing, branding and consistency have been achieved.
If you have a secret formula that requires more details and marketing support to achieve success, franchising can be the right path. Like licensing, franchising allows you to expand your idea or business without cost, but the key is making sure you select operators who will maintain the quality of the concept. As a franchiser, you would need to consider the following:

  • What upfront fee and royalties to charge (Generally between 2-10% of sales. Source: Startuplawyer.com)
  • Costs for standard marketing supplies
  • Franchise marketing plan with branding standards
  • How much support will be provided

All forms of expansion require smart planning with accurate budgeting. If you’re going to need a loan or investors, you’ll need a sound business plan with vision that projects revenues, expenses, the break-even point and beyond.

Keep Your Customers Coming Back for More

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This is a guest post by Sandra Faleris of SmBizSuccessTeam. To read more from Sandra, visit her blog.

Customer retention is tricky during unstable economic times. Value has replaced loyalty in most non-luxury categories, which means customers want to know they are getting the most out of their money.

Do you realize that it costs five times more to attract a new, buying customer than it takes to get an existing customer to come back and buy from you again? That’s five times more you have to spend to get a customer who may be in it for just one purchase. That’s a lot of extra money that could be used to keep your current clients buying again and again.

Research conducted across industries by Bain & Co. indicates that increasing your customer retention by as little as 5% can increase the average net customer value by a whopping 30-95%.

It’s simple to implement a customer loyalty program that works but not all loyalty programs are successful. Some programs simply aren’t enough to engage a customer again and again.

If you want to create a successful program, here’s how to get started:

1.  Identify your best customers by profit (not volume or frequency, but profit). Identify the actual customers, if possible. Remember, the customers who generate the highest profit may be those you only hear from one-two times per year, so don’t go by familiarity. While you’re at it, you may as well pull out a lead list – customers to target for additional sales. Knowing your customers will continue to have growing importance.

2.   Discover what they like about your products. Find out what offers or improvements the different groups would find appealing. Since the “highest profit group” is likely to be your smallest group of buyers, it shouldn’t be that difficult to gather this information, depending on how your customers generally contact you. Phone, mail, in-person or online surveys are all easy and inexpensive methods. Make sure you have a decent-sized sample of responses before going to the next step.

3.  Define the most enticing offers isolated by your top spenders and subgroups. If you find they prefer to get something for free, then develop a frequency program that rewards based on dollars spent or a buy-one-get-one-free deal.

However, two things to remember:

1) If your biggest spenders comprise a fairly small group, then start small. Send a holiday or birthday gift; a thank-you note along with a coupon, a phone call that announces a private pre-sale for best customers. There are plenty of methods that shows them you have noticed.

2) Be imaginative and try a few different offers to see what works best. Review what works for other companies. Review what works for you, as a buyer. Review your customer feedback. Then develop a retention program that is a win-win for everyone.

Make no mistake, staying ahead of the game means rewarding the people who are putting money in your bank. Do it with insight and foresight and they will keep coming back for more.