3 Steps to fall (and stay!) in love with your CRM

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Finding the Mr. or Ms. Right is hard. What’s even harder is taking the relationship to a happily-ever-after ending.

Your journey with a CRM solution is no different. You need to find that right solution, deal with the initial hiccups and complications, and even distractions from other vendors. But once you successfully cross these initial barriers, it’s a smooth sail to a new beginning.

So, how do you lay the foundation for a long-term relationship?Find the CRM you'll Love

Find ‘The One’

With many vendors out there, here are some tips to keep in mind to find the right one.

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SMS Notifications on Zoho Creator: Helps you reach out

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Does your business feel the need to reach out to your customers with intimations, updates or alerts? For instance, you may want to notify your customers about a change in tariff, send them a confirmation, communicate new/enhanced offerings or it could just be to build a rapport with the customers.

As evident as it is, you need good communication and engagement practices for your products/services for the customers to build/retain faith in you. The method of communication used plays a key role besides the message itself. And each unique situation is best complemented by a specific channel of communication.

As a product, Zoho Creator is constantly evolving. We are finding new ways to make it easier for our customers to do effective business with their customers. Since communication has become an important facet of a business, we are bringing in new solutions that cater to such requirements of our customers. One such offering which we have recently developed is the SMS notification.

As per statistics, 97% of the text messages are opened compared to only 5% of emails, while 83% of the text messages are opened immediately or within 3 minutes of their arrival, emails have a much larger gap period. Needless to say, SMS has penetrated as a preferred channel of communication for the short & important messages.

Now it is easy to send a “Thank you” SMS when a customer fills out an order form. You could select the notification option when records are modified. The next requirement that pops up commonly in businesses is to notify when a condition/criteria is met. For this, we have a Rule Builder, which makes it easy to set the conditions and invoke an SMS notification. The combined power of the SMS notification and Rule Builder empowers you to meet many business requirements easily. To make it more convenient for you, Zoho Creator has integrated with popular services like Clickatell and Twilio.

Yet, there maybe requirements that may not be solved with both. For instance, you may want to remind your users at a particular time, like on the day of appointment. In such a scenario, you could simply schedule the SMS notification. For similar and other more complex requirements, we have provided predefined deluge script functions. Just create a schedule with an appropriate configuration and write a single line of code and the appointment reminder workflow is ready.

Want to take a spin, just checkout the SMS Notification and Rule Builder.

 

Stuck in a haunted house or email service? Find out how you can log out for good.

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emailswitchSwitching to a new email service can seem as unsettling as moving from the house you have been living in for a (long) while. And when it involves a business / organization switching to an alternate email service, it’s akin to moving a whole family to a new house.

Migration is tough. Why? You and your family, have gotten used to the familiarity of your current house! This attachment to familiarity gets so strong that even if your house were haunted, over time, you would be accustomed to a levitating chair, creaking doors, eerie sounds or even the spouse acting weird now and then.

And when such happenings do manage to push you to consider moving, the very thought of ‘the process of moving’ to a new unfamiliar dwelling, intimidates you from proceeding with it. What can be pleasant about sorting through accumulated house stuff, packing and loading boxes to a truck and praying nothing gets broken or lost in transport?

Besides, what’s the assurance that chairs will not float in your new place too? Unsure of how the other options will turn out, you stay in the established comfort zone – the known devil. ‘The Enduring’ continues.

That is the exact same way people get attached to a familiar email service despite its downside.

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Now, get up to 20 free users, when you host email with Zoho Mail

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referral-smallLast month, we announced the increase in Zoho Mail Lite, our free hosted email plan, making it free up to 5 users. We were overwhelmed and humbled by the compliments showered by you, our users. We did hope that it would bring some cheer to our small business friends but it felt more like euphoria.

So we have decided to spend even more money with you, instead of hiring consulting firms or on ‘ads with words’. Starting today, you can gain 15 more bonus users in your business email account, free forever. This is in addition to what comes with your plan. That means you can sign up for the Lite plan with 5 free users included + get 15 bonus users, making it 20 free users in total.  All you have to do is invite other businesses to host email with Zoho Mail.

For every referred business that signs up and hosts email with us, we’ll add 5 bonus users to your account. Wait…. not just your account; we’ll add 5 bonus users to the referred business’ account also. A two-way bonus! Gain up to 15 bonus users through your first three successful referrals.

This is a win-win situation for your business, the businesses you invite and us, the Zoho Mail team:

  1. You do not have to pay for more users as your business expands and new employees come in.
  2. You can help an entrepreneur friend, paying for say 10 hosted email users elsewhere, pay nothing for the same 10 users with Zoho Mail. As in, if their business signs up for the Lite plan, they’ll get 5 free users included in the plan + 5 bonus users for being referred by you. And then they can refer other businesses and gain 10 more users.
  3. And for us, word of mouth is the best way to spread awareness about a business and gain brand recognition. With your active participation, we hope Zoho Mail is considered the ‘go to email for business’.

Since this is about a business inviting other businesses, only the administrator of your Zoho Mail business account will be able to send out invitations. If you are a Zoho Mail fan but not the email administrator, please share the email info of your friends and business acquaintances with your IT / email admin to send out invitations.

bonus-users-cpZoho Mail administrators can send invitations from the new Bonus Users section in the control panel. The invitation will contain a referral code, unique to every Zoho Mail business account. More details on how this referral program works can be found in our referrals page.

We hope this will be of good benefit to you and your (our) small business friends.

As always, we are all ears for your comments and feedback.

Email With CRM inside; A Must Have For Sales People Who Live In Email

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So you managed to set up this fantastic Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, which is without a doubt helping your sales team close more deals faster. But then, it dawns on you that some of your sales people are still obsessed with using Email for exchanging messages.

The more you notice them spending time in keeping the two tools in sync, you get this nagging feeling that maybe your Email service and CRM should interact with each other?

Let’s face it. It is an irrefutable fact that we are all still obsessed with checking and responding through Email even amidst the burst of social media channels. You simply cannot write it off, particularly as a communication medium for business. Trying to treat CRM and Email as two exclusive tools, is probably not too prudent.

In our view, as a provider of online business apps that include an award winning CRM and ads-free business email service, the stance to take is not CRM or Email, it is CRM and Email, integrated with each other.

For instance, imagine how nice it would be if, from within your Email service you could:

Automatically identify leads, prospects, customers (or in short CRM contacts)
You just realized that you promised to send an email with some important documents attached to a new prospect with a first name….Patrick, last name….ugh….? You hit compose in your Email interface, start entering ‘pat….’ and bam!

crmleads-autoprompt

There amongst the list of possible Patricks, suggested automatically, under a section clearly demarcated as ‘CRM Contacts and Leads’, you find ‘Patrick…..Yee’. Yes, that’s him. You select his email id and start composing your message. Without having to navigate away from your Email.

Auto-magically filter emails from the people who matter most (that is your CRM contacts)
crmbox-folder

Your Inbox is overflowing as usual and you wish to somehow directly get to those emails that are truly worth reading and responding to.

Oh wait! Since your Email connects with your company’s CRM, your CRM contacts’ messages are automatically filtered into your ‘MustReadEmails’  folder. Better to check this CRMBox in your Inbox then.

That’s a relief!

 

Equip yourself with utmost information about your leads and prospects
Hasn’t there been at least one instance where you ended up confusing a prospect because he had conversations with multiple people in your business, who were out of sync with each other?

zcg-crm2Thanks to the CRM contextual gadget in your Email, you can now quickly skim through notes recorded about a contact by your colleagues, events and demos scheduled, completed and more. Having gained a deeper insight on the accumulated impact of interactions as team, rather than just you individually, you can proceed to create new CRM tasks from within your email. And all of your actions will directly reflect in your business’ CRM. Nice, isn’t it?

Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if Email & CRM are integrated with each other in such non-intrusive, contextual ways?

Does your Email service include such CRM integrations? Does your CRM come with a MailMagnet?

Isn’t an email service with CRM integrations, a must have for sales people who live in email?

Well, these integrations are already in place between Zoho Mail and Zoho CRM. Maybe it’s time you switched to a smarter email hosting service, built for business use?

All in a day’s work..

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Business Man

Recently, I came across a wonderful article shared by a friend on 6 personality and work environment types. The work environments recommended according to personality types made a lot of sense.. I found myself mentally screening myself and other friends, if we were in the right jobs.. Most of us, thankfully, are.

What also set me thinking was, is it possible for one person to assimilate in himself all the personality types and thus be suitable for any work environment?

The answer stared at me like a writing on the wall. YES. If we consider each personality type to be a hat, wearing a different hat at different times is what we all do. Only we don’t do it consciously. And more importantly we are not forced to do it. But what about those who do it consciously and with elan? Who you ask.

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The New JOBS Act and Crowdfunding Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

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If you own a private company, chances are you have considered going public or plan on doing so after you have accrued enough resources. And if this is your vision for your small or medium-sized business, a new legislative act put in place last week may be the impetus needed to turn that vision into reality.

Known as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, this bipartisan legislative package aims at helping the growth of startups and small or medium-sized businesses, ultimately creating more jobs and boosting the overall economy. The bill consists of measures that reduce SEC restrictions on small and medium-sized companies and create new investment opportunities.

Specifically, the JOBS Act:

  • Eases certain rules and restrictions the SEC imposes on small companies, allowing them to go public with less resources and in less time.
  • Allows entrepreneurs (many of whom were previously banned from “crowdfunding”) to solicit and gather money from smaller investors.
  • Raises the shareholder registration requirement threshold for small companies, thereby providing more flexibility to grow.

For some companies, going public is essential to creating job opportunities and acquiring more capital resources. And for those who believe start-ups are a critical element of the overall market, then the JOBS Act is a step in the right direction. Only time will tell if this legislation profoundly affects job growth and whether it will favor medium-sized companies over smaller start-ups, but the new measures may help expand your business’ window of opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about the new business measures provided by the JOBS Act, you can refer to the following links:

Please provide us with feedback below, as we want to know your opinion on these new provisions and how you think they will affect your business.

And when the time comes for your business to start growing, the team here at Zoho is right here to help – with tools to mange your pipeline, manage your finances and help you hire the people you need.