Customer Spotlight: Start-up Goes Mobile With Z-CRM

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“We have to get organized!”

Less than a year after starting his own digital marketing and lead generation consultancy, president and founder of Lucid Digital, Mark Gadala- Maria, realized there was a major deficiency.  At this point in time, it hadn’t yet become a major hurdle, however Gadala-Maria knew that if business continued to grow at the rate it had in just a few months since the company’s inception, it would soon be a problem.

“One of our specialties is lead generation for both ourselves and our clients, and at the rate we were acquiring leads, I knew I had to get organized FAST otherwise I would have a disaster on my hands.”

So Gadala-Maria did what any savvy business owner would do – he asked Google for the answer…

The Business

Lucid Digital is a web development, digital marketing and lead generation consultancy based in Miami, Florida.  The company was founded in 2011 by Mark Gadala-Maria who, only one year after completing his undergraduate degree at Florida International University, decided to venture out on his own.

Lucid Digital focuses on creating an online digital presence for any business.

As Gadala-Maria puts it, “Since this company’s inception I have been obsessed with web development and internet marketing of all forms.  While many would say my specialty lies more with Search Engine Marketing because of the years I spent working for one of the biggest SEO companies on the planet, in reality my skill set and underlying focus has been on all forms of Digital Marketing & Application Development, web and otherwise.”

The Challenge: Managing a rapid inflow of leads via mobile 

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As with any new company, the inflow of business and leads was modest soon after Lucid Digital went live.  When the company was receiving just a handful of new leads per day, using email and spreadsheets was a serviceable way to manage these.

However, just a couple of months into business, the volume of leads rapidly increased and Gadala-Maria needed an easy way to organize these leads and make sure they were being accurately tracked.  Additionally, several of Gadala-Maria’s new clients needed the ability to manage leads on-the-go which was virtually impossible without a native mobile application.

Selection Criteria

Mobile Optimized – “Having a mobile app and being mobile optimized was huge for us and probably the biggest consideration.  We have employees in the field that need quick and easy access to CRM on-the-go without having to log on to a computer.  Additionally, we have several clients that we send leads to while they’re in the field so this offers major value to our clients as well.”

Cost – “We were a new company with not a lot of money so cost was a major consideration for us.”

Invoicing Integration – “I was really looking to integrate invoicing into my CRM solution so I was looking for something that was capable of integrating invoicing and accounting.“

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

Prior to starting Lucid Digital, Gadala-Maria had used Infusionsoft CRM at his previous company.  Despite his familiarity with Infusionsoft, Gadal-Maria thought it best to go in another direction.

“Although there were a lot of things I liked about Infusionsoft, there were also a lot of things I didn’t, and when it came time for me to pick a CRM, I realized it was too expensive and lacked the capabilities especially those involving mobile that I needed.  Additionally, I wasn’t a big fan of Infusionsoft’s user interface.”

Discovering and Implementing Zoho CRM

“We actually found Zoho CRM with a simple Google search for CRM software!”

Once Gadala-Maria settled on Zoho, he was pleasantly surprised with the ease of implementation into Lucid Digital.

“To be honest, Z-CRM was perfectly easy for me to integrate within the company.  It fit right in and was exactly what we needed.  It was pretty much ‘plug-and-play’ for us.”

Now having used Z-CRM for several months, Gadala-Maria has even more enthusiasm for the software.

“Zoho CRM was not only the most affordable but by far the most efficient for what we do at Lucid Digital.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I don’t think there’s any other software out there that can do what you’re doing for us, and certainly not at the same price.”

“I also recently signed up for Zoho Invoice to integrate with CRM and take care of all of our accounting.  We have been using Quickbooks however it’s not the best and the fact that we can integrate the leads directly with the invoices is perfect.  I’m also thinking about adding Zoho Projects and Zoho Campaigns just because it will be so nice to have everything managed in one place.”

Life After Implementation

“For us Zoho CRM has been amazing!  I use it not only for my customers but for my business as well.  In addition to satisfying all of my ‘must-have’ criteria, Z-CRM’s user interface is great.  Very simple and easy to navigate which makes it a pleasure to use on a day-to-day basis.

When asked about his favorite Z-CRM features, Gadal-Maria did hesitate:

“The mobile app is a monster favorite of mine!  I also love the notes options for leads, and  the customizability of the interface.”

What Would You Like to Say to Other Customers about CRM Solutions?

“Right off the bat I would tell anyone looking for a CRM that it has to be Zoho.  The reason I’m such a big fan is because I really haven’t seen anything that is THIS good and businesses need EXACTLY what Zoho offers.  I’m still in the process of integrating other Zoho tools and I’m excited about doing it because I can see how much my business will benefit.

I’m a big tech guy and I’m really into the technical industry, and in my book, Zoho is doing everything right.  I haven’t seen anyone else doing things the way Zoho is doing it and I can’t wait to integrate more Zoho tools.”

To learn more about Lucid Digital, CLICK HERE

Customer Spotlight: Migrating from Salesforce to Z-CRM Saves Young Company Huge Money

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“It all started with Jim Cramer.”

For those of you unfamiliar with Jim Cramer, he is a popular American television personality, former hedge fund manager, and host of CNBC’s Mad Money.

As Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (ICT) founder and CEO Bob Joseph tells the story, “Years ago, I was watching Mad Money and he was pushing Sales Force’s CRM solution.  I knew we were at the point in our company growth where we needed a good CRM solution and one that could accommodate our growth.  So, from Cramer’s recommendation we began our customer relationship management with Sales Force.”

Soon however, Joseph realized that Cramer’s recommendation was not suitable for ICT…

The Business

Bob Joseph - Founder and CEO

Bob Joseph – Founder and CEO

ICT is a global training company committed to working collaboratively with regional, national, and international clients to provide a broad range of performance improvement training services geared specifically at helping individuals and organizations to work effectively with Indigenous Peoples.

Based out of Vancouver, BC, and started in 2002, ICT goes to great lengths to help the Canadian government work with indigenous peoples to improve all aspects of operation.

The Challenge: Switching from Salesforce to a More Affordable, Simpler CRM Solution

Per Cramer’s recommendation, Joseph decided to incorporate Salesforce into ICT as their CRM solution.  However, five months into implementation, he found that Salesforce was creating a huge cost and time burden for the amount of use and functionality they were receiving.

“At that point, we were like a ‘Mom and Pop’ shop, and the cost of Salesforce was exorbitant for us and the complexity was causing us to waste too much time.”

Joseph knew he had two options:  either stick with Salesforce, go through the pains of learning how to use it, and simply eat the cost hoping that in the end the monetary and time investment would be worth it, or try a lower cost, easier to learn CRM solution without sacrificing any of the functionality.

Joseph decided it was time for ICT to make a change.

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

ICT looked at several CRM solutions before finally selecting Zoho CRM.

“We looked at several CRM solutions including Sales Force and Trigger. When we found Zoho, we noticed the reviews were stellar, it had all of the functionality we needed and more, and it was free to sign up!”

Joseph had some definite “must haves” when searching for a CRM replacement.

“I knew that Salesforce was costing me way too much money, but I also knew I needed a full-featured CRM that could easily and quickly track customers through the entire sales process including ongoing customer support.”

Soon after signing up for Zoho CRM, Joseph realized that he had found a solution for ICT.

“Zoho had all of the functionality of Sales Force at a fraction of the cost. We signed on for free, started working with it, and realized that this is the solution for us.”

Implementing Zoho CRM

Prior to implementing CRM, ICT had several databases, calendars, and other data that was not shared.

“Data sharing was a huge problem for us!  My business partner and I would make phone calls, then later in the day would get together for coffee and realize we’d called some of the same people. When we started with Salesforce, this problem disappeared but now we were spending several extra hours having to navigate through complicated windows.  We eliminated one problem, but started another!”

However, when Joseph switched ICT over to Zoho CRM, both problems were alleviated.

Joseph found learning Zoho CRM very simple and intuitive and was able to have his entire database migrated over within a day.  After just a few days, Joseph felt incredibly comfortable navigating through Zoho CRM and using the majority of its features.

“It was just so intuitive and easy.  Now we were saving a ton of time while working together collaboratively, and the results showed immediately!  We were able to connect with noticeably more customers while delivering an improved service experience.”

“We actually use Zoho Projects to manage projects and connect that to CRM to have one cohesive dashboard.  It’s very easy for us now to navigate between customers and projects.

Life After Implementing Zoho CRM

As ICT became comfortable with Zoho CRM, they discovered some features that they hadn’t previously been familiar with but ended up being “real timesavers.”

“Zoho CRM really helped us with its data deduplication feature which in Salesforce costs several hundred dollars but Zoho provides for free.  Google app integration has also been huge.  We integrate Zoho Campaigns, CRM, and incorporate it with some of our Google apps to make one cohesive solution.”

Joseph has also found a lot of value in the Zoho CRM social media integration.

“We definitely use the Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter integration a lot and it has proven to be a valuable tool for us.”

What You Like to Say to Other Customers about CRM Solutions?

“I would say get Zoho right away!  It integrates so easily with everything, makes life so much easier, and is easy to learn.  It has all the tools that every other CRM solution has, but at a fraction of the price and is so much easier to learn.”

To learn more about Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, click here.

Introducing Business Card Scanner App for Zoho CRM

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Card Scanner App IconEntering data manually into any CRM app is not fun. Any solution that helps automate data entry is a win for CRM users. That is the idea behind our new mobile app for Zoho CRM – Card Scanner.

Card Scanner is an iPhone app that extracts contact information from business cards and saves it into Zoho CRM as Contacts or Leads. Take a photo of a business card and the app extracts information from it and automatically populates the information into the appropriate fields. You can save the extracted information as a CRM Contact or Lead if you are logged into your Zoho CRM account within the app. Read more

Tackling Traditional and Social CRM Integration

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Not being able to lock down the customer profile is the reason so many companies have a difficult time with CRM integration, said Barton Goldenberg, President of ISM, during a presentation on preparing and launching a social CRM strategy at the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City.

Typically, a CRM system consists of customer profiles filled with product information, service information, and outstanding financial information. That data alone gives you an idea who your customer is and what opportunities exist. The problem, said Goldenberg, is that many companies who are building CRM or have a CRM haven’t mastered the customer profile process, which perpetually asks questions such as:

“What information should I gather from which systems?”

“How do I pull it all together?”

“How do I keep it up to date?”

“How do I make sure my sales, my marketing, and my customer service use the profile to identify opportunities to identify, to cross sell, and to up sell?”

Many companies haven’t mastered the customer profile process right from within their CRM system, said Goldenberg.

The complexity of the traditional CRM compounds itself when you integrate the customer’s emotional and sentimental input, a.k.a. social insight. Whether that profile process is solid or not you’re going to try to integrate the social with the traditional CRM.

Now that you’re collecting all this sensitive information about the customer, how can a representative approach the customer so that neither party feels awkward, asked Goldenberg.

Four steps to smooth integration

Here’s Goldenberg’s four-step guide for a smooth CRM-to-social engagement and integration:

  1. Make sure your traditional CRM vendor can deliver an excellent customer profile.
  2. Bring in the social media either through APIs or call outs to social communities.
  3. Listen, filter that information, and use it in your customer engagement system.
  4. Train all users, representatives and customers, to better use the system so it’s not uncomfortable and not a burden for anyone. It should be something that’s desired where both parties want to combine forces to make it work.

The Future of Mobile CRM

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Everyone agrees that a mobile CRM strategy is critical, yet so few are doing it. Instead of trying to find people who are using mobile CRM, I decided to ask people what they wanted out of mobile CRM. It was simply a free form discussion trying to understand what people’s ultimate desire was for mobile CRM from the perspective of employees using the tool in the field, and customers engaging with the company from their mobile device.

At the opening party at the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City, I asked people, “What would you like mobile CRM to look like?” Here are their answers.

Embarrassing Things Happen When You Don’t Use Zoho CRM With The Mail Add-On

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I’m not going to preach about the benefits of Zoho CRM, or why you should use it with our Mail Add-on.

Instead, I’m just going to highlight what happens when you don’t.

Below is an email, a real email, I just sent to the VP of Sales or a company that was trying to sell us some service. Fine company, but they are not using Zoho CRM with the Mail Add-On.

This is not the first time, in the recent past I’ve had the same experience with other companies trying to sell me stuff. From now on, they’ll get similar emails. I just made this a template in Zoho Mail.

Rodrigo

ps. I changed the names  to protect the innocent ;) Everything else is verbatim.

——————-

============ Forwarded message ============
From : <my email>
To : <VP of Sales Email>
Date : Wed, 29 Aug 2012 14:56:37 -0500
Subject : Fwd: Re: New Partners
============ Forwarded message ============

<VP of Sales> -

Hello! We have never spoken before, but I’ve spoken to two of your sales reps – <Sales Rep 1> and most recently, <Sales Rep 2>.

The reason you’re getting this email is because, see, after some lengthy discussions with <Sales Rep 1>, I decided not to sign-up with you guys, and we left it there, amicably.
Then, <Sales Rep 2> contacted me again this week – starting from scratch (I understand <Sales Rep 1> left).

Now, this is not the fault of your sales guys. It’s just they don’t have the right tools.

The most valuable communication between you and your prospects/clients is stored in your email. When you combine your email with your CRM, not only you can avoid embarrassing situations like this, but most importantly you can provide better service to your customers; and everyone in your team can stay informed about what’s going on with each prospect.

Zoho CRM allows you to combine your email (any email you’re using) with your CRM. Painlessly. No BCC:, no nothing.

Yes, I understand you’re currently using Salesforce, but well, we just saw how that is not working too well for you guys!

Let me know if you’re interested in learning more and I’ll connect you with one of our account managers.

best,

Rodrigo


Who’s Benefitting from Integration and Mobile?

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Companies that are more strategic in nature, meaning they look at how their actions affect the whole organization and how they can bring it together for a common good, are more likely to be integrating social at the application level. They’re bringing social into CRM, marketing automation, and customer service, said Brent Leary, Partner with CRM Essentials, in an interview at the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City.

What’s more important is those that are integrating social into their applications are 2 to 3 times more likely to see benefit from social tools. That’s because a strategic organization is, by its nature, working more collaboratively, said Brent Leary, referencing a social business study he conducted in partnership with the SMB Group about companies’ integration of service applications and use of mobile technologies.

Leary’s analysis tried to see if there was a dividing line between those companies that were using social and mobile strategically versus those that were far more informal and not integrating the services into their existing systems.

The strategic integrators are 40 percent more likely to predict increased revenues in the upcoming year as opposed to those that are more adhoc in nature. The ones who aren’t even using social from a business perspective are even further behind, said Leary.

Strategic players are also leveraging mobile. Not just from a productivity standpoint but also from a marketing and brand building perspective. They know they have to create content that looks good on a mobile device. If they want to build relationships and sell things they have to include mobility in their strategy, Leary said.

Integration and mobile are both costly endeavors. So I asked Leary if he only had a little money to spend, where would he place his dollars?

“If you really want to build relationships and get the customers eating out of your hand you really have to get into the palm of their hand first. So you have to come up with a mobile strategy, engage them where they are, and build from there,” said Leary.