3 Sales Problems Your Small Biz CRM Can’t Solve

Date: Dec 30, 2013 2:01:00 PM

In building terminology, it’s the foundation that supports everything that goes up after: the frame, drywall, windows and floors. When it comes to your shiny, new small business CRM system, there are three foundational supports:

1. A strategic plan
2. Key performance indicators (KPIs)
3. Quality data
     
 Does your small business CRM have a strong foundation for success?
If any of these three are poorly built, the entire system will crumble into a heap. All of the dollars, and hours, invested in the system will become worthless. So how do you build your foundation to make sure your small business CRM stands strong for years to come?

The Strategic Plan

Regardless of how large or small your business is, a strategic plan is in order before you embark on your CRM adventure. What should your strategic plan include? Our suggestions:

  • What do you want your CRM system to accomplish? Define your company’s short, medium and long-term goals, as well as those for individual departments.
  • Group your customers into categories that relate to how their data will be used in the CRM system. Place the most value and focus with the best customers.
  • Have a process in place for how to fully engage your customers. Don't skimp here!
  • Choose the small business CRM system that best fits your company’s needs and goals. (Do you really want something made for a huge company instead of something specifically designed for small businesses? By implementing a one size fits all system is where many plans can start to break down.)
  • Secure support from senior executives, the sales management team, and any other primary stakeholders.
  • Provide comprehensive training, and make sure than everyone understands the company’s goals for the system and its benefits for them personally.
  • Set the system up so that it is an integral part of daily work. Key reports should be integrated into day-to-day management of staff, and should be the benchmarks by which performance is measured.

Key Performance Indicators

With your strategic plan in-hand, define the metrics that will be used to measure success. So what kind of KPIs might be good for a small business CRM system? CRMsearch has a great article outlining key KPIs for CRM – we’ve summarized some of the big ones here. 
  • The big one: your sales pipeline. Not just what deals your salespeople are working on, but are they the right deals? Are they in-line with the company’s revenue targets? Are staff focusing on the most profitable deals?
  • Staff Activity: The tip here is: don’t confuse activity with progress. People may be busy, but the question needs to be whether their achievements are in line with company goals.
  • Keep Current Customers: Identify which customers are a flight risk, and focus on what it will take to keep them. It costs less to keep a customer than to get a new one.
  • Unconverted Leads: Track the reasons that you don’t win sales. With the right attention, this information can lead to refined customer service tactics, new product development, changes in pricing strategies – any of which could lead to improved sales performance.

Quality Data

What you put in is what you get out. The challenge is that CRM data is always changing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million people left their jobs each month during 2012, and the average person changes jobs 10-15 times during his or her career.

So even if all of your data is perfectly clean the day that you enter it into your new CRM, it can quickly become “dirty”.

The solution? 

Have a clearly defined process to analyze, cleanse, standardize and consolidate your data on an ongoing basis. And live by it every day. Market research firm Gartner Inc. has warned that without a data quality process in place, CRM efforts cannot be successful – mainly due to missed opportunities and operational inefficiencies. 

Phew! That was some intense (but important) stuff. How about ending on a lighter note? Let’s talk about all the fun stuff a small business CRM system CAN do! How about some of our favorite “Best & Worst” CRM highlights from Black Friday? And did you know that your CRM system could tell you whether a prospect was trying to find a menurky for his or her Thanksgivukkah party? 

4 Reasons to Check Your Collaboration Platform on Christmas (or Any Holiday)

Date: Dec 25, 2013 12:00:00 PM

The aroma of turkey gravy and apple pie fill the room, while you sit back by the fireside enjoying a leisurely cocktail and the quiet crackle of the wood. Colored lights twinkle as they reflect on your childhood ornaments, and the packages underneath the wide bottom boughs are trimmed in beautifully tied bows. Your dad sharpens the carving knife in preparation for the golden turkey that is soon to emerge, and your mom smiles over at you while the grandchildren help set the table. Soft carols play in the background, and your uncle mentions how nice it is to see you as he hands you a glass of wine.

Haaaa… yeah right! Only Norman Rockwell knew that kind of holiday – and it was in his imagination!

The real scene in every American household on December 25th? Kids yelling at each other over a cookie-sugar-rush; the turkey with a “popper” that never pops until someone finally pulls the charred carcass from the smoking oven; and relatives that can only seem to muster up questions about your love life, when you’re going to have a baby, or whether you’ll ever get a “real” job.

Counting the minutes until you can escape to socialize with friends, amiright? But you probably need to wait until after the meal to use that excuse. So between breakfast and dinner, you’re gonna need a little help to survive another Griswold-style holiday.

Enter: the work excuse.

Yes, it’s a major holiday. But it’s hard to argue with “I just gotta check on one work thing.” Your mom will try to stop you, but she’s so busy with the scalding oven, that if you time your exit right, she won’t even notice you sneak upstairs.

Once you’re sitting there, in the quiet, with a shut door between you and the craziness, now what?

Well, might as well check your collaboration platform. Seriously. We could have a little bit of fun with this. Ready?

1. Mess with Marcia
Everyone has that A-type colleague who reorganizes project tasks and notes so everything is “just so”. Yep. (Everyone except us here at Fanhub, cause we don’t have any annoying personalities here – we all love each other!) But back to you. Your annoying colleague – let’s call her Marcia – maybe she moved a bunch of your project notes last week. Grr… right? Wouldn’t it feel good to move them back? Mix a few of her tasks up, just to make sure she notices (which she will, for sure). No major damage, just a little nudge at that invasive hyper-organization that drives everyone nuts.

So. That only used up about 7 minutes, and Uncle Harvey is still hanging around at the bottom of the staircase with three empty beer cans at his feet and a too-loud voice telling your cousin that she needs to try harder to find a man. AVOID. What else can this collaboration platform do on Christmas?

 

2. Make a JibJab Video and Post it to the Wall
You know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve done it before. Go here, upload your photo, and post it on the Fanwall for all of your friends at work to get a much-deserved giggle while they’re hiding out and avoiding their families today too. (Check out this one!)

This Year's Best Gift

Date: Dec 24, 2013 12:00:00 PM
Are you still wondering what to get your staff and colleagues for the impending holiday? Yes, you should get something for each of them. (It can’t be that many people.) Uh-huh, we know, you’re busy. Well, what about one big gift they can all share? Yeah, a “shared gift” could be kinda lame… but if it were a life-changing kind of gift, maybe it would be acceptable… maybe it could even inspire your entire office to break out in song? 
(Collaboration platforms have been rumored to cause impromptu musical performances, or even a flash mob from time to time.) 

Social CRM's Best-Kept-Secret Feature

Date: Dec 23, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Calling all HR folks out there… yep, we’re talking to you this time! We know, most of the “social CRM” talk has been more about sales, customer service, marketing and finance. Today it’s your turn. Did you realize that a CRM system can be a great tool for recruiting?

Think about all the time you spend tracking down the best candidates. Wading through piles of resumes and applications. Even for small businesses, you can expect 250 resumes for each job opening on average (according to the recruiting industry publication ERE. That’s a lot of reading (uh, skimming).

But for a moment, let’s step away from the standard “post a job – collect and review resumes – schedule interviews – make an offer” recruiting approach. Could there be a better way? Your sales team may just have the answer.

CRM_job_applicants_as_leads

Think about job applicants as leads & prospects by using social CRM for recruiting.

         Sales thinks about potential customers in multiple stages of engagement: lead, prospect, qualify, close, maintain. What if recruiting could be approached in the same way? Relationships with qualified and interested candidates could be fostered regardless of whether your business has a job opening. These relationships can be maintained across multiple fields and levels of expertise, so that when an opening does arise, there are already qualified applicants at the ready. 

Inbound Marketing Campaigns

There are so many more opportunities for connecting with high quality candidates than just placing an ad on career sites like Monster.com. Inbound marketing campaigns that create entertaining and interesting content targeted to your company’s ideal candidates can peak interest and initiate relationships. By integrating multiple channels to reach potential hires where they spend time (Twitter, FaceBook, Pinterest, etc.) and including URL tagging in every campaign message, companies can track the impact of recruiting efforts.

Recruiting Events

Cut the cost of having an in-person presence at every recruiting fair or industry event that is relevant to your field. Point-of-sale displays can feature QR codes that potential candidates can use to access career-relevant information and forms, submit their resume or application, and register to receive regular communications from your company. All of this information can be collected in a social CRM system, and accessed as needed.

Talent Pool Segmentation

As recruiting contacts and data are collected over time, stand-out potential candidates can be organized by specialization, expertise, career stage (entry level, mid-level, senior, management, executive), pay scale, or other customizable characteristics.

Tracking

Over time, recruiting data that’s collected into a social CRM system can be analyzed to understand trends and help determine where to invest future HR time and money. Some questions to ask include:

  • Where are the most qualified leads coming from?
    • Referral websites
    • Colleges/universities
    • Companies
    • Geographic areas
    • Internal employee referrals
  • Which hires end up becoming the most successful contributors to the company? Are there trends regarding from where those hires were recruited?
  • How do the percentages break down for all of the hiring stages?
    • Visits
    • Registrations
    • Applications
    • 1st interview
    • 2nd interview
    • Offer extended
    • Hire
So now you know the best-kept-secret. It's out. But we've still got a few more tricks up our sleeve, and more ideas about how social CRM can work for HR teams. If we've peaked your interest, give us a shout and let's talk more!

Support Ticketing: The Key to CCRM in 2014

Date: Dec 20, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Take a second to think about your best friend and the relationship you have with that person. Does it involve trust? Loyalty? Fun times? Great friends offer all that and then some. The same friend who remembers your birthday can and should be able to listen to your problems, right? 

Stick with us, we have a point…

Your friends don’t compartmentalize their relationship value and neither should your CRM. The same system that manages customers’ contact info (phone, email, fax records) and sales pipeline details should also handle customers’ problems.

After all, keeping your promises is practically the definition of managing a “relationship.” The tools and channels that help you resolve customer issues shouldn’t be add-on features to your CRM. They should all be rolled into one powerful system.

CCRM_dont_be_just_a_ticket_number

Good support ticketing helps grow customer relationships, not case numbers.

Project Management Tools for All of Your PM Personas

Date: Dec 19, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Project managers are known to wear many hats. To have a lot of balls in the air at once. To juggle… well, enough with the industry metaphors, you know what we mean. If you’re a PM or you work with anyone who is, these descriptions probably make sense. At any point in a project, project managers are playing multiple roles in overseeing their team and project.

The blog PM Hut recently offered an article exploring six of these personas (the author calls them “avatars”). For each persona, a PM professional needs project management tools to get the job done. Here’s a look at some project management tools that could help ensure success:  

Which project management tools can support your PM avatar today?

Persona #1: The Dreamer

Creativity can come from anywhere. The most creative people are often true “renaissance” people, with many diverse interests and experiences. The PM dreamer is no different. Armed with an open mind, this avatar uses all of the tools within arms reach to solve any problem that may arise. What’s the easiest way to keep all of these creative ideas and company-wide idea fodder organized? A single collaborative system that is shared and used company-wide.

If someone else in the office has solved a similar problem, there’s a searchable record of it in the system. With a touch of technical savvy and some thoughtful keyword searches, the dreamer can find the path to a solution.

Persona #2: The Debater

Also referred to as a “devil’s advocate”, the debater looks at both sides of every coin. An essential role for any PM, the debater questions every task and deadline. Is it necessary? Have I accounted for every step and resource needed? What could go wrong?

A project management tool that not only tracks every project detail, but also makes past project planning data easy to search and pull reports from, can provide quick and definitive answers. History is a great predictor, and chances are a PM has faced the same problem before. With the knowledge of how the problem was resolved, and what the outcome was, the debater can get all the answers they need.

Persona #3: The Disruptor

Just because projects have always been done one way, doesn’t mean it’s the best solution. The disruptor knows what’s been done and why, and challenges the status quo to find an even better approach. For companies with numerous projects going on at any one time, there can be too much data to keep in mind. Disrupters use collaborative project management tools to easily poll their teams about different strategies, and look ahead to estimate the outcomes of new approaches.

Persona #4: The Driver

When a PM takes on the role of “driver”, you had better get on board or get out of the way. Whether leading a team of two or 20, drivers take charge in delegating tasks, making team members accountable, pushing deadlines and delivering results. What tools can help out? A collaborative project management tool that connects employees across every department and division of the company – with this, the driver can keep tabs on every team member regardless of their role. Finance can provide budget updates that the whole team can view; IT can share scheduling changes; and customer service can add ideas and feedback from customers. All of this information, shared in real-time, puts the necessary information at the PM’s fingertips.

Persona #5: The Detailer

Every project is a (highly organized) collection of nearly endless individual tasks. The details can be excruciatingly precise. The PM detailer is obsessed with ensuring that every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed. By defining each detail within the context of schedule, resources, budget and deliverables, the PM can be confident that the plan doesn’t have any holes. A project management tool that tracks limitless details, along with the assets and deadlines assigned to each, is key to a detailer’s success.

Persona #6: The Doer

At the end of the day, when the planning phase is complete, the only thing left to do is get it done. A project manager is not only a planner and manager, they also jump in to fill in holes and keep things moving. To know where their efforts are most needed, the PM must have an up-to-the-minute overview of the entire project and its status at all times. Project management tools that provide a quick summary in one view can enable the doer to see where delays are holding things up and peek into the near future to view potential detours or roadblocks.

For all of these personas, the technology and collaborative tools are key supports for the project. But we all recognize the value of an excellent project manager, and the skill, leadership and enthusiasm that is needed to drive a project from concept to completion. Let’s hear it for all the project managers! YAY!

The World's Best Project Managers

Date: Dec 12, 2013 12:01:00 PM

The world’s best project managers share commonly recognized traits that help them become successful. Whether they’re working on international product launches or massive website re-launches, specific soft skills and personality traits contribute more to their collaborative project management success than any commonly held degree or certification.

In an interview with Fox Business, the Project Management Institute’s CEO Mark Langley discussed the characteristics that contribute to project management success. Langley went on to describe the U.S. military as the nation’s largest training ground for dedicated and skilled leaders, who could transition to roles as project managers following their service.

So you’re looking at the stack of resumes on your desk and thinking: “Should I only interview the veterans? What if none of my applicants have military experience? What then?”

ticketing_project_management

Do your candidates possess these important traits for successful collaborative project management?

  Let’s talk about some of the qualities and experience that are commonly embodied by some of the world’s best project managers, regardless of what life experiences have shaped your candidate’s life and career. 

Natural Leader

A combination of confidence, charisma and empathy enables great project managers to empower and inspire their team, while also establishing trust among all of the project stakeholders. Natural leaders not only achieve results, they do so as the head of a well-coordinated team of individuals.

Big Picture Visionary (+ Detail-Oriented)

There are thousands of details and decisions that add up within any project. It is a rare ability to plan, schedule and manage all of the important details, while also maintaining a 10,000-foot vision of the project’s primary goals and business drivers.

Knack for Prioritizing

Among piles of data, some is important and the rest can be ignored. Great project managers have an instinct for giving attention only to the tasks that deserve it. They frequently evaluate the project priorities, reassess and shift focus if needed.

Organized

This one is assumed for any project manager. But just being organized is one thing; creating effective and efficient organization raises this skill to the next level.

Skilled Communicator

Every project stakeholder and team member has their own interests, and individual ways of communicating. Great project managers can intuit others’ motivations and concerns, address them directly, and read whether the message was received. They must be able to build consensus among all stakeholders, and be comfortable resolving the conflicts which are sure to arise.

Delegator

Assigning the right tasks to the right people, ensuring that the necessary resources are in place, and trusting that the job will get done well are crucial to smooth project progression.

Resourceful Problem Solver

Great project managers possess creativity and a positive attitude that aids them in turning problems into opportunities.

Have Foresight

This is one area in which either industry competence or history (ideally both) in the organization is key. Experience with common pitfalls is valuable in avoiding potential delays and stumbling blocks.

So yes, veterans typically possess many of these highly-regarded skills. As do a whole host of other candidates, including:

  • Past team contributors who have proven their worth
  • Business leaders who are interested in transitioning to project management
  • People who have succeeded at informal project management roles in past jobs (non-profit, office manager, IT, finance, restaurant - the possibilities truly are endless). 

While project management certification and degree programs are still relatively young, today’s successful project managers will continue to come from diverse backgrounds and skill sets. The most important considerations when hiring for this kind of role are the traits and characteristics that lend themselves to success in this important role.

Are you a project manager who came from an unexpected background? Or have you hired a successful project manager who portrayed these “soft skills” despite having minimal project management experience? Share your stories with us on Twitter with the hashtag #WorldsBestPMs.

Defrost Your Sales Pipeline & Close More Deals

Date: Dec 11, 2013 1:47:48 PM

Winter can create big problems for pipes—including sales pipelines. Between the holidays and the year-end wrap-ups, some sectors experience lagging numbers in December. But that doesn’t mean seasonality is inevitable. In fact, if you put your sales strategy on autopilot until January, you may miss out on customers’ leftover business budget and create a slow start to 2014.

4 Business Gains That Can Come from a Collaboration Platform

Date: Dec 10, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Turn Customers into Fans

Has this ever happened to you? You call a customer service line with some questions about your recent bill or a concern about your service. And while the person you speak with is helpful and prompt, you’re annoyed that the hold music was so loud? Or that the company’s website wasn’t functioning correctly, which necessitated your service call in the first place? So you mention the annoyance. You know those calls are recorded - maybe someone else has made the same complaint and the company will get it fixed. But the next time, you have the same problem.

What if the customer service person on the other end of the phone could easily mention “@IT” in the ticketing application with a note about the malfunctioning website or the loud hold music? And when IT logs into their project management system (which is part of the same collaboration platform as the ticketing system), they receive an alert that a customer has an issue with an IT function.

No extra effort or time required for the customer service employe; no phone call, or effort to determine who to contact in the IT department. Just one simple note.

And even better, what if the IT department "mentioned" that specific customer service employee back again (@BestAcmeEmployee) when the issue was fixed so the customer could be informed? You might just turn a frustrated customer into a fan.

teamwork_collaboration

Comparing 2013’s Best Small Business CRMs

Date: Dec 9, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Just about this time of year, small businesses everywhere are wading through contact lists for the holiday card mailing. Spreadsheets abound, printed documents with notes on updated contact information. Whichever unlucky soul gets stuck with project-managing the holiday card contact list is mired in handwritten notes, address revisions, and calls to companies to verify contact data. Happy holidays.

So just around this same time of year, you know someone is wondering whether a CRM system would make life a lot easier. But that conversation has come up before. Maybe you’ve tried one (or five) CRM systems and they were all a frustrating hot mess. Or maybe your people know how to use your current systems (inefficient as they may be) and it just doesn’t seem worth the time and cost to research the options, set-up a new system, train everyone how to use it, and go through the implementation process. Besides, the holiday cards are only once a year.

But does your current system track your sales pipeline and deliver weekly reports that clearly identify where your business is succeeding and where attention is needed? No? How about collecting data on recent marketing campaigns to assess ROI? Or integrate your accounting systems with your project management systems to minimize data entry and maximize cross-company collaboration and problem solving?

battle_of_the_CRMs_2013

A comparison of the year's small business CRM systems.

 

Whoa, you’re thinking. Hold on there. You’re getting carried away. That stuff would take months to get started, and where would we even begin? (So maybe your interest is piqued just a tiny bit? Take a glance at your holiday card admin - those eyes are shining with cautious relief and hope, behind the dark circles of exhaustion).

 

Do a quick Google search for “small business CRM”. Yep, 40 million hits, give or take. The field is huge and growing. So we’ll give you a quick review of some major players from 2013, followed by a few tips to guide you in your selection process.
Highrise 
Offered by the makers of the document storage application Basecamp, Highrise is a minimalist CRM system that is focused on managing small business sales and marketing functions.

AddressTwo 
First and foremost a contact manager, AddressTwo allows search queries on almost every contact field and has extensive customization made easy with a set-up wizard.

Batchbook
This social CRM system provides features like contacts (with the ability to track communications history), tasks, and reporting. Mostly a contact manager, Batchbook doesn’t offer any automation functionality such scheduled email campaigns and has minimal collaboration capabilities.

Capsule
With a simple set-up process and a sales focus that includes pipeline tracking and task lists, Capsule is quick to start using. However, its limited customization, minimal reporting and weak mobile platforms won’t work for more broadly focused, integrated companies.

ZohoCRM 
Akin to a scaled-down version of SalesForce, ZohoCRM is part of a cloud-based suite of business applications that include productivity, office, project management, invoicing and recruiting. It integrates with many Google apps, and syncs with QuickBooks and Outlook. On the downside, Zoho can be challenging to install and implement.

Insightly 
This niche CRM application is a Google apps add-on that provides project management and business productivity without the automation functions or reporting of a full CRM tool.

Fanhub 
(Full disclosure: we’re writing this blog post.) Fanhub combines CRM with customer service ticketing, pipeline management, and internal project tracking within a collaborative structure that brings together all employees and customers in a single system. We built Fanhub because no one else offered what we needed. Although we gave the other guys a fair shot, they were lacking the integrated small business collaboration simplicity that we needed for success. Plus, we wanted to do more than just “manage” our customers. We saw an opportunity to connect all of our prospects and brand advocates—including our employees—while providing a venue for truly collaborative service. In the process, we found ways to improve internal search tools, issue tracking, even our everyday conversations.

So, which one is right for you? Here’s a few considerations to help you take the next step:

Ease of Use:

This is so important, especially for small business. Your CRM system needs to be easy to navigate, reliable, and simple. Information should be easily accessible by anyone who needs it. And the system should integrate well with your business’s other key applications (like Outlook, Gmail, iCal, Salesforce, etc).

Reporting: You know what kind of reports do you need to run your business. (You do know this, right? If not, that’s a good thing to define first, before launching into the CRM system search.) Be sure any systems that you consider can give you the reporting you need.

Features: Does the system do what you need it to? Is your company sales-focused? Marketing-focused? Or are you just starting out and all you really need for now is a good contact management system?

Contacts: Your company has its own lingo. Is the CRM system able to speak your language with customizable fields? And can you query on the fields that are necessary for you?

Sales & Marketing: Could a pipeline management tool help strengthen sales? (The answer is probably “yes”.) Does you company use, or plan to use, marketing campaigns that could be improved with tracking, reporting, and automation? If so, look for CRM systems that offer these functions.

Mobile functionality: Do your employees work on the go? If so, a system with mobile apps and a responsive mobile website should be a requirement.

The most important factor in the future success of your company’s new CRM system is explained eloquently by Forbes contributor Gene Marks in an article earlier this year: “These applications are terrible when managers don’t insist on the reports they should be using, don’t enforce rules for entering new opportunities and don’t commit to long-term, consistent and repetitive drip-marketing and communication campaigns using the information maintained by their CRM system to keep their prospects informed and their customers close.” He goes on to ask: “So is your CRM system terrible?  Or is it you?”

Ticketing Meets Twitter: 3 Rules for Social Customer Support

Date: Dec 6, 2013 12:02:00 PM
Most small businesses are expanding their efforts to include social media plans for marketing and brand awareness, but still haven’t developed a strategy for social customer support. And it could cost them business…

According to 360Connext, 33 percent of your customers would rather communicate with you via social media than over the phone. That means for every three phone calls your support team receives, there’s a customer on Twitter who’s reaching out to you with an equally pressing need.

Are you manning your social post? And just as important, are you prepared for ticketing and issue management that’s on full display? Here are three quick guidelines to get your ticketing process in shape for social:

#1. Be Fast

Your ability to create, manage, and track tickets quickly is paramount when navigating the rapid currents of your business’ social streams. Ticketing tools with easy edit, update, and share features can make the difference between a new fan and a lost sale.

But that doesn’t mean you need to have a final resolution ready in minutes. A prompt reply of acknowledgement is the first order of business. In Q2 of 2013, only 62 percent of social-based customer questions received a response. As Jeannie Walters points out, this is actually a big improvement—but cold comfort to the full one third of all clients and prospects who feel ignored.

#2. Be Human

When it comes to customer service, nothing rankles customers more than a robotic, inflexible reply. And nothing goes viral faster than a corporate flub. Read this remarkably bad exchange between LinkedIn’s customer support team on Twitter (@LinkedInHelp) and a frustrated customer (a communications consultant, no less).

As a member of the small business world, you’re less likely chained to rigid ticketing prescriptives (and less likely to be shamed when they go wrong). For you, social customer support provides an even bigger opportunity to show that you’re genuinely invested in solving problems. Remember to focus on the individual and the issue at hand (not step one of your ticketing protocol).

#3. Be Social

If you’re going to do customer support through a social platform, act like you’ve been there before. Social spheres are defined by first names, personal photos, and casual lingo. You can help your support team learn the ropes by building social media habits into your everyday messaging.

customer_support_twitter_feed_dell

Senior Technical Consultant @SteveBatDell used Twitter to publicly handle an odd rash of malodorous machines

 

Need some ideas? Check out how Senior Technical Consultant, @SteveBatDell publicly handled an odd rash of malodorous machines (Dell laptops that smelled like cat urine—really). He responds to individual tweets, offers a personal email response, and gives a timeframe for a published explanation. Not the best situation to have to be in, but someone had to do it.

Well done. 

 

 

Whose Pipeline Is It Anyway?

Date: Dec 4, 2013 12:03:00 PM
In the beginning, there was no marketing team.

Gasp! How did they do it, you may wonder. (Unless you’ve done it yourself, and then of course, you know.) In the earliest days when a small business has no marketing team, the sales people are lone road warriors. Living on the road and tied to the phone, these experts of charismatic conversation and persuasion are left to their own devices. In the beginning, the company founder or CEO may be the only sales person. 

From Inc. Magazine: “A frightening number of CEOs are so accustomed to handling sales on their own that even when they do get around to hiring a sale team, they neglect to put in place a process for building and tracking a sales pipeline.” 

Jumping from one networking event to another, making sales calls from the road while on the way to meet a prospective customer… the sales process in this stage of business can be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants existence. Necessary, perhaps, but not ideal. Exhausting. And missing several crucial aspects of successful sales:

• A sales pipeline to track all leads, prospects and customers at every stage of the sales process
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