5 Secrets of Marketing and Business Automation with ConvergeHub CRM

The more your business can cultivate leads and succeed in creating long-term relationships even before your prospects are ready to purchase your products or services, the more likely you are to win your lead’s approval and thereby increase your sales pipeline’s conversion rate. To help cultivate and nurture leads to move through the marketing funnel you need marketing and business automation software which helps you to take the tedious work out of connecting with leads as they move through the customer journey.

The more your business can cultivate leads and succeed in creating long-term relationships even before your prospects are ready to purchase your products or services, the more likely you are to win your lead’s approval and thereby increase your sales pipeline’s conversion rate.
To help cultivate and nurture leads to move through the marketing funnel you need marketing and business automation software which helps you to take the tedious work out of connecting with leads as they move through the customer journey. Nevertheless, marketing and business automation should not be dealt with a “set-it-and-forget-it” manner. Since for correct utilization of marketing and business automation you are required to properly setup and maintain the objective of your marketing campaigns to achieve specific objectives and goals.

On average 51% of companies are currently using Marketing automation. With more than half of B2B companies (58%) plan to adopt the technology.-Emailmonday Click To Tweet

Let us take a look at 5 secrets of successful marketing and business automation below:

#1.  Prepare and Organize Your CRM

Make sure that you clean your CRM database since it will synchronize with your marketing and business automation software. Hence, if your database has a lot of outdated or duplicate information, you are sure to land up with a bad problem on your hand.  Always go through your CRM database, clean up the names of your contacts, delete duplicate entries, and associate contacts with the right accounts.

#2.  Validate Email Addresses

Another vital step in making business and marketing automation software work for you is to verify all the email addresses in your CRM’s database. For this, you can run all your email addresses through an email verification service and fix the emails those are not approved. In several instances, these are small errors that can be easily fixed (i.e., gmil and gamil to gmail). In other circumstances, you may find many emails those that may no longer be active. So be careful about deleting them before importing your emails into your marketing and business automation platform.

#3. Get Everyone on Board

Before doing your marketing campaigns using business and marketing automation software, address how the software will affect your marketing and sales processes. Will it change the way your leads are presently assigned? Will it take the place of your sales outreach strategies? For this, you need to check out with the other resources in your business, including your IT department, webmaster, marketing and creative team leads, SEO team, and your CRM administrator. Since, to make your business and marketing automation software work most efficiently, you need the help of these teams with tasks such as creating contents, make email authentication, track codes, and integrate the software, if it is a third-party application with your CRM database.

Take to your automation provider if you are not sure with the answers, but answer questions early on, so that you can you can fetch the maximum from your business and marketing automation system.

#4. Test, Analyze and Update

When your business and marketing automation system is up and running, it is necessary that you continue to test and analyze the output of the software. Every aspect of your lead nurturing and marketing campaigns to your lead scoring can be a lot improved when you are aware what results you are expecting to see out of the software. Therefore, by testing, analyzing and updating the results, you can make the necessary corrections and create better strategies for your business growth.

#5. Continue Education

We are sure like most of us; you will not learn everything about business and marketing automation and its best practices in your first few months. Therefore, in order to continue getting the most from your business and marketing automation experience, you must continue to educate you staffs and yourself on the latest updates and best practices and more. There are several places wherefrom you can find this information, which includes forums, webinars, and user groups of the software.

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Conclusion

Business and Marketing automation is a wonderful tool that can easily bring success to your business. We are sure that by following the above tips, you will be well on your way to accomplish a successful business and marketing automation experience.

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Reasons for a Small Business’s Need of CRM to Survive

Small Business’s Need of CRM or Customer Relationship Management platform enables small and medium business owners to manage operational challenges, such as client attrition, sales decline, misalignment between corporate revenue targets and their salespeople’s commission policy and others. Therefore, if you are a small business owner, there are various ways that a client-tracking tool, can affect your company’s bottom-line. Check out our top 7 tips on why small business needs CRM.

Small Business’s Need of CRM or Customer Relationship Management platform enables small and medium business owners to manage operational challenges, such as client attrition, sales decline, misalignment between corporate revenue targets and their salespeople’s commission policy and others.

Recent studies show that companies with a fully utilized CRM system can increase sales by 29%.- Forbes Click To Tweet

Therefore, if you are a small business owner, there are various ways that a client-tracking tool, can affect your company’s bottom-line.
Check out our top 7 tips on why small business needs CRM:

  1. Be Organized

As a small business owner, you can claim that you are managing your company’s task management systems, business emails, calendar system, but in reality, unless you organize all your information in one system, you are missing the big picture of your business. CRM integrates all these activities and much more in one easily maintainable and managed place, which can help you learn things about your business you never knew before. Hence, understanding the small business’s need of CRM, and being organized will never ever be a detriment to the success of your business.

  1. Client Management

Another most vital reason why small businesses are in need of CRM is that CRM is a tool that provides more visibility into your client base. It helps small business owners to ponder on different strategies and tactics that are needed for formulating better plans and thereby break new grounds for long-term profitability.

  1. Track Profitability

CRM is a tool that can help ease-up the work of your accountants. Once you adopt a CRM like ConvergeHub, you need not worry about tracking your billing processes and instead concentrate on activities like strategizing on product discounts, client returns and shipping costs. Converged CRM platforms provide small businesses with a speedy bookkeeping system and can produce accurate financial reporting, which is a crucial process in the corporate value chain.

  1. Sales Strategy

As an owner of small business, the last thing you must be wanting is to lose income by targeting the wrong customer. Client administration programs, which are the core utility of a CRM, can provide small business owners with extremely valuable intelligence about future sales trends that can aid them to adjust their present corporate sales strategies and drive higher revenues.

  1. Never Lose Your Data

Do you store all your business and client relationship information on your laptop? Then the odds are high that your laptop can be damaged or stolen.  Small business’s need of CRM system helps you to get rid of notepads, calendars, memo-books, and other outdated systems for tracking your data. A web-based or SaaS-based CRM system such as ConvergeHub lets small businesses to protect their data from being lost. With a Cloud-based CRM, as your data remains on the Cloud Server, it guarantees data safety and so provides you a protective cover against data loss.

  1. Statuses Are Important

Are you aware which of your clients are ready for a quick callback and who is not? Knowing which of your prospects are showing interest in your products and services, and which clients are presently on a hold will surely help businesses to improve or modify their sales strategies. A CRM at its most basic level lets you see the statuses of your customers. Small businesses need CRM for every time you make a call, contact the customer or your prospects and leads by email or SMS you can easily update all your customer related information along with their current status in your CRM. This way by mapping your customer journey, you can avoid following up on cold leads and instead mature the hot ones.

  1. You Need Metrics

Do you remember how many successful conversions of your leads-to-customers you had in the past weeks or months? Can you provide a quick data of your conversion ratio or explain the most fruitful method that helped your sales reps to reach your customers? Metrics are critical for the growth of any business. You can always figure out these statistics to some extent using Excel formulas in a spreadsheet, but then again, the odds are high that you may make mistakes while calculating your result. Most people do. CRM software is capable of providing you instant metrics on several aspects of your business and generates reports which are specific to your needs.

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Conclusion

Finally, small business’s need of CRM is highly recommended, as this software is capable of improving an organization’s customer service practices. It helps your support staffs to respond to client’s queries quickly apart from providing insight into customer’s order trends, which ensures that your support staffs never mess up with order related questions from your customers.

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10 Inspiring Quotes To Kick-Start a Prosperous 2018

The start of the New Year is the perfect time to make a new beginning by reflecting on the past years. Be it in your career, relationship or your health, here are 10 ageless inspiring quotes to jump-start a successful new year. We hope you will find yourself motivated by reading these inspiring lines and keep them in your mind throughout 2018 to help encourage you to make this year your best ever.

The start of the New Year is the perfect time to make a new beginning by reflecting on the past years. Be it in your career, relationship or your health, here are 10 ageless inspiring quotes to jump-start a successful new year.

We hope you will find yourself motivated by reading these inspiring lines and keep them in your mind throughout 2018 to help encourage you to make this year your best ever.

Happy New Year 2018!

  1. “The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke
  2. “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”Warren Buffett
  3. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”Milton Berle
  4. “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”Norman Vincent Peale
  5. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”Anne Frank
  6. “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.”Napoleon Hill
  7. “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”Jack Dempsey
  8. “When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.”Wilma Rudolph
  9. “The Wright brothers flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility.”Charles Kettering
  10. “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”Bertrand Russell

Top Benefits of Marketing Cloud and Business Automation

Marketing cloud and business automation are two processes that help businesses to market their products and services online through integrated digital experience. The aim of cloud marketing is to use methods for advertising via online applications to target customers through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook and various other websites that aim to reach out to the consumers by demonstrating different brands, products, and services.

Marketing cloud and business automation are two processes that help businesses to market their products and services online through integrated digital experience.

The aim of cloud marketing is to use methods for advertising via online applications to target customers through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook and various other websites that aim to reach out to the consumers by demonstrating different brands, products, and services. Cloud marketing platform, which was established by ShareVue Marketing Technologies a company based in Raleigh, North Caroline is maintained and supported by third-party SaaS firms. Using marketing cloud and business automation markets targeting leads and customers need to ensure that their materials are compatible with devices, which are capable of rendering electronic media.

Global Cloud IT market revenue is predicted to increase from $180B in 2015 to $390B in 2020, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17%. Click To Tweet

Benefits and Advantages of using Cloud Marketing

Cost-effectiveness

Marketing cloud and business automation help businesses to lessen the cost of marketing distribution materials, which include sending e-books, magazines, catalogs and other similar advertising materials to consumers as digital media. It helps to send promotional contents over digital format, which enables a cheaper and faster approach. The reduction in the cost of printing and the efficient use of online materials, which can be used continuously, makes Cloud marketing so popular among all businesses in the modern times.

Customization

Customization while using marketing cloud allows businesses to creatively use interactive media to produce relevant and effective advertisements when targeting a customer.  Customization also includes the use of social media websites such as Facebook to customize pages to send to the public or fans of your brands over the internet. Once markets deploy cloud marketing through a CRM platform, they can even combine information from third-party data sources, including surveys and emails to visualize the customer experience.

Time

Timing is always a vital prerequisite for targeting customers using marketing cloud and business automation. Traditional brand advertising methods, like posters and surveys, have limited time windows before they become invalid. However, marketing cloud helps a business to produce advertisements as and when it is required for the consumers. Hence, the advertising materials can be effortlessly removed if the marketing campaign or the advertising season is over. The materials used for cloud marketing can be easily erased from the Internet or even can be modified along with different hyperlinks to ensure that the materials are fit for its purpose, and the customized contents are delivered at the right time.

Cloud Marketing Strategy

The strategy followed by cloud marketing can be broken into 4 parts:

  1. Establishing the goal

The primary step for cloud marketing is to find a goal or an objective for the marketing project. The project proposal for marketing cloud should clearly define the objectives of the campaign, which can be maintained based on qualitative or quantitative data. This helps the plan not to be deployed haphazardly.

  1. Development

In the development stage, the marketing team creates the contents, graphics and other media materials required for the online advertisement of the brand, while the web development team researches on a method to post the materials onto an online source.

  1. Maintenance

Maintenance is required for cloud marketing, which updates the material while it is online. Additionally, members of the marketing team are also responsible for acting as a moderator in any discussion boards or keep the communication alive with the receivers of the content and in needed increase the validity of the campaign.

  1. Evaluation

Users of marketing cloud and business automation needs to evaluate the success of the marketing campaigns throughout the duration of the campaign, to find how appropriate it has been to the end users. It is only by analyzing the campaign statistics companies can establish their brand marketing strategies, allowing an increase in the overall effectiveness of marketing cloud and business automation technology.

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Now that you are aware of what is marketing cloud and business automation, write to us in the comment below, for more updates on this topic.

 

Why and How Should You Greet the Customers In 2018?

To gain business and grow your reputations never forget to treat your customers, as you would want to be treated. Use your own experience, think beyond products and services, and closely inspect your customer service experience with other brands, which may help your customers to build a positive connection with your company this year.

In the Internet-age, to greet the customers and create a customer-service strategy has never been more important ever before. News travels fast and news that is bad travels even faster. Companies that relax their customer-service standards, fail to comply and respond, or reply to every customer complains, can spell disaster for their business.

We have seen numerous stories in 2017 of poorly handled customer support situations that have gone viral. Business establishments that allow customers to direct their angst towards a specific brand have proliferated in the recent times.

According to Zendesk 79% of high-income households, avoid vendors for 2+ years after having a bad customer service experience. Click To Tweet

On a local level, as bloggers can help you gain business, they can also create havoc on a company’s reputation, canceling out years of good reputation with a few negative posts about your brand online.

However, this news is not that bad. For, businesses that embrace the customer-experience responsibilities can adopt social media and take the help of technology, to circulate endorsements, positive reviews, and their success stories. There are many organizations those who have succeeded in turning their customers into “wild fans”, by superseding the expectations of their customers and clients, or by identifying unique touch points in their customer engagement process that can create or destroy a sale.

So how do you fight with this double-edged sword of social media and customer experience in 2018?

To start with, let us discuss the fundamental aspects of what signifies a great customer experience for your customers. Delivering great customer experience can create a lifelong relationship with your customers, but it is really hard to start with the earliest levels of engagement.

Hence, as you check on your brand’s customer-service strategies, here are three quick tips that can help you support your end goals to gain business by creating happy customers that spread the good word about your brand, services, products, and technology:

  1. Captivate customers from the first point of engagement

In this very moment, while you are reading this article, hundreds of companies across the world are losing business by mistreating their customers.

For example, if your employees do not know how to greet the customer, a customer may walk into your store, is greeted by nobody, and is compelled to wait for service. This is obviously not a great way to create a first impression of yourself to your customers.

We know of instances, whereby there are business establishments those have lost more than half of their customers this way. Similarly, many businesses do not even know how many clienteles they lose.

Efficient business establishments never make their customers wait, but they roll out the red carpet, by knowing how to greet the customers in a proper way.

Therefore, always make sure that you have an employee ready to greet your clienteles.

There are many technologies that can even do the “greeting” for you, like as in in-store kiosk that help customers “check-in” for service, or mobile application technology that queue customers in a virtual line.

  1. Address negative reviews and customer complaints, openly and compassionately

In case of negative feedback and customer complains, move quickly and be empathetic. Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes to understand what is driving their unhappiness. The most important thing to gain business and recover lost sale is to never become confrontational.  Since doing this most often fans the fire rather than dousing it.

In order to “COPE” with negative feedback and complains your employees need 4 elements in their checklist:

Contrition- the ability to feel sorry and apologize

Own up the issue and take responsibility

Prevent the mistake from happening again

Explain to the customer what has happened and what and you are doing to prevent it from happening once more.

  1. Encourage customers to share their experience with your brand

The era when a bad customer experience was only confined to a few close friends and relatives is over. Today, mobile and online reviews can magnify every customer experience, be it good or bad, in space and time. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are a platform that can make both good and bad reviews spread and swell like a wildfire.

Therefore, not only greet your customers once they enter your brick and mortar or virtual space, but it is also a good practice to encourage them to review your services and provide feedback, which makes it easier for your customers to promote your brand.

This can be as simple as sending a “Review and Like our page on Facebook” reminder on email to your customers, using CRM software to automate your email campaigns or offer a discount to customers those who send a tweet with a referral or recommendation for your brand.

Always remember to keep up the interaction, by thanking your customers who provide a nice shout-out.

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Takeaway

Lastly, to gain business and grow your reputations never forget to treat your customers, as you would want to be treated. Use your own experience, think beyond products and services, and closely inspect your customer service experience with other brands, which may help your customers to build a positive connection with your company this year.

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CRM and the Role of AI for the Future of Businesses

Everywhere that you see today, customer data is blowing up. People (and all their modern devices) are sharing data, which even refers to household products. This is happening, as behind each device, interaction, and products there is a customer, which equates to a first-time opportunity for organizations to delight their clients and customers with unprecedented experiences that are most intuitive, predictive, and relevant than ever, upholding the role of AI for the future of businesses in this modern world.

Everywhere that you see today, customer data is blowing up. People (and all their modern devices) are sharing data, which even refers to household products. This is happening, as behind each device, interaction, and products there is a customer, which equates to a first-time opportunity for organizations to delight their clients and customers with unprecedented experiences that are most intuitive, predictive, and relevant than ever, upholding the role of AI for the future of businesses in this modern world.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) embedded in trade and commerce and CRM platforms are creating striking new possibilities for the customer experience and beyond.

Out of more than 1000 global companies analyzed by IDC 28% of companies already use Artificial Intelligence and 41% are planning to use AI in the next two years. Click To Tweet

In December 2016, President Obama released a detailed report on the role of AI for the future of businesses, automation, and the American economy. The report endorsed technology being the primary driver of growth in GDP per capita, overruling labor, or capital in the U.S. However, it also warned that the larger economic gains that can be found by AI could remain to a selected few, as the winner-take-most nature of the IT markets means that only a few may come to dominate the markets that hold the role of AI for the future of businesses.

Recently the pioneering market intelligence company IDC, in collaboration with SFDC, released a report on the economic impact of using AI for Customer Relationship Management activities, ranging from marketing and sales to customer support and retention. Whereby they confirmed, out of more than 1000 global companies analyzed  28% of companies already use Artificial Intelligence and 41% are planning to use AI in the next two years. Hence, 2018 is expected to be a pivotal year for AI adoption for enterprises, paving the road for the role of AI for the future of businesses.

Within CRM specificity, it is a known fact to many that 50% of business activities in the Customer Relationship Management platform are already in the cloud. No wonder vendors of cloud-based SaaS CRM ranging from IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, and even Google have doubled down on the war for acquiring lion’s share of the market of the enterprise cloud.

The term Artificial Intelligence or AI is an extremely broad term that defines a wide range of technology that includes machine learning, NLP (Natural Language Processing), computer vision, and several other predictive analysis approaches that heralds the role of AI for the future of businesses.

The challenge in this golden age of AI revolution is to determine how we can develop the right expertise and process for collecting data, as well as build AI algorithms and models fast enough to reap the benefits of this technology.
Given the fact that most companies do not even know where and how to begin, building AI based new systems, apps, and capabilities or having AI already ingrained into CRM, will significantly hike any companies’ skill to deliver high-impact and smart customer experience quickly and effectively.

Customer intelligence in a CRM starts with the cluster of rich data that resides in one location and caters to a single comprehensive view of each customer. Without this data, AI algorithm (no matter how advanced it is) will not be able to present a meaningful predictive analysis. Additionally, this approach not only turns CRM platform into an ideal technological choice for managing customer relationship but it can help to build all kind of apps like the one that can predict late payments, accounts receivable, supply chain management that can predict stock level according to expected demands and more.

E-commerce firms can also use the CRM database to elevate buying experience by providing personalized and automated recommendations and special offers that can help draw shoppers to their e-commerce websites. Thinking ahead of times, embedded intelligence can even learn from conversation history and coach sales agents in the next steps they must take to reach out with their best offers to the customers.

Soul Machine, a startup based in New Zealand is creating chat bots with expressive digital expressions that can understand and manifest human emotions, using AI algorithms to discern human tone and facial expressions.

To conclude, with all trends that are transforming the ways we do business and interact with customers, the role of AI for the future of businesses will surely show us even more exciting and innovative developments during the upcoming months in 2018.

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5 Ideas That Will Redefine Customer Experience Management In 2018

Customer Experience Management or CEM is a compilation of processes that a business establishment uses to track, manage, and organize the interactions between the organization and a customer, throughout the customer lifecycle. The objective of Customer Experience Management is to optimize interactions based on the customer’s perspective and to increase customer loyalty. As we live in the age of the customer, to explain this buzz-worthy concept, it is the time that we must know what CEM really means. Precisely stating, CEM is not just collecting or responding to customer feedbacks, or tacking your NPS (Net Promoter Score), but it is a methodology and the complete ideology that makes your business enjoyable to work for customers. So how do you triumph the CX (Customer Experience) race in 2018?

What is Customer Experience Management?

Customer Experience Management or CEM is a compilation of processes that a business establishment uses to track, manage, and organize the interactions between the organization and a customer, throughout the customer lifecycle. The objective of Customer Experience Management is to optimize interactions based on the customer’s perspective and to increase customer loyalty.

As we live in the age of the customer, to explain this buzz-worthy concept, it is the time that we must know what CEM really means. Precisely stating, CEM is not just collecting or responding to customer feedbacks, or tacking your NPS (Net Promoter Score), but it is a methodology and the complete ideology that makes your business enjoyable to work for customers.

How do you triumph the CX (Customer Experience) race in 2018?

  1. Mapping and Studying the Complete Customer Journey
  2. Becoming Truly Omni-Channel
  3. Create Intelligent Loop Closure by Seamless Integrations
  4. Deploy Real-Time CX Systems and Personalized Insights
  5. Use Advanced Analytics to Help Prioritize Investments
Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Click To Tweet

In the race for delighting the customer, here we elaborate on the above-mentioned 5 things that we expect will shape Customer Experience in the coming year:

Mapping and Studying the Complete Customer Journey

The main objective of Customer Experience Management is to convey delight, but for that, you must first get your customer engaged. Engaging the customer can be either ad-hoc or part of a larger plan, but at the end, business establishments should understand the entire customer journey.
It is not just enough to take an individual point on the customer journey to understand or survey your customer, for doing this you will most likely be ineffective, as you will not have enough contexts to understand the needs of your customer.

The customer journey is the only means that is capable of providing context around the buyer’s experience with a brand. It helps you to ask the right questions at the most opportune moment, and so build brand engagement and trust that help guide the customer journey to the point of purchase.

Hence, for a total understanding of the customer journey spending money in advanced analytics to spot the drivers in Customer Experience is going to be vital for customer success in 2018.

Becoming Truly Omni-Channel

In the present times, customer interactions include a wide range of touch points, such as web, mobile, IVR (Interactive Voice Response), social media, in-store, chat-bots and more.  This brings us to the modern-day concept of Omni-Channel. Customers nowadays switch between different channels frequently, that too in the middle of a purchase or even during discovery. Hence, our prediction is that Omni-Channel customer experience management will get bigger with the propagation of channels, and naturally, customer journey mapping has to encompass every touch-points and channels where you can find your customer’s presence.

So having these channels up and running, and to make the work seamlessly as a part of the overall customer journey is another thing that we predict will be critical for CEM in 2018.

Intelligent Loop Closure by Seamless Integrations

Brands are obliged to resolve customer queries. However, according to Esteban Kolsky (CEO of ThinkJar), only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers do actually complain. Hence, creating Omni-Channel strategies and mapping customer journeys, drives customer engagement and aids organizations to proactively engage the customer across multiple touch-points, thereby ensuring that they are listening.

When it comes to business, different brands have different systems for support. CEM ensures that poor feedbacks from the customers become a support ticket automatically, in order to proactively resolve the issue. Hence, regardless of your industry, support ticket management is a priority for all businesses.

The only way to access these insights and precisely prioritize these customer support tickets is to completely integrate your business with systems of records that are capable of providing customer contexts.

These systems of records include CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, Loyalty platforms, Point of Sale systems, and others.

Therefore, seamless flow of information and ease of integration between these various kinds of systems will necessarily be a prior requirement for a Customer Experience Management program to allow smart loop closure in 2018.

Customer Experience Management

Real-Time CX Systems and Personalized Insights

In the year ahead, customer experience strategy will require alignment and coordination between various teams. Customers want holistic, all comprising brand experience, which suggests that your workforce need the right kind of equipment with the correct insights that are required for their roles. For example, while a Chief Executive Officer of a company should be able to view Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), organization-encompassing NPS and other holistic metrics, store managers should only view metrics of their store-NPS and ambiance of the store.

The customer needs are evolving at an unprecedented rate. Hence, by 2018 one of the primary pre-requisites of a great Customer Experience will be the ability to monitor feedbacks and then offer actionable insights in real-time. Therefore, Customer Experience Management platforms will need to be real-time, from driving integrations to making changes to configuring the whole CEM system, which can provide a clearer picture of what your customers are thinking of your business and how to manage their expectations from your brand.

Advanced Analytics to Help Prioritize Investments

Although most organizations are capable of collecting raw data about their customers, extracting the right insights from this cascading information is the real challenge.

As we move into 2018, remember that you make sure your analytic engine is a step ahead than your brand’s competitors.  Therefore, leveraging on AI and deep learning can help in precisely gauging your customer’s sentiments. Powering your CX analytic platforms with cutting-edge techs such as predictive analysis, churn predictor, and path analysis helps in diving deep into customer behavior and their purchasing patterns, that can help drive hands-on improvement strategies.

While path analysis metrics helps in identifying the underlying influences of CX, predictive analysis make use of this data to run ‘what-if’ scenarios.

Therefore, briefly, truly understanding the customers and addressing their pain-points proactively is what that will set your business and brand apart in 2018.

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Benefits of Cloud-Based CRM Vs Other Types of CRM

No matter whatever that you may sell, managing your customers is important for the success of your business. This is where exactly choosing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) comes into play. There are mainly three types of CRM. All these CRM systems support your business from different angles, which helps you to accomplish different goals. Therefore, choosing the best CRM system for your organization requires identifying your objectives and determining the main customer management problems that you need to resolve by adopting a CRM for your businesses.

No matter whatever that you may sell, managing your customers is important for the success of your business. This is where exactly choosing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) comes into play.
There are mainly three types of CRM. All these CRM systems support your business from different angles, which helps you to accomplish different goals.
Therefore, choosing the best CRM system for your organization requires identifying your objectives and determining the main customer management problems that you need to resolve by adopting a CRM for your businesses.

The CRM industry has seen staggering growth in recent years. Cloud-based CRM revenue will likely make up almost 50% of the 2017 projected $31 billion CRM sector.- Gartner Click To Tweet

Operational CRM

This kind of CRM system centers on using software apps, which help to incorporate a different set of information that is available on each lead, prospect, and customers into one useful file. For instance, this type of CRM system brings together customer’s contact details, purchase history, and any other communications that the customer have had with the users of the CRM on one window so that employees can provide the customer with fast response and service. Operational CRM provides support to marketing, sales, and support reps across different departments in an organization.

This type of CRM system can also be useful to help Sales Force Automation.

  • Sales Force Automation

SFA or Sales Force Automation help to keep a record of every stage in the sales process, aiding marketing and sales departments to automate activities like scheduling calls, making reports and creating email campaigns for relationship management and drip marketing campaigns.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM systems help in looking into the lead, prospect and, customer data from an analytical angle to come up with unique marketing strategies that can be implemented for harnessing future sales. This type of CRM views data points from different databases and then use techniques like data mining to come up with patterns and trends. Using Analytical CRM, companies can create better and long-term strategies for customer management and sales.

Collaborative CRM

Collaborative CRM systems focus on integrating contacts with external agencies, like distributors and vendors, and cater this data to its customers through an extranet. This type of CRM system helps customers to get proactive about the services they get from the company, by providing them with a support center, along with technical support and new tools (e.g. instant messenger).

Furthermore, a CRM platform is divided into 2 types:

On-Premise CRM

An On-Premise CRM system puts the onus of security, administration, control, and maintenance of the CRM’s database and information on the company itself. Users of this CRM systems purchases licenses upfront for implementation of the CRM system, instead of buying monthly, quarterly or annual subscriptions. The On-Premise CRM system’s software and database resides on the company’s server and it requires a prolonged installation process for integration of the software with other existing and traditional software (if any), used by the company. In general, a very large business organization with highly complex Customer Relationship Management needs benefits more from this type of CRM.

Cloud-Based CRM

Cloud-based CRM like ConvergeHub which is also an on-demand or SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) CRM system, is a platform, where data is stored on a remote, external network that users of the CRM can access anytime, with the help of an Internet connection.
In many cases, third-party services are deployed to oversee maintenance and installation of these CRM systems.
The Cloud-based CRM system needs relatively easy and quick installation and is so adopted by companies who have limited expertise, technology, or resources. Cloud-based CRM is also more cost-effective as vendors of these CRM systems charge users on a subscription basis with the option of yearly, monthly, or quarterly payments.

Why small businesses and salespeople prefer Cloud-based CRM?

One of the primary benefits of Cloud-based CRM software is its scalability. All SaaS or Cloud-based CRM systems are designed to be flexible, which means, it can expand its capacities, depending on the organization’s needs. Moreover, as the cost of this CRM platform is based on the number of users and storage requirements, which can scale up and down as your requirements change, hence this CRM solution is often the most preferred CRM platform for small and medium businesses in today’s world.

Apart from this Cloud-based CRM, also most often include integration with commonly used email systems and office applications along with integration with social media data and automatic backup tools.

Lastly with the growth of mobile technology, we presently also have Cloud-based CRM system applications that are built for tablets and smartphones. Mobile CRM apps use features that are unique to mobile devices, such as Voice-recognition capabilities, GPS, and others in order to better serve the customers and essentially provide access to the sales employees for using this technology on the go.

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Increase Holiday Sales This Year by Understanding Your Customer’s Purchasing Behavior

Each year something exciting happens, as we want to spend endless hours looking through retail shelves in search for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Based on the forecasts for this year, it has been predicted that this year’s holiday season sale will be a blast, as US consumers are planning to spend 3.5 – 4.5 percent more than they did in 2016. While in another research, it has been pointed out that more than 82 percent of shoppers in the US are planning to buy their gifts online.

Each year something exciting happens, as we want to spend endless hours looking through retail shelves during holiday sales in search for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. However, holiday season for business owners is a time, which is marked by ceaseless frustrations and anxieties. There are way too many things to deal with and things worsen when you find your customers jumping ships and fleeing to your competitors because you have neglected some valuable insights about customer preferences.

But fear not, since there are myriad of information and research online, which can reveal the wants and needs of your customers.

Based on the forecasts for this year, it has been predicted that this year’s holiday season sale will be a blast, as US consumers are planning to spend 3.5 – 4.5 percent more than they did in 2016.

How the US Consumers plan to shop this season

According to a forecast by Forrester Research, it has been suggested that online sale will increase by 12 percent this holiday season compared to 2016. While in another research, it has been pointed out that more than 82 percent of shoppers in the US are planning to buy their gifts online.

According to a forecast by Forrester Research, it has been suggested that online sale will increase by 12 percent this holiday season compared to 2016. Click To Tweet

While this may seem to be a positive trend for online stores, there is another insight that you should also be aware of. According to Forrester three-quarter of all holiday shoppers expect to buy their gifts from Amazon. This means although e-commerce sale is expected to grow, Amazon will take a large chunk of the sale.

Another interesting trend revealed by Forrester shows the consumer’s tendency to procrastinate. The said research has brought out that in 2017, shoppers are expected to wait even longer before buying their gifts, which means, that in-store pickups and expedited shipping, will be most valuable from the customer’s perspective.

As an e-commerce business owner, you probably already have a 2017 Holiday Plan in place, but still, it is worth reconsidering the plan to see if it aligns with these recent researches.

Here are a few more suggestions based on the research findings:

Tips on how you can increase sale during Holiday Season 2017:

#1. Get an online store

If you have not yet tapped into the power of online selling, get on the bandwagon now. Although it is true that people still love to touch and feel their products before purchasing them, however, holiday season purchases are more about giving others, which means that generic product mix will sale moreover personalized items.

#2. Review your product assortment

Consumer’s mindset changes radically once the trees change its hue. While consumers try to stay wary of their finances in the early fall, they start buying lavish gifts and start throwing money on unnecessary items as the holiday season approaches every year, and mostly their choices are not thoughtful ones. This is the time to review your stocks and dig out those most costly gifts and pricey toys. Remember, the more creative, pretty and decorative your product offerings, the more sales you can expect during the holiday sale.

#3. Incorporate recommendations

According to Forrester Research, 64 percent of online buyers try to view recommendations or suggested products while they shop. By adding recommendation functionality to your e-commerce website, you can make you of the collected data to find out your customer preferences. To enhance customer experience, you can even allow your shoppers to like and save their favorite items while surfing for their desired products in your online shop.

#4. Provide expedited shipping and pick-up in store

For early buyers consider offering free delivery, since ‘free delivery’ ranked high as a consideration factor in the stated surveys. Moreover, as mentioned even before there are an increasing number of customers those who are postponing their purchases this holiday season, therefore, such services that make sure of guaranteed delivery will be much appreciated.

#5. Update marketing communication across all channels

For this holiday season, remember to align all your marketing materials and website landing page imageries with the holiday theme. It has been observed on several occasions that holiday themes put customers into a buying mode. As most customers have a mental budget of how much they are going to spend during the holiday season sale, therefore, put out your holiday merchandise at the earliest, and create an atmosphere of a joyous celebration online.

#6. Improve customer support

Even when the craze and rush for holiday shopping get out of your control, it is important that you stand apart from your competitors by providing a high level of customer service. According to Forrester Research, 68 percent of online shoppers expect their desired brands to answer their queries within a day and 26 percent wants to receive a response within 2 hours.

As this kind of customer expectations often puts tremendous pressure on business owners during the holiday season, consider streamlining your customer service processes by adopting latest technological solutions such as Chat-bots and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to cater to your customer’s needs.

#7. Optimize mobile experiences

In a report published by Adobe Digital Insights, mobile visits have risen by 33 percent compared to what it was in 2016. Therefore make your e-commerce website mobile responsive and create a speedy mobile checkout process. As everyone is pressed for time during the holiday season, people are more willing to shop online using their mobile device. Offering different payment methods such as credit cards, and digital wallets help in generating more sale and process faster checkouts.

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Summary

Hence, in a gist, while data provides a complete picture of personal preferences and behaviors of your customers, but as holidays are centered on the idea of gift giving, holiday promotions are here to stay for this year and times to come.

Top 5 Tips To Boost Business Capacity With Relationship Marketing

Modern businesses promote customer loyalty instead of concentrating on short-term goals, which can be illustrated at a granular level as just individual sales or singular customer procurements. Relationship marketing strategy seeks to develop a secured relationship with the customers by providing them direct information that caters to their individual interests and needs. Hence, relationship marketing encourages open communication in an active form.

If you are not aware of what is relationship marketing, then according to Steve Olenski (Director of CMO Content and Strategy at Oracle) and a contributing writer for Forbes :

Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.

Therefore, we can describe relationship marketing as an important factor that leads to effective communication and customer relationship management (CRM), which educates us on long-term customer engagements.  Modern businesses promote customer loyalty instead of concentrating on short-term goals, which can be illustrated at a granular level as just individual sales or singular customer procurements. Relationship marketing strategy seeks to develop a secured relationship with the customers by providing them direct information that caters to their individual interests and needs. Hence, relationship marketing encourages open communication in an active form.

Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013 shows the value of building customer relationships, as 70% of respondents agreed that “it is cheaper to retain than acquire a customer. Click To Tweet

In other words, for all those who seek to understand what is relationship marketing, it can be said that this type of marketing strategy refers to everything you do to develop a lifelong strong relationship with your brand admirers and customers.

The tools used for encouraging relationship marketing strategy starts from building influencer programs to referral campaigning and affiliate marketing, which helps you to position your brand as the best option for your customers to cling on.

According to RealResultMarketing survey, for some companies relationship marketing resulted in 1% increase in their customer retention over each of their next 10 years, cumulating to a 20% growth in their annual earnings.

Here is what relationship management strategy caters to retention in several ways:

Lessen acquisition costs– Your Company requires fewer promotions and so your business can run with a smaller sales force.

Long-term basic profits- Core customers over the years provide a continued income on basic purchases.

Growth in revenue- As core customers spend more time on your brand, their lifetime value increases proportionally.

Lessen operating costs- Long-term customer makes fewer service and administrative demands.

Customer referrals- Satisfied customers refer and introduce another good customer to your brand.

Premium pricing- Long-term satisfied customers are less finicky about prices, so you make better profits.

How should you do relationship marketing?

Relationship marketing can involve changing major aspects of the way your company conducts its business with the customers. In fact, in certain instances, relationship marketing strategy implementation can be time-consuming, expensive, and can have serious consequences for both the customers and your brand. So before adopting relationship marketing strategies for your business, you must plan in a thoughtful and effective way, and that means abiding by a comprehensive marketing plan.

For this, primarily look at your buyer’s demography and their historical data, to understand who your customers are, what they buy, and measure how and what your brand can cater to them in the long term. You must also understand the reasons as to why consumers return to you for repeat businesses.

Although many of us have a tendency to assume that customers return because you served them well, but it can also be that the customers who return to you, come back because your store is closest to their neighborhood, or you are the only one selling the products and services they want to buy. Either way, analyzing the nature of the customer loyalty is the best method to work upon while developing a working relationship marketing plan.

If you are using a CRM, you can easily find a wealth of customer data in place and can begin by segmenting this customer information and thereafter develop unique marketing strategies for each segment of your customers in the list.

Remember, a customer who purchased or repurchased your products or services by appreciating your product value has a different quest than the one who bought from you since he liked your customer service experience.

So as customers can be loyal for different reasons, hence, tailor your market relationship strategies for each segment of your customers in a different way.

Takeaway

Now that you know what is relationship marketing, once the marketing strategy is implemented, evaluate constantly to determine its success. Companies use several metrics to measure whether they are holding on to their customers.

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Here are some of the most popular metrics and indicators that are used for evaluating the success of any relationship marketing plan while using a CRM platform:

  • Statistics about repeat sales
  • Whether customers are spending more
  • Open rate of email and newsletters
  • Referrals
  • Increases in the number of followers on social networking websites

If you have liked this article and now have a clear vision of what is relationship marketing, do write to us in the comment box below.