5 Critical KPIs To Track As A Small Business Owner Using ConvergeHub QuickBooks CRM

The fact remains, however, that your profits are one of the several factors, which affects your company’s balance sheet. If you are a user of QuickBooks CRM for small businesses, your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) refer to the values used to assess your business’s success in reaching its goals. Over the course of time, tracking pertinent KPIs can aid you in making critical decisions about your business’s development and growth. Here are 5 most important KPIs to track with the best CRM for QuickBooks online as a small and medium business owner in your industry.

The fact remains, however, that your profits are one of the several factors, which affects your company’s balance sheet. If you are a user of QuickBooks CRM for small businesses, your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) refer to the values used to assess your business’s success in reaching its goals.

Over the course of time, tracking pertinent KPIs can aid you in making critical decisions about your business’s development and growth.

65% of businesses adopt a CRM within their first five years.- Software Advice Click To Tweet

Here are 5 most important KPIs to track with the best CRM for QuickBooks online as a small and medium business owner in your industry:

#1. Cash Flow Forecast

Cash flow forecasting is an important KPI that let businesses assess whether their sales and margins are appropriate. To make this forecast, you need to add the total cash your small business have in savings to the anticipated cash value for the upcoming four weeks, and then subtract the anticipated cash out for the same period of time.

Intelligent small business owners using QuickBooks CRM software perform day-to-day cash flow forecasts, whereby they can identify upcoming financial problems in their nascent stages and then make necessary changes accordingly.

In addition to aiding small businesses foresee expected surpluses or shortages in the revenue, a cash flow forecasting is also most vital for proposing upcoming business loan applications, and for tax planning of your enterprise.

#2. Gross Profit Margin as a Percentage of Sales

No small business can achieve success if it is paying more to the suppliers than its gross monthly sales revenue. Gross profit margin as a percentage of sales is a financial expression that illustrates total profit margin of a business compared to its revenue.

Therefore, primarily to find your businesses’ GPM (Gross Profit Margin) divide your gross profit by your sales. Thereafter multiply the result, by hundred and you will then get your businesses’ GPM as a number in percentage.

Next, to determine the extent your GMP contributes to your overall sales turnover, divide that integer with your sales amount.

Here is the math for your easy reference:

 ( Gross Profit/Sales x 100) / Sales

The usefulness of using this performance indicator consistently is that this KPI helps you to easily quantify how much cash you are keeping against the amount paid out to your suppliers.

The GMP increases as your business retain more cash, and similarly, a decline in gross profit as a percentage of your sales could be a sign that your business is excessively spending on the suppliers.

As a small business owner using QuickBooks CRM accounting platform, you need to reduce overhead expenses or increase the price of your products or services to compensate for the decrease in gross profit as a percentage of sales.

#3. Revenue Growth Rate

It might seem obvious; however, the revenue growth of a business refers to the rate at which a business’s income or sales growth is increasing.

Therefore, to evaluate a revenue growth rate, start by calculating your business’s total revenue for the whole year, which is very easy to find using a QuickBooks CRM platform. Next, divide the current revenue by the total revenue from the previous year to find your present rate of growth.

By calculating RGR (Revenue Growth Rate) as an ongoing process, you can easily assess whether the growth in your business is increasing, decreasing, or is it in a plateau state.

#4. Funnel Drop-Off Rate

The funnel drop-off rate illustrates the number of visitors, who have left your sales funnel, or abandoned a conversion process, prior to its completion.

In a sales funnel (for laymen, envision a sales funnel as a real funnel pointed downward) there are many conversion steps along the way, while the prospects and leads move from the crest of the funnel to its bottom, where the prospects exit or get converted into a sale.

Therefore, the funnel drop rate is the number of prospects that move away from the funnel prior to sale.

To calculate funnel drop rate, begin by calculating the number of visits of a particular sale conversion step and then subtract the number of visits of the first step in the funnel. Next, divide this new value by the visits of the first conversion step.

In the recent times, for users of easy to use CRM software, the funnel drop off rate KPI has become one of the most important performance indicators that businesses must track using a CRM platform for finding growth or decrease in its sales activities.

#5. Accounts Payable Turnover

A business, especially if it is a small business cannot keep its establishment open for long if it runs out of funds to pay its outstanding suppliers. Accounts Payable Turnover is a KPI that measures the rate at which businesses pays for its required goods and services. It reveals the amount of fund spent on the supplying vendors over a given period of time.

Once you are using QuickBooks CRM software, to find this KPI, sum up the cost of your total purchases under supplies, and then divide it by AAP (Average Accounts Payable). Now, once you are aware as a business owner how much you are spending on your suppliers, you can find out if steps are necessary to reduce your spending that can boost long-term profits for your small and medium businesses.

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Takeaway

It is impossible to make any adjustment to your businesses’ strategies and procedures if you do not know how your business is trending.
For it is only by tracking KPIs on a regular interval, entrepreneurs can measure the factors, which are affecting their business growth and thereafter make necessary corrections that in the long run gives businesses the best shot at success.

What Is The Nuanced Difference Between Influencer Marketing Vs Brand Advocacy

We all have probably heard the terms “Brand Advocacy” and “Influencer Marketing”. Apparently, they can sound like the same thing. Nevertheless, that is not the truth, as in reality each one of these terms can occupy two different specific niches in your digital marketing strategy. Each of these two digital marketing endeavors is important for different reasons, whereby each of them fulfills a unique need and so can be utilized for two distinct purposes. However, the question remains, in spite of their differences can they be utilized together for moving your marketing efforts? So, here we are to dig into this topic to shed some light on the nuanced differences between brand advocacy and influencer marketing.

We all have probably heard the terms Brand Advocacy and Influencer Marketing. Apparently, they can sound like the same thing. Nevertheless, that is not the truth, as in reality each one of these terms can occupy two different specific niches in your digital marketing strategy.

Each of these two digital marketing endeavors is important for different reasons, whereby each of them fulfills a unique need and so can be utilized for two distinct purposes.

92% of consumers trust recommendations from brand advocates- Nielsen Holdings PLC Click To Tweet

However, the question remains, in spite of their differences can they be utilized together for moving your marketing efforts?

So, here we are to dig into this topic to shed some light on the nuanced differences between brand advocacy and influencer marketing.

What is brand advocacy?

Brand advocacy refers to the promotion of the company by general people who are in love with your brand. Brand advocates can include not only your satisfied customers, but they can also be your employees, or per say, anyone else who has an affinity for your products or services.

Anyone who loves your brand can be your brand advocate and may talk about your product or service in conversation with their family, friends, peers, and relatives.

In other words, any person who is willing to recommend your brand to another individual can be an advocate of your brand.

Although influencer marketing is a hot topic nowadays, nevertheless, brand advocacy indeed has a bigger potential to drive a larger ROI and have a greater impact on the success of your brand’s marketing campaigns than influencer marketing.

Here are two statistics to prove the veracity of our statement:

  • 18% of consumers trust good word and testimonials from industry influencers. (Forrester Research)
  • 92% of consumers trust recommendations from brand advocates. (Nielsen)

What is influencer marketing?

An influence, on the other hand, is an individual who is considered as a thought leader and an authority in their industry. For example, Paul Greenberg (author of the book “CRM at the Speed of Light“) is certainly an influence in the CRM industry. People look to him for expertise and advice to help guide them along the road to success. Paul Greenberg, Warren Buffet, Kim Kardashian, Gary Vaynerchuk are some of the examples of big league influencers- persons you are not likely to get a response from easily if you want to engage your brand and is new in influencer marketing.

How do you identify an influencer?

You can find plenty of influencers in your specific industry, individuals whom people look to for suggestions, guidance, and advice.

Find those individuals who run a widely read and highly successful blog in your industry. Else, keep an eye out for people who have enormous social media followers pertaining to your industry. These individuals are easy to spot if you know what to look for. Influencers are mostly semi-famous in their niche industries and many even charge fees for their collaborations.

Influencer marketing, when performed in a proper manner, can generate a significant return on ROI. According to an exclusive survey done on influencers by Tomoson :

Most businesses today are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

However, as a word of caution from our end, if you are a newbie in this game, you should be careful with influencers. As most influencers decide to be influences, so they can earn money. Therefore, watch out and remain beware of those influences who may not be interested in your industry and topic as they might appear to be, but are rather in the game just to make an easy buck.

How to generate and utilize brand advocates?

There are many ways to generate brand advocates. Here are a few basic methods for generating and leveraging brand advocates for any industry:

  1. Focus on customer satisfaction

One of the most successful ways to generate brand advocates is to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction among your consumers by delivering an excellent customer experience. You as an owner of a brand must make all the efforts that are needed to keep your buyers happy since if you do so, they are more likely to become advocates of your brand.

Maintaining customers over a long period of time using an easy to use CRM like ConvergeHub, who are satisfied using your products or services also results in building brand loyalty. An activity that other than generating additional revenues also helps to generate brand advocates in your established markets.

  1. Maintain happy employees

Remember, all the employees in your organization have the potential to be awesome advocates of your brand. Therefore, treat your employees well, and you can be sure that they are most likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family. Running employee engagement programs are an excellent means to make your employees feel like they are a part of a family. You can also run a workplace satisfaction survey among your employees and implement changes in your organization based on its results to make your employees feel heard. Praise your employees and reward them for a job well done to create a positive work environment around your business.

All these gestures will definitely make your employees feel more motivated to work harder, provide them morale boosts, and so they will naturally speak to their friends about your brand.

  1. Find them on social media

Once you use social listening and monitoring tools, you can easily get an alert in real time, when someone mentions your brand’s name on the social media platforms. Now, if you can engage them immediately and praise them for their kind words, they will for certain appreciate your gesture and so when they return to social media and continue to talk about how awesome your brand is, you will be successful in creating your social media advocates.

How do you leverage industry influencers?

Primarily if you want to identify the right influencer for your audience and your brand, then think about how you can reach them out to propose a mutually beneficial collaboration.

Here are two key strategies for leveraging influencer in your marketing efforts.

  1. Mutually beneficial collaboration

Once you have established a relationship with an influence, you can propose things like interviewing them for podcasts, exchanging guest blogs, co-authoring blogs with them, and more. Blast the results everywhere you can, once you have produced any type of deliverable or content in collaboration with your influencer. This blasting outreach can span across social media, press releases (if the resulting product is newsworthy), email newsletter campaigns etc.

  1. Tapping into your influencer’s network

However, the real value of influencer marketing comes in when your influencer shares the result of your works on their social media platforms. Doing so, your influencer provides you an exposure to their entire network, which considerably increases the reach of your content and gets your brand recognized to a mostly new audience. When your influencer’s followers see that, the influencer is working with you; they will most often navigate to your website or landing pages to learn more about what you do or about your products or services.

Conclusion

Therefore, as you can see both brand advocates and marketing influencers have their parts to play in growing your business. However, while influencers are more difficult to obtain, brand advocates fill a different need, word of mouth advertising, an advice that comes from someone they know and trust personally.

Hence, in a gist, although your brand can only have a handful of influencers, you can have thousands of brand advocates, those who can do the work of promoting your brand on their own.

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Do you have any lessons or tips learned from any marketing influencer or brand advocate? Share them with us in the comments section below!

5 Key Factors Of Successful Lead Scoring

The inbound marketing bug has already bitten most of the modern day marketers. Therefore, once your inbound marketing is running successfully and you are generating a high volume of fresh leads, you need to score those leads for further actions. Successful lead scoring aligns marketing and sales automatically. When it comes to lead scoring, we have some good and some bad news for the readers of this blog. Disclosing the bad news first it is, that only 23% of salespeople say that the marketing department delivers sales-ready leads. However, the good news is that this does not have to be the case. Lead scoring that provides sales-ready leads is easier than you can think, as long as you comprehend your buyers and build a lead scoring process around their behaviors and interests.

The inbound marketing bug has already bitten most of the modern day marketers. Therefore, once your inbound marketing is running successfully and you are generating a high volume of fresh leads, you need to score those leads for further actions. Successful lead scoring aligns marketing and sales automatically.

Only 23% of salespeople say that the marketing department delivers sales-ready leads- Data2CRM Click To Tweet

When it comes to lead scoring, we have some good and some bad news for the readers of this blog. Disclosing the bad news first it is, that only 23% of salespeople say that the marketing department delivers sales-ready leads. However, the good news is that this does not have to be the case.

Lead scoring that provides sales-ready leads is easier than you can think, as long as you comprehend your buyers and build a lead scoring process around their behaviors and interests.

Comprehending your leads

A well-performing lead scoring machine can align marketing and sales efforts and do wonders for your pipeline. The most efficient lead scoring sees two main aspects of a lead’s journey with your brand: Behavioral aspects and Demographic aspects

Behavioral aspects

The behavioral aspect of your prospective customer’s interaction with your product or service includes the way they purchase, where they like to interact (web, phone, social media, email) and what they find most interesting about your brand. Web analytics are a powerful way to understand the lead’s interests in tracking how many web pages a lead visits on your brand’s website, which pages they like to view more and for how long. Are they opening the emails in one of your particular campaigns or responding particularly well to an SMS message about a new product or service?
All these are behavioral aspects of a lead.

Demographic aspects

The demographic aspects of any lead identify common characteristics of your prospective customers. Especially main characteristics such as company size, location, the range of the revenue. On an individual level, the demographic aspects include categories such as job titles, age group, gender, income level and others.
However, the most vital demographic aspect of the lead scoring process depends on the particular business on an organizational and individual level.

The critical harmonious balance for the lead scoring technique is where the behavior and demography intersect. Once you identify that intersection, it is time to build the lead scoring system for your brand.

5 Key Factors Of Successful Lead Scoring

Which are the factors that you apply for setting up your lead scoring process completely depends on your business model, but these building blocks of the lead scoring system are the same for all small and medium businesses.

Here are the five key factors for setting up an effective and robust lead scoring process that can automatically align both your marketing and sales efforts. 

  1. Define your criteria

Even before you start your lead scoring rules, brainstorm with your sales team for identifying your brand’s ideal customer. This is the basic criteria for building your lead scoring system. There may be different types of customer personas for your ideal customer, if it is so, find out where do those buyers overlap.

  1. Recognize your Target Audience (TA)

Once your ideal customer conditions are finalized, the next step is to identify your TA (Target Audience). The questions that you should ask your marketing team to find out your TA may include:

  • Are you TA based in Europe, North America, Middle East, or are they spread across the globe?
  • Which income group is the TA inclined towards?
  • Is your TA composed of mid-level management or top-level managerial staffs?

Although your sales team may help you to find information about your target audience, your marketing team is best equipped to answer these queries on your TA.

  1. Define your brand’s unique customer journey

Find out what the steps in your customer journey are, and how these steps should be scored? Once you have the characteristics of your leads well defined, focus on your lead’s behavior with your brand. List out all the possible touch points through which your prospective customers engage with your brand before they become your loyal customers. Over here, some behaviors may be more important than others. Make a list and assign score points to empathize each step’s importance. These mentioned steps may include:

  • A lead opening an email
  • A lead visits and signs up on your website’s signup page
  • A lead registers for a webinar etc.

The points allocated for each of these actions taken by the leads may vary from business to business.

  1. Structure a system and assign scores

After the behavior and characteristic aspects have been identified, define your lead scoring structure. For example, if you focus on the North American market, then you give leads from North America a positive score versus a lead from China or India (or this might also be the other way around). Another instance is when you allot a negative score to any lead coming to your brand’s job page because those leads are concerned for working in your organization and are not anxious about buying your product.

Once your lead generation process is ready for operation, you need to deal out a particular number or score to every touch points of your leads, which should be based on the priority that you have set for each aspect.

Do you want to provide higher scores to leads visiting your brand’s pricing page than leads visiting your career page?

Do you want to give a higher score to leads coming from private companies than those are from government institutions?

All these decisions should be incorporated into your lead scoring system.

  1. Track and Tweak

The last key factor to this lead scoring building blocks to make a good lead scoring system is to continuously track and tweak the lead scoring process.

Do not be surprised if you discover new aspects of your lead’s behavior that are crucial to defining a buy-ready lead.

For example, if you find that leads that are visiting your blog page are converting more than who are visiting your webinars, you should revise your lead scoring points for webinar visits and increase the ranking for the blog visits of your prospective leads.

Conclusion

Most silo marketing automation systems and easy to use CRM that have inbuilt marketing automation platforms, provide some sort of lead scoring functionality. However, it is essential to choose the one that exactly syncs with the model of your business.

Moreover, lead scoring for small and medium business is different from what it is for large enterprises. Therefore, always discuss with your sales and marketing team to improve your implemented lead scoring process.

Marketing Automation Vs Easy to Use CRM- Where lays the difference

There are many among us that think the term CRM and marketing automation relates to the same type of software. Although it is true that there is some overlap in the kind of information each of these systems utilize, nevertheless, both these software systems are very different in terms of who uses each one and the tasks that these systems support in growing your business. Therefore, it can be said that marketing automation systems often work closely with easy to use CRM software, as there are several easy to use CRM solutions that have incorporated marketing automation functionalities, like ConvergeHub.

There are many among us that think the term CRM and marketing automation relates to the same type of software. Although it is true that there is some overlap in the kind of information each of these systems utilize, nevertheless, both these software systems are very different in terms of who uses each one and the tasks that these systems support in growing your business.
Therefore, it can be said that marketing automation systems often work closely with easy to use CRM software , as there are several easy to use CRM solutions that have incorporated marketing automation functionalities, like ConvergeHub.

Briefly stating, automation is more of a generic idea, which reduces the repetitive labor of communicating with the customers, for example triggering emails and others. Therefore, while marketing automation is characteristically used for nurturing lead, easy to use CRM software helps in looking after the resultant customers.
However, this distinction is no longer a helpful one, given the fact that marketing automation is getting more and more embedded with easy to use CRM systems.

Less than 10% of the total contacts stored in the marketing automation system are leads that are really set to be qualified- Forrester Research (2016) Click To Tweet

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing communication is all about effective, low-cost communication with customers and prospect, which implies email and social media communications. All marketing automation system starts primarily with email blasting and adds myriads of features designed to facilitate effective and beautiful mail sequences on an industrial scale. In order to improve the effectiveness of emails, the marketing automation system includes mail templates and campaign designers to provide a consistent and clear path for the customer as their level of interest and subsequent information evolves. The customer journey from basic awareness through curiosity for the brand to the desire for purchase and finally to action is explicitly mapped with call-to-action and contents that are tuned for each branch in the customer journey.

In the recent times, marketing automation platforms that link social media have many features to leverage Twitter, discussion-board interactions, and Facebook with email campaigns and the website.

Therefore, effective marketing automation systems are actually content management platforms in disguise, so that the system can manage its content assets through their lifetime. As these assets are typically stored on the website of the company, the marketing automation system needs to be able to quickly generate attractive registration and download pages. Moreover, since the behavior of the prospects cannot be anticipated in advance, marketing automation platforms need to have an inbuilt workflow management feature to facilitate “A/B split testing” that provides information to guide the campaign sequences and refine web pages for producing optimal results.

CRM and Marketing Automation: Are they better together?

 

Therefore, if the heart of marketing automation is blasting emails, the core of CRM is SFA or Sales Force Automation.
While both these systems operate on contacts, leads, and companies, they run on very different contexts.

To explain simply, marketing automation users are mostly focused on leads, while in contrast, the SFA users see leads important in the short term, as the sales teams will be working on deals (opportunities) and talk with contacts (leads that have been promoted or converted).

So easy to use CRM systems must support the following sales business processes:

  • Lead qualification
  • Early sales cycle (including call scheduling and demos)
  • Pipeline management and forecasting
  • Order configuration and quotation generation
  • Order confirmation and fulfillment
  • Contract establishment and termination
  • Ongoing account management
  • Renewals and repeat orders

Hence, the output of the marketing automation system is obviously the input to the easy to use CRM system. However, that lineage should be only for those leads that are really set to be qualified, which is typically according to Forrester Research survey below 10% of the total contacts stored in the marketing automation system.

Conclusion

Best small and medium business CRM like ConvergeHub subsumes marketing automation under its CRM umbrella, which aids in customer journey management, campaign management, email blasting, and several other features that are typically used by the marketing departments using the customer management software platform.

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Therefore, you can increase the number of leads you attract with a strong marketing automation system, and then nurture them through to conversion via your easy to use CRM system.
In addition, you can also increase the effectiveness of personal relationships with your leads and customers using easy to use CRM softwarewhich results in more sales and higher profitability!

6 Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies and a FREE TOOL for Small and Medium Businesses

Lead generation is the primary and the most significant stage of a sales cycle. In fact, it can be called as the “sales engine” of any business. Lead generation strategies followed at this stage reflects directly on the sales revenue. Since, if the lead that has been generated is not of superior quality, which means in other words, if they do not fit your brand’s ‘ideal customer profile’, your sales funnel and pipeline could end up to be extremely weak and vulnerable for a drop in sales revenue. As a procedure, lead generation helps to move focused prospects into your sales funnel whereby you can target those leads for nurturing and eventually generate a sale. Here are a few low budget lead generation ideas for small and medium businesses, which we found interesting enough to share for the growth of SMBs.

Lead generation is the primary and the most significant stage of a sales cycle. In fact, it can be called as the “sales engine” of any business. Lead generation strategies followed at this stage reflects directly on the sales revenue. Since, if the lead that has been generated is not of superior quality, which means in other words, if they do not fit your brand’s ‘ideal customer profile’, your sales funnel and pipeline could end up to be extremely weak and vulnerable for a drop in sales revenue.

Lead generation includes the technique of collecting a database of potential leads with their contact information. Since, small and medium businesses’ strategies circles around the principals of spending less and gaining more, lead generation tactics should never become an uneasy overhead for your company.

84% of consumers trust the recommendations made by their family and friends.- Nielsen Survey (2017) Click To Tweet

As a procedure, lead generation helps to move focused prospects into your sales funnel whereby you can target those leads for nurturing and eventually generate a sale.

Here are a few low budget lead generation ideas for small and medium businesses, which we found interesting enough to share for the growth of SMBs:

#1.  Exit intent popup

Creating an exit intent popup for your website hardly requires 15 minutes. Exit intent popup helps businesses to track the movement of the website and mobile application users by offering an opt-in form when they leave your website.

Once you find your website visitor is leaving your site, by creating exit intent pop-up, without acting on a CTA (Click to Action) button like registering or buying, you can interrupt your visitor and re-direct them to take a specific action.

Several large organizations have been using this technique since long and have achieved exemplary results by implementing this as a part of their marketing strategy.

You can use exit intent popup when people are leaving your pricing page, landing page, or abandoning your shopping cart, because these parts of your website allow people to make the most important decision before buying your products and services.

#2. Add call-to-action button

Popularly known as CTA, call-to-action buttons are used for drawing people to use a particular product, application, or service. CTA is meant for provoking instant responses. For example, they provide the consumers with compelling reasons to make an immediate purchase with click-bait verbiage like- “This offer expires in 3 hours”.

You can include call-to-action buttons in your digital brochures, catalogs, emails and others. Hence, a CTA needs to be designed in an effective manner that incorporates click-worthy contents. For instance, you can include in your CTA content what your product or service can offer and how the consumer can actually sign-up and use it for free.

Always make sure that your “Sign up for Free” CTA button should be jazzy enough to stands out predominantly over everything else on the web-page.

#3. Share best practices or success stories

Most of your consumers would always like to know if your product or service really stands up for what you say or can it deliver the solution your consumers are looking for.

The best way to answer this question is to showcase what your brand did for your customers, and how their business benefitted by purchasing your products or services.

Therefore, while sharing your success stories, write a small compelling introduction, with a CTA that requires your prospects to fill in their details, once they want to download them.

This way, you will understand that your prospects are trying to find a solution to the challenges you noted in your story and might be interested in purchasing your products or services for solving their issues.

#4. Guest blogging

Guest blogging is a roundabout way for generating leads. Blogging as a guest on other’s websites increases your web traffic and thereby introduces prospects to your solutions, by using back-links within the blog contents to redirect traffic to your website.

Guest blogs are mostly published on websites that attracts very high traffic.

However, before you start blogging here are a few things that you need to remember:

  • Provide compelling contents that are focused on your niche
  • Post contents only on those websites where the audience fits your niche
  • Be sure that the owner of the blog is active on social media websites

#5. Add testimonials

Testimonials are similar to success stories but while success stories are written from your end, testimonials are provided directly by your customers, in their own words.

You shall often find customers who reach out on social media to appreciate your product, customer support endeavors, or even your organization. You can always leverage these testimonials and publish them on your website.

Testimonials are a highly effective way of demonstrating your success that helps your potential customers to decide on making a purchase.

#6. Add social proof

According to Nielsen Survey: “84% of consumers trust the recommendations made by their family and friends.”

Therefore, word of mouth marketing on social media is one of the best ways for generating leads. There are several portals that allow you to get connected to your potential leads. One such portal is LinkedIn.

Once you are connected with the leads and understand the level of interest, you can initiate conversation with the prospect or even create LinkedIn Groups, which allows people with similar taste and interests to comment or react to your postings on the group.

Takeaway

As an add-on, here is a link to the CONVERGEHUB LEAD GENERATOR, which is a free tool that lets you visit anyone’s social media page (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp etc.) and capture all information instantly without any manual typing.

Using this free tool you can save qualified leads from social media, other sites and even Gmail with one click of the mouse. It even lets you create notes and follow up tasks to get a head start with that lead.

You can save the captured leads in the Lead Generator itself or save them in the ConvergeHub CRM for even more sales power.

Did we miss on any other lead generation strategies for SMBs, on a low budget?

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In such a case, please comment and let us know about it in the comment box below.

How do GDPR principles apply for best small and medium business CRM software data management?

For not only best small and medium business CRM software data management, the European Union’s latest GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) constitutes a paradigm shift in the consumer ownership of all Customer Relationship Management software data. The GDPR principles apply to any business that the CRM company has with users living in Europe, and so GDPR norms will affect CRM organizations globally. There are also GDPR guidelines that cover the principle for the flow of information of consumer data out of the European Union.

Not only for best small and medium business CRM software data management, the European Union’s latest GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) constitutes a paradigm shift in the consumer ownership of all Customer Relationship Management software data.

The GDPR principles transfer the authorization and ownership to use the data frequently processed by CRM platforms, which includes:

  • The customer’s names
  • The customer’s Social Security Numbers
  • Income
  • Addresses
  • Medical information
  • Purchasing histories and others

The GDPR principles also apply to the data normally used for tracking the users across websites, which includes browser information and IP addresses of the visitors.

Personal information protection is the foundation of trust, which is the basic right of man and the backbone of the digital economy. Click To Tweet

All easy to use CRM enterprises even bear a responsibility to provide notice to all the affected parties of a CRM data breach, that too within 72 hours.  Since failure to abide by this deadline could lead to a penalty of up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s revenue.

Moreover, online lead management software vendors also need to appoint a Data Protection Officer to supervise CRM data management in their organizations.

The GDPR principles apply to any business that the CRM company has with users living in Europe, and so GDPR norms will affect CRM organizations globally. There are also GDPR guidelines that cover the principle for the flow of information of consumer data out of the European Union.

Based on the GDPR protocols any European Union’s citizen can now make several requests to a customer information database software development enterprise like:

  • Delete all or some of his or her data.
  • Enquire how his or her data is being used.
  • Enquire how a decision that used his or her data was made?

Some of the important ways this GDPR principle affected the best small business CRM data management include:

  • All CRM companies must audit their CRM database archiving systems to find where the data is being stored.
  • All CRM companies must assess their partners that provide leads and process the CRM data for services like analytics.
  • All CRM companies must set up convenient ways to automate CRM data across all partner services and internal systems as and when requested.
  • It is essential to evaluate analytics services and AI used to analyze easy to use CRM data and to make decisions so that the company can answer user requests as per GDPR norms in simple language.
  • When a breach occurs, CRM companies need to build a workflow process to speedily inform the affected users of the data infringement.

GDPR Checklist

 

GDPR Data Protection Officer’s Role and Responsibilities

As the General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect this 25th of May 2018, it has set forth a number of prerequisites for CRM enterprises that store and process personal data of citizens living in EU. One such requirement (as per Article 37), is that organizations will need to appoint someone to take on the GDPR Data Protection Officer’s role.

Although there is no specific qualification required for this position, however, GDPR criteria state that the DPO must have “expert knowledge of data protection law and practices.”

Here is a list of the DPO’s responsibilities as it is mentioned in the GDPR:

  • Keep the controllers informed of the obligations and responsibilities pertaining to data protection.
  • Communicate with data subjects about the rights pertaining to use and handling of their data.
  • Counsel the company as to how data protection rules should be applied and interpreted in the organization.
  • Create and maintain a register of the organization’s processing operations.
  • Initiate communication with EU of any intended processing operation that could breach the data protection rights of its citizens.
  • Ensure that the company maintains ongoing data protection compliance.
  • Respond to any applicable data protection related complains or questions.
  • Act as the point of contact for the European Data Protection Supervisor and assist requests for investigations, inspections and so on.
  • Inform the company of any failure to comply with applicable data protection rules.

Conclusion

Therefore, with the onset of GDPR principles CRM vendors like ConvergeHub with strong data protection initiatives already in place, will most often than not find that few significant changes are required at the IT level although some changes may be required pertaining to workflow and documentation requirements.

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However, adhering to the GDPR principles is likely to be the biggest challenge of the decade for many CRM companies that will face a major hurdle for establishing an initial state of compliance, as CRM is a platform that owns a vast repository of data.

Hence, to figure out what data the organization actually owns, how the data is used, where the data is stored and what security measures are in place is surely a monumental task for less organized CRM enterprises in 2018.

4 Must-Have Add-ons for your Easy to Use Small Business CRM System

When people ask me what easy to use small business CRM system to buy, I always suggests that, whatever be their preferred choice, the CRM application should be Cloud-based. Why? It is because Cloud-based or SaaS applications join much better and updates quicker than On-Premise CRM systems. Additionally, changes made in one platform is seamlessly altered in the other integrated applications, rather than making amendments in multiple separate apps. Moreover, tools are more consistent, and support is faster for cloud based CRM software. The best small and medium business CRM systems like ConvergeHub offers tools and applications so that third-party vendors can build custom solutions and connect their software systems with ConvergeHub, in order to provide a more robust experience for the users.

When people ask me what easy to use small business CRM system to buy, I always suggests that, whatever be their preferred choice, the CRM application should be Cloud-based.

Why?

It is because Cloud-based or SaaS applications join much better and updates quicker than On-Premise CRM systems. Additionally, changes made in one platform is seamlessly altered in the other integrated applications, rather than making amendments in multiple separate apps. Moreover, tools are more consistent, and support is faster for cloud based CRM software.

In 2008, only 12% of businesses used cloud-based CRM – This figure has now increased to 87% in 2017 (SuperOffice'2018) Click To Tweet

The best small and medium business CRM systems like ConvergeHub offers tools and applications so that third-party vendors can build custom solutions and connect their software systems with ConvergeHub, in order to provide a more robust experience for the users.

Because of this, most of our customers use one or two third-party applications, since ConvergeHub easy to use CRM provides several choices to choose from.

Here are the top four and the most trending types of add-ons which most of our customers use for escalating their business processes every day:

Accounting

When any customer calls, it is natural that you would always want to make sure that you have every detail about them right at your fingertips. An easy to use CRM will always be tracking emails, activities, notes from the CRM database . However, what about the rest? What about order histories, open invoices, and products bought by the customer?

Let us be clear that a CRM system is not an accounting and bookkeeping software. Hence, it lacks the audit controls required for creating a powerful financial database.

This is the reason why most of our clients prefer to integrate ConvergeHub with QuickBooks, which is one of the most popular online accounting software in the USA.

ConvergeHub QuickBooks CRM that offer QuickBooks CRM integration free is one of the best CRM for QuickBooks online that allows the customers to synchronize contact information and also view the transaction history of the customers on the go.

Additionally, ConvergeHub QuickBooks CRM software even allows the users of the CRM to create invoices in the CRM system and the port it over to the accounting database.

This way ConvergeHub QuickBooks CRM eliminates double entry and helps the sales and support reps to find all the information they need about their customers in real time.

E-Mail Marketing 

If you need to send a few hundred emails at a time, they any efficient easy to use CRM should be able to handle it. However, if your business needs to fire thousands of emails every day to several opt-in lists, then the best small and medium business CRM software needs to be integrated to a dedicated email marketing service like MailChimp and others.
Why?
For, to begin with, your local internet service provider may shut you down if you do not. Nevertheless, that will never happen with an efficient and popular email marketing service, because their only job is to assure their customers the delivery of the mails. Any good email service like MailChimp will put your emails through certain diligent protocols to make sure that your messages are not inappropriate and they do not find their way to the spam box. For once, your emails have passed the email provider’s thorough tests, the email service provider should be able to handle thousands of emails at a go and bring the results of those email campaigns back into your easy to use CRM, so that you can use analytics to measure the results and if needed modify your future campaigns.

Phone 

Would not it be nice if when you receive a call, the caller’s records automatically pop up on your window with all their history of prior interactions with anyone in your company? Moreover, would not it be productive if you can have the ability to start an outgoing call with just a click of the button right from your contact’s database or, be able to seamlessly record any phone calls and attach the audio-file with the called contact’s record for listening in the later times?

You can get all these if you integrate your best small and medium business CRM software with a cloud-based phone system like NextInteractive Dialer or RingCentral, which can access contextual information during calls and provide a personalized experience for building better relationships.

If you are a user of ConvergeHub, you can set up these integrations in a few minutes with a couple of simple steps for making your calls faster and keep better track of your prospect’s and customer’s call activities.

Data Integration 

Sometimes a specific add-in that you need for your niche business may not exist. In the past, that would have been a problem. However, today there are several cutting-edge powerful tools, which are automatically configured to read the tables of your easy to use CRM system. With the help of these robust tools, you can easily read and write data in and out of the CRM and the required software needed for your business. Moreover, even if some of these tools cannot cut, then a good CRM system’s API can help you to accomplish your objectives, although you may require an experienced software programmer to accomplish the feat.

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Takeaway

Always remember that your best small business CRM is just a database. However, it an extremely important database that is storing information about everyone that comes in touch with your business.

Therefore, it is extremely important that you must integrate your CRM with these few illustrated software mentioned above so that you can leverage your CRM data.

Reasons to Stop Using Your Inbox as a To-Do List and adopt an Easy to Use CRM

Even after using an easy to use CRM software, whether we admit it or not, using our email’s inbox can be addictive. After all, checking an email is as uncomplicated as refreshing a web browser or tapping on an app. Checking emails gives us the hope that our aspirations will be realized soon. Be it for an exciting business opportunity waiting for a reply, or an update on your shopping cart list etc. Nevertheless, keeping the addiction aside, email inbox, in reality, makes an awful to-do list. Unfortunately, there are still several business organizations those that use email to structure their day-to-day works. In spite of, the prevalence of affordable project management apps, there are many among us those that just cannot break free from the age-old shackles of email.

Even after using an easy to use CRM software, whether we admit it or not, using our email’s inbox can be addictive.

After all, checking an email is as uncomplicated as refreshing a web browser or tapping on an app. Checking emails gives us the hope that our aspirations will be realized soon. Be it for an exciting business opportunity waiting for a reply, or an update on your shopping cart list, etc.

CRM almost makes everyone in your organisation a sales person, since they are selling your business in one way or another. Click To Tweet

Nevertheless, keeping the addiction aside, email inbox, in reality, makes an awful to-do list. Unfortunately, there are still several business organizations those that use email to structure their day-to-day works.
In spite of, the prevalence of affordable project management apps, there are many among us those that just cannot break free from the age-old shackles of email.

In this article, we shall discuss a few reasons as to why you should discontinue using your email inbox and instead use the best small and medium business CRM software to manage your new to-do list:

Your Inbox Does Not Worry About Importance

As a small or medium business owner in a typical day’s work, you need to pitch new clients, deal with employee issues, develop game-changing marketing and support strategies, and others. With so much on your plate, you surely cannot afford to lose time and waste your work hours on non-value-adding tasks.
However, all these being said, why do you then spend so much time hunting between emails? Granted that it is truly impossible to make out when a vital email will arrive, keeping a close watch on your email’s inbox indeed makes sense from this standpoint. Nevertheless, we can wager that more than 90% of the emails that you receive every day are far less than important.  Mostly your inbox gets a lot of stuff like these:

  • Promotional emails from your vendors
  • Industry newsletters
  • Emails from sales reps, who want to sell you things
  • Low-priority requests from employees, vendors, or clients
  • Social media alerts and others

Additionally, your email’s inbox does not put the most important task related emails at the top, and therefore, important request sinks down into obscurity as additional emails arrive every day.

Surely, you can keep the pace by archiving or deleting unimportant emails. However, is this the best use of your precious time? Probably not.

You Cannot Mark an Email as “Done”

Let us take for granted that you have somehow even managed to devise a process by which only “important” emails make it to the inbox. For this, you have unsubscribed all non-essential emails, have set filters to auto-forward any business emails to your assistant, and have convinced your customers and team members to reach you out sparingly.

However is your email inbox the perfect to-do list now- we still assume it is not so much.

To illustrate this point, let us guess you have the following emails anticipating your attention:

Email Subject: Finish Slide Deck for next week’s presentation

Email Subject: Select a venue for your company’s vendor meeting

Email Subject: Please Sign Up for ConvergeHub 14 Day’s free trial

Being an efficient businessperson, you may be able to complete all these tasks within an hour. However, sadly your all these three tasks are still in your inbox. What should you do with them now? Delete them? Move them to another folder? Do you need to answer to each person, indicating that your job has been done?

Would not it be nice if you can just mark your tasks as ‘done’ and move on with your work? Sadly, emails do not work that way.

Delegation is Messy

 

To include another layer of complication, not every chore fits precisely into a single email exchange tread.

For an example, let us take up this subjected email “Select a venue for your company’s vendor meeting”. Now, what seems like a relatively straightforward decision can very fast evolve into several separate email threads. Shortly after sending your email for approval, you can receive dozens of added emails from coordinating staffs at the venue. Even their accounts department may need you to make an advance payment by the close of your day’s businesses. You can receive a 20-page PDF document, containing all kinds of menu options, information on sitting arrangements, and other important details.

Will it not be more productive for you if you can allocate all these different tasks to some other members in your company? Nevertheless, here lies the lacunae of using an email inbox, since delegating tasks from your inbox can be really messy.

In the modern times, you virtual assistant may not take much time to forward messages to your marketing and accounting department, however, the problem is there is no guarantee that your staffs will remember to follow up on the issue, as their inbox is also overflowing with tasks. Therefore, using the inbox of your email, you have no way to check whether your delegated job has been accomplished within the deadlines.

There Is a Software Designed Specifically For Organizing Your To-Dos

By now, you must be agreeing with us that your inbox is indeed letting you down.

However, there is good news, as we alluded on the beginning of this post; there are several online SaaS platforms that can structure your company’s works. ConvergeHub CRM, which is best known for its sales management tasks, also provides a suite of integrated business productivity tools.

Let us find how this best small business CRM software can solve many of your headaches right away.

Sequencing important tasks: Unlike your email inbox, ConvergeHub brings clarity to your most important tasks. Using this easy to use CRM software, you can assign due date, the priority of the job, completion report, and status update of your important tasks with just a few clicks.

Tracking completed tasks: Tasks tracking best CRM for small business like ConvergeHub, will also fulfill your desire to check tasks off your to-do list. Using this customer information database software marking any task as “Done” is as easy as clicking a button on your computer or mobile screen.

Delegating tasks to others: Getting all the members of your organization working in sales, marketing, support and even finance departments into ConvergeHub, can be really beneficial for your company. Rather than delegating works from your email inbox, this convergence CRM provides a more structured workflow. Using this easy to use CRM software you can create tasks to occur on a repeated or single-time basis, which makes the very act of delegating your works more efficient.
To start assigning jobs to your other employees, just select the correct team member’s name from an intuitive drop-down in the CRM and connect the task to a larger project.

You can also add detailed notes as you allocate your jobs, to ensure that your teams find no more excuses.

Connecting Sales and To-Dos: For added context on sales and marketing related tasks, you can seamlessly link items to opportunities in your sales funnel. With just a click or two using an easy to CRM software, your team can have access to information that would have otherwise resided only in your mind.

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Takeaway:

Leadership comes from the top, so by continuing to rely on email inbox dependent processes, you are just telling your employees to do likewise.

Therefore, take a bold step now and find a better approach to streamline your tasks for enhanced productivity.

Doing this you can be sure that your team will thank you- and so will your bottom-line.

Reasons Why Easy To Use CRM Software Help To Amplify Small and Medium Businesses

When evaluating any software for business, we always want to accomplish the most out of the application, so that we do not end up with the necessity of implementing and accessing multiple software. Our elementary goal of using any software for business is to consolidate processes, business intelligence, and data into a single application, which can either by itself or through integrations, create efficiencies previously unknown. An easy to use CRM software is commonly this solution, which once adopted successfully becomes the nucleus of an organization. So, exactly how does easy to use CRM platform amplify your business? Well, there are hundreds of real-world examples to pull from but here are our top 5 to consider.

When evaluating any software for business, we always want to accomplish the most out of the application, so that we do not end up with the necessity of implementing and accessing multiple software. Our elementary goal of using any software for business is to consolidate processes, business intelligence, and data into a single application, which can either by itself or through integrations, create efficiencies previously unknown.
An easy to use CRM software is commonly this solution, which once adopted successfully becomes the nucleus of an organization.

So, exactly how does easy to use CRM platform amplify your business?

80% of all sales, occur after approximately 5 followups- Gartner Click To Tweet

Well, there are hundreds of real-world examples to pull from but here are our top 5 to consider:

 #1. Understanding the Client Relationship

If you are an owner of an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise), you will always consider the best small and medium business CRM for your business that integrates well with the emailing, documentation, and financial software of your organization. Per say, since QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software for businesses in the U.S. customer relationship management software that allow QuickBooks CRM integration free help to find an instant snapshot of client relationship lifecycles. Using a QuickBooks CRM , you can easily see in one centralized location, what your customers have purchased, when they purchased, how often they purchase, or if they faced any problem while purchasing your products or services. Easy to use CRM software records every touch in the client management processes.

#2. Easy Collaboration

 

When we have an online lead management software solution like an easy to use CRM it becomes simple for anyone in your company to have an access to specific information at a moment’s notice. Since most best CRM for small business is located in the Cloud, anyone in your organization (at any time, and from anywhere) can find access to their desired information, provide feedback, make additions to the CRM database and more. Cloud based CRM systems ensure real-time data and allow seamless collaboration among employees.

#3. Easily Manage and Maintain Tasks

When running a business organization it is most essential to have a clear visibility of what tasks has been completed and jobs that remained outstanding. Using the best small and medium business CRM software like ConvergeHub, you can easily view your progress reports as well as notes contained within the customer database in CRM.
This CRM database is updated instantaneously; hence, there is no need for making second guesses if you are wasting time, resources, or money on tasks that have already been completed. Easy to use CRM software even provides visibility into bottlenecks that needs immediate attention for resolving the issues.

#4. Track KPIs

Key Performance Indicators or KPI can be tracked within the best CRM for small business as the data is pulled from the CRM database. With the help of this data, you can easily evaluate the health of your business by viewing the key performance indicators, which include:

  • Monthly number of unconverted leads
  • Sales conversions to leads
  • Email click-through rate
  • Email response rate
  • Number of lost opportunities
  • Funnel drop off rates
  • Average collection period
  • Number of complaints per month
  • Installation problems per unit sales
  • Time to first call response
  • Time to complete problem resolution
  • On-time delivery
  • Average time to problem resolution
  • Cost per call
  • Call length
  • The volume of calls handled
  • Number of customer complaints
  • The volume of calls handled
  • Customer ratings of service
  • Number of escalations and others

You can also view extended KPIs using easy to use CRM software like:

  • Average customer retention period
  • Average time to last follow-up (sales)
  • Customer attrition rate
  • Average customer lifetime value (by using a CLM CRM)
  • Post sales per unit sold
  • Average profit per customer
  • Survey ratings
  • Upsell revenues etc.

Therefore, while CRM software helps to keep track of all your touch points with the customers, KPIs are measurement benchmarks you can use to assure your product and service delivery remains consistent.

#5. Improve Sales Conversions

Finally, if you are looking to amplify your business, increasing revenue should always remain at the top of your list. When working with an easy to use CRM software, you can increase sales as more data on the client gets tracked and tasks that your employees would have to perform manually gets automated, providing sales reps more time to focus on what they do best- Sales.

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According to a report by Gartner 80% of all sales, occur after approximately 5 follow-ups. A QuickBooks CRM for sales teams , not only helps the sales reps by showing previous purchase and transaction histories of the prospects and customers, but it also makes sure to remind your sales team of all the necessary touches and therefore an easy to use CRM does not let any appointment fall through the crack.

5 Time-Saving Ways To Use Your Easy To Use CRM For So Much More Than Just Sales

Your easy to use CRM can do tasks greater than just monitoring and managing sales. For most, typically you would use your easy to use CRM tool to manage your sales activities. Nevertheless, you should not just think of your small and medium business CRM as a tool designed for daily monitoring of your prospects and leads. There are so many ways you can use your best small and medium business CRM software! Therefore, whether you are looking for competition tracking, accounting and bookkeeping, HR support, or even any task as uncomplicated as making a content calendar- a proper CRM system can carry out all these jobs for you and more.

Your easy to use CRM can do tasks greater than just monitoring and managing sales.

For most, typically you would use your easy to use CRM tool to manage your sales activities. Nevertheless, you should not just think of your small and medium business CRM as a tool designed for daily monitoring of your prospects and leads.

CRM applications can help increase sales by up to 29%, sales productivity by up to 34% and sales forecast accuracy by 42%.- Nucleus Research Click To Tweet

There are so many ways you can use your best small and medium business CRM software!

Therefore, whether you are looking for competition tracking, accounting and bookkeeping, HR support, or even any task as uncomplicated as making a content calendar- a proper CRM system can carry out all these jobs for you and more.

Here are 5 other ways to use your CRM system to help you automate time-taking manual works.

#1. Integrate Email Marketing Processes

Any monotonous email marketing task can be automated and enhanced with the help of CRM platform. You can use an easy to use CRM like ConvergeHub to gauge the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Here is a snapshot of what you can do:

  • Fully sync your inbox to any major email provider
  • Send emails to your contacts directly from ConvergeHub, which will then be synced back to your inbox
  • Use customizable templates to save work time preparing recurring communications
  • Look at a specific deal or contact and see all emails associated with that deal or person at-a-glance

#2. Account Management

 

There are many who think that they can only track their primary preliminary sales in the CRM, but you can also use your small and medium business CRM software to up-sell or create stronger relationships with your customers over time.

Remember your job is not done once you make a sale or sign a deal. Churn is the enemy of sustainable growth in any organization. Therefore, you must use your CRM software to handle the customer’s complete buyer journey, to aid you in growing higher revenue per customer and keep up that ever-necessary average-lifetime-value of your purchasers over time.

#3. Accounting and Bookkeeping

By integrating QuickBooks Online with your best small and medium business CRM software you can use your CRM for allowing your employees to create new transactions (such as sales orders, estimates, invoices, and payments) in your CRM- without requiring direct access to an accounting software like QuickBooks.

QuickBooks CRM like ConvergeHub helps you to find a measurable increase in convenience, efficiency, and productivity, whereby users can view any customer payment status and history within the CRM platform.

Moreover, by creating QuickBooks CRM integration free with your CRM software you can get rid of dual data entry by linking payments, invoices, and estimates to opportunities, customer contacts, or projects.

#4. Deal and Commission Tracking

If you are using Merchant Cash Advance CRM software, which is customized for Alternative Funding industry, you can track deals from leads to underwriting, through collection. Support refinancing of existing funded deals and syndication of deals with individual investors and other funders.

Additionally, you can also administer commission payout to brokers and other funding companies. Easily compare scheduled amounts to settled amounts both within your organization and with external sources.

#5. Create and Store Files

Many CRM systems like ConvergeHub and others can create, organize, and store files for things like applications, contacts, briefs, and more.

Once these documentations are in your easy to use CRM, you can easily categorize and thereafter use them to suit your marketing, sales, and support processes. Storing files in the CRM help find any of the documents quickly without trawling through your computer or depending on your email service provider’s basic filing system.

Conclusion

This entire article is dedicated to helping you learn how you can make your easy to use CRM software your new virtual assistant since there are plenty of practical ideas to inspire you to use your customer relationship management software in more innovative ways.

Per say any business procedure that needs a well-thought-out series of actions, and steps can be managed and automated with ConvergeHub CRM.

Therefore, whatever be your business necessities, CRM is a tool that will be able to help you in making all areas of your business operations more proficient.

Just remember, your best small and medium business CRM software is not only for sales, but almost every department in your company can benefit from it.

However, the question is- are you making the most out of your best small business CRM?

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