Customer Spotlight: Transforming from a “Hustle” to a Successful Business

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In December 2011, Jamar Jones decided it was time to take his company, Deluxe Signature Collection (DSC), to the next level.  Having been in business for almost five years, he felt that DSC had hit its earnings ceiling based on their current business practices.

“We started six years ago, but over the last year we’ve really tried to transform from a ‘hustle’ to a scalable business by putting systems and processes in place.”

Jones felt that the number one barrier limiting DSC’s growth was that he wasn’t efficient enough in communicating to customers which was therefore limiting his sales volume.  As such, he began the search for tools to assist in organizing his business to increase scalability.

The Business

Deluxe Signature Collection (DSC) specializes in the procurement and sale of quality sports memorabilia and the production of elite, public signing engagements.  DSC is headquartered in Southern California and aims to employ progressive business strategies to deliver intimate customer engagement and high quality events. Read more

Customer Spotlight: Business Thrives Thanks to the “Perfect Pair of Jeans”

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Hillbay

For nearly twenty-two years, Alexander Loffeld was a successful businessman working initially as a sales agent for shoe company Lisa Tucci, before joining another designer shoe company as a top sales manager.  On the outside, things seemed to be going well.

Loffeld however was fed up.  Corporate bureaucracy and the grind of long hours and constant deadlines were finally wearing him down.  In 2009, Loffeld decided “enough is enough.”

“I basically had a breakdown, and in one week I sold nearly all of my possessions.  For the next two years, I basically lived a very relaxing life and let the previous twenty-two years of work stress evaporate from my body.”

After two years however, Loffeld was ready to return to the game.  This time however, he was going to start his own business, Hillbay Consultancy Ltd.  All he needed was a few tools to help him get started…

The Business

Hillbay is a consultancy for the shoe industry.  In addition to selling shoes under their own label, Hillbay provides design, production, and distribution for a variety of companies across Europe.

Hillbay Consultancy has an extensive network of shoe manufacturers operating around Italy and works with a variety of customers at various levels of shoe production.

The Challenge: A Company Rapidly Gaining Contacts Seeking a Simple CRM Solution

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Loffeld knew immediately after starting Hillbay Consulting that he needed a CRM solution.

He was rapidly making new contacts and had an existing large database of leads for which he needed a customizable and easy-to-use CRM solution.  As a startup company, Loffeld was also very price sensitive and could not afford to try out an expensive CRM solution only to find it unsuitable for his needs.

Loffeld’s primary challenge then was quickly finding a long term CRM solution that matched his rigid criteria.

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

Loffeld had several years of experience with CRM prior to starting Hillbay Consultancy, and was thus very particular about two “must have” features:

Easy to Use – Because of the high volume of clients and Loffeld’s need to keep everything neatly organized, he did not want to waste time navigating through a complicated CRM solution.  Ease of use was essential.

Low Cost – As a startup, Loffeld was concerned with keeping costs low when selecting business software to integrate into his company.

Prior to using Zoho CRM, Loffeld had extensive experience with Exact Synergy’s CRM solution however he was less than satisfied.

Exact was quite difficult to use.  It needed a lot of hardware, was very difficult to learn, and was not very precise!  I needed something EASY!”

Discovering and Implementing Zoho CRM

Prior to Loffeld discovering Zoho CRM, he was already a user of Zoho Mail, so he was familiar with the company.  During his research into CRM solutions, he stumbled upon an article entitled “5 CRM Companies for You”

“I found an interesting article in a Dutch magazine which listed five different CRM solutions.  They touted Zoho VERY highly, and I somehow subconsciously was saving the ‘best for last.’  I tried every one of them with varying levels of satisfaction for the next two months until I finally realized I haven’t yet tried Zoho CRM itself!”

Having already tried out a number of CRM solutions, Loffeld was growing weary that he would find his ideal solution but was pleasantly surprised when he registered for Zoho CRM.

“I registered for Zoho CRM and after just a few hours, I knew this was it!”

But Loffeld didn’t stop with Zoho CRM.  As he began to grow comfortable with the interface and customizing it for Hillbay Consultancy’s needs, he began to discover other Zoho tools and solutions that integrate tightly with CRM.

“Once I imported all my clients, I began to brainstorm some different ways I could interact with them.  Then I discovered Zoho Campaigns, and integrated that with CRM to send mail out to my clients.”

As Loffeld dug deeper, he began finding value in a number of Zoho products.

“At the moment, I think I use everything of Zoho!  I use Zoho CRM, Campaigns, Sites, Invoice, Projects, and Mail.  Using these products together has made things even easier for me!  I also have begun integrating the mobile option which adds to the convenience.”

Life After Implementation

As soon as Loffeld decided that Zoho CRM was the solution for Hillbay Consultancy, he really “sunk his teeth in” and began taking advantage of Zoho CRM’s customizable features.

“I began optimizing Zoho CRM for myself by adding several custom fields, and grouping clients into separate groups.  To be honest, now I use every feature in CRM in addition to the new features that are added because everything is just so simple to learn.”

Hillbay Consulting is now thriving and has even started its own shoe label in addition to the existing consulting services.  With Zoho tightly integrated into the company, Hillbay has been steadily outgrowing and outperforming its competitors.

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

“If I were to write my own perfect CRM software right now, it would be nearly identical to Zoho.  The BEST thing is that it’s so easy to use!  Zoho CRM is like a good pair of jeans that fits great when you try it on, and one year later is even more comfortable.  I now essentially have Zoho integrated in all aspects of Hillbay Consultancy and we are thriving.”

To learn more about Hillbay Consultancy, CLICK HERE

3 Ways to be a Kick-Ass Sales Rep at your Workplace

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Sales SuperheroAt some point in our lives we all dreamed of possessing superpowers to do extraordinary things, just like our favorite superhero.  We’d love to fly over the traffic to our workplace, multitask in a jiffy and close deals in a snap – in short, we’d love to be that kick-ass sales rep at our workplace! But wait…you don’t have to be born in Krypton or be bitten by a radioactive spider, or possess hi-tech gadgets to do all that. Like Mjollnir is for Thor, your reliable tool is a good CRM system that’s flexible and does most of the sales automation, leaving you to just focus on customer interaction and closing deals.

And with Zoho CRM, here’s how you can become the kick-ass sales rep at your workplace:

Be notified about important customer emails

You’re at work on a fine Monday morning, running through your emails and replying to the ones that are most important. By noon, you find out that you had missed reading an important email from a hot prospect. The reason: your Inbox is cluttered with business emails, personal emails and pesky emails!

The rule of thumb to be a smart sales rep is to attend to your prospects ASAP and to get there, you need a filtered view of your prospects’ emails alone. With MailMagnet, you’d not only receive emails within Zoho CRM but also get a filtered view of your prospects’ emails. The best part of this integration is that you don’t have to keep a check on your emails all the time, because each time you receive an email from a prospect, you’d be notified by a batch right on the Zoho CRM home page.

Mundane tasks keeping you busy? Just Automate.

You love your job. But you also dread the ‘manual data entry’ that comes along with it. All day long you’d type thank you emails, welcome emails, reminder emails and introduction emails, leaving you very little time to do what you are hired for…selling!

Email Template in Zoho CRM helps you get rid of this mundane task. Just personalize emails for each activity, and send emails to individual prospects or mass emails to a list of leads. Say, you’ve imported leads from a trade show and you want to send them a thank you email. All you need to do is select the leads list and blast a mass email.

Go Mobile. Carry Zoho CRM in your pocket

To all those field sales reps, this one is for you. We know you work almost round the clock, attending customer meetings, conferences and events. But at the same time, you can’t carry bulky laptops with you, to update and keep your team in sync with the latest happenings. You need a CRM system you can carry in your pocket. And Zoho CRM for Mobile provides just that. From adding leads to creating tasks, and from receiving email notifications to finding nearby customers, Zoho CRM Mobile App provides it all.

These are 3 quick ways you could become a kick-ass sales rep at your workplace. What are your tips and tricks? Do share them in the comments below.

- Radhika

Goodbye Badge Scanner, Hello Leads

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Remember the last time you were on booth duty at a trade show, scanning attendees’ badges with the badge scanner provided by the event organizer? If your experience was anything like ours, it looked like this: With just one scanner in the booth, a line often formed as everybody waited to use the same device. To supplement the basic information provided by their badges, you frequently wrote notes on the backs of attendees’ business cards. At the end of the show, you handed the badge scanner back to the event organizer. And waited.

A week later, the event organizer sent you an Excel file with the attendees’ badge information. You took that Excel file and imported the leads into your CRM system. Finally, after seven days or more, you sent out your follow-up emails saying, “Thanks for visiting our booth.” By that time, of course, the attendees have likely forgotten who you are and what you do. And you’ve likely lost all the business card notes because, let’s face it, nobody wants to key in information collected from the hundreds of people and coordinate it with the records in their CRM system.

What if you could replace that dedicated badge scanner with a smart, mobile application that connects directly to your CRM application?

We are excited to announce Leads.

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With a badge scanning app running on your smartphone, you can scan badges at any time, from anywhere on the event floor and beyond. In fact, everyone in your company who has a smartphone can run this mobile app, which means everybody can scan badges. Once the badge is scanned, the app automatically extracts all of the information and presents it to you on the mobile device screen. That means you can take notes, add tasks and assign a lead owner — on the spot, while the customer is there with you.

You can also connect the mobile app to backend workflow systems set up in your Zoho CRM system. For instance, whenever you scan a badge at a trade show or event, that information is entered as a new lead in the CRM system and a “thank you” email is sent out immediately, not seven days later.

This is exactly what we’re delivering with Leads. This mobile app complements Zoho CRM to give you immediate access to, and let you take immediate action on, the leads you gather at a trade show or event.

Leads supports QR code scanning, but it’s smart enough to recognize when it can’t scan a QR code. At that point, Leads automatically switches to OCR and scans the readable badge information like first name, last name and company name.

Leads also has a built-in card scanner, so you can take a photo of a business card and automatically populate the related Zoho CRM fields with the card information. Leads will also save an image of the business card itself to Zoho CRM. If the business card includes the person’s Twitter handle, Leads will automatically collect the associated Twitter profile picture and add it to the lead record created in Zoho CRM. You can also enter the Twitter handle manually.

We launched Leads at Zoholics this past week, and all exhibitors at this year’s show used the Leads app to scan the badges of Zoholics attendees. If you’re ready to make the move to a smart, mobile badge scanning app, try Leads. It’s available immediately on iPhone for a one-time fee of $4.99. Android version is in the works.

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Customer Spotlight: Largest Sensor Company in the U.S. Implements Z-CRM

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Over the last few years, Banner Engineering has been growing at a rapid rate.  With over 3000 employees, 7 corporate offices, and 147 products, Banner began realizing the challenge of tracking sales quotes from several sales representatives over a wide array of products.  Their system of tracking via MS Excel was actually causing more confusion and extra work.

Six months ago, Banner decided it was time to find a solution to these tracking difficulties and contacted Rivet Solutions, an IT and business solutions consultancy.  Rivet was tasked with finding a CRM solution that matched Banner Engineering’s extensive needs and implementing this solution as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The Business

Banner is the global leader in process and industrial automation, helping customers increase efficiency, reduce costs, ensure quality, monitor and control processes, and safeguard employees.

Banner focuses on delivering industry-leading photo eyes, sensors, vision sensors, wireless sensors, machine safety, e-stop devices, vision lighting, and a wide assortment of indicator lights, tower lights, stack lights, and pick to lights.

The Challenge: Finding a CRM that can Handle Extensive Information yet be Implemented in Under a Month

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Ameya Nisal of Rivet solutions lead the effort of finding Banner Engineering a suitable CRM solution.  The first thing he noticed were the extensive requirements.

“Banner had over nine pages of quotation parameters that we needed to meet which was a real challenge.  Additionally, they didn’t have the flexibility to be offline or in limbo for very long and they needed full implementation, automation, and training completed within a month.”

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

As Rivet analyzed Banner’s extensive requirements, it became clear that Zoho CRM was the optimal solution.

“We considered SalesForce and Sugar CRM but quite honestly, I hesitate to recommend them because of the complexity of usage. “

This was especially important considering the timeframe that Rivet had to implement a company-wide CRM solution.

“We emphasized Zoho CRM because of the simplicity of usage.  It is considerably easier to use than any other full-featured CRM solution and considering the timeframe with which they wanted full-implementation, Zoho made the most sense. “

Rivet likes to go the extra level however to ensure that the customer is agreeable to their proposed solution.

“Zoho is always a very agreeable to customers because there is a lot of press out there, specifically GetApp.com, which recommends Zoho as the best all-around CRM solution.  I want the customer to feel 100% comfortable and once I show them these recommendations, they are entirely on-board. Additionally, CRM solutions like SalesForce and Sugar are exorbitantly more expensive and customers pay for features which they never use.  With Zoho CRM, you only pay for the features you use which Banner liked much more.”

Implementing Zoho CRM

Rivet solutions actively worked with Banner engineering and had them independently using Zoho CRM after only 25 days.

Life After Implementing Zoho CRM

“I’m happy to say that Banner has been successfully using Zoho CRM for over 5 months now.  The marketing/sales team incorporates all of their leads within Zoho CRM and Banner has been able to satisfy all of its requirements and needs with Zoho.”

“95% of Zoho CRM users are happy and comfortable using Zoho already.”

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

“This initially seemed a great challenge for Rivet solutions to implement a complete CRM for the largest sensor company from the U.S.  However, I think the ease with which we were able to implement this and the timeframe with which Banner Engineering was able to be completely and comfortably integrated with Z-CRM is a great testament to Zoho. “

To learn more about Rivet Solutions,CLICK HERE

To learn more about Banner Engineering, CLICK HERE

gUnify and Zoho CRM – Automatically Log VOIP Phone Calls from Google Apps to CRM

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This is a guest post by Harprit Bhui, coFounder of gUnifya cloud-based Unified Communication System connecting Zoho, Google Apps, and Broadsoft Hosted VOIP.

gUnify is specifically designed and built from the ground up for businesses running Google Apps. It is compatible with hosted PBX systems running on Broadsoft and Zoho CRM. gUnify seamlessly integrates Google Apps, phone systems, and Zoho CRM to enable automatic call tracking and logging directly from Gmail.

As an organization, communication is the key to your success. And not being able to capture the details of your sales and support team’s phone calls in real-time can result in loss of sales, lack in customer service and lost billable time.

gUnify improves your sales and support team’s productivity by tracking individual telephone performance. This is achieved by automatically integrating all phone calls made from the gUnify application. All phone calls made using the gUnify application and associated device (traditional phone, soft phone and mobile) will be automatically pushed to activities module in Zoho CRM; where you can view the details of the call record including: the phone number, who made the call, date/time of call, call duration, notes and tags associated with the call; all in real time.

You can also analyse the key sales and support indicators, such as number of incoming calls, number of outgoing calls, duration of calls and the destination of calls.

Getting started is simple and quick, once gUnify has been installed on your company’s Google Apps domain. Each user of gUnify should perform a few easy installation tasks to enable the gUnify Plug-in for Zoho CRM , which can be found in Settings within the gUnify gadget.