Categories
CRM CRM startups Marketing Product Reviews Sales sales automation

Top‌ ‌8‌ ‌Sales‌ ‌Automation‌ ‌Tools‌ ‌for‌ ‌Startups‌ ‌in‌ ‌2020‌ ‌

sales automation tools

Startups today have no time for routine tasks related to data entry and administration. This is where sales automation comes into play, which helps optimize your manual tiresome and time-consuming assignments. 

Marketing automation allows your sales assistants, managers, and CMOs to focus less on the organization of the whole marketing process and more on their direct function – selling.

Luckily, there is a wide choice of special tools that can help you automate lead lists building, send sales emails and follow-ups, schedule meetings and calls, and perform other tasks.

Why Is Sales Automation Important for Your Startup?

It Helps Save Effort and Time 

Marketing automation can help increase sales efficiency by 14.5% and decrease marketing expenditures by 12.2%. Besides, business owners, CEOs, and CMOs claim that the biggest advantage of sales automation for their company is saving time at 30%. 

With business administration getting tough these days, 68% of companies use marketing automation somehow. 

It Provides Insight Into the Effectiveness of the Sales Process

An increase in earnings (85%) and marketing productivity (69%) are the main reasons businesses want to implement automated lead nurturing. Moreover, 63% of companies are beating their rivals, thanks to sales automation.

It Helps Identify Sales-Ready Leads and Maintains Relationship with Leads

When used to nurture leads, marketing automation tools show an increase in qualified leads. The reason is simple – automated instruments give you detailed data about your prospects. This helps push every deal down the sales funnel and propose a personalized, data-driven offer so that your lead is more willing to make a buying decision.

It Helps Grow Revenue

As reported by 60% of users, implementing sales automation tools in their business has improved the number of leads that convert to deals. And this increase can be as high as 225%! Even just after one month of use, 3x more prospects can be converted to sales. 

Types of Sales Automation

Modern technologies and artificial intelligence can help you save way more time than you could imagine. If you automate routine tasks throughout each sales funnel stage, you will have enough freedom to focus on interesting and creative tasks. As a result, you will sell more.

You will be surprised at how much can be automated by software:

1. Automate Sales Prospecting

If you implement a dynamic CRM, you can use countless criteria to filter out the most suitable leads based on the required conditions. You can also get a personalized email, Slack notification, or in-app alert once a new lead matches your demands. Put differently; you will keep getting a prequalified list of contacts regularly without lifting a finger.

2. Streamline Processing and Enrich Your Lead Database

The more knowledge about the target audience and existing clients you have, the more powerful you are. Data about your lead’s job position, presence on social media, solutions their business provides, existing suppliers, etc., will help you successfully get in touch with them.

3. Stop Entering Data Into CRM Manually

Set up workflows in your marketing automation software to track records of your qualified leads automatically. For instance, you can determine all the contacts that have submitted the form or downloaded the price list as “qualified.�

4. Automate Your Email Campaigns

Do you still send each email manually to all your leads or copy and paste the same messages? Alternatively, try using email templates, personalize, and schedule letters for every client’s best conversion. You can try using tools like Snov.io for that purpose.

5. Manage Marketing Collateral

Sales reps spend tons of time searching for useful content or writing texts to send to their leads. Ensure your business has a �orporate shared Google Drive folder where you store valuable files. This way, it will be easier for you to access the most important marketing documents, saving time during every contact with prospects.

6. Schedule Calls, Meetings, Mailouts, etc.

Planning a meeting with a sales lead over email can take time and reminds us of a tennis game. You suggest one meeting time to your prospect; they propose another option, then you offer a third solution, etc. This is tiresome and can also destroy the impulse in your sales negotiations.

Instead, you can use one of many meeting-scheduling tools (like Calendar, for example). They give your contacts direct access to your calendar and enable them to plan the meeting in any free time span if you dd customized scheduling links 2020 to your email messages and signatures. Most such tools grant free trials, so it is easy to study and test them.

7. Use AI-Powered Analytics of Sales Conversations 

If you want to analyze your calls, check your campaigns’ efficiency, and improve your sales approaches, try using sales communication AI-software. It allows you to quickly check what topics you discussed in a call, what rivals you mentioned, and study the talk-to-listen portion. Tools like Gong and Chorus pull out key pieces of your talks and give you AI-powered insights.

8. Automate Lead Management 

If you spend hours managing your CRM instead of making calls and bringing contracts, try automating all the activities related to prospects and deals. The market offers plenty of instruments to record your conversations, schedule meetings, and plan emails for you. Check if your current CRM offers workflow automation and start implementing it.

9. Manage Deals and Papers

Today, most of the contracts and offers are mailed and signed over the internet. Tools like Hellosign or Adobe Sign offer solutions for e-signing, lots of impressive analytics features, and functions that can help boost your conversion rates. 

This is just a small part of the many marketing activities that can be automated. In the age of AI and robots, all types of routine organizational tasks can be automated, while a real live contact with the prospective or existing client should remain to be carried out in person.

How to Choose the Best Sales Automation Tool?

Selecting the best tool or several tools that suit your needs might take some time, as many options on the market claim to be the best. We hope these pieces of advice will help you choose the best instruments for your business.

Decide What Processes You Would Like to Automate

Check all marketing processes you have at the moment. Does lead qualification take much of your daily routine? How much time do you spend on lead nurturing, prospect engagement, and content marketing daily? Do you schedule follow-up calls or send reminders manually? How long does it take to organize bulk seasonal offerings? 

There can be dozens of similar questions. Analyze your answers and think about what processes should not take so much time or where you can avoid manual work from you or your team.

Make a List of Essential Functions

After you’ve chosen the main processes, try to create a list of specific features you’ll require, such as email marketing automation or mobile availability. If you do not select features and must-have’s your business needs, you might end up with a complex product you cannot use. Choose the required functions and, after that, compare several platforms according to the list of criteria.

Finally, Test the Product in Practice

Once you have specified the must-have functions, prioritize them and shorten the list to several most important items. After that, compare the software once again to see which tool you can start using right now. It would be great to test-drive each platform by getting a free trial or an interactive demo to get a more comprehensive vision and make a more prepared decision. 

This might look like a lot of work, particularly if you are working hard to help your company survive. Still, experience proves – a couple of hours invested now will pay off a dozen times in the future. 

Top Sales Automation Tools

Snov.i0

Snov.io is an integrated cold outreach automation platform used by sales departments, marketers, startups, and simply anyone who needs high-quality outbound research and outreach tools.

This all-in-one toolkit allows you to speed up creating and managing lists of prospects and bring your brilliant ideas directly to their inbox. It works for every stage of your marketing process:

  • Non-stop lead gen and verification. You can automate your lead generation, pump up your funnel with targeted leads, and accelerate conversions with this solution. It boasts 98% email deliverability thanks to the high quality of new and existing leads guaranteed by the 7-tier verification.
  • Nurture, engage, convert. Boost engagement with effective nurturing based on automated outreach. Personalized triggered email drip campaigns can help you easily convert leads and smoothly move them down the sales funnel. Schedule campaigns for existing clients, automate follow-ups and track email responses from your Gmail.
  • Study market rivals. Snov.io research tools allow you to monitor what sets you apart from your competition and discover new ways to convert. You can check full company profiles and tech stack behind your rivals and leads. 
  • Grow and scale your business. Keep your efficiency always in control – sync across platforms with over 2,000+ powerful integrations. 

Pricing: Snov.io offers unlimited freemium with credits that are renewed every month. Paid plans that start at $33 per month billed annually.

Moosend

This marketing automation platform comes with some features that promise to help users generate more clicks and sales. Surprisingly easy-to-use and with a short learning curve, Moosend allows you to create and send email campaigns designed to respond to the prospect’s needs.

From user onboarding to abandoned cart sequences, this platform allows you to design workflows that make sense for your audience and lead prospects further down the sales funnel. 

Users can select any event to trigger the automation, such as visitors browsing a specific page or viewing a product, and set it in motion in a simple manner. What is more, you can test one of the ready-made automation workflow recipes.

Pricing: Moosend offers a free forever program for up to 1,000 subscribers that includes most features. Paid plans start at $8 per month billed annually.

Juro

There is nothing worse than a sales team getting a prospect to commit before month-end, only for the deal to get stuck in the contracting phase. Word documents fly back and forth, versions go missing, data is lost, and visibility is non-existent. 

Sales teams at high-growth startups are turning to new, in-browser tools to end this manual process. Juro is a contract collaboration platform that enables your team to self-serve, agree, and manage routine contracts at scale from one unified workspace.

Salespeople use a natural language Q&A flow to spin up a contract in seconds, from a template over which legal has oversight. They can even generate contracts directly from Salesforce, with two-way data sync making sure versions are the same in both platforms. 

Parties negotiate in-browser in the sidebar and can then eSign securely on any device to help salespeople close deals on the move. Post-signature analytics help stakeholders spot bottlenecks and friction to keep deals moving fast and make contract management data-driven.

Juro is used predominantly by high-growth tech startups with lots of contract volume, like Deliveroo, Wolt, and Babylon Health. 

Pricing starts at free, with bespoke plans depending on the integrations required.

Paperform

Capturing leads is the first and most foundational step in the inbound-driven sales process. Paperform is a versatile form and page builder that might help you do just that: collect leads and kick off the conversation seamlessly and elegantly.

Paperform stands out among the alternatives thanks to its modern interface and customization features. It is easy to make forms and landing pages look unique and fit your company’s broader brand.

There are more than a hundred form templates available, so you will never have to start from scratch no matter what kind of form you are looking to build.

The built-in email automation feature makes Paperform even more useful. Your startup sales department is likely to have limited bandwidth, especially when responding to leads across different time zones.

You might leverage Paperform to send out automated yet highly-personalized emails to leads that submit your forms. Later, once the conversation is already ongoing, your sales reps can catch up quickly and take it further.

Pricing: Paid plans start at $15 per month.

Outfunnel

Outfunnel is an email marketing tool with deep CRM integration. Whether you are using Pipedrive, Mailchimp, or Copper, it has you covered. You’ll be able to create drip or one-off campaigns with defined segments for your sales team using lead-scoring while automating and reducing tasks that were previously done manually. 

With dynamic sender information and smart workflows, Outfunnel will help you stay on top of your leads while continuously allowing you to build up relationships with your current and future customers.

Pricing: Outfunnel offers a free two-week trial. Paid plans start at $19 per month.

HelpCrunch

As an all-in-one customer communication tool, HelpCrunch allows businesses to automate numerous aspects of the sales process. Once you sign up for the tool and install its live chat widget, you can put inbound lead generation on autopilot.

First, HelpCrunch helps businesses engage their visitors proactively with the help of automated chat messages. You can offer help in your website’s strategic places, such as product, pricing, or checkout pages, and initiate conversations on your terms.

People will see a quick and convenient way to contact you and will not hesitate. Simultaneously, you can use live chat to collect leads’ contact information and pre-qualify them on the go with pre-chat and offline forms. Visitors will specify their names and email addresses and choose a department that will better cater to their needs.

While the shared inbox will contain all incoming requests in chronological order, sales reps can create their custom inboxes to filter conversations by their tags, assignees, departments, etc. This way, they will be able to assist warm leads on a first-priority basis.

To keep the conversation going, your team can follow up on their leads with the help of automated email sequences and accelerate deal closure.

Pricing: The ‘Live chat’ subscription by HelpCrunch is available for $12 per month per team member billed annually. If you want to enjoy the ‘Live chat + Emails’ plan, its pricing starts from $23 per month per team member.

Zapier

Zapier is a tool that brings together all your favorite apps, such as Gmail, Slack, Mailchimp, and more. You can automate repetitive tasks, and you do not need to know coding, or rely on developers to build the integration.

Create thousands of different workflows (Zaps), e.g., schedule events in your Google Calendar directly from new Trello cards, save your Gmail attachments to Dropbox, or post tweets across multiple Twitter accounts. 

Zaps consist of a trigger and one or more subsequent actions. A trigger is an event that initiates your workflow. Zaps automate your processes in the background, allowing you to concentrate on more important tasks. 

Zapier counts every task you run through your Zap. To decide which Zapier plan suits you best, you should keep in mind the number of tasks your Zaps run. 

Pricing: The service offers a free trial so that you can study some popular Zap templates. Paid plans start at $19,99 per month billed annually.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an SMM platform that supports social network integrations for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The tool helps you boost your organic and paid ads’ effectiveness with the Hootsuite automated ad solution. 

Hootsuite allows you to advertise on social media easily. Manually or automatically, you can target key audience segments or market niches by age, location, and user interests. The tool can help you reach more of your social media audience, monitor feedback about your brand and rivals, and use social analytics to make data-driven business decisions.

Besides, its mobile apps allow you to manage your presence on social networks from any location. You can also connect your existing instruments with over 250+ apps and integrations in a single toolbox. 

Pricing: A 30-days free trial is available. Paid plans start at $19 per month.

Wrapping it up

Nowadays, more and more businesses realize the power of sales and marketing automation tools and implement them in their workflows. Accordingly, new instruments in this market niche are emerging a dime a dozen. 

Analyze your needs and select the best toolkit that will help you seamlessly automate your whole sales funnel: lead generation, nurturing, engagement, follow-ups, conversion, and growing a loyal audience.

Image Credit: Ola Dapo; Pexels

The post Top‌ ‌8‌ ‌Sales‌ ‌Automation‌ ‌Tools‌ ‌for‌ ‌Startups‌ ‌in‌ ‌2020‌ ‌ appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
accounting software Apps CRM financial modeling Microsoft Excel Sales Software

Attention Overload: What Makes Some Software Tools So Sticky [+Some Examples]

There are a glut of software tools, mobile applications, websites and learning portals.

The quality spectrum of these tools is as broad as the tools themselves and the industries they serve. It could be safe to say that the Pareto Principle applies to software applications as much as it does to business in general.

In fact, studies show that the average smartphone user only really uses about 30 apps per month. From my personal experience, even that statistic sounds high.

The overabundance can be overwhelming and cause more than attention overload, it can create counterproductivity that flies in the face of most apps’ intended creation (Facebook, Instagram & Tiktok excluded, of course).

The best and most sticky software products have a few things in common.

Features of the Most Prevalent (& Sticky) Software Tools

I chose this title carefully. There is a reason the most prevalent (& sticky) tools also include the best features (or is it the other way around?). Having great features (and perhaps the right marketing for ample market penetration) typically produces greater market acceptance, which helps provide the revenue to add more features–and the cycle repeats. Here are

  • First (or early) mover advantage. I’ve been told many times before that “first mover advantage” is a misnomer. It is often NOT the first mover that has the advantage, but the first mover combined with several other gritty features can be very helpful. If not the first mover, it certainly helps to be early. Do you think Microsoft Excel was the first spreadsheet. Hardly, but they were still early in computing (and they owned the platform for distribution). Were they the best at first? No, but they were good enough and they came included, which means it was hard for others to compete. Could you imagine trying to create your own “me too” spreadsheet company today with the likes of Google and Microsoft as your competitors. Early movers enjoy the advantage of market penetration and entrenchment, which is difficult to surmount even for a subsequently superior product.
  • Industry agnosticism. The best tools can be used across industries. Spreadsheets (can you tell I like them?) are used by churches and financiers alike. Every company has projects and therefore could possibly use project management software. Most larger organizations include a sales team and customer accounts that need to be tracked, charted and reported and hence need a CRM. The most prevalent software products are used across industries.
  • Pain points prevented! The best and most prevalent products prevent pain points (alliteration unintended). Does it save an organization ample money (not just in the cost of the product directly by in the product’s indirect association to productivity increases)? Today’s up-and-coming software products provide money saving related to disintermediating human intervention through automation. Massive productivity gains equate to large increases in revenue or decreases in overall cost structure. In most cases, such productivity gains help free up time for the higher-functioning tasks that make organizations flourish.
  • Developers unite! Yes, all the great platforms include a community where new ideas and opportunities are created to bring fresh ideas and better ways of doing things. Kanban operations are built on the idea that quality comes from continuous improvement. Nowhere is this more true than in the software market. Things are always in a state of flux and change. The best platforms are truly platforms where outside developers can create an actual community of contributors where existing models and methods are questioned and where new practices help to push a growing ship of ideas and code forward. Platforms are just one of the reasons why the future of software development is not customization in the true sense.

My Most Frequented Tools & Apps

What follows is likely atypical from most mobile and internet users. I deleted the Facebook, Instagram and a handful of other apps on my phone several years ago, so my most frequented apps may sound more like those of a boring, bean-counting accountant than most. However, I try to stick to applications, websites and tools that include features that add value and time-saving to my life. With kids, family and other healthier distractions than work, I can’t afford to waste time on the trivial.

ExcelTraining

I’m a big fan and regular user of all things Microsoft Excel. As such, I need a regular quick reference for things like hotkeys, functions and other quick-fixes for all things Microsoft Excel. While I have several websites I frequent for reference, my one bookmarked site that garners the most attention is ExcelTraining.com. The site includes things like an easy to navigate list of keyboard shortcuts, an exhaustive list of Excel functions and a complete list of Excel formulas. As my proficiency has increased I find myself referencing it less frequently, but my desire to stay current in Excel keeps me coming back for the simple list that is easily referenced.

The site also has paid options which I have never used. I’ve found that the more ubiquitous the product, the more easily free information is available to you on YouTube or elsewhere. Excel is something even the basest of individuals working in business should have a keen awareness of. Hence, a good reference for the basics is always a great help and a must.

Asana

When it comes to remaining productive, Asana is my hands-down favorite app for project management amount teams. It works for nearly any project. I have personally used it in managing content marketing projects, preparation for raising growth capital, software development, website development and even personal project management where a larger project can be broken down into discrete chunks. It’s been especially great at managing projects run by remote teams (both before and after COVID-19).

I also don’t call out Asana lightly. I have used other project tools like Basecamp, Jira and even hybrid-communications tools like Slack. I just find Asana to be my personal favorite.

SalesForce

If there’s one software tool that have a good proficient and overabundant understanding of it’s customer relationship management (CRM) tools. I’ve worked with numerous other paid and open source CRMs. Some of the open source ones like SugarCRM and X2CRM include very customizable fields and sections, marketing automation tools and email/calendar integration. However, the downside is the lack of commercial support, backups and overall integration with other applications. In one of my businesses, we also use Outreach.io, an email and contact automation tool that ties directly into SalesForce. It is a productivity game changer for our sales and marketing team whose equal is not yet available on any of the open source platforms.

Salesforce also includes added applications (some free, some paid) and the ability to develop, enhance and customize to a company’s individual needs.

Quickbooks

I’m a finance guy at heart. I like the numbers and thrive off the analyzation of how to improve them. Quickbooks collates all our companies’ financial data including accounts payable, accounts receivable, credit cards, Paypal, bank accounts, etc. Not only does it bring together all of our financial data. Netsuite needs an honorable mention here as well as it can combine more ERP management into the financial side of a business–something entirely lost on the SMB audience with Quickbooks. As such, the financial tools used for financial accounting and reporting are heavily dependent on the size of the organization and the ultimate goals of the data you need to make critical business decisions.

Conclusion

The features that may be important to one may be entirely lost on another. Some may be more interested in marketing tools, while others are drawn toward finance, the arts and even mobile games. I have always gauged the stickiness of a software product with the following queries:

  1. Does the product have a real commercial need?
  2. Does it add value to the user?
  3. Does it delight (or better yet, entertain) while doing 1 & 2?

If you get the first two, you have a winner. If you are able to nail all three then you have yourself a market leader and a sticky product that is not going away anytime soon.

The post Attention Overload: What Makes Some Software Tools So Sticky [+Some Examples] appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
#AI #machine learning #AI risks AI ai chatbots artificial intelligence chatbot CRM Understanding Artificial Intelligence

How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Customer Service Industry

ai customer service

The achievement of any business organization is highly dependent on its customer relationship strategies. Client experience is exceptionally organized in any business. Consumer loyalty is profoundly impacted by the change brought about by the dynamic technologies. With the progression of technological advances, such as AI (artificial intelligence), NLP (natural language processing), Intelligent Chatbot, and ML (machine learning), intelligent automation of client care administrations has become a need for all the organizations. Here is how artificial intelligence is transforming the customer service industry.

Many businesses have incorporated simulated intelligence for smooth day to day operations. By 2022, banks can utilize chatbots to automate up to 90% of their client connection, as per Lauren Foye.

The History of Chatbot

A review appointed in 2014 by One Reach, a market research firm, investigated US buyers’ behavior to the utilization of messaging in client assistance applications. As per the study, 64% of buyers with messaging abilities would like to utilize messaging over voice as a client assistance channel, and 77% of shoppers with messaging capacities matured 18–34 are likely to have a positive view of an organization that offers text ability.

According to research, by 2021, 4.5 billion dollars will be put to resources into chatbots. While chatbots have existed for quite a long time without going mainstream, few worldwide patterns have made it possible to convey that this is the time of chatbots:

  • Domination of the mobile messenger.
  • Application fatigue.
  • Backing for chatbots by Facebook, Microsoft, and other pioneers.
  • A dramatic decrease in chatbot improvement costs.

The Current Situation of the Industry

There are sure some issues with the regular client care framework that is followed, which can be settled with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence. Investigate the current circumstance.

  1.   Now and again, the human delegate noting a client call doesn’t have a  response to the inquiry and needs to require the client to be postponed or put on hold. Even though they discover the answer for the issue and advise the client, it occupies additional time bringing about more expense to the organization.
  2.   The client’s call is transferred a few times before the query is addressed. Although it is fundamental for certain circumstances, it negatively impacts the organization.
  3.   Because of the set number of client assistance administrators in B2C organizations like telecommunication, the calls are often on a considerable delay/wait time for clients.

In 2019, chatbots became more AI-driven, equipped for dealing with complex human communication effortlessly, and presently taking over conventional conversational administrations.

Chatbot in the Customer Care Industry:

The chatbot market size is expected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024 at a compound yearly growth rate (CAGR) of 29.7%. The client care industry is fundamentally growing with the influx of chatbot assistance to consider and cater to customer needs.

To improvise on their CRM, most associations are endeavoring to automate their client care framework using Artificial Intelligence. One such splendid model is the AI Chatbot. Chatbots haven’t been an obscure idea since ELIZA was released in 1966. Salesforce propelled an SMS chatbot in 2014 that has extended to become Facebook Messenger. The association likewise offers Live Agent Chat, a product that completes human connections by carrying out human interactions.

As indicated by Grand View Research, 45% of end clients lean toward chatbots as an essential communication method for questions regarding client care.  Let us explore further as to how Artificial Intelligence Chatbot is altering the client care industry.

  1. Upgraded Accessibility of Big Data

To augment the profits of a business organization using AI in big data, it is basic for any entrepreneur to gather valuable data about clients and examine it in a manner and to such an extent that it demonstrates helpful for the company. Insights drawn by Artificial Intelligence help in investigating a lot of information proficiently and produce reports that can be easily grasped. Along these lines, entrepreneurs and business owners can increase their targeted customer groups’ nitty-gritty knowledge and use their time to approach a new procedure or strategy based on the collected data.

  1. Revolutionization in Resolving Customer Queries

When a doubt/query arises in the client’s psyche, they couldn’t care less whether a human or a bot settles it. A large portion of the queries don’t require human collaboration and can be settled by the chatbot itself. A study has stated that 48% of individuals say that they couldn’t care less as long as it fathoms their issue. (Source: BI Intelligence)

However, if a query ends up being excessively unpredictable for the bot, it chooses to fit an appropriate agent/representative of the organization depends on the data gathered from the client. Moving forward, the agent/representative can legitimately address the concerned client to take care and address that issue/query

  1. Upgraded Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Gone are those occasions when people needed to trust that their call would be sent through a chain of customer care representatives before resolving their inquiries! There are numerous manners by which RPA (robotic process automation) within the organization has emphatically changed how client connections are managed. With AI chatbots’ assistance, customized services can be conveyed to any place in a problem-free manner based on CRM information. Organizations are addressing client queries on a website with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence Chatbot, sparing a call to customer care representative.

One such splendid model is the Eva – HDFC Bank Artificial Intelligence chatbot. HDFC Bank has stated that it has effectively tended to 2.7 million client inquiries on a site in just 6 months.

It spares a great deal of time by enhancing hold up/wait times and the easy accessibility of representatives. The progressed chatbots can impersonate human activities and comprehend human dialects using NLP, i.e., Natural Language Processing.

Portable envoys – Mobile Messengers, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and others, have become the preferred means of communication. WhatsApp has arrived at more than a billion dynamic clients monthly, Facebook Messenger — 900 million, WeChat — right around 700 million (source: statista.com).

About a year prior, the best four mobile messengers outperformed informal communities with worldwide popularity (source: BI Intelligence).

Website Chatbot

Chatbots are not constrained to messaging channels. The off chance that we take the conversational interfaces to a website or a portable (mobile) application will offer ascent to Native Chatbot Development.

Utilization of a site chatbot

  1.   It brings about progressively dependable/reliable information because of intuitive surveying experience.
  2.   Unlike the regular informing channels, communication between clients is anonymized on a website. This aids in lessening contact from the client’s end about the disclosure of his/her identity. A site chatbot also diminishes contact by tackling the client’s request immediately without changing the correspondence channel. 
  3.   For organizations with a commercial center webpage/ marketplace website or a SaaS stage, a web bot, as a rule, assembles all the client information and along these lines provide a customized client experience and offers a superior and better setting.

 Importance of Chatbots in customer care systems

Numerous CRM frameworks are not easy to understand. A poorly designed UX configuration prompts low performance while at work. Rather than providing client assistance, representatives who are left with ineffectively structured CRM frameworks sit around idly attempting to manage that framework. Since a client care specialist can receive more than one hundred tickets every hour, each resolution’s reaction time is urgent and of great importance.

To take care of these issues, it is more convenient to automate client support components with a CRM chatbot. Once in a while, CRM chatbots can deal with the whole client discussion, and on different occasions, there will be a handoff to a human agent/representative. Indeed, even in situations where the discussion is passed on, they can at present catch and record fundamental client information.

Basically, they do the hard work with the information section and let your client care representatives focus on including genuine worth.

 Utilization of CRM data

Since you have important data on hand, how would you follow up on it? A typical test with CRM frameworks encompasses following up on new leads and effectively utilizing information. The early phases of a fresh client relationship are crucial for automation. Now, you may have numerous leads that won’t wind up changing over.

This is the place you can depend on automation to help qualify your leads. Utilizing chatbots, you can begin discussions with individuals at scale. AI-backed CRM chatbot knows which specific bit of substance/content an individual needs next. Hence, they’re well prepared to move the lead to the following stage in the sales funnel. An all-around assembled chatbot likewise accumulates insights from a lot of data to help make target profiles.

Why should a chatbot be adopted for your CRM?

  • Chatbots incredibly improve connections and interactions with the customers. Customers have queries, and chatbots can offer a ton of responses.
  • The chatbot can be integrated into flag-bearer (messenger) applications, where individuals invest the greater part of their energy online these days.
  • Chatbots spare extensive time for your client representatives. Also, can comprehend basic tasks that require a speedy reaction, allowing client care representatives the chance to deal with progressively complex customer requests;
  •  It can enable your business to scale in an eased manner. As your client base builds, chatbots can enable help to your client care representatives, field an ever-increasing number of queries without expanding the size of your staff exponentially.
  • They offer customers prompt reactions and resolutions.
  • They can be accessible all day, every day.
  • It permits you to reduce your costs by recruiting fewer individuals to client care centers.

Conclusion

The best thing about utilizing a chatbot is that it never rests and is accessible 24 x 7! This robotic process automation is, in reality, a gigantic advance forward in the field of technology & innovation and building better client connections. Chatbot essentially lessens the resolution time bringing about a decrease in cost and upgraded client experience.

As the acknowledgment of RPA innovation builds, client care will render to be perfect all around. Intelligent Automation appears to have a long way ahead in the client care industry.

The post How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Customer Service Industry appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
application server CRM crm software CRM startups customer engagement Customer Service Software successful business

Customer Relationships: The Benefits of Using CRM Software for Startups

CRM

Are you in the process of bootstrapping a startup? Or, are you perhaps down the business growth and development road heading towards a mature SME? Are you using CRM software to manage your customers? What is Customer Relationship Management software? Here is: customer relationships — the benefits of using CRM software for startups.

At the outset of the article, it’s essential to note that the world as we know it will never be the same again. Hence, if customer relationships were meaningful before 2020, they are now critical.

“There is only one boss. The customer – and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.â€� – Sam Walton

By way of answering the “why� asked above, let’s take a brief look at the current global economic, health, and social circumstances.

The world as we know it: Setting the scene

News of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, broke towards the end of 2019 when China alerted the World Health Organization to the fact that it was dealing with a rapidly spreading viral infection on the unknown origin.

China first reported it as a “cluster of cases of pneumonia.â€� But, soon determined that it was caused by a new coronavirus. And, because of the fact that the world is a global village — the virus has spread around the world and continues to spread like wildfire.

The World Health Organization has stated, in conjunction with experienced medical personal and researchers, based on China’s experience that one of the only ways to prevent the virus’s person-to-person transmission is social isolation or social distancing.

Therefore, more than 50% of the world’s population is under some form of a lockdown or stay at home order.

We likely cannot imagine the far reaches of what COVID is doing to the global economy.

The world has moved into a recession that is predicted to be worse than the 1929 Great Recession. The World Economic Forum expects over 4 million people in the USA to file for unemployment benefits by the time this is over.

All non-essential businesses have been closed in most countries across the globe, and people have either been sent home or furloughed. And, all companies that have been able to pivot the processes and operations online have done so. Even with the reopening — slow in some places — and not slow enough in others — we are in trouble.

It is remarkable at this time in history that so many employees in companies — who have been sent home — are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely and at least keep business operations running.

Kimberly Amadeo noted in her article titled, “How does the 2020 stock market crash compare with others,� that the US 2020 stock market crash began on 9 March 2020, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost the most point in living history.

And, then it dropped again on 12 March 2020 and 16 March 2020, leaving it at an all-time low of 20.3% less than its 12 February 2020 high. Here we are in July — up and down.

Stock Market

The reason for these drops in the stock market is that there was, and continues to be, global panic about the rampant spread of the coronavirus and its devastating effects on the world’s population.

To date, there have been 11.5 million active infections — with more than 535,759 deaths. The infection and mortality rate is more deadly than the annual seasonal influenza that kills circa 0.01% of the global population annually.

The Stress

The emotional stress on the global population is being documented. The journal article published in the Brain, Behavior, and Immunity journal, titled “The emotional impact of COVID-19: From medical staff to common people,� notes the following:

“Infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, as well as other public health events, can cause emotional distress and anxiety.�

The author, Nicola Montemurro, goes on to state that these feelings of distress and anxiety can occur in people who are not high-risk.

She also highlights the fact that “previous research has revealed a profound and wide spectrum of psychological impact that outbreaks can inflict on people.�

And, new “psychiatric symptoms in people without mental illness can occur or aggravate the condition of those with pre-existing mental illness.�

Thus, while the details of how to take care of yourself in these stressful and anxious times are not relevant to this discussion, it is essential to implement self-care measures to ensure that you survive these challenging global conditions.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Looking towards the future

The question that begs is, what does the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR or Industry 4.0) have to do with COVID-19 and surviving the economic, physical, and mental impact of the world we currently live?

This question is valid and deserves a considered answer.

Klaus Schwab, the founder, and chief executive officer of the World Economic Forum coined the phrase “The Fourth Industrial Revolution� in 2016. And, he had the following to say:

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.�

Some of these technologies impacted by 4IR include Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), WIFI and networking, robotics, and autonomous vehicles.

Four years later, these technologies have indeed happened. However, the reason for the impact of this revolution is not technology-driven, but think — all this tech has offered a solution to people in lockdown.

We can communicate with family members and friends, seek medical help via apps like Zoom and Skype, and work remotely because of the high tech that allows us to link to work colleagues and clients across the globe.

Managing customer relationships

The good news is that within every crisis there is an opportunity. Albert Einstein acknowledged this with the following statement:

“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.�

While acknowledging the stresses of the current global pandemic, it’s equally important to find opportunities in the midst of the crisis.

Let’s take this statement to heart and consider a simple case study that describes how to use CRM software (appvizer dot com, client relationship), to bootstrap and grow your startup into a robust business.

You want a business that has the ability to weather current financial storms and come out on the other side as a healthy, thriving company.

What is CRM software?

In order to utilize the full functionality of a CRM application, let us consider a succinct definition:

Wikipedia.com defines Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as an “approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential customers.â€�

A CRM is an end-to-end customer management methodology that combines the analysis of the company’s customer sales history to forecast trends and improve customer relationships.

Its fundamental aim is to help the company retain customers and drive sales growth. For, as the quotation by Sam Walton highlighted above states, the customer is boss. And, without customers, the business cannot exist.

CRM Management: A case study

Now that we have an understanding of the primary function of customer management and the core role it plays in running a successful business, let’s consider our case study:

Let’s assume for a moment — you own an online content marketing business known as Firecrab Words. Although you are an experienced content writer and have worked as a freelancer for several years now, you’ve decided that now is the right time to register a company.

You are now going to position your brand to take advantage of the increase in the potential for digital marketing opportunities when the global economy reboots itself.

Let’s also suppose you have completed all the business development documentation. You’ve included the necessary financial and business process models. You have cobbled together a website. You know your website is not great — but it is functional. It will do for now.

The only thing left to do, apart from marketing, is to find a system to manage your clients. You have existing clients that you need to move onto the CRM application.

And, you need to analyze historical data to forecast trends and patterns to determine how to improve your customer management model.

Choosing a CRM

There are a number of different CRM software applications available for you to choose from with different features and benefits. Therefore, the first step is to decide what features you need to successfully manage your customers and potential customers to leverage long-term, consistent sales growth.

Also, because it’s highly likely that you will have to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee, it’s doubly important to ensure that you choose the right fit for your startup.

Once you have decided which features you need, the next step is to consult an online CRM review site like Appvizer that states the benefits of each software application, and it provides a comparison between the apps whose benefits are listed.

As an aside, I used Appvizer to choose a CRM application for my eCommerce business that sells handmade items like bed quilts, clothing made from West African fabric, as well as leather bags and wallets.

However — it’s worth looking at a review site to determine which CRM application is the best for your own business requirements. Be sure to ask around a little — don’t go with the first one. Get some recommendations from someone who has used the service.

CRM: The benefits described as statistics

One of the best ways to describe the benefits of an application is to look at the numbers. Thus, let’s consider the following statistics (financesonline dot com – crm stats analysis of trends).

  •  The CRM market currently has a value of $120 billion (USD).
  • Its annual growth is forecast at 12% per year reaching 82% billion in 2025.
  •  A CRM system that is implemented correctly can yield a Return on Investment (ROI) of circa 45% on every dollar invested.
  • 48% of sales teams rely heavily on their CRM software to manage their clients and improve business operations.
  •  The CRM business model or customer relationship management is considered the most important aspect of a company next to lead generation and engagement.

These are just a few of the numerous CRM-related statistics available for consumption. However, they describe the value of implementing a CRM system to manage your clients and grow your business.

Customer relationship management as it applies to the case study

By way of explaining the essential CRM functionality, let’s consider each function within the case study stated above.

Contact management

One of the stated aims in the case study described above is to formalize your content marketing business processes, including the onboarding of existing clients. Therefore, contact management is a vital part of a successful CRM system.

What is contact management?

Concisely stated, contact management is essentially the addition or recording of customer contact details into the CRM system. Secondly, this aspect of the CRM tracks the interactions between the customer and the business, including emails sent, phone calls made, and purchases made by the customer.

Apart from keeping track of client-business interactions, this module has the capacity to generate statistical data that allows the business to improve customer relations; thereby, increasing sales figures.

Therefore, when considered in relation to the Firecrab Words case study, you need to enter all of your current client data into the CRM system. If you have historical sales figures and a record of all customer interactions, it is probably a good idea to add them to the new system as well.

Otherwise, you can start tracking customer interactions from the time you have onboarded all your existing clients.

Sales team management

Contact management and sales team management are two sides of the same coin. Both need to be tracked and managed. Without a sales team — you will not have any customers and without customers, you won’t need to hire a sales team.

At this juncture, it is important to note that because Firecrab Words is a startup, you, as the business owner are also the sales team.

What are the sales team and customer opportunity management?

As stated above, the interactions between the sales team and the customers are measured. It also measures the opportunities that the sales team has to convert visitors to your business’s online presence into returning customers.

The process is also known as lead scoring, and it identifies the clients that are most likely to convert.

Final thoughts

The importance of maintaining positive customer relationships cannot be underestimated For, without customers, the business will not make money, and therefore, cannot exist.

Consequently, it is essential to ensure that you not only maintain good relationships with your clients, but you constantly work at improving them.

In this manner, your business will grow from a small startup to a robust, stable business, capable of weathering all storms.

Image Credit:  emre keshavarz; Pexals

The post Customer Relationships: The Benefits of Using CRM Software for Startups appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
business management Business management appsp CRM crm software Software

Best 10 Business Management Apps

business management apps

Technology is GREAT — and it has changed the game. Tech has given us new ways to manage the businesses that are fine as they are — maybe — but it’s important to adapt. Now, managing the business workloads becomes efficient and less time-consuming. Here are ten of the best business management apps.

As a business owner, you have to complete many business operations at one time.

There are employee issues, payrolls, customer’s appointments, managing finances, marketing, and all that pop-ups. Indeed, you might be searching for new ways to streamline your business operations and to enhance productivity. Above all, to make your position in this competitive market.

The world is mobile.

Everyone likes to execute their tasks on mobile, it is because of the convenience factor it offers. Most of the companies have adopted agile working, which gives rise to mobile apps. It is the best tool that you can get to manage all of your important projects concurrently and can keep your business game on the top.

The market has many leading business management apps that are best to keep up the work efficiently.

These management apps permit the business team to share ideas, collaborate, and help in workload management. As a business owner, you can have an idea about your team activities and of course, their work status. While looking out for a business management app, consider the below measures:

  • Affordable.
  • Easy to use.
  • No commitment plans.
  • Can scale with your business.
  • Exceptional customer service if you need support.
  • It should have an immediate influence on investment.

So, after getting an outline of how these apps are important, know the best business management apps below.

Leading Business Management Apps you should know:

Streak

Qwaiting

Insightly

Salonist

Nimble

Zendesk Sell

Bitrix24

HRMWage

Salesforce

Freshsales

Leading Business Management Apps you should know

Qwaiting

Qwaiting allows you easy and effective management of queues and doesn’t allow your valuable customers to wait in the queue. As a leading business management app, it improves your business efficiency, profits, and thoroughly, changes the manner of handling the customers.

The Qwaiting apps don’t allow you to work manually and operate every necessary business activity by itself. From providing the ticket system, managing the customer details, employee management, appointment scheduling, sales funnel information, the screen with queue numbers, to provide real-time analytics, it covers everything.

Qwaiting allows the customers to follow the virtual queue online from the app, on-site kiosk, or from the mobile. It permits you to set up, manage, and configure the agent calendar and resource availability. With this app, you can easily check-in and manage the appointments. It provides notification to the customers about their turn and when they have to show their presence.

Also, from Qwaiting, you can have regular feedback from the customers. These reviews are quite helpful in giving you insights about where you are lagging and where the improvement is required. Accordingly, you can improve your marketing strategy.

Streak

Streak is a Content Relationship Management (CRM) app that offers everything that as a business owner you require. For those businesses who use Google and Gmail Apps, Streak is the best option. In addition to customer management, it allows you to track business analytics.

Like, in the case when you are just pitching or are about to crack one of the best deals, then, Streak enables you to check all the emails linked with every customer. Also, the newsfeed is there to update every team member about the current status of business analytics.

The streak has add-ons, from where you can integrate the appointments directly in the calendar to get more transparent experience. As the basic use of this app is meant for customer support, recruiting and sales, but, it can also be productive for everything from Fundraising to Project management.

We can say that, with Streaks, you can eradicate any possibility of time waste, and regular email drudgery with the mail merge and snippets. Manage the important emails and keep the tracking intact to communicate regularly with the customers.

Insightly

As a CRM app, Insightly incorporates many business management features that are the basic requirement of every business type. From this app, you can easily characterize the contact with tags, incorporate that with the social network profiles and then, manage the leads.

Insightly allows you to make the tasks for the team members, setting the pipelines and then track the status of the assigned tasks. Also, it sends email reminders to all-time to time. The app has an easily navigable and understandable user interface. For those who are new to it, will find it more engaging with the customer-oriented features. For the integrations, projects, and relationships, this app works best.

Salonist

As one of the best Salon apps, Salonist tops in the race. With the cloud-based ability, it allows all the Salon owners to streamline their daily operations without any hassles. It integrates all those features that are required to operate the Salon activities effectively. By allowing a Salonist to handle all of your work, you can utilize all of your productive time in generating more Salon productivity.

The synchronization of the calendar part with Outlook, Google calendar, and Apple, allows the customers to schedule, reschedule, and cancel their appointments easily. It includes email and SMS marketing, from where you can notify the customers regarding important events and activities.

Also, you can get the correct figure of your inventory from the report and analytics it provides. And, accordingly, you can refill your stocks and sell them continuously.

Nimble

For those businesses, who have a great social media presence, should choose Nimble. The Nimble app is a Content Management System that gathers the information of customers from their social media profiles. Then, it updates it all in the database and consequently, saves a lot of time of yours. Also, it examines the shared interests and combines that with Outlook, Hootsuite, and Gmail and with more services.

In addition, it examines the relationships you more valued and interacted with. And, accordingly, it offers more future opportunities with them. From Nimble, you can make quality relationships, nourish the customer relationships, approach faster and smarter, secure more deals, and work easily from the inbox. Give Nimble a try, it is worth spending the additional time.

Zendesk Sell

Zendesk Sell, a name behind customizing the sales pipeline effectively is deserving to be on this list. Primarily, it was termed as Base CRM. As all the leads cannot be created equal, so, this mobile app gives more priority to the leads and opportunities for your business.

Particularly, the Zendek Sell selects only those leads that are more important and worth spending time. It links that leads to the business first. The business management part allows you to centralize the attention to the deals and leads from the automated scoring rules from Zendesk Sell’s full-funnel analytics. Hence, those businesses whose aim is only to capture the leads can go with this app.

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is here to give you the best experience for your potential customer and business. It provides a free version that at least 12 users can use with 12 gigs of storage space. At the next level, the pricing table is fair and incorporates the plans that are available for all businesses.

This content management system is quite broad and provides several customer management and collaboration tools. Sign up with this business management app and experience effective customer management, projects, customer support, tasks, eCommerce, and internal communication. Get this all-in-one business management tool if you really want to have beneficial results.

HRMWage

HRMWage is the preeminent business management and cloud-based human resource management app. It includes wage management, payroll management, and attendance tracking. This Human resource management tool makes every task feasible and streamlines every issue faced by HR’s for their day to day activities. The salary calculation, interviews of various job aspirants, leave management, employee performance tracking, and many more are covered.

You can easily track the employee details at any time with the management app. HRMwage also assures security and does not allow any data breach. It also eradicates the process of leaves whether it is a short day, half-day, or full-day, and makes the handling process easy.

The employee can apply for the leaves directly from the HRM only. Also, it allows easy tracking of employees and makes the hiring process smooth. From the right document management, HR can know which sessions or courses the employee can adapt to the company culture.

Salesforce

You must have come across the word, Salesforce, even if you have not known any CRM tools. It is one of the most utilized business management apps for small businesses, particularly. Salesforce incorporates every single feature on the dashboard itself. Now, you can sell all of the customer details in one place, this app gives you access to the database whenever it is required.

It offers great in-app assistance by providing access to several tutorials and guided set-ups. Salesforce holds the capability to include more business apps, also, this app offers you everything your business might require. This is how this management app keeps your business ahead from all the competitors.

Freshsales

Freshsales gives you a powerful CRM system, with an activity capture, Artificial Intelligence leads scoring, built-in phone, etc. Freshsales admits that it has 15,000 customers to assure it, customers, that they have a large and solid base.

It offers outstanding reviews with exceptional features, such as; sales leads, Built-In Phone & Email, Associated Conversions, Intuitive Sales Pipeline, etc. FreshSales has four economical plans that fit perfectly for all business sizes.

Concluding Remarks

Gone are the days when managing business is a tough or impossible task. Technology has given us many ways that you can adapt and streamline every business operation. Business management apps are one of the best ways to get ahead.

Choose an app that fits your business size, and watch how your streamlining efforts change your brand position in the market.

Image Credit: Lukas Rodriguez; Pexels

The post Best 10 Business Management Apps appeared first on ReadWrite.