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The Only Constant is Change

Since the advent of the internet, and Google, it has never been easier to research books, patents, competition, products, and gain incredible insights. New ways of getting and selling to customers are totally new. Employees can search for jobs online and are recruited in real time via Social Networks. We are having to cope with employees having their own mobile devices for business and personal use. Software is a thing of the past as Cloud solutions are the mainstream. I wonder what the next 5 years will bring?

I propose that in a world as we have today, the only constant is change. With change in every asset of the business, your employees will either thrive or strive in this new landscape. It really boils down to the corporate culture – are your employees taught to constantly innovate or not? This may be the defining question of organizations in the next decade and beyond.

At, we built constant innovation into our product by seamlessly updating our Cloud CRM product on a quarterly basis, as a standard part of the service. We also always offered a free trial and one-on-one demonstrations so that we get to know our customers before any sale takes place. This is where we learn what is needed for the next iteration (innovation) for our Cloud CRM. The trick in innovating is to understand it is not you who needs to decide what is next, but yet it is up to you to ask the right questions of your customers and have a culture of constant innovation in your processess. This innovation has to be owned by your employees and their benefits structured according to success of the customer.

It is the job of the business as a whole to provide the right products and services, market the company to bring in business, sell and service the clients. The problem would be easily solved if you had a fully trained and motivated work force. Many businesses find that employees are coming and going at such a pace that it is much easier, more cost effective and better for the customers if your employees stay with you long term – as long as they stay motivated. The way to keep your employees motivated is to let them innovate for your customers and let them see the cumulative benefits that the organization is bringing to the customer on a constant basis. In short, innovation is exciting, interesting and fun – the exact OPPOSITE of an organization that never changes, is stale and boring.

So how do you track what is going on in the organization so you know what innovations are required in your market? The key is to ask the right questions and store it in your Cloud CRM system. This way the information is shared in real time, you get real time graphs and reports, can be accessed anywhere from any device, and will tell you every day what customers are asking for or complaining about. Remember every complaint has a reason behind it – a lack in the marketlplace, or a lack of understanding of your target market. Either way, it is an opportunity to think of a solution such as an informational campaign or better training of your employees that this is a topic that your customers are asking about.

Put the tools to innovate in the hands of your employees, let them do their jobs, but then also look into what is working and what isn't, and have a quarterly plan to look for ways to innovate, it will keep your employees engaged, and with you. Remember, those that aren't on board for change will sooon find they are in the minority.

Sales is Marketing & Marketing is Sales

I have been CEO of Cloud CRM since 2003 and have made it a habit to spend most of my time engaged in one-on-one conversations with customers and leads to find out what is out there. In my line of work if you don't have your ear to the ground and innnovate quarterly, then you find out you are quickly behind. I joke that I have spoken with more CEOs over the years than President Obama. But seriously, it is by listening to their needs and understanding why they haven't been able to find the right software solution to their business management needs, has led me to understand that

What do I mean by this? Of course they are two differnt disciplines entirely, and managed in different departments, report to different bosses, and usually have widely different goals, not to mention they rarely see eye-to-eye, so how can this be true?

The key is that even though there are so many differences between Sales and Marketing, the common thread that pays the bills is customers. Finding them, closing them and keeping them is the only option. The way to achive this is through better understanding of your customers' needs as compared with what you can do for them vs what the competition can't or won't do for them. The application used to make this happen is Cloud CRM. It is the application for the customer. It tells the truth about what the customer is asking for and identifies opportunities to win new business, it identifies weaknesses in understanding of customers or employees, and identifies new training and education requirements.

The Cloud CRM - and the vendor who partners with you, is like having an extra man on the field for your business. It is the middleman between Marketing and Sales that will keep the Sales people understanding what is the right message and automating it so there is less guess-work. Web forms and customized email campaigns with lead nurturing and drip marketing, with real time alerts and customized lead routing rules will ensure all leads get timely information, while qualified and put in front of the right sales person for followup and closing. Management can see for themselves what is working with built-in reports and real-time customizable dashboards and free up Sales and Markeging to do their jobs more effectively. Quarrels are reduced because the customer speaks and has a say in the matter by using a system to track all interactions.

In short, a Cloud CRM keeps the leads flowing to Opportunities and give real time information on what is working and what is needed to keep it working, so Sales and Marketing can behave as a cohesive unit. This Closed-Loop Marketing cycle helps ensure Marketing equals Sales and these Sales drive better-performing Marketing, and so on.

Why Excel is not enough to manage your Customers

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