Tag Archive | cloud computing

On CRM: JotForm Adds HubSpot So That You Can Stop Losing Website Leads

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

It amazes me how many companies I know – particularly small companies – that go to great effort and expense to build cool websites and attract leads don’t complete the process. There’s a disconnect when visitors arrive and request more information or have a question. When they fill out a form their contact data is just emailed to someone in the sales department who then has to enter that information again into the company’s CRM system. Errors occur and – not surprisingly – follow-ups are unreliable.

It happens a lot and when it does sales inevitably get lost. And yet, simply integrating a company’s website with their CRM application would solve that problem and create more revenue opportunities.

Maybe the fact that this isn’t happening as much as I would’ve thought isn’t so amazing. Most good, mainstream CRM applications do have the ability to integrate themselves with a customer’s website. But it takes some effort and a little technical expertise and these are the kinds of things that are sometimes in short supply at the typical small business.

But there’s an easy way to do this which doesn’t take much effort or expertise. Just create a JotForm and use its built-in integration with popular CRMs and email marketing applications like ZohoVerticalResponseMailChimpInsightlyKeapHighriseConstant ContactSalesforce.com and now…HubSpot. Read More…

On CRM: Ads In Emails? Really? A New Study Says Yes.

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here’s something I never seriously considered: including paid ads in the body of an email campaign.  Paid ads? You would think that in today’s world of advertising overload most recipients would be turned off.  Turns out they’re not.

At least that’s the conclusion from a new study commissioned by Powerinbox, a company that (surprise!) provides email marketing services and offers what it calls “personalized subscriber engagement” to some of the world’s largest publishers so that they can get their messaging out by – you guessed it –  placing advertisements in emails.

So there may be some bias here.  But I’m not sure that matters when you consider the findings. According to the study – which was conducted by Mantis Research, an independent research firm – 40 percent of the people surveyed said that having ads in an email didn’t bother them at all and – surprising to me – almost two-thirds of them said they would actually click on an ad.  Unfortunately, I could not find where the actual sample size of this study was disclosed. Read More…

On CRM: Constant Contact Adds A Surprising New Feature

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Much of the news today about technology involves the rise of artificial intelligence, bots and other tools that so many are predicting will replace humans in the years to come. So is it surprising when, instead of eliminating, a technology company actually adds humans as a feature to its products?

Not really. At least not to me.

Which is why I wasn’t surprised to hear that last week Constant Contact,the bulk e-mail and marketing automation provider, announced a new service that adds a much needed feature to the software that they offer: actual, breathing….people.

Called the Marketing Advisor program, the new service will provide – for a monthly fee – a host of features that most predominantly include access to a marketing “advisor” to help businesses – particularly small businesses and non-profits – get the most out of its tools. Read More…

On CRM: Infusionsoft Rebrands As Keap Because That’s What Small Businesses Want

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Infusionsoft is now called Keap. But the re-branding is not the only big change that happened.

The Arizona-based company, known for its powerful CRM and marketing automation applications, is also changing its focus. Sure, its core products will continue to be developed and sold as Infusionsoft. But the company’s leaders have decided to pivot from just offering a CRM application to offering a more comprehensive set of business tools specifically for small businesses that work in and around the CRM model.

“We’ll continue to lead the CRM and marketing automation industry with exciting updates coming this year with what we are now calling Infusionsoft by Keap,” the company’s COO Keith Reed said in a press release. “With the introduction of our new Keap product, we are able to serve an even larger market of small service providers who have been shut out of the benefits of automation because software providers have made it too hard and expensive.” Read More…

On CRM: Will Nimble Solve Microsoft’s Small Business CRM Problem?

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

As a Microsoft partner that focuses on small and medium sized companies my firm has had little to offer our clients when they ask about CRM options other than to direct them elsewhere. Their flagship Dynamics products are excellent, but they’re pricey for a small company and clearly built to compete against the likes of Salesforce and Oracle.

There used to be (shudder) the Outlook Business Contact Manager but that application was thankfully discontinued after a few years of hair-pulling performance and other issues. Office 365 comes with something called the Outlook Customer Manager which is a shadow of what a good CRM system should provide and frankly has not received much attention from Redmond.

So when Microsoft announced last year that it was partnering with Nimble– a powerful CRM application that’s targeted (and priced) more for SMBs – my antenna went up.  Why is Microsoft doing this? Could this be a CRM answer for small businesses in Microsoft world?

I think it is. Read More…

On CRM: Chatbot Maker Ada Raises $14M To Automate Your Customer Service

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

I often run across clients who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in complex CRM systems and are still not responding fast enough to customer questions, particularly when they’re posed online.  Sometimes, just a simple application is all that’s needed.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who’s suffered with this problem.  Which is why last month, a few significant investors such as New York-based VC firm FirstMark Capital as well as Leaders Fund, Burst Capital, Bessemer, Version One, and computer scientist Barney Pell plowed $14 million into a Canadian startup called Ada.

Ada has only been around for a couple of years, but the timing for their technology couldn’t be better.  Their product is a simple, customizable chat application for a website that, they claim, can be programmed by just about anyone to provide automated responses to common questions using their proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm. “People spend an average of 6 months of their lives on hold,” their website says. “We’re here to change that.” Read More…

On CRM: Website Builder Wix Launches A CRM App To Solve A Common Problem

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

As a CRM consultant, I’m always recommending ways our clients can make better use of the systems we implement – and hopefully use us to help them.  One of my go-to recommendations is website integration. Most good CRM systems can be integrated with a company’s website to bring down user information so that their behavior can be tracked and communications can be tailored to their preferences. Unfortunately, not many small businesses do this, thinking it’s too costly or time consuming.

They’re wrong. It’s not costly and it doesn’t have to be time consuming. So here’s another idea: instead of integrating a CRM system with a website why not create a website that already has these integrations built-in?  That’s the idea behind Wix’s new suite of products called Ascend. Read More…