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Category : Certified Zoho Consultants

Don’t Underestimate Data Migration Time

CRM Implementation Tip #2:  | Don’t Underestimate Data Migration Time

 

As you’re working through all the considerations for CRM Implementation – and it can be a bit of a process – be sure to give a healthy amount of time to how you’ll migrate existing data to your CRM. 

 

CRM Data MigrationDon’t Underestimate Data Migration Time

 

Whether you’re already using a different CRM or a spreadsheet to keep track of all your data currently, this is a task that must be completed for a successful implementation.

 

When planning your project, or reviewing plans from your consultant, be sure to allow extra time for data migration. Don’t underestimate it! Looking for more insight beyond data migration?

 

 

Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips

 


CRM Data Migration Considerations

 

Even in the best of times, data migration isn’t a one-fell-swoop sort of maneuver. Discrepancies between modules in different CRMs can prolong the process.  

 

  • Additionally, if you want to migrate old data into a new CRM with customized data fields, your old data will have to be mapped to those new fields.  
  • If you choose to import and map the data yourself, you’ll have to allot time to learn how the system works. 
  • If you get help from a CRM consultant, you’ll probably spend at least a couple of phone calls and email threads explaining how you want everything to look.  

 

No matter what, the migration process is one that takes time. In our experience, it’s better to overestimate. Then you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Underestimation can lengthen the project and catch you off guard. If you aren’t quite sure how much time data migration will take, give yourself a month. And, if you aren’t comfortable blocking off that much time, you can always get the help of a certified consultant.

Is your organization using its CRM to the fullest? Take the CRM Adoption Survey and find out where you stand.

Take the CRM Adoption Survey

 

Your CRM Should Support Your Sales Cycle

CRM Implementation Quick Start Tip #1: Your CRM Should Support Your Sales Cycle

 

If you’ve already started your project, or are starting your research here, this CRM Implementation Quick Start Tip to examine your sales cycle to determine what you really need is crucial.

 

CRM Implementation Tip #1

Getting honest about your business needs and goals is a really important consideration. 

 

Out of the box, CRMs usually contain lots of functionality. At the core you likely require a CRM to support your sales cycle. With most systems, you’ll have the ability to enter companies and contacts. In addition, you will be able to convert them from leads to active customers. You can record notes about them, associate emails and sales orders with them…and likely, countless other bells and whistles you might not have known about.

Maybe your business doesn’t require all that functionality. If you run an insurance agency, for example, your needs may be perfectly satisfied with just half of those rudimentary features. Perhaps you may be able to do away with (or hide) several of the default modules inside your CRM entirely! You’re not losing functionality, in fact, these decisions to keep CRM aligned with your business can foster user adoption.

 

Read All CRM Implementation Quick Tips

 


CRM Questions to Ask About Your Sales Cycle

To determine the modules you need in CRM to support your sales cycle, begin with an outline of your exact sales cycle. Include all steps from prospective company (or lead) to contact. Start by answering each of these questions about your sales cycle: 

 

  • Do you run a phone-based business, or do you do more email marketing?  
  • Do you have a good deal of repeat business, or do your customers only see you once?
  • Do you require different sales processes for different products / services you offer?
  • What channels do you use to communicate with your clients?
  • If your cycle is known, then have you already defined your entire sales process, but have trouble tracking it?
  • What KPI’s SHOULD you track to move the needle, and can your system currently do so?

 

Different styles of communication and different sales processes require different kinds of fields inside your CRM. So do repeat customers versus one-time clients. At ZBrains, we specialize in Zoho, but we believe this information is compatible with all CRMs because of their very nature.

Are you already thinking a little more like a consultant? Ensure you’re getting the most from your CRM Implementation.

 

Take the CRM Adoption Survey

 

Customer Segmentation

Customer Segmentation using RFM Model in Zoho CRM

How Does the RFM Model in Zoho CRM Work?

Off the top of your head, you can probably think of a handful of your ‘best customers.’ Those that have purchased recently, purchase regularly, and spend a decent amount with your company. Have you considered using the RFM model widely applied to your entire book of business? RFM segmentation model allows you to segment or group your customer data for even deeper insights.  This means groupings like, “Best Customers,” “Loyal Customers,” and “At Risk Customers” are relatively straightforward to capture. And you can do it now in Zoho CRM! 

Keep reading to learn more about the RFM model and how you can put it to use in your business. 

 

What is the RFM model?

This acronym stands for Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value. This model, while not new, can provide you with new levels of customer information when using the data points in tandem.

  • Recency: how recently did your customer purchase from you?

  • Frequency: how frequently does your customer purchase from you?

  • Monetary: how much does your customer spend with your business?

The three dynamics of data in this model combine to give powerful information to your customer behaviors, and can help with strategy, planning and sales approach. In Zoho CRM, this model comes with some predefined and weighted values which makes implementation very straightforward. But first, let’s take a look at a little more about how the RFM model and customer segmentation can benefit your business. 

 

How does the RFM segmentation model benefit your business?

Segmenting RFM data can benefit your business in several ways across sales and marketing departments. At the crux of it is the value in knowing your customer. However, here are a few additional points that illustrate how RFM segment data can be beneficial:

  • You can speak to the right audiences at the right time (targeted marketing). When you ensure your promotions are timely and accurate, you improve customer satisfaction and retention. This can ultimately impact your Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), an important KPI for a lot of industries [link Saas & Tech KPI’s article].
  • Timely, targeted messaging ensures you avoid marketing fatigue among your audience.
  • When you know your customers and in which segment of the RFM model they reside, you can better allocate your marketing budget.
  • RFM data can show areas with growth opportunities. For example, that could look like incrementally increasing the frequency of orders a customer makes with your company. Or inversely, using recency data to identify and re-engage customers who may not have purchased recently.

Because the RFM model is numerical, straightforward, and intuitive you will find that its output is relatively easy to understand and interpret. The result is a high-level view of customer behavior that can be mixed and matched for new sales and marketing approaches that weren’t previously possible without the data.

 

Combining RFM with other Data for deeper insights

Customer groupOn its own, RFM segmentation data is powerful, but having these metrics to combine with other key performance indicators can provide even greater value. Use the data for the successful customers you already have to determine what you did to acquire them, and then apply this new knowledge to your next acquisition efforts to save time and money.

An example of this would be to take your highest performing segment (where Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value all rank highly), and overlay geographic data. From this you may be able to see which areas of the country, or world, your best customers reside. Then you can use this information to craft targeted messages to ‘look alikes’ for an acquisition campaign.

Similarly, you can combine RFM data with age, gender, title, products purchased, sales agents they interacted with, company size, and on and on. The result is you can answer such questions as:

  • Where are my best customers located? 
  • How big are their companies? 
  • What is the title of the person who converts? 
  • What does the product mix of our most successful customers look like?

And with those answers you can model your business to meet the needs of your best customers. 

We hope you’re convinced that the information RFM captures for marketing, sales segmentation, and business strategy can take you a long way.

 

Put RFM Scoring into Action with Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM introduced this new segmentation feature in 2020. The system comes with some widely applicable segments already defined, with the scoring matrix already completed. The scoring for each segment of R, F, and M ranges between 1-5 points. The number 1 indicates low performance and 5 is high performance. It is probably best to customize your segments based on your business. However, the predefined segments give you a good starting point.

An example of segments could include,  “A+ Customers”  or best customers who purchase recently, often, and have a high spend. Your “Loyal Customers” might have a good spend and be responsive to promotions. There are a few others in addition to “At Risk” or “Churned Customers” who generally had a high spend, but have not purchased in a while.

Finding these segments in your Zoho CRM is as simple as applying filters to your account list. At that point, you can apply tags, and use them in your sales and marketing campaigns. 

 

Interested in putting the RFM Model and customer segmentation to work in your Zoho CRM? Start a conversation with one of our Sales Architects.

KPI's for your SaaS and Tech business

SaaS and Technology KPI’s to Manage Your Business 

In part three of this series for Technology and SaaS organizations, we ask you to consider – What are the top key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your industry? Are you successfully using KPI’s to manage your business? Do you track, report, and utilize this data on a regular basis, looking for improvement opportunities? 

There’s a good chance you’re living the same current reality as a lot of SaaS and Tech-focused businesses in 2020. You’ve been impacted by a global pandemic; it might look like slowing down, frequent starts and stops, lay-offs, and shifts in the How and What that have long been a focus. You might find yourself in a position to redefine or even re-invent aspects of your business. McKinsey and Co. recently published that redeploying talent, improving productivity, and shifting operations as three of five recommendations for reinventing your organization, post-Covid. We agree, and have done some of those things here at ZBrains.

If you’re reading, and you’ve already identified and are successfully using data to capture KPI data for business insight, we’d like to present you with a stretch goal as you read through the article. Think about the competitive advantage of your business, the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. 

  • What differentiates you? 
  • And are you able to measure it today? 
  • How would your business change if you could measure and act upon your differentiator? 

Perhaps the content in this article can help trigger some ideas for you.

Maybe your KPI’s are unknown or underutilized. If so, you might be losing out on opportunities to set you up for a better trajectory in an unstable environment. We recommend this article for examples of some Key Performance Indicators used in SaaS and Technology businesses. While there are many, many more than listed here, the KPI’s we share are more or less universal for each segment where they’re listed. We hope this helps to give you ideas about the other data you want to capture. (You may even want to bookmark this article for reference again later.)

 

What makes Zoho a valuable solution for capturing and reporting the data you need for your business?

This all boils down to financials and time tracking each of the seemingly small areas of your business that add up to something sizable. Today, you might pay for  many platforms, applications or systems, and a change to one can affect the others. The result is, they require development expenses. Maybe you have to manage multiple vendors, or your teams are working from siloed data without a full view. Running reports and gaining visibility to your organization is solved with Zoho’s end-to-end solution. 

Quit struggling to track your KPI’s, and avoid the disparate systems of data that make global reporting cost-prohibitive and time consuming.

Keep reading for KPI’s by industry for technology and SaaS organizations, and some thoughts about how you can put them into action with Zoho.

Technology Industry KPI’s

You’re probably like a lot of tech companies: there is no shortage of data, and you generally have a lot of subject matter expertise close at hand. But have you put the most important pieces of data into focus when making business goals and plans? Align your KPI’s with your plan.

Big picture metrics are easy to capture using the Zoho suite of apps. From Survey, CRM, and Inventory you can get a full view of upcoming sales, successful deliveries, and satisfied customers in one ecosystem.

  • Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter or Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. It serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research and is claimed to be correlated with revenue growth.” – Wikipedia on Net Promoter Score

  • Pipeline

Your marketing and sales pipeline and the metrics you can achieve from it are revenue indicators. This information in your pipeline can also tell you when to dive deeper into sales staff issues, help with ideal customer identification, and tell you if your leads are more likely to drop off during certain sales stages.

  • On-time Delivery

Process metrics like the on-time delivery KPI can tell you if operations are in good health. Potentially, it can be a lead measure for Customer Satisfaction. The information gathered in on-time delivery could also be an indicator of production resource viability. Or as a result, letting you know if it’s time to scale the team for greater production capacity.

Aside from these necessary and highlevel metrics, what are the metrics you’re having a hard time capturing? Zoho, because it’s almost endlessly customizable with the Creator app, helps create the features you need to ensure that data you need to capture to complete work is the function and data you get. Zoho Creator  puts the tools to innovate and improve your lot squarely into your hands.

 

SaaS Industry KPI’s

In your SaaS business, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success all impact revenue growth and profitability. As with the other industry discussed in this article, there are MANY more KPI’s that you can employ when you’re building an executive dashboard. However, the three here (plus one bonus KPI) are the ones we think are the most indispensable KPI’s to keep an eye on.

  • Customer Acquisition Cost

Total cost of sales and marketing divided by the number of deals closed will give you Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Why does it matter to you? Most SaaS companies rely on a large volume of smaller scale sales over a period of time to generate revenue. For this reason it is important to acquire leads and customers at a price that does not negatively impact revenue.

  • Monthly Recurring Revenue

Regardless of your subscription model, monthly recurring revenue as a KPI is foundational to your business. Take the total number of paying clients by the average revenue per customer to achieve this figure. Straightforward really, but if you have a lot of pricing variants, it can get sticky. (Bonus points if you can segment your recurring revenue by new vs existing clients.) Taking into account your known churn rate when looking at MRR could give you insight into whether or not it’s time to acquire more accounts.

  • Customer Lifetime Value

Lifetime value or LTV is commonly regarded as a “north star metric,” one that matters above all others when determining strategy and goals for a business. Managing the gap between your CAC and LTV are essential to success.

  • Churn Rate

Customer Churn is natural, but how will you identify when it’s too much? (SaaS industry average is said to be between 5-7% annually.) The outlay of cost (CAC) to acquire a new client is usually significantly greater than the cost of maintaining an existing customer. Therefore the lower your churn rate, the less you may have to invest in acquisition. You might also consider Churn Rate a lag indicator of customer satisfaction.

The four KPI’s shared here are a solid underpinning of the metrics we recommend for SaaS organizations. Naturally, Zoho allows you to capture and utilize more data. As we mentioned earlier, the Creator app can bring your vision to life.

 

Why should you care about using SaaS and Technology KPI’s to manage your business?

We’ll end with a quick summary of points to keep in mind as you determine which KPI’s to use in your business. Which KPI’s  are most important to you, and can you get your hands on the data for them? Here six key reasons we think you should consider using SaaS and Technology KPI’s to manage your business: 

  • KPI’s can offer early identification of issues (lead measures)
  • You get visibility to overall company health without a great outlay of executive time
  • Next, reference and use KPI’s as guidance for decision making and strategy
  • High level metrics make it easy to communicate business goals with your environment
  • They will help you become familiar with patterns in your organization
  • Finally, they can help you key in on the areas for necessary  performance improvements

 

If you’re taking the next steps to learn more about achieving more by using KPI’s to manage your Technology or SaaS business, contact us any time.

 


 

Looking for more about KPI’s? Read about Field Services and Construction or Manufacturing and Distribution.

Using KPI's to manage your business

Manufacturing and Distribution KPI’s to Manage Your Business 

In this three part series we ask you to consider, What are the top key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your industry? Are you using KPI’s to manage your business successfully? Do you track, report, and utilize this data regularly to improve your manufacturing or distribution business? In this segment, we’ll look at KPI’s and considerations for manufacturing and distribution organizations.

manufacturing in a canning facility

There’s a good chance you’re experiencing the same current reality as a lot of manufacturing and distribution organizations in 2020. You’ve been impacted by a global pandemic; you could be slowing down, frequently starting and stopping, performing lay-offs, and shifting the How and What that have long been a focus. You might find yourself in a position to redefine or even re-invent some or many aspects of your business. McKinsey and Co. recently shared that redeploying talent, improving productivity, and shifting operations are three of five recommendations for reinventing your organization, post-Covid. We agree, and have taken on some of these ourselves here at ZBrains.

 

Using KPI’s to Manage Your Business

If you’re reading, and you’ve already identified  – and are successfully using – data to capture KPI data for business insight, we’d like to present you with a stretch goal as you read through the article. Consider the competitive advantage of your business, the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. 

  • What differentiates you? 
  • And are you able to measure it today? 
  • How would your business change if you could measure and act on your differentiator? 

Perhaps the content in this article can help trigger some ideas for you.

If your KPI’s are unknown or underutilized, you might be losing out on opportunities to set you up for a better trajectory in an unstable environment. We recommend this article for examples of some Key Performance Indicators for your industry. While there are many, many more than listed, the KPI’s we share are more or less universal for each industry where they’re listed. We hope it gives you ideas about the other data you want to capture. (You may even want to bookmark this article for reference again later.)

Keep reading for KPI’s by industry for manufacturing and distribution, and some thoughts about how you can put them into action with Zoho.

 

Manufacturing Industry KPI’s

The metrics required to successfully operate your manufacturing business are many and varied depending greatly on how and what your business is doing. However, speed and accuracy are paramount to doing it successfully with a gainful ROI. Here are three metrics for manufacturing that we think are fundamental KPI’s.

  • Overall Operating Efficiency

This high-level metric is the ratio between output and input in your business. Are you getting out what you’re putting in? This metric can also apply to employees in terms of “are they maximizing their ‘on’ time and creating value for the business.”

  • Profit Per Employee

As a lag measure, Profit per Employee can show you which lead measurements are progressing perfectly, or which areas need attention. This measure can help you bring to light the areas where profitability could be improved. 

  • Capacity Utilization

This KPI gives insight to one of the most important pieces of information for manufacturing businesses: Is your production being fully utilized? There are associated costs to equipment, people, and space. You can ensure that each is being maximized as needed using this data. Additionally, capacity utilization can give visibility to work balancing as certain production centers are selling more or less at different times.  

What additional KPI’s are essential to your manufacturing operations?

 

Distribution Industry KPI’s

Total sales, cashflow, and margin are essential metrics for distribution, but they’re arguably necessary for most types of businesses. Whether your business is ecommerce, industrial equipment, consumer goods, or something different, you still need to know much of the same standard information. With that in mind, three important metrics to track in your distribution center are:

distribution center KPI

  • Inventory Turnover Ratio

This metric will give you purchasing trend insight. As a result it can show you which items may not be advantageous to keep, or which items require higher inventory levels.

  • Profitability by Item

You can inform larger strategies by knowing which areas (products, customers, and markets) are most profitable for you. Your Distribution and Sales Teams will thank you for making this data available! 

  • On Time Shipping Ratio

Compare items or distribution centers, and find trends in shipping for performance improvement opportunities. This data can inform things like warehouse product organization, capacity utilization, and more whether it be an overall systemic issue or an item specific one.

Does your company have any data that’s been difficult to lock in? ZBrains consultants specialize in helping you identify, organize, and utilize this information for better business results. We help you bring all the pieces together from quoting to inventory and finance

 

Why should you care about using KPI’s to manage your business?

We’ll end here with a quick summary of points to consider when you are researching KPI’s to use in your business. Think about which are most important to you, and can you get your hands on the data for them? Here six key reasons we think you should consider using KPI’s to manage your manufacturing or distribution business: 

  • KPI’s can offer early identification of issues (lead measures)
  • You get visibility to overall company health without a great outlay of executive time
  • Reference KPI’s and use them as guidance for decision making and strategy
  • High level metrics make it easy to communicate business goals with your environment
  • They will help you become familiar with patterns in your organization
  • Finally, they can key you in on significance in areas needing performance improvements

 

Why is Zoho a great solution for helping you capture and report the data you need for your business?

This all boils down to financials and time tracking each of the seemingly small areas of your business. They can add up to big results. Currently, you might be paying for a lot of systems, and a change to one can affect the others and require development expenses. Maybe you have to manage multiple vendors, or your teams are working from siloed data. You can run reports and gain visibility to your organization using Zoho’s end-to-end solution. 

Quit struggling to track your KPI’s, and avoid the disparate systems of data that make global reporting cost-prohibitive and time consuming.

If you’re taking the next steps to learn more about achieving more by using KPI’s to manage your manufacturing or distribution business, contact us any time.

 


 

Looking for more KPI’s? Read about Field Services and Construction or Technology and SaaS.

Field Services and Construction Feature image

Field Services & Construction KPI’s to Manage Your Business

In this three part series we ask you to consider, What are the top key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your industry? Are you using KPI’s to manage your business successfully? Do you track, report, and utilize this data regularly to improve your field services or construction business? In this segment, we’ll look at Field Services and Construction KPI’s you should consider.

You’re probably living the same current reality as a lot of field services or construction businesses in 2020. You’ve been impacted by a global pandemic; it might look like slowing down, frequent starts and stops, lay-offs, and shifts in the How and What that have long been a focus. You might be in a position to redefine or re-invent some aspects of your business. McKinsey and Co. recently noted redeploying talent, improving productivity, and shifting operations as three of five recommendations for reinventing your organization, post-Covid. We agree, and have taken on some of those things ourselves here at ZBrains.

If you’re reading, and you’ve already identified and are successfully using data to capture KPI data for business insight, we’d like to present you with a stretch goal as you read through the article. Consider the competitive advantage of your business, the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. 

  • What differentiates you? 
  • And are you able to measure it today? 
  • How would your business change if you could measure and act on your differentiator? 

Perhaps this article can help trigger some ideas for you

If your KPI’s are unknown or underutilized, you might be losing out on opportunities to set you up for a better trajectory in an unstable environment. We recommend this article for examples of some Key Performance Indicators used in field services and construction industries. Firstly, while there are many, many more than listed here, the KPI’s we share are pretty universal for each segment where they’re listed. It may give you ideas about the other data you want to capture. (You may even want to bookmark this article for reference again later.)

Job Costing for both field services and construction is paramount. You definitely want to have visibility to profit margin per job. This is calculated as direct materials plus direct labor, plus applied overhead. (Overhead can include things like hotel, travel, per diem, vendors, subcontractors, etc.)

 

Keep reading for Field Services and Construction KPI’s, and some thoughts about how you can put them into action with Zoho.

 

Field Services Industry KPI’s

electrician at workField Services companies dispatching technicians or contractors to customer locations for repair, installation, or maintenance have a specific set of business needs that must match each step of their process. And ensuring excellent communication is a must to give your customers a great experience.

Based on your current systems you may or may not be able to capture much of the data around these daily interactions. Out of the box, Zoho CRM is a system waiting to be customized. With the proper implementation, you are able to capture the essential information you want for your organization.

Here are three KPI’s we believe are among the top to consider for your field services business. 

  • Routing Efficiency

Are your techs getting to where they need to be on time? Are your crews wasting time with trips across town? Routing efficiency measurements using geolocation can help you see where lost time can be made up. This is just the start. Productivity gains are had here by matching the right technician to the job, and making sure they have the equipment and parts required. And training needs can be identified based on which of your techs require more time than allowed for specific jobs

  • Service Level Agreement Compliance 

This KPI reflects the relationship between customer experience and technician efficiencies. Empower your techs while they’re on site with information about the customer account history or service history insights when you give them access via Zoho CRM’s mobile app. 

  • Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is related directly to customer loyalty – it can be an indicator of repeat business likelihood, new customer referrals, and lifetime customer value. 

If you’re looking to get even more mileage with system integrations for field services or construction, we recommend taking a look at Field Tech. From quoting, scheduling, and job costing to invoice, expense, and equipment tracking — and more — Field Tech will connect your field service operation and optimize your workforce. 

 

Construction Industry KPI’s

Beyond standard financials, profit and productivity should be top of mind for most construction companies. When it comes to what other KPI’s you track in your organization, we recommend three primary areas to focus: quality, performance, and safety. There are multiple metrics that fall under each of these categories, and you should select those most relevant to your operations and business goals.

construction foreman on site

  • Change Orders

Tracking change order metrics can show you schedule impacts, and give insight for root cause evaluation. Consequently affecting customer satisfaction rates, this metric can show you how too many changes negatively influences the project budget.

  • Performance Overall  

Many performance metrics can relate to productivity as well, including: equipment downtime, resource capacity, on-time completion. Most any measurement of time will be an indicator of performance. How are you tracking performance for construction projects?

  • Number of Accidents or Reportable Accidents

A rise in accidents is a reason for you to take immediate notice. Most importantly, safety metrics help you protect workers by knowing if/when additional training may be required. Secondly, you can stay on top of increased healthcare or litigation costs from lack of safety precautions.

Do you have more questions about making Construction KPI’s a bigger part of your operation? We’d love to assist.  Start a conversation with one of our Zoho Certified Consultants

 

Why should you care about using Field Services and Construction KPI’s to manage your business?

We’ll leave you with a quick summary of points to keep in mind when you are figuring out which KPI’s to use in your business. For example, which things are most important to you, and can you get your hands on the data for them? Here six key reasons we think you should consider using KPI’s to manage your field services or construction business: 

  • KPI’s can offer early identification of issues (lead measures)
  • You get visibility to overall company health without a great outlay of executive time
  • Reference KPI’s and use them as guidance for decision making and strategy
  • High level metrics make it easy to communicate business goals with your environment
  • They will help you become familiar with patterns in your organization
  • Finally, they can key you focus in on the areas to make performance improvements

 

Why is Zoho a great solution for helping you capture and report the data you need for your business?

This all boils down to financials and time tracking all the seemingly small areas of your business that add up to big results. Currently, you might be paying for a lot of systems, and a change to one can affect the others and require development expenses. Maybe you have to manage multiple vendors, or your teams are working from siloed data. You can more simply run reports and gain visibility to your organization with Zoho’s end-to-end solution. 

Quit struggling to track your KPI’s, and avoid the disparate systems of data that make global reporting cost-prohibitive and time consuming.

 

If you’re taking the next steps to learn more about achieving more by using KPI’s to manage your field services or construction business, contact us any time.

 


 

Looking for more about KPI’s? Read about Technology and SaaS or Manufacturing and Distribution.

Identify Operational Inefficiencies

How to Identify Operational Inefficiencies

As a business owner or operator, it’s important to you to be aware of operational inefficiencies. You want to cut them off at the start, and keep your business heading in the right direction. You’ll find a lot of business advice online; however, the goal of this article is to help you identify the areas to look for operational inefficiencies. We’ll offer some considerations for you in terms of addressing the gaps in data you might experience as the operator of your business.

Get to know some indicators that your efficiencies could be off track are found in the realms of Planning, Scheduling & Quality Control. For example:

  • You may feel as though you don’t have control of your resources, 
  • You don’t have visibility to planning and scheduling (or there is a lack of it) 
  • Projects don’t seem to be the quality you want for your business
  • KPI’s are falling flat

These areas of uncertainty can leave you in a position of being unsure which issues to tackle next.

Firstly, consider each of the four scenarios above and how they apply to your business. What do you think you’re losing out on each month, or each day by not having access to the data required to solve these issues? Naturally, you’ll prioritize your biggest information gaps, and tackle those first. But how much more productive could your business be if right now you could see detail that gives actionable insight on each of these key points of operational efficiency?

With the right operating system for your business, you gain this visibility and will be on your way to identifying inefficiency with ease. In some cases you may even be able to become aware of the triggers that cause operational inefficiencies.

 

How can my business identify and track operational efficiency?

You’re having trouble getting a complete story for your business. Day to day it feels like the various resources you use to gain insight are contradictory at best. When you dig in it feels like micromanaging. As a result, there doesn’t seem to be a good way to get all the business metrics you need in one place. Your resources are dispersed across systems, and few if any of those systems are talking to each other, much less reporting together.

Zoho One is an operating system for your business. Comprehensive, integrated and customizable, this platform with 40+ applications can eradicate the roadblocks you’ve become accustomed to experiencing. Resulting in fewer or no departmental silos, but tools for everyone in your organization from Sales and Marketing to HR, Finance, and Operations.

Here are a few of the tools for each area of business that will be capturing the operational data you need:

  • Sales tools like mobile CRM, email, Telephony, social selling tools, live chat, online meetings and team communication tools are a part of Zoho One. Additionally, there are tools for  business intelligence, quotes, orders, and invoices that you need to fortify sales operations.
  • Marketing tools offered are also robust and include website builder, A/B testing, analytics, goal tracking, personalization, and multi-channel marketing applications. Wrap it up with marketing automation, reporting, and trackable KPI & ROI data.
  • Customer support is a lifeline for your customers in many cases. Zoho One tools like email, phone, social support (ticketing), live chat, self-service resources, remote assistance give many channels for communicating with your team. Additionally, bigger picture tools include support process automation, business intelligence, AI, CRM, and team communication tools. All this for an improved customer experience and the data you’re looking for. 

Don’t forget HR, Accounting, and Operations

  • HR Tools keep business running with solutions for talent acquisition, onboard, training, policy creation, resource management, and communications tools contributing to a culture of collaboration.
  • Accounting & Finance 
    • Receivables tracking: estimates, invoices, payments, and transaction matching.
    • Payables & Expenses: purchase orders, expense management, mileage tracking for reimbursement, and time tracking for projects.
    • Additional solutions include subscription management, recurring billing, and hosted pricing pages. 
  • Operations Tools consist of order fulfillment, service deployment, order management, multi-channel selling, warehouse management, project-based billing, and project management. Siloed communications are solved with the internal social network. Moreover, you can bridge with Sales & Customer Support teams using the customer portal. 

For any process or system not addressed, Zoho has tools to develop custom apps for web and mobile. And it offers integrations for greater business intelligence!

What is the solution to operational inefficiencies? 

With Zoho One, you’ll have your business situated in an ecosystem with a single sign on. For instance, this makes it simpler as an owner or manager to have complete control over business data. This includes identifying and addressing the Planning, Scheduling & Quality Control operational inefficiencies we mentioned at the start of the article.

In other words,  you can do it all within one ecosystem that utilizes the apps we just outlined.

Zoho One currently contains over 40 applications, all integrated. Firstly, they operate on the same platform so customization is generally more straightforward. Reporting on the business data you need to ensure efficiency in your operations is readily accessible. Additionally, only individuals you choose can access programs containing sensitive data, ensuring the information stays in the right hands.

If you’re looking for something that you can’t find in Zoho One, Zoho Creator is the low-code platform for creating your custom application. You can utilize it either on your own or with help from a Zoho Certified Consultant

Intriguing, you might be thinking. But all of that sounds too expensive and like quite an undertaking – it just doesn’t have to be with the right partner. ZBrains certified consultants have assisted clients since 2012. Above all, our speciality is value rewarding Zoho implementations and customizations so you don’t have to go it alone.

If you’re taking the next steps to learn more about squashing operational inefficiencies with Zoho One, contact us any time.

 

Zoho CRM Activities

Are you maximizing Zoho CRM Activity capabilities?

Is your organization getting the most it can out of your Zoho CRM activity data? Capturing CRM data is the heart of reporting and analytics for a lot of decision makers, and falling short in this arena can impact your business. Access to good data is a lifeline. 

It’s easy for users to fall into routine, and to use their CRM in the same old ways that are comfortable, familiar, and feel simple. And that’s the catch — it feels simple — when in reality, a slight change in a user’s data entry habits could garner information and efficiency gains for your business. Keep reading to find out if you are utilizing your Zoho CRM activity data capturing capabilities to the fullest. If you already are, maybe it’s time to consider employing some of Zoho’s newest features.  

Checklist: Do your users take advantage of Zoho CRM activity functions?

A number of Zoho CRM Activity features are standard and you may not be using them now.  Here’s a short checklist of low-hanging fruit you should really consider if they’re not already a part of operations.

⬚ Calendar Sync

Zoho CRM syncs with the following calendars:

  • Gmail / Google
  • Office 365
  • Outlook
  • Apple Calendar
  • Zoho CRM Calendar

Synching your calendar to Zoho CRM allows functions such as calling directly from the calendar for your scheduled activities. And it streamlines scheduling those follow up calls! 

Calendar sync also improves visibility with your teams. Calendars can be shared so other users can view them, and users can set email reminders for the people they’re engaging with. With a sync to Zoho CRM, users are able to edit and view their calendar activities on any device wherever they are.

⬚ Mobile Sales App

Speaking of “wherever,” the mobile sales app for Zoho CRM is another powerful tool for your teams in the field. From sales to service technicians, none of us is really ever without our mobile phone these days. Is your organization taking advantage of these opportunities to reference and capture data on the go?

  • Use global search to look up contacts, and call directly from the app. Notes can be typed in or use the voice-to-text feature by speaking notes into your phone!
  • When working offline, any changes made to Zoho CRM will automatically update and sync when you reconnect. No more wasted flight time, or worrying about not having a connection in the field.
  • With Zoho CRM mobile app, every activity for your day is available any time, and new ones can be scheduled there, too.
  • Find customers and prospects in your vicinity by viewing the map. Get the most out of sales conversations when you brush up on their details before calling or stopping in. (P.S. It can also navigate to the account address!)
  • Zia is available in Zoho CRM mobile app. This AI acts as a virtual assistant that can help with simple tasks like changing a deal status, calling contacts, creating a new record, and adding notes to records.

⬚ Workflow Automation

Being timely in interactions with leads and contacts is an essential part of ensuring a great customer experience. Zoho CRM helps with this when you implement Workflow Automation. After setting up, it can alleviate all the smaller tasks associated with a sale. Your team will appreciate the automated forms, reports, CRM notifications, and contact or lead follow-ups. Cutting down the noise helps create more space for efficiency. Your teams gain the time required to close deals, resolve customer pain points, and keep on top of upsell opportunities. 

Don’t forget — workflow insights show you what’s working, or not.

⬚ Custom Functions

Perhaps your Sales, Marketing, Operations, or Finance departments are all using Zoho and your business has a particular process that can’t quite be captured by Zoho’s many standard functions – enter the custom function.

Whether you do it yourself using Zoho Creator, or work with a consultant like ZBrains,  custom functions serve to assist in bringing your vision to reality. 

New Features in Zoho CRM for Activities and Beyond

At ZBrains, we took a particular interest in a handful of the new Zoho CRM features this year. Maybe you’ve already seen them? If you’re using any of these, are there opportunities to improve and refine your processes across departments? From segmentation and attribution to analytics, and sales pipelines, these new features allow you and your teams to get focused using a data-driven approach to business. Let’s take a look:

Customer Segmentation

Customer lifetime value is an incredibly important metric for most businesses because we know it’s easier to convert a sale when your client knows you already. Use this feature to find your most valuable customers  based on a model of recency, frequency, and monetary value of their purchases. Gauge their lifetime value with this tool and let your sales and marketing professionals identify existing up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.

Your business can further segment customers for focused selling or special campaign initiatives using dimensions like  product interest, geography, industry, or a combination of factors.

Call Customization

Now you can customize your incoming and outgoing call details. Capture sentiment, call purpose, or any data needed using pick lists, text fields, and more. Call customization can also include Workflows, allowing you to streamline the data required for various types of call interactions.  

Webform analytics & testing

Webforms in Zoho CRM is key in capturing new leads and the interests of your website visitors. Boost lead generation efforts with webform performance analytics. This new feature allows you to track webform fields and geographical information so you can more easily identify why your forms aren’t converting and revise them for better outcomes. Lead revenue can be attributed to your webforms, giving your business and end-to-end view of the most profitable leads.

A/B testing gives you the data needed to refine and improve lead capture with webforms. Your marketing team are not a mindreader, but this tool can get one step closer to delivering what appeals most to your website visitors. 

Remember, your webforms can connect right up to Workflow Automations to inform your sales agents immediately when valuable new leads enter the pipeline.

Marketing attribution

New Marketing Attribution features allow your business to fortify the connection between sales and marketing and continuously refine for results that improve over time.  You can identify:

  • Which campaigns result in the best ROI.
  • Which campaigns have attributable revenue.
  • Overall campaign performance.
  • Best performing sales & marketing channels.
  • Sales pipeline effects of your campaigns and more.

Multiple Pipelines

Every business is slightly different, and yours is likely no exception. This could mean that within your business you experience the need for multiple sales pipelines in order to accurately capture data like sales and marketing activities about your lead-to-customer journey. 

The new Multiple Pipeline feature in Zoho CRM enables your teams to capture that data in a meaningful way allowing for special pipeline factors like geography or territory, product line, and more. With multiple pipelines, you can create custom stages with specific activities and data entry requirements to meet your business needs. Then you can use this data in reporting to analyze your sales pipeline performances. 

Intelligent Automation

Earlier in the article, we mentioned Zia, the Zoho AI application that can help with tasks like creating activities, placing calls, and more. But with recent feature updates, Zia now assists with Intelligent Automation. It can suggest macros to automate that make the life of a sales agent or consultant much simpler, alleviating repetitive tasks that somehow suck up hours each week. Zia uses your routines to suggest macros, but they can also be created independently. 

Which repetitive sales routines would you automate?

Final Thoughts on Zoho CRM Activity uses and New Zoho CRM Features

No one knows your business better than you – so, you shouldn’t feel pigeonholed to use Zoho in a way that doesn’t make sense for your teams and your business. You can take advantage of the features we talked about above, gaining traction by employing their benefits and customizing your Zoho CRM environment. 

Whether you’ve decided to start on your own and need a little help, or are interested in assistance from our certified Zoho professionals, we’re here to sit down with you in a consulting engagement called a Business Process Analysis. [link Zoho Difference] Our goal is to learn about your business and offer a solid plan for moving forward – a technological roadmap.  Your plan will contain a certified Zoho solution, something we can stand behind. Contact us any time. 

Feature image uphill runner

Your CRM & Customer Experience

How to avoid giving a poor customer experience to your clients

Capitalizing on the best uses of your Zoho CRM – or any customer relationship management software –  can improve customer experience. Customer Experience (CX) is a top initiative for many organizations. You’ve probably been hearing about it the last couple years, especially if your business relies on repeat clients, ecommerce transactions, or online leads. 

But how do you start taking ‘customer experience’ into account, and make it worth your time to implement? That’s what we’re going to talk about here.

But first, we can probably all agree that the Customer Relationship Management software you use is something that impacts every customer every time they interact with you, whether they realize it or not. Ensuring each experience is a good one for your customers directly impacts their lifetime value, whether or not they become a loyal customer. 

Keep reading to learn a few ways to get the most out of Zoho CRM in order to give a great customer experience.

 

What’s the difference between Customer Experience and Customer Service?

To start, it’s important to know how great CX is different from great CS (Customer Service).  Customer Service is most definitely a key factor in Customer Experience, but it’s only one part. 

Here’s an easy way to tell the difference: 

  • Customer Service is any interaction your customer has with a person at your business, including sales, service, or anyone in your organization who communicates with your customers. Customer Service is when you engage with and respond to customers in person, via phone, chat, or meetings. An example might be your client calling up, speaking to a sales or service agent and having an issue resolved perfectly in one short conversation.
  • Customer Experience on the other hand, is any proactive effort your company takes for a customer. It’s making sure that from the moment they find you, through to the post-purchase relationship, that your customer has what they need, when they need it. A great customer experience leads to loyalty. Increased lifetime value is also greatly impacted by the information you have and collect about each customer over time. 

It’s how you treat your customer when they don’t think you’re paying attention.

Now, if you just read that and thought, “I’m not a mindreader,” you are not alone. And this is where how your organization uses Zoho CRM – or any other CRM – can really make a difference in whether or not your customer experience is amazing.

 

What causes a poor Customer Experience?

There are a few signals of poor customer experience that can be resolved within your CRM,  and your primary users – Sales and Marketing Teams – can directly impact and improve them. Here are the things you CAN do to facilitate a great customer experience in your sales organization: 

  • You DO capture the information

Delaying the input of this information into your systems, or missing it altogether, can have a resounding impact on customer experience.  Be sure to capture sales conversations, interactions, and missed interactions in real time. This is the meat and bones of your CRM, and for example, includes capturing data in-person during sales calls, as well as website metrics when customers as known visitors are on your website or interacting with your social media or marketing emails.

Zoho CRM desktop lets your sales and marketing teams capture all of this with ease. And the mobile app helps keep everything at hand for times that your sales teams are in the field. The benefit of having this information is a competitive advantage and it can aid in reducing customer churn. The result is that your customer then feels you are listening to their needs.

  • You DO listen to your customers

The information collected from sales and marketing in your CRM helps streamline conversations, it allows customers to avoid repeating themselves. Have you ever had an experience where you had to repeat yourself to multiple agents at the same organization in order to get a resolution? How did that feel, and what can you do differently in your business to avoid that experience for your customers?

By listening to your customers and capturing information in real time you are able to provide great suggestions and service because you have enough information to do so. Listening can mean listening to a conversation you have in person. It can also mean capturing and analyzing the information your customer provides via their behavior on your website and with your marketing messages.

  • You DO respond quickly

In our digital world where information is available 24 hours a day from the palm of your hand. It is as important as ever to respond quickly to your leads and customers. Zoho tools can help with automations, journeys, and even AI! 

 

Use your data to improve Customer Experience

Give your customers what they want. Use Zoho CRM and Zoho One to capture web metrics, identify which content your contacts find engaging. Then utilize that information to have more meaningful sales interactions with every client.  Use that information to refine and enhance their experience with your company. Harness the power of AI to create personal connections with your customers. Streamline sales tasks and maintain efficient and timely communications with your customers. Knowing and using a process for managing data results in a consistent experience regardless of changes in your business. 

 

Access to organized data that is used at the right time and place can impact the bottom line. It impacts in terms of efficiency and by creating happy, repeat customers who had a great experience with your company.  Questions about any of this? Are you ready to get started utilizing Zoho One for a better customer experience? ZBrains consultants can help. Contact us any time.

Zoho CRM Last Activity Field

What is “Last Activity Time” in Zoho CRM?

If you’re like a lot of other Zoho CRM users, you’re using the application to track sales agent activity and customer interactions throughout your sales process. The information captured by the Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM helps you assess whether or not your deals and customer relationships are headed in the right direction. In this article you’ll learn exactly what this field is. You’ll see where it can be accessed. We also share the types of activities and updates recorded as Last Activity Time.  

So, what is Last Activity time in Zoho CRM? 

Each time changes are made on a record, Last Activity Time is there to track it. This includes activities ranging from adding notes or closing a task, to sending emails or editing fields. Everything tracked here can be used in reporting. An example might be a report on activity recency for your accounts in a certain region or for a specific sales person. Having the data available from the Last Activity Time field is the key to answering questions just like that. 

 

You might be asking yourself, “How can I report on Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM?”

This is a great question! Firstly, you’ll find that there are several key benefits to reporting on Last Activity Time that support your sales team, including:

  • CRM user sitting at a tablet computerCapacity Planning for Sales Agents; you may notice that a record owner has many records that haven’t been touched in awhile, but activity is high, perhaps they require some help, or it’s time to grow your sales team.
  • Gain Insight Into Cross-Sell Opportunities; you can segment your customers using RFM Scoring (Recency Frequency Monetary feature) or Account Score with Last Activity Time. This will help you identify and prioritize direct outreach to accounts who haven’t purchased in a while. 
  • Enhance Your Customer’s Experience; with Last Activity Time you can quickly identify customers that need engagement. Anticipate their needs by calling or outreaching to them before they contact you.
  • Better Business Through Reporting; looking to prioritize the best use of your valuable data, but need help to get your reporting up and running? Contact ZBrains.

If you’re taking notes, the Last Activity time in Zoho CRM is viewable in all modules with the exception of the Activities module. This means that you can use this field as a filter to do tasks like creating a filtered segment in your Leads module, or do the same in Accounts to see quickly how many accounts may need an outreach. 

To use this field in Reports, you’ll find it is available for Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Deals; and the questions you can answer are more or less limitless when your good data is put to use in Reports!

 

Which Activities and Updates will record as Last Activity Time?

Learn the nine primary ways that Last Activity Time is recorded inZoho CRM. It is helpful to know this information to understand the reporting or any filtered lists you reference. For example, bulk actions like restoring accounts could skew your report if you are looking for recent activities on a set of records. You may not see the results you are looking for if you are looking for data on completed Tasks in Last Activity Time (they’re not tracked here!).

  1. When you edit fields in a record.
  2. When you add new Activities, or update Activities such as Tasks, Events, and Calls.
  3. Adding a new Note or editing a Note will record.
  4. Sending Emails to Leads and Contacts in Zoho CRM will update this field.
  5. Last Activity Time is recorded when you change the Owner of a record.
  6. Adding Deals and Contacts under an Account will record it.
  7. Deleting or restoring a record, whether individually or in bulk.
  8. When you add or delete a record, it will record this field. One caveat here is, this does not include when you delete a record associated with the parent record. 
  9. Closing a Task will record; however, this does not apply to Events.  After the End Date, Events are automatically moved to closed activities.

How are you going to harness the data captured by Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM? 

Whether you’re questioning how to get the most out of your CRM data or looking to make improvements to your sales dashboards and reporting capabilities, the ZBrains team of Premium Partner Consultants  is here to help. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help with your digital business transformation along any step of the way from implementation and customization to consulting. Contact us any time!