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CRM implementation tips

10 CRM Implementation Quick Tips

Regardless of your business focus, implementing a CRM correctly is essential to its adoption and success for your organization, and this is why CRM implementation tips are so important. It can seem tempting to ease your way into a new CRM by simply turning it on.  But we know from the experience of our clients that this can become quickly overwhelming and a point of abandon.

Working with a product like Zoho, which advertises itself as DIY, we see this kind of thing happen a lot.

For this reason, we’re offering 10 CRM Implementation Tips for you to consider as you begin planning or implementing any customer relationship management software. Let’s get started!

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.

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

CRM Implementation Tip #1Your CRM should support your sales cycle.

Out of the box, CRMs usually contain lots of functionality. You’ll have the ability to enter companies and contacts into your system, as well as convert them from leads to active customers, 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.

Get our top “CRM Questions to Ask About Your Sales Cycle.

 

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!

Find out more about what to consider during CRM data migration.

 

3) Keep Your Staff in the Loop

Keep your staff in the loop As you plan a CRM implementation, it’s important to know exactly how you’ll be using the modules inside your CRM. Who knows your business systems better than the folks who use them every day? Your expertise and their experience is a recipe for success. 

Keep your staff in the loop.

This one’s very important. Obviously, you don’t want your staff to come in one day to a system they haven’t a clue how to use.  

Get more info on keeping your team ahead of the curve and productive during deployment.

 

4) Transition in Phases

Big business changes, especially changes in everyday systems like a new CRM implementation, can be turbulent times. This CRM implementation tip describes how to disturb your business the very least during CRM implementation time. This one is really simple.

Transition CRM in stagesTransition in phases, not all at once.

It bears repeating – yes, again – that even a successful CRM implementation doesn’t happen all at once. With so many facets of your  system designed specifically for your business, you’ll need time to test everything out and make sure it’s working as it should.  

What if you can’t phase the project? How should your approach your implementation?

 

5) Don’t Overlook Training

Once your CRM is up and running it can be a relatively common impulse to rush back to work using the new CRM tools you just spent so much time planning for and implementing. 

CRM Training Ideas However, before you take off running back to business, it’s time to think about training.

Make sure everybody who’ll use the system knows exactly how to do so – train them!

Even if your new CRM makes life easier all around the office, your employees probably won’t be able to sit down on launch day and navigate their way through the system without some prior knowledge.

Take the mystery out of business changes by training your staff for a new CRM implementation.

 

6) Streamline Procedures

While you may be in the mood to shake things up by deploying a new CRM, you may not have thought to shake up your very business processes themselves.  Well, in the name of efficiency, why not?

Streamline with a CRM Use your CRM Implementation as an opportunity to streamline your procedures!

There isn’t an exact science behind this, but we’re willing to bet the majority of businesses who elect to set up their own CRMs aren’t so well-versed in how their systems work. There’s a good chance that they’re missing some opportunities to streamline processes inside of their unique CRM systems.

Be sure to hand off the right CRM data at the right time. Get our tips.

 

7) Don’t Rush Deployment

We’re all imperfect and even the most meticulously planned project doesn’t go live without at least a little need for adjustment. We share this so it’s not a surprise when your system doesn’t work exactly how it should the very first day you go live. 

CRM Testing pre-deploymentOur best advice is: Don’t rush deployment; make sure everything works like it should.

There will be a few hiccups. Some common first-day needs and troubles with a new CRM implementation can include: 

  • Understanding the CRM use processes themselves
  • Answering errant questions missed in training
  • Retraining team members on some aspects of the CRM
  • Finding the data you were sure you migrated correctly  

Don’t worry!  These sorts of speed bumps are absolutely normal during the first few days of an implementation of any new program.

Don’t miss our thoughts on cutting down on new implementation ‘hiccups.’

 

8) When in Doubt, Keep Things Simple

By now you likely know that CRM deployment isn’t quite as simple as you may have first thought. Your research may have shed a bit of light on problems you weren’t aware of, or made you remember more clearly some implementation problems you’d thought of before.

Simplify CRM ImplementationFor a process that’s invariably complex, there’s one thing that always holds true: when in doubt, keep things simple.

The time you implement a new CRM is a great time to re-think your data entry and information-sharing procedures. Ask yourself, “How much information do I need entered in the new system to achieve the desired outcome?”

Perhaps you’ve used a legacy system for years that has data fields in it that have become obsolete. Maybe you’ve been faced with the task of including only some of your current CRM’s information in your new system, for any number of reasons.

How can you simplify CRM Implementation? Read on for the questions you should be asking.

 

9) Have an Open Door Policy

You can apply this tip to more than just CRM deployment. Upon deploying a new system of any sort, you’ll be greeted with both positive and negative responses. How do you deal with the pushback you might receive for doing something new?

CRM Project visibilityHave a CRM Project Open Door Policy

Keep your door open, as well as your training sessions and email threads. When making big changes to your business and employees’ work days with a new CRM, consider giving them all the information they need or want to make the transition smoother.

When you do encounter some blowback from your traditionalist employees, be sure to heed their criticisms. Then, explain calmly and succinctly what the new system does to either improve life or alleviate their concerns. Keeping your ear open lets employees know you’re willing to consider their feelings. Having an open door policy will ultimately make them happier in the long run, even if they aren’t satisfied at first with the new system.

Read more for info on extra training opportunities.

 

10) Use a Project Manager

If you’ve found this article, there’s a good chance you  know a few basics about getting your new CRM system deployed and running as it should. However, even if everything goes as planned, there’s one other thing you can do that will really cement everything together – and, improve morale for everyone involved.  Not quite a magic bullet, but, it’s darn close.

CRM project managerBe Successful the First Time With a Project Manager

It’s understandable if you can’t be the one to take this bull by the horns and ensure that all implementation steps are completed in a timely way – after all, you’ve got a business to run.  

Hiring a project manager, or selecting a capable champion within your company to take charge can work wonders for generating enthusiasm among employees. This resource can help by answering their questions, and acting as a liaison between you (or your teams) and your IT department (or your deployment consultants).

Keep reading for insight on selecting a CRM Project Manager.

 


 

We hope these 10 CRM Implementation Tips will help you. Find out how fully (or not) your organization has adopted your CRM.

 

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

 

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 highlievel 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.

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.

The ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online has finally arrived.

ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online

Bridge the Gap Between CRM and ERP: The ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online

Those who love the powerful accounting tools of Exact Online will appreciate the Zoho Integration for this popular ERP/Accounting suite. Zoho integration for Exact OnlineThe wait is officially over, Zoho can now communicate directly with this ERP. Any business owner can openly admit how much they love increased efficiency. But, the unfortunate truth is that Zoho and Exact Online have historically not communicated well. Efficiency is lost through double data entry, which creates errors and hampers the overall flow. The good news is that we at ZBrains completely eliminated this problem. The ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online joins our growing ranks of supremely useful Zoho integrations.

Save Time and Increase Efficiency with Bidirectional Sync

If you use Zoho CRM and Exact Online, odds are two elements of your business do not communicate effectively. No one likes extra steps or work, which is why the ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online is so valuable. Save time, avoid the headaches, and enjoy the beauty of these two pieces of software working in sync. We anticipate an organization license of 100-499 (per month). The integration will operate as both a cloud-based and on-premise planning solution.

Create Invoices in Zoho to Push to Exact Online

When you combine the capabilities of Zoho and Exact Online, the most useful end product is the invoices. Create invoices with ease within Zoho and then push them to Exact Online. Enjoy the best of both worlds: the elegant simplicity of Zoho and the processing power of Exact Online.

Exact provides world class business software for Finance, ERP, HRM, and CRM processes. All fully integrated in one front and back office system across all locations, including business analytics and mobile applications. On-premise or in the private cloud.

Key Features of the Zoho Integration with Exact Online

Although the pricing of this integration has not yet been released, we can reveal the key features to expect. The Exact Online Integration boasts integrations with the following:

Zoho Applications: Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, Zoho Creator ERP

                                            -Sales Orders                     –Invoices

                                            -Purchase Orders             -Customers

                                            -Payments                          -Items

                                            -Bills

The Bottom Line for Fans of Exact Online

Zoho integration for Exact OnlineExact Online gives sales people more access to valuable information, which adds to their sales arsenal. Not only can they discover the top, most profitable customers, they can also see when a customer last ordered. This detail is crucial, because it helps the salesperson better plan when to reach out for another sale.

Bottom line, the Zoho Integration for Exact Online is significant. It is such a useful tool that we are confident it will appeal to companies of multiple industries. From manufacturing and wholesale, to distribution, marketing, sales, logistics, and finance/accounting. This new bridge is bound to help companies of all these various industries.

Not sure if Exact Online is for you? Itching to learn more about Zoho CRM and what it can do for your business? Look no further, as our Zoho consulting team features a healthy roster of seasoned vets eager to help you make smart technology investments. In the end, we want to help you save time and money. Whether you will gain the most from a comprehensive Business Process Analysis, some Enterprise Resource Planning Consult work, Gap Analysis or CRM consulting, we are happy to help.

Contact us today for more information about the Exact Online integration with Zoho.

Why do business owners need a CRM?

Why Do Business Owners Need a CRM?

What is CRM? A way to Save Time, Money, and Gain Functionality

As the saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Unfortunately, that phrase fails to address which way is best. Over time, business owners have found countless ways to run their companies, using a various combination of roles, software, and automations to increase their bottom line. In the end, business owners often fail to optimize their strategy for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they figure they don’t have the time to optimize. Maybe they are set in their ways and are not open to change. This leads us to the question:

‘What are the benefits of CRM?’

As you can expect, our answer is multi-faceted. Put simply, a CRM (customer relationship management software) benefits a business by saving time, saving money, and adding functionality to it. Read on to learn about all the ways a CRM can benefit your business in the short and long term:

Organize Data and Prioritize Efforts

A solid CRM organizes your effortsBusinesses of multiple industries can benefit from CRM software. The simple act of organizing data into one centralized location will tremendously help you, your employees, and your overall process. In essence, the more you know about your customers the better you can serve them. Imagine arming yourself with knowledge of all their pain points, their inefficiencies, and archaic practices. Your employees can readily retrieve any and all information about each client, including purchases, preferences, and all other pertinent details.

CRM Software Helps You Gain Visibility

When you nurture a better understanding of your customer needs and behaviors you are better equipped to identify the correct time to promote your product. In this way you give yourself the best possible chance at increasing your revenue. Solid CRM software helps you achieve this better understanding, to the benefit of your entire team. If you are interested in learning more about Zoho CRM and how it can help your business our team of Zoho Consultants is more than happy to help!

Automate and Optimize

We live in a world that is more automated by the day, and it behooves you to follow suit to survive. Fortunately a CRM is the perfect tool for establishing multiple useful automations. It is especially useful for automating all the smaller tasks associated with a sale. Your team will appreciate the automated forms, reports, and follow-ups, taking these burdens off their collective shoulders. Furthermore, this allows them to devote more time to closing deals, resolving customer pain points, and upselling when appropriate.

Zoho CRM Integration with Other Applications

Ultimately, the integrations we’ve created for Zoho CRM make the software that much more valuable. From QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online and Sage Intacct to Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and a host of other integrations, there is a growing list of useful integrations that are bound to make your life easier.

Whether you are a veteran of CRM software, or a complete rookie, learning Zoho CRM can be a daunting task. Luckily, the ZBrains team is here to help! Take advantage of our Zoho CRM Training and enjoy 90 minutes of private training on Zoho CRM and all the applications that connect to it.