So you are planning to launch a company intranet or want to replace your fossilized SharePoint portal. There are more than 30 intranet vendors to choose from and you are lost. After all, intranets aren't cheap and you don't want to make a mistake. Don’t worry, this intranet evaluation checklist will help narrow down your intranet choices to only the best solutions:
1. Cloud AND self-hosted.
You ONLY want solution that gives you these two choices and most vendors do. Cloud-based intranet services are usually very inexpensive and require no involvement from intranet developers who charge a pretty penny. That’s a plus. However, cloud intranets have few customization options and some, like Yammer, are known to have regular and prolonged outages. You want to have an option to migrate to cloud (if your intranet budget is slashed) or go from cloud to server (if you need customization or for compliance in your industry) any time you want to. Stay away from vendors wh ere you have only one choice.
Over the last year, the Bitrix24 cloud service has seen rapid growth in its use as an engine for small business. Monthly sign-ups are an order of magnitude higher in 2014 than they were in 2013, and Bitrix24 is being adopted in an amazing number of countries throughout the world.
Among the factors that have greatly influence the spread of Bitrix24 are the Bitrix Partners. Many companies have started using the Bitrix24 collaboration platform without assistance, but there are many more companies who need consulting or even a complete introduction to the benefits of doing File sharing,Tasks, Project management, CRM, Chat, and Calendars among other things in a unified workspace. These partners are helping businesses, especially small businesses, by making Bitrix24 more accessible and easier to adopt in their regions.
Buzz Intranet in the UK has been a steady partner for more than two years and is our oldest partner working in the cloud. Our newest, CloudXchange, works in the Australia and New Zealand markets. We have YouNetin Southeast Asia, and Brazil is covered admirably by Quantium. Look for Portuguese to be added as an interface language in the future. French, too! We have partners popping up throughout the USA and Canada, too.
Many of our partners have a background in CRM or social collaboration. The work of a partner can include proof of concept-that is, demonstrating that Bitrix24 meets your business needs; configuration and training in the CRM; setting up workflows so that your CRM, documents, and lists all conform to your standard procedures with approvals, notifications, and automatic tasking. Some partners can develop specialized apps for you. If you have a specific need that can only be met using the Bitrix24 API, a Bitrix Partner can help you make it happen. Partners can also help you migrate from the cloud to the on-premise version of Bitrix24.
Cold calling, despite being disliked, is still a powerful way to generate new leads and sometimes the only option your inside sales team has. Today we talked to two cold calling experts Kelly Robertson of RobertsonTrainingGroup and Michael Halper of SalesScripter.com about typical cold calling mistakes and how to avoid them.
What is the biggest mistake or mistakes people do when they first trycold calls?
MH: Trying to sell the product on the cold call. A cold call should only last between 2 to 5. This is not enough time to fully sell the product (unless it is very transactional – one call close type of sale). With that the goal, and thing to close, should be the appointment to discuss more. The initial sell is to sell the prospect on having a conversation.
For a business to be profitable, you need customers. Customers start from leads, and leads can come to you either through word of mouth or as a response to advertising. They can also find you through the search engines – that is, if you’re doing SEO (search engine optimization) right. That said, here are five things you can do to generate more incoming leads:
1. Start a company blog
Gone are the days when weblogs were synonymous to personal online journals. These days, companies are positioning blogs as an online marketing strategy, no matter how un-sexy the thought of regular posting may be. By starting a company blog, your website ceases to become just an online brochure with product/service information, contact details, and such. Blogging gives your company a voice, an opportunity to be seen as an industry expert by providing your target audience with the educational information they need to make an informed purchasing decision. It also allows you to answer pressing industry questions and engage your clients and prospects in healthy conversation. If readers find your inputs helpful and insightful, your blog posts can get shared and your brand introduced to new readers you can potentially turn into leads.
Josiane Feigon is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. She is the founder of TeleSmart Communications and the author of Smart Sales Manager and Smart Selling on the Phone and Online. We caught up with her to discuss what's been going on with the inside sales industry and asked her to share a few tips about building a successful inside sales team.
What are some of the typical mistakes that companies do when they decide to create inside sales department or team for the first time?
They don't take a stand on inside sales. They only bring in a few people (under three) and give them tons of responsibility and basically set them up to fail. When leadership teams understand the power and potential of inside sales, they invest more in the headcount, the tools and their management.
According to MarketingSherpa, 79% of all leads never convert to sales. That means two things. First, you can probably get more sales if you work with leads more closely. Second, and more importantly, you have to have a strategy concerning what to do with leads that will never buy from you. You still want them to know about your product or service so that they can recommend it to others. Lead nurturing is the answer to both.
My favorite definition of lead nurturing is communicating consistently and maintaining meaningful touches with viable prospects regardless of their timing to buy. Offering visitors to sign up for your email newsletter IS NOT lead nurturing. Here are some simple lead nurturing strategies that work.
1. Events and webinars Regularly inviting experts to webinars and live events that you record is one of the best lead nurturing strategies. If you sell HR software, it makes sense to invite HR experts who can talk about employee onboarding, motivation, engagement, retention, absence management, and other related topics. People won’t read emails and blog posts that are too long, but they will listen to a 30 minute recording of a webinar or presentation. Best of all, these recordings are two in one – not only they are great material for your current leads, they are actually able to generate new leads via content marketing.
2. Beta tests, focus groups and studies.
Inviting your leads to become beta testers or part of a focus group or a study is another simple, yet effective lead nurturing strategy. Not only does this let you receive valuable feedback and improve your product or service, it actually gives you valid reasons to ‘touch’ your leads in the future when you release study results, launch new product/version and so on. Again, original research and industry-specific case studies can be easily used as a part of your content marketing campaign for new lead generation.
Productivity in the workplace is vital, not just for the company’s bottom line but for the workforce’s well-being as well. Productive people are happy people, and happy people make up a healthy organization. That said, here are five things to do to boost workplace productivity:
1. Create a manageable to-do list
To-do lists growing into paralysis-inducing behemoths aren’t unheard of. People feeling stressed, overwhelmed and useless as a result aren’t new news, either. According to Robert C. Pozen, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and Harvard Business School senior lecturer, our lists should be “derived from larger goals and include tasks that move us toward those big-picture endeavors” instead of a catch-all for every task thrown our way. In short, create manageable lists by knowing which tasks to prioritize. Author and online marketing expert Michael Hyatt sets himself up the night before and creates a to-do list with top three must-dos, the operative word being “must.”
2. Stand during meetings
If you’re concerned about the long-term ill effects of sitting for too long in one place (now pegged as the new smoking), standing and treadmill desks are workplace implements gaining in popularity. Non-sedentary workplace setups are not just hip. Aside from their health benefits, studies – click here and here – have shown they improve workplace productivity, too. There’s another added benefit to standing – standing during meetings, that is. Anecdotal evidence shows standing meetings can cut meeting times by 25%, in that standing eliminated distractions such as notifications from the intranet system or the urge to type up an email whenever meetings go the boring course. A new research also found that standing meetings improve creativity and teamwork, as “the teams who stood had greater physiological arousal and were less territorial about ideas than those in the seated arrangement.”
Earlier this year we've asked different organizations how they communicate and collaborate inside as well as what tools they use to work with their clients and business partners. We analyzed the data and created this infographics to illustrate our findings.
1. Usage for personal communications is on decline
Less than 40% emails in an average inbox are from other human beings according to Yandex (Europe’s biggest email provider). And that’s AFTER filtering spam out. The rest are ‘automatic messages’ – registration confirmation, notifications of different sorts, newsletter and e-commerce related messages, including coupons. When is the last time you wrote an email to your close friend or relative? Probably a while ago. Chances are you use Facebook, Skype, Facetime, iMessage or Snapchat to communicate with those who are closest to you.
What is a single most effective thing one can do to reduce time spent on emails?
Most people don’t really think about email – they just do email. So being mindful of how you use it, and in particular the negative effects of it on your concentration and attention is huge. One simple way to do this is to start your day with planning and a daily ritual BEFORE you look at your inbox. This is really hard these days, as most people have access to their emails as they roll out of bed, but having the discipline to spend time away from email, particularly earlier in the day, makes a big difference.