6 customer and sales enablement tools you need right now(Content Strategi – SEO)

Businesses inherently are customer driven. Irrespective of the business model (B2B, B2C or B2G), the client is the key to enduring business results.

Customers these days are tech-savvy, and 93% of them begin the purchasing process through an Internet search. This increases an organisation’s need to be more proactive, targeted and customer-centric in their sales efforts. In fact, 87% of them prefer that approach according to studies by inContact.

Sales enablement tools pave the path to operational efficiency by providing the right insights, analytics and talking points tailored to each customer.  They are a smart mix of training and technology that reinforce knowledge & critical skills and enable guided selling for the right product positioning and value proposition.

Sales Enablement tools: The various types

Sales enablement is an all-encompassing term that includes a wide range functionality impacting all areas of the business. It helps bridge the gap between business vision and strategy implementation.

The 6 major types of sales enablement tools that will integrate your sales and marketing functions and make your approach more customer-centric include –

  1. CRM
  2. Marketing Automation
  • Lead Management
  1. Content Management
  2. Sales Intelligence
  3. Customer Experience

I. CRM: Customer Relationship Management tools

As of 2017, 91% of sales organisations use CRM to track their interactions with potential and existing customers. Gartner forecasts that it will be a USD $37 billion industry this year.

While it is not an all-inclusive tool, CRM does cover one important aspect of sales enablement; it includes the functionality of a database and productivity tool. Providers like Salesforce allow third party developers to supplement their programs with add-ons to improve the scale and scope of their programs.

Some features to look for in a CRM include –

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS) – Research from Software Advice indicates that 81% of CRM users access CRM from multiple mobile devices. It lowers the initial cost, it is a lot quicker to rollout across the business, and it provides the all-important mobile compatibility.
  1. Mobile features – Statistics from Innoppl indicate that 65% of salespeople who adopt mobile CRM achieve their sales quotas. Businesses that adopt mobile CRM have shown an 87% increase in productivity and a 73% increase in business process efficiency according to research by Forrester.
  1. Customer Experience Management (CEM/CXM) – The growing trend is towards a customer-centric engagement approach; connecting with customers through multiple channels. A forecast by Walker indicates that Customer Experience will influence buying decisions by more than 50%.

Categories of CRM

  1. Enterprise CRM
  2. Mobile Applications
  3. Social CRM
  4. Small Business CRM
  1. Enterprise CRM: It is more large scale and includes features of contact management, sales process automation and data analytics. It helps make meaningful decisions out of massive data dumps. It empowers the transformation of information into strategy.

The Market Leader in Enterprise CRM is Salesforce.

It has a cloud platform and the most comprehensive features package. It comprises of mass emailing, customisable dashboards, web services API and more. It also includes opportunity and contact management, lead management, marketing automation, and forecasting, reporting and mobile compatibility. It allows for custom app building and add-ons as necessary.

Comparable products: SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics.

  1. Mobile applications: Most sales forces are mobile these days, so the top-tier brands already offer mobile compatibility for their products. There are, however, CRM products specifically designed for mobile use. They include features like geo-location that helps the rep in charting the best routes to their clients and optimising their trips. They are particularly useful in the real-estate and energy or utility industries.

The Market Leader in Mobile CRM is Base.

It is an app lauded for its effectiveness. It offers the full functionality of a desktop-based platform with added extras like geo-location, route planning, offline access and push notifications. It combines functionalities of sales tracking, analytics, phone and email with navigation to provide one-touch driving directions, trip optimisation and territory management.

Comparable products: Saleslogix, SugarCRM

  1. Social CRM: Nucleus Research suggests sales productivity can increase by 26% with social media integration. 95% social media users expect organisations to have an online social presence and 85% expect to communicate with companies through social media. The more advanced products encompass features like data tracking to record likes, comments, followers, mentions, text analysis, and lead suggestion.

Market Leader in Social CRM is Nimble. It includes functionality of social listening tools, contact importing and monitoring social selling tools

Comparable products: Zoho, Batchbook, Astute Solutions

  1. Small Business CRM – This is custom made for niche industries and Small businesses. It is not as feature rich as the enterprise CRM and is lighter on the budget.

The Market Leader in Small Business CRM is Insightly. Its free version allows access for 2 users. It has Project Management features. It is Cloud based and integrates with other programs like Outlook, Office 365, Quickbooks, Google Apps, Evernote, Box, DropBox and many others.

Comparable products: Mothernode, Salestrakr, Sellsy

II. Marketing automation

55% of B2B marketers use Marketing Automation tools in their marketing strategies. It has led to 68% more customer engagement and 58% more opportunities according to reports by Adestra.

Marketing Automation tools harness customer data from multiple sources, enable audience segmentation and help marketers build campaigns to match each stage of the buyers’ journey. They also tailor content to specific customer needs and help nurture potential customers and build more meaningful relationships. Studies show that organisations that focus on lead nurturing produce 50% more qualified leads at a lesser cost.

Marketing Automation tools include several categories of functionality – email, social media, web marketing, analytics and more.

The leading contenders in each category are

  1. Enterprise – Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, Siverpop
  2. SMB – Infusionsoft, Hubspot, Salesfusion, Act-on
  3. Email only – Mailchimp, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, Aweber

III. Lead management

It is related closely to marketing automation. It involves tracking prospect interactions, qualifying inquiries and distributing qualified leads to appropriate sales team members.

Taking only to the right leads improves productivity and reduces time spent on qualifying leads. Lead quality is a priority for 74% of B2B marketers.

Types of lead scoring

  1. Traditional /Rules-based – Involves assigning a value to a prospective lead’s behaviour.
  1. Predictive lead scoring – Involves predictive modelling to qualify leads. The system uses internal data in CRM and marketing automation systems and supplements it with data from external resources to create acomplete profile for the lead.

Leading vendors for Lead Scoring are LeadMaster CRM, Bpm’Online and LeadSquared.

IV. Content Management

Research by RO innovation indicates that 65% of sales reps cannot find the right content to send to prospective clients at the right time. A content management system is a single repository of all sales content.

Categories of Content Management Systems and the leading vendors:

  1. All encompassing and feature rich – BlackMOnk, ARALOC
  2. Sales focused – Docurated
  3. Content function focused – LiveHive

V. Sales Intelligence

Sales Intelligence is defined as any insight, data or automation that improves the sales process. It enables increased productivity and better follow-ups that lead to faster lead to client conversion times.

Sales Intelligence systems track buyer engagement through email content and user engagement through web content. They capture contact information from emails, fill incomplete contact information in the CRM and have predictive models for customer behaviour.

Overall they increase the depth and scale of prospect information available to the sales teams.

Categories of Sales Intelligence tools

  1. Data Enrichment and Maintenance: Experian, Netprospex, Datanyze, Reachforce.
  2. Sales Reporting and Forecasting: Tableau, SAS, Sisense, Spotfire
  3. Pipeline management: InsightSquared, Pipeliner, Close.io
  4. Behavioural analytics: LiveHive, Yesware, Marketo

VI. Customer Experience

Since customers these days connect with organisations on multiple platforms it is necessary to analyse the interactions and detect behavioural patterns and emerging trends. Customer Experience and Customer Engagement tools collate the unique and disparate customer experience data. These tools of analytics combine features of contact sequencing, contact reasoning, journey mapping and predictive analytics to give the organisation a complete picture of the customer’s experience.

Market Leaders in Customer Experience and Customer Engagement tools include IBM Customer Experience Analytics, HubSpot Analytics, Site core and Zuora.

Keywords: Customer enablement, Sales enablement, business vision, business growth, customer-centric engagement, Customer experience, customer engagement, Sales intelligence, Sales analytics, content management, CRM.

References:

  1. Technology Advice: Buyer’s Guide to CRM Software
  2. Technology Advice: Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation Software
  1. Sirius Decisions: What is Sales Enablement
  2. Hub Spot: 107 Mind blowing sales statistics that will help you sell smarter
  3. Super Office: 18 CRM statistics you need to know
  • CRM Next: Why your business needs a mobile CRM strategy
  • Super Office: CRM Mobile App – The rise of CRM
  1. Walker: Customers – The future of Customer Experience 2020
  2. inContact: US Consumers Want Today’s Companies to be Proactive in Customer Service
  3. VeInteractive: 11 Marketing Automation stats that will surprise you
  • The Drum: Marketing automation growth is unprecedented, yet B2B marketers agree it is time-consuming
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The Very Essential Project Management Tools Now a Click Away (Rank Princess – SEO)

Ever wondered how cool it might have looked if the software you use for managing those projects had a feel of an intergalactic experience, complete with aliens?

Innovative Ideas:

Such has been the demand to develop some of the trendiest and easiest to handle project management tools from various organisations that software developing companies are leaving no stones unturned to come up with some mind-boggling solutions.

A Common Goal:

Organisations thrive due to the efficient teamwork of its employees. This teamwork gains manifold strength when a common work platform is maintained through the application of project management tools aimed at simplifying undertaken assignments.

Trust Worthy:

Software development companies consider the making of project management tools as one of their best practices because that in itself gives their clients the essential characteristics of credibility and trust.

Just as the various client testimonials suggest, present on the sites of software development firms like Nostromo, with the use of project management tools, there is no more need for clarifying the status of a project as it is very much left for all to see.

The transparency that the project management tools offer enables companies to;

  • Keep pushing on with their work and acquire more projects in the course of business.
  • A whole team can plan their work and execute the project and then report back with the obtained result all in the comfort of one single application base thus increasing the work focus within an organisation.
  • The organisations that are spread spanning continents too can work on projects without any difficulties.

A Fast Spreading Base:

Since companies of every sphere and size are increasingly dependent now as the users of various project management tools, the tool developers have their clients across the globe. It is this inter-dependency of clients and tool developer companies that have resulted in a healthy relationship with more technological user-friendly advancements on the way.

Pulling in:

Various tool developer companies are also allowing interested parties to start their user experience for free. This shows the increasing competition between companies which are into similar development business.

The Latest of developments is evident from features like UI and UX that adds to the design and appeal, a glimpse of an example was discussed at the very start of this piece.

The Advantages of Using Tools:

  • The chief advantage invariably points out to the time that is saved while using the tools. Normally the time spent on every project by organisations can be put into built-in slots of time sheets.
  • Easy layout and organisation of tasks along team based communication.
  • The management of an organisation can figure out the time spent on every project and the hours logged in for the employees with one swift glance.
  • Clear out work as project management tools help choose and mark assignments in terms of priority.
  • A whole glimpse of the work with the easy manoeuvring of finished tasks for implementation.
  • Key data are also just mouse clicks away which are highly important for every organisation’s record.

Project management tools from the best of software development companies help bring about a radical change in the way of work for any companies with heightened productivity and the minimal of employee discomfort.

LSI Keywords: Project Management Tools, tool developer companies, software development companies, Nostromo

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Best Practices in Project Management (Rank Princess – SEO)

If a project manager has twenty resources at five different locations for project duration of two months, how would the project function without coordination?

It would be chaos!

Coordination is key to a successful business. It can solve many, if not all problems. Earlier, this task was difficult as there was a lot of crucial information that was lost in translation and paperwork. But thanks to technology, a force to reckon with, project management has become efficient as seamless.

It is always a good habit to check out the best practices followed for efficient project management.

  1. Selecting the Right Resources

When adhering to good software development practices, one should always keep the overall outcome in mind. For this reason, the primary step that will ensure success is selecting the right candidate for the project.

If a project manager is simultaneously handling multiple projects, he/she would have to shift and reassign resources. Here, Nostromo comes in handy as it allows the project manager to add team members.

  1. Defining Roles

Projects often get misguided and botched due to vague role descriptions. To avoid this, it is important that each individual knows their capacities and responsibilities at hand. This will give clarity on who functions as what and when in the project. For project managers, it will also help to get updates about the project progress.

  1. Documenting Every Project Movement

One of the best practices for software development projects is documenting every strategy and production process. This is not only useful when tracking progress; it also comes handy if the organisation wants to patent processes and products.

  1. Defining Quality

In IT project management best practices, it is vital to define the optimum quality of output. Be it the production line or the quality checks.

  1. Making Estimations

Clearly, oversized budgets are never favoured, but that doesn’t mean that undersized budgets are appreciated. Hence it is always a good practice to make assumptions that are as real as possible. This will keep the project going and keep room for improvement.

  1. Defining Goals

When defining goals, it is important to map smaller milestones of the project along with the larger ones. It gives a heads-up to everyone involved in the project. Also, it is important to keep a software development best practices checklist.

  1. Mock Prototypes

It is important to create mock prototypes before working on the actual project. This saves time and energy and potential failure. Nostromo has an efficient system in creating mock project designs for reference

  1. Project Reviews

Reviewing the project’s key turns is vital. It will give inputs on whether the process is on the right path to progress or if it needs improvement.

  1. Support and Maintenance

Providing support and maintenance is elementary as it takes care of after service. Another lesser known addition is that if the organisation decides to build a new prototype. This information will serve as a basis for inputs in the new product or service.

There are tools like Nostromo that make project management easy. Such tools help individuals, teams, managers, and all those who are responsible for the project to communicate and clock in data accurately.

LSI Keywords

good software development practices

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best practices for software development projects

it project management best practices

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