New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

How I stay synchronized across 4 platforms- for free!

I have my contacts data across multiple platforms and in buckets that often do not talk to one another. Am I unique? Hardly.

My contacts information is in GMail- the free gmail as well as (still free, but will become paid) the Google Apps. I store the same names minus the address and other details in my phone (Android) and I have the phone contact information synched with both my emails. So, changes in either one gets passed on to the phone and vice versa.

And, then I have the CRM. Which I use to store a smaller subset of contacts – not my family and friends. The CRM stores interaction history, opportunities that I am pursuing with my clients and the pending actions (tasks) against some of the contacts.

Would be nice to sync them too. So, I do that.

To do this, I tag my business contacts in Google Apps and synch with the CRM. The linked tasks/ activities synch up as well. Nice! In case there are changes on both sides since my last synch, the CRM prompts me and asks me to select the right data.

So, now, I have my Android Phone, Google Apps and CRM- synched up. For Contacts and Tasks- which appear as events with target date on the Google Calendar. Changes in status are updated on both sides.

Now, one thing still remains. I want to use my CRM offline. And, track opportunities across multiple platforms as well.

To do this, I fire up my Outlook which has a CRM add-in installed. Again, this helps me sync my contacts with the CRM in the cloud. Only those contacts tagged as a business contact will only get synced. And, now I sync up the opportunities across CRM and Outlook.

The CRM Add-in to Outlook allows me to create new opportunities right in the familiar user interface of Outlook, keep contacts updated and edit and update tasks related to the opportunities.

So, now, I have 4 platforms- all work together and all work seamlessly. And, best is- they are all free!Saleswah environment

What you need:

1. A Google apps user account.

2. MS-Outlook- any version from 2007 to 2012 will work fine.

3. The Saleswah CRM Add-In to MS-Outlook.

4. Any Android phone with 2.3 and above.

5. An account with Saleswah CRM (first 3 users are free!)- so, get yours!

And, yes: your Android phone will need to be registered with your Google Apps email address and the same email address must be used for your user login in Saleswah CRM.

Let me know in comments if you used it and found it working.

Stop using stone age CRM

Stop using stone age CRM

Top 3 things to wish for in a modern CRM system

Let’s tackle adoption first: CRM software

CRM adoption lags the other enterprise softwares like ERP, HR or Payroll. There are many reasons for this. One important thing to remember is that no one forces you to use CRM; there is no statutory provision that will be violated by non-use. Whereas, after an organization is of a certain size, it has no option but to use the other enterprise softwares; if nothing else, for complying with various statutory provisions.

But, there are other and perhaps as important reasons for why CRM softwares do not get adopted as fast. Most of them relate to the usability and usage model.

First, usage model. It works on the premise that the sales executives will log profile data, interaction history and so on. All other users of the system merely feed on the efforts of the sales executive, or so it seems to the executive anyway!

Now, given the above, one would have thought more efforts would be made to make it easier for the sales executives to log profile data and interaction history. Barring a few exceptions, the contact management part of most CRM softwares tend to be awkward, to say the least. Lots of information needs to be captured in a large form for every contact. The impression, gathered by the sales executives is that this information is almost useless for anyone but marketing, and they end up working hard to input this data.

Most of this data is available in bits and pieces in other form in their email software or phone book. That is the reason now most CRM softwares make synchronizing with popular email clients a priority.

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