Why You Need A CRM – A Simple Explanation

Why You Need A CRM – A Simple Explanation

Often, when someone starts a new business, their biggest clients are their friends, family, and acquaintances. Maintaining a personalised relationship with these customers is usually very easy. The small number of contacts and existing relationships make it easy to maintain great connections. These connections often result in referrals and fantastic reviews as a result of our personalized services.

However, with time, the businesses grow. Customers multiply, and it will most likely get difficult keeping tabs and feedback from every single client. It is for this reason that most growing and successful businesses require a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

What Is A CRM Tool?

A CRM system is an automated system for managing all details and contacts of your customers and potential clients. Data stored is often determined by the business or industry. It can range from merely their contact details to:-

  • their preferences,
  • former communications,
  • emails,
  • previous purchases,
  • sales details,
  • follow-ups, deadlines, and
  • any other notes collected from your customers.

There is no limit when it comes to CRM.

With a CRM tool, you can centralise the data collected by all the members of your team, in one place. Therefore enabling you to maintain meaningful personal connections with an unlimited number of clients. While additionally allowing for the scalability of your business, generation of analytical reports, and collaboration with members of your team.

Why Use A CRM And Not Spreadsheets?

According to a study by HubSpot, about 40% of salespeople still use informal tools such as spreadsheets for CRM. While using a Spreadsheet has its perks such as affordability. As your business grows, spreadsheets will just not cut it, especially if you’re aiming for efficient and productive relationships with all your customers.

For instance, spreadsheets limit your entries for each client’s information. When working with a spreadsheet, you might find the need only to record the basic contact information of the customer. A CRM, on the other hand, allows you to keep track of every detail of the customer’s information across the sales process.

Additionally, as you hire more people in your team, you will require a system that allows all members of your team to access the information in real-time and to collaborate. Research has shown that 65% of successful businesses adopt CRM in the first five years of operations. The rate of adoption has also been proven to get higher as companies employ a larger team.

Furthermore, spreadsheets do not:- 

  • offer automation, 
  • marketing campaign options, or 
  • integrations with other apps such as emails. 

Moreover, they do not generate useful insights and comparative reports on your customers. Therefore, it might be time you considered upgrading to a CRM system.

Bottom Line

Small businesses find a challenge moving from spreadsheets to CRM, due to fears of complexity, integration, or cost. However, you can leverage the many user-friendly and free CRM tools for small businesses to get you started. As you continue to grow your customer base, perhaps you can invest in a premium subscription with more advanced features.

If you’re still not sure whether a CRM is an excellent fit for you, or if you need any help getting started with CRM, get in touch. As a Virtual Business Manager I can set up an automated CRM system that fits your business needs. Helping you grow your operations, manage your current & potential customers, and assist you with maintaining a personal relationship with each one of them, no matter how many they are.

5 Fantastic Ways To Improve Your Lead Generation

5 Fantastic Ways To Improve Your Lead Generation

Generating profitable business leads is time-consuming work. From collecting data to verifying contact information, creating a solid database consisting of people who are genuinely interested in purchasing your goods and services requires patience and experience. Hence, when hiring a Virtual Business Manager (VBM) to help you increase your lead generation, it’s important to find a person. Someone with brilliant people skills and extensive internet research experience.

 

1. Common Business Lead Generation Tasks

Chances are, you utilise various methods for gathering business leads already. From online surveys and direct mail, website landing pages to cold calling most business use several techniques. Lead generation can easily be a full-time job in itself. Instead of trying to manage all of these tasks yourself, why not outsource to a VBM. They can not only to do most of the leg work for you, but also proactivity come up with suggestion to improve your lead generation activities.

An experienced VBM can:-

  • Manage your email lists,
  • Respond to comments and queries on your social media pages,
  • Create marketing materials and send them out, and
  • Contact prospective clients and customers directly by email or even phone. 

All with very little direction from yourself.

To make business lead generation even easier for your Virtual Business Manager, create a list of specific tasks with deadlines or timelines.

For example, you could ask them to:-

  • Dedicate three days per month to cold calling customers.
  • Monitor social media and other online content at the beginning of each day to ensure a quick response.
  • Send email correspondence once a week.

A VBM is a small business owner themselves. Hence, once you have created a well-defined lead generation schedule that works for your business. Your Virtual Business manager can maintain and grow positive relationships with new and existing clients/customers.

 

2. Research New Leads

What’s the point of having a hundred new leads if most of them don’t result in new business?

Before spending time and money connecting with potential clients and customers, ask your VBM to conduct online research to determine how interested they are in potentially purchasing goods and services.

Knowing more about a lead – such as the industry or company they work for, role within a company and known business associates can usually tell you if the lead is worth pursuing, or not.

 

3. Utilise a CRM To Capture Your Lean Generation Activities

To make regular contact with clients and customers as easy as possible, ask your VBM to set up and populate a CRM tool (Customer Relationship Management Tool) complete with full names, phone numbers, email addresses, business websites and even physical business addresses.

As additional leads come in, your VVBMcan simply update the CRM, so that you know exactly what leads you have in your pipeline. Your VBM will take ownership for cleansing  the information held on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of information.

 

4. Create Marketing Materials

In addition to following up on leads that come from your website, social media pages or from face-to-face meetings and other interactions, and experienced VBM can help with:-

  • create marketing materials,
  • editing journal articles,
  • post blog entries, and
  • update webpages to generate interest in your business.

Depending on the specific skills and experience your Virtual Business Owner has, they may even be able to design webpages or graphics, create business apps and offer suggestions for other ways to generate leads.

 

5. Maintain Regular Contact with Your Leads

It’s important to maintain regular contact with viable leads so your business remains at the forefront of their thoughts whenever actively considering your area of expertise. A combination of email, phone and direct mail marketing on a quarterly basis is typically more than enough to keep new and existing clients and customers aware of your business. Creating a quarterly marketing and communication can be plan is part of the VBM’s remit, as well as tracking all lead generation activity so you can see what is, and isn’t working

For most online businesses though, a sequential “stacking” or “stacked” email loyalty campaign along with monthly newsletters and more random personal/promotional emails does the job of maintaining a close connection with your leads quite well too, and once again a VBM with the right skills can set this all up for you.

 

I offer a range of services to support your lead generations activities, including:-

Social Media Management

Website Design and Maintence

Email Marketing

Social Media | Bravapro | Virtual Business Consultant, Swindon
Discover An Easy Way To Improve Your Social Media

Discover An Easy Way To Improve Your Social Media

Marketing has always been a time-consuming process. However the relatively new concept of social media marketing as escalated the time needed to focus of marketing activities. 

Most small business owner know that if they don’t engage in any form of marketing, they will likely to be left behind by competitors. It’s all very well claiming that you have a sufficient amount of business purely through “word-of-mouth”‘. However, as we move into a recession competition will be is fierce. Businesses will still have to invest in  marketing, at the very least from a customer relationship point of view.

 

Why You Need Social Media Marketing?

There’s been a meteoric rise in the number of individuals and companies going online to interact. It’s now a way of life for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Whenever people are interacting, this is also an opportunity for the smart business marketer to engage. So, even though you may feel as if you’re lucky enough not to need to “push” for new business, you should still be interacting with your present customers online.

 

Where to Begin

To begin with, you need to determine your best course of action. You do not necessarily have to dive right in and sign up for every social media network or site under the sun. Some may simply not be appropriate for your demographic or customer base.

Nevertheless, it seems to be a goodidea to have a Facebook presence no matter what kind of business you’re in these days. Facebook is still the dominant social media site; as such a high percentage of the population regularly visit the site (according to Statistic 1.69 Billion users in 2020). It’s a great platform to inform, educate and entertain your clients and prospects. With the options to form groups or deliver live streams adding to the interactivity and engagement.

Professionally, LinkedIn is the dominant business-to-business network, and this is a site you should consider to help generate leads, useful business contacts and to find new members of staff.

While many don’t consider YouTube as a social media channel, it is the 2nd largest search engine (behind Google). When you create a YouTube channel, you have an excellent repository for all of those videos you should be creating, to help educate people in your niche and to effectively showcase the products and services that you have available.

 

The Importance Of A Blog In Social Media Marketing

Of course, the ideal mouthpiece for any business is the blog. It is a way of attracting visitors to your website, from where they can browse your services. Additionally, if SEO optimised blogs can help improve your website ranking in the all-important Google search. It’s relatively straightforward to set up a blog, especially if you use the dominant WordPress platform. However, if you commit to a blog you need to be sure that you are populating it regularly. Publishing a mixture of content is important. Include self-generated content, as well content gathered from around the net, modified to promote your particular point of view.

 

How a Virtual Business Manager Can help

As a small business owner,  you have to ask yourself a very pointed question -How much of my time is this going to take?

The answer is quite a lot.

In addition to the amount of time you’ll be investing in setting up and configuring a presence on all of these sites, you may find that you are allocating valuable time daily  maintaining your presence. It is for this reason you should put the entire series of social media projects in the hands of your virtual business manager. A Virtual Business Manager is an expert in the vagaries associated with each platform, who will allocate a specific schedule, based on your exact requirements, to interact with each one.

How To Collect Business Data Successfully

How To Collect Business Data Successfully

Big businesses collect data because they understand it is a crucial part of an informed decision-making process. Data It is essential in understanding

  • customer behaviour,
  • sales trends,
  • business income,
  • risk management and
  • return on investment can have a profound on the success of a business.

However, while most small business owners understand the importance of data collection and analysis, not all of them use the data in their businesses.

Collecting the right type and amount of data is an excellent way for your business to achieve its goals and gain a competitive advantage. If you’re new to data collection, I have outlined below steps on how you can collect data for your small business:

 

Define The Problem

There is no point collecting data for the sake of it.

You need first to understand what you are looking to gain from the data. Once you know the problem, you can then determine the data and data source that would be best suited to provide the information.

Generally, data in a numerical format is easier to analyse. However, often this does not tell the whole story. For example, if you are looking at customer feedback, for ease, you may ask the customer to score you out of 5 or 10. Providing numerical feedback is quick for the customer, meaning you are likely to get more returns. But if it doesn’t give you any indication of what they liked/didn’t like which can be essential to improve your customer journey.

 

Set a Process In Place To Collect Data

The first step to data collection is to set up the data collection process that works for your business. The process should be replicable and scalable to allow for efficiency and accommodate future business growth.

Important things to think about are:-

  • who receives the information,
  • timelines for inputting the information
  • timelines for processing the information and
  • how the information will be presented and
  • how/where the process will be documented

 

Collect Data Consistently

There must be consistency in the collection of data. Creating templates and data entry forms is a great way to keep your data collection consistent. It is vital to ensure that all related data is collected and recorded in the same way, for ease of analysis and forecasting.

Remember, it may be necessary to train employees on data collection or to outsource to those who already have the expertise.

 

Secure Data Storage

Information is highly valuable and sensitive to the running of any business. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the privacy and safety of any data from loss and unauthorised access. The secure storage of the data collected is provided through encryption, passwords and cloud storage.

Remember that if your data contains any personal information and you are in the EU, it will be covered by the GDPR legislation. Therefore, you have a responsibility to ensure that all those handling the data are aware of your legal obligations. If you are unsure of your data handling responsibilities, the  ICO is a useful resource.

 

Simplify Data Collection

Data collection can be quite an exhausting process for participants. Filling out multiple pages of printed survey forms might not get you the response rate you need. Simplifying the data collection by making it more engaging and more straightforward is an effective way to engage responses.

Using social media polls and online forms are some of the most innovative approaches to simplifying data collection.

 

Data Analysis and Evaluation

To gain the relevant information you defined initially, the data collection should be

  • monitored,
  • analysed and
  • evaluated

From there, the business owner is then able to make informed decisions with regards to

  • business changes
  • areas that need improvement,
  • where to cut back on expenses and
  • which areas to concentrate their focus on.

Data presents the business with an opportunity to advance its processes and operations, increase its productivity and attain its goals.

Where to Begin

Following the above steps will get you started on data collection and analysis for your small business. Soon you will be able to develop insights and forecast trends for your business and the industry even before they occur, enabling you to get one step ahead of your competitors.

 

Hiring a Virtual Business Manager with data analysis experience, like Bravapro, to support your business in data collection is a valuable way of keeping your business on top.

I can:-

  • set in place the right processes,
  • define the correct data to collect,
  • create templates,
  • select the most effective data collection method and
  • analyse the data, using Power BI or other appropriate tools

I can ensure the most constructive way to get the most of your data analysis through real-time report generation. Resulting in information to help drive your business forward.

 

How To Leverage a Virtual Assistant For Professional Networking

How To Leverage a Virtual Assistant For Professional Networking

Whether we like it or not human interaction is a critical part of our daily lives. We may feel more comfortable connected to close family and friends than business associates and customers. However, in order to grow your business, maximise your opportunities you need to connect. Today we discuss how a virtual assistant can help improve your business networking success.

The development of those connections is critical to ensure your business thrives. In fact, if we think about it, when our customers feel connected to us and our business, they look for ways to reciprocate and ways to continue that relationship. Their brand loyalty increases and they support in a much deeper and meaningful way. Which ultimately ensures their commitment to us and our continued business growth.

It is essential that your business continually connects and networks, but this can often become a low priority and finding the time and the right networking events may become a distraction from actually running the business. But  we know it is a critical element of a progressive small business if it is to continue to grow.

This is where a Virtual Assistant can really help.

Perhaps when we think of Virtual Assistants, we think of them doing admin tasks like spreadsheets, sorting databases, compiling confidential reports but a Virtual Assistant (VA) can also help with your networking schedules and follow-ups!

How Can A Virtual Assistant Improve Your Networking Success?

1. Making The Right Impression

Many networking meetings offer the opportunity for you to deliver a presentation about your business. This is your opportunity to make an impression and make sure your business is remembered. Your VA can develop a branded slide deck that will enable you to wow your audience.

2. Respond & Filter

Your VA can help you keep on top of your ever-growing pile of emails and voicemails so anyone who reaches out to you feels well taken care of. Your VA can alert you on important messages and/or respond to any communication on your behalf. Together you can create template messages for your VA to use to respond to any frequently asked questions.

3. Customer Relationships

All those business cards lying in a pile on your desk and the bits of paper inked with contact details that are in the corner of your office – your Virtual Assistant can input that data into your CRM (Customer Relationship Management system), or spreadsheet, maximising their value to you.

4. Research

While networking certainly has its benefits, nothing is more powerful than connecting in a person. Your Virtual Assistant can seek out opportunities for you to increase personal connections, such as conferences, meet-ups or industry seminars (obviously all done virtually in these current times.

Additionally, your virtual assistant can research the key contacts you identify when networking. Ensuring that when you later connect on a 1-2-1 basis you understand their business, have identified potential opportunities and have thought about the questions you need to ask.

5. Social Media

Your VA can monitor and engage your online audience. They can ‘follow’ and ‘friend’ based on criteria that you set. They can research relevant articles, quotes and images to post and share and, after you approve, schedule them for the week.

6. Scheduling

Your Virtual Assistant can manage your schedule and calendar, helping organize your time for meetings and networking and making sure that connecting with people–whatever that looks like in your business– is part of the workweek.

The Bottomline

Networking is about connecting with people and while that often happens on a B2B level, it is most effective when it is on the H2H level (Human2Human) as well!

Your Virtual Assistant can help create and nurture that human connection by keeping in touch with your clients and leads. They can help you cultivate important relationships in all sorts of ways. For example, your VA can send holiday cards or birthday cards, helping you go that extra mile. They can be the communication channel that allows you to stay in dialogue and develop those relationships.

There are so many ways that having someone with their attention on your networking activities and communication can help. Virtual Assistants can be game-changers because they free you up to build your business while they take the role of supporting it.

To find more about how a Virtual Assistant can help you maximise your networking opportunities get in touch.

 

Why There’s More To A VBM Than Meets The Eye

Why There’s More To A VBM Than Meets The Eye

Virtual Business Managers (VBMs) are a valuable business partner that brings innovation, experience, and drive to your business. Outsourcing provides your business with additional skills. Skills you could struggle to find via the traditional recruitment route.

The Challenges Of Recruiting

Recruiting somebody into your business is one of the most difficult tasks small business owners face. Even in a market where unemployment is high, the task of finding somebody “good” is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

When you are in business you want to surround yourself with people who are as dynamic, proactive, and driven, like yourself. While they may not share your entire vision, they should nevertheless “buy into” what your company represents. They must be able to contribute to your company’s long-term viability and growth.

It’s a business owner’s dream to be surrounded by people who are motivated and self-starters. People who instinctively know exactly what to do in a moment of crisis. However, the truth is that the majority of people who apply for your office jobs will simply not fall into this category.

 

It’s Not Just Executives That Need Star Quality

Finding executive-level staff to help head various departments is important. However, you should never underestimate the importance of finding staff to help with the day-to-day operation. There is less at stake when recruiting lower-level staff, but, these individuals still contribute to the greater good of the company. Without their focused and well-delivered effort, your company is likely to flounder.

Many would-be employees still view their employment as a means to an end. They are good at what they do, but they’re not inspired. Therefore they are unlikely to seize an initiative should it be needed. Ideally, you want to recruit forward-thinking employees who bring ideas and energy to your company. Unfortunately, this kind of employee is often difficult to find.

 

Virtual Business Managers Are Valuable Business Partners

This is a good reason why business owners should outsource many of these positions to a virtual Office manager or virtual assistant. A virtual business manager is a small business owner themselves and knows full well what it takes to proactively drive a business forward. Virtual business managers are able to easily take on your outsourced tasks, offering a cost-effective and efficient solution. Additionally, they are a valuable business partner and advisor, that will contribute to the business growth

Next time you complain about the lack of star quality among potential recruits, consider outsourcing the position to a skilled virtual business manager. Not only will the task be completed

  • carefully,
  • correctly,
  • on time and
  • within budget.

But you will be able to draw on their previous business experience to help further your business growth.

Find out more about Bravapro by following me on social media #bravaprova