Apr 23,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Reading, England, (23rd April 2015) – Workbooks.com today announced a partnership with made4cloud in Australia to resell Workbooks CRM as part of its portfolio of business software and consulting services.

made4cloud is a technology company specialising in cloud-based software solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Jim Egan, Sales and Marketing Director of made4cloud, says: “We are excited to be able to partner with a progressive and successful company such as Workbooks.com.  The Workbooks CRM offering fits well with our vision of what is required from software solutions designed for use in today’s business environment and into the future.  There has been a major shift in expectations by organisations over the past few years on how resources – both technical and financial – are allocated to information technology.  Using the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, Workbooks CRM is well placed to provide relevant services to many types of organisations well into the future.”

Mr Egan continued, “It has never been more important for businesses to be able to measure, understand and improve their sales and marketing activities and on-going customer engagement.  Workbooks CRM allows organisations to achieve this plus it easily integrates with other software that may be in use.  The ease of use of Workbooks CRM was an important factor in made4cloud’s decision to partner with Workbooks.com.”

John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks.com commented: “We are really pleased to be partnering with made4cloud in Australia. Our suite of products enable our customers to grow sales, provide better quality of service, reduce operational costs and track key business. We look forward to extending delivering this functionality with made4cloud.”

made4cloud’s primary focus over the next 6 months will be to increase the Workbooks.com customer base in Australia before expanding their efforts into New Zealand and other Asia-Pacific countries.

About Workbooks.com

Workbooks.com delivers world-class CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business. Unlike traditional CRM solutions, Workbooks.com extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price which is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Netsuite. 

For more information visit www.workbooks.com.

About made4cloud

made4cloud is a technology company specialising in cloud-based software solutions.  Our aim is to help organisations maximise the benefits from technology solutions.  We take pride in our ability to understand requirements and translate them into solutions that provide real benefits to organisations.  made4cloud supplies software solutions as well as associated IT services such as implementation, software development, training and general technology consulting.

For more information visit www.made4cloud.com.au. Follow on Twitter: @made4cloud.

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols
Senior Marketing Executive
0118 3030 100
marketing@workbooks.com

made4cloud contact:

Jim Egan
Sales and Marketing Director
+61 418 812 885
jim.egan@made4cloud.com.au

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Apr 13,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Ranking Based on 480+ in-depth reviews and user ratings of 12 software products

Reading, England, (13th April 2015) – Workbooks.com is pleased to announce that Workbooks CRM has been named as a Top Rated CRM platform by users on TrustRadius, the leading peer review site for business software.

The 2015 Buyer’s Guide to CRM Software offers practical guidance to help you find the best CRM software for your situation. It is based on authenticated insights from real software users and offers an in-depth exploration of the overall CRM market and product profiles of leading vendors.

John Cheney, CEO, Workbooks.com commented: We are pleased to be named a top rated platform in the Small Business CRM Software TrustMap. Workbooks CRM is again recognised to be delivering a quality, robust cloud service to customers and one that leads against other CRM vendors where we are often radically more cost effective. We have delivered a consistently high availability to customers since inception and continue to be chosen over big name brands for our quality of service, breadth of function and affordability.

Our consistent winning of awards across the globe helps validate to customers that we are the right choice to shortlist when comparing CRM systems and we are proud that our customers score our support and their likelihood to renew and recommend so highly.”

“Workbooks.com is highly rated for being intuitive, customizable, and affordable,” said Megan Headley, Research Director at TrustRadius and author of the guide. “It's a good fit for small businesses looking for a solution their employees will actually use.”

You can download a free copy of the guide here: www.trustradius.com/guides/crm.
 

 

About Workbooks

Workbooks delivers award-winning CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business.

Unlike traditional CRM solutions, Workbooks.com extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price that is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite.  For more information, visit www.workbooks.com.

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols
Senior Marketing Executive
0118 3030 100

marketing@workbooks.com

The TrustMap™ is a visual depiction of the best software products as rated by users on TrustRadius within each market segment. TrustRadius does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its TrustMaps and does not advise software users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings

Apr 08,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Reading, England, (8th April 2015) – Workbooks.com is pleased to announce that our CRM system has been recognised as a top CRM product for the 3rd year running at the Network Computing Awards 2015.

The Network Computing Awards, which have been running since 2007, were set up to recognise the IT solutions and companies that are helping organisations to function better by getting the most out of their networks and systems.

John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks, commented: “Following from winning CRM Product of the Year 2014 and 2013 we are proud to have been recognised as a top CRM Product for 2015. I believe that this reflects our continued commitment to deliver first-class software and high customer satisfaction. We’ve enjoyed a lot of very positive feedback from our customers recently, especially in the latest crowd sourced G2Crowd Report on CRM in which we were rated number one for customer satisfaction in the CRM category.”

 

About Workbooks

Workbooks delivers award-winning CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business.

Unlike traditional CRM solutions, Workbooks.com extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price that is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite.  For more information, visit www.workbooks.com.

 

About The Network Computing Awards

The Network Computing Awards were set up to recognise the solutions and the companies that have been most impressive in helping organisations function better through getting the most out of their networks. The effectiveness of an organisation depends to a large degree on the performance of its network. How fast does it run? How much downtime does it experience? How well does it cope with running an increasing number of applications and storing an increasing amount of data? How secure is it? It’s fair to say that managing a network is a challenging job. Run by Network Computing Magazine, the awards are customer voted and recognise the best each year from the industry.

 

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols
Senior Marketing Executive
0118 3030 100
marketing@workbooks.com

 
 
 
 
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Mar 31,2015 by Samuel Jefferies

What is cloud computing header image

The Cloud is here, no question about it

Everyday we’re coming across more and more businesses moving online and switching to Cloud Technologies. From Google Docs to Amazons Web Services the Cloud is here to stay.

But what does this actually mean for businesses?

Will the way you run your business change and how can you adopt these new technologies to drive increased profits?

To answer these questions we’ve gathered three independent cloud experts who together have worked with hundreds of small to medium sized businesses advising on Cloud Technologies.

Table of contents

1. What is Cloud Computing? 2. Examples of Cloud Computing 3. What's the actual advantages of Cloud Computing for businesses?
4. Should we be concerned with Cloud Security? 5. Cloud Computing - What does the future hold? 6. Contributors biographies
7. References

1. What is Cloud Computing?

Esteban KolskyEsteban Kolsky is the founder of ThinkJar LLC an organisation set-up to help organisations approach Cloud based technologies such as Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) & Customer Experience (CX) Solutions.

Esteban - Let’s start with the basics, just what is Cloud Computing?

"The concept behind cloud computing originated in the 1930s from experiments carried out by the US military in how to implement distributed systems for faster execution of tasks.

It was not until the 1950s that we have the first mentions of cloud computing (back then the references were made to distributed computing or network computing).

Through the past few decades, cloud computing became better developed and defined. Today we call cloud a distributed model of computing that leverages an open and extensible network to allocate processing power from many different independent computers to accomplish a single task faster and simpler." 1.


Thanks Esteban, so in summary: 'Cloud Computing is a network of connected devices (such as servers, laptops and mobile phones) which are all accessible to each other allowing flexibility and cost savings due to economies of scale and accessbility.'


2. Examples of Cloud Computing

Dropbox logo

Dropbox - Cloud pioneer

Dropbox have physical servers which have been made open to anyone who registers with the service. Once registered you can store & download files directly to/from the Dropbox servers.

Since Dropbox have made their service accessible via a website and App users are able to access the service remotely and conveniently.

In all likelihood you’re already used to working with Cloud technologies such as Gmail, Youtube & Dropbox.

All these website leverage Cloud computing to deliver their service, without the Cloud these services simply wouldn't exist.

What we are beginning to see now is the rise of traditional services shifting to the Cloud such as OS maps being replaced by Google Maps, address books and spreadsheets being made obsolete by cloud based CRM systems.

So, what does this actually mean for the small business?


3. What's the advantages of Cloud Computing for businesses?

Ian Moyse sits on the board of Eurocloud UK and was named by TalkinCloud as one of the global top 200 cloud channel experts.

To answer this question we turned to Ian Moyse.

Ian - How can businesses actually benefit from using cloud based technologies?

"Cloud brings great benefit to the average size business, allowing the smaller business owner more choice and the ability to afford solutions that previously were only within the budgets of larger enterprise clients.

Cloud platforms and services also afford many smaller companies to compete more effectively with larger competitors and to enjoy growth against legacy competitors who are not nimble enough to change systems and approaches to benefit from today’s more effective and flexible cloud platforms.

Cloud adoption in the smaller business has continued to grow to the point that in 2014 surveys showed 61-68% of small companies had adopted cloud in some way with 43% claiming they 'wish they had done so sooner'! 2.

Areas that a small business can benefit from cloud based systems include:

1. Resilience of systems

The level of availability and security provided by experts running it in their datacentres for you is far greater than having localised boxes where you have to worry about your hardware, system patches and application upgrades. Additionally if anything does go wrong you have to deal with it in a timely fashion.

Do you have the resources to deliver 24*7 maintenance and pay for unexpected maintenance/fix costs or even want to worry about this?

Surveys in 2014 cited 96% of SMB's on cloud worry less about outages and 75% have seen improved service availability. 3.

2. Easy and consistent backup of data

We probably all agree and know that important data should be backed up at least daily, and ideally off site to multiple locations.

Who really does this in practice? Particulary in a smaller business where the resources to enable this are sparse if at all existent? Using a cloud system, backups are done for you and taken off your hands and you gain the benefit of best practice without the pain and costs associated.

Cloud computing diagram3. Mobile any device access

In today's world users expect to have easy access to business information and applications on the move accessbile from any device and any lack of this is seen as a hindrance.

Certainly as the Millennial generation join your business this generations benefit to your business will be limited and hindered if you cannot deliver this easy open access.

Cloud systems handle this for you, where using traditional IT approaches has been clunky if not complex to deliver securely and easily.

4. Flexibility

IT should enable your business and users to be more effective, to better serve customers, to be better informed and make smarter decisions and to be able to do more in an efficient manner. To enable this you need to focus on the business aspects and not technical aspects of IT that usually bog you down.

Cloud takes the technical side away and serves it up for you to focus on the business efficiencies you gain. It also makes change and growth easier and more flexible as well as affordable. Often smaller firms have found that the costs of change or IT have prohibited them from doing things in the way they would ideally choose.

5. Easy and affordable maintenance

IT has become over the years a costly part of a business. Not just in acquisition, but in maintenance of systems, security and upgrades. Upgrading hardware, operating systems and software and managing the dependencies between them (e.g. the latest software upgrade)  can be hard work for a small business.

So much of the world runs on old unsupported versions of Windows and remains on insecure unpatched systems much of the time. A cloud world moves all this of this to the cloud provider who take responsibility and cost for this and roll it into your service costs.

They can deliver more consistency far easier and cost effectively as they are doing it once or limited times for all their customer base instead of each customer trying to do it in isolation.

Surveys in 2014 cited 51% of SMB's using cloud are spending less time managing IT and 50% required the same or fewer internal IT resources despite growth. 4.

The smaller business has the opportunity today to benefit greatly from the computing advancements that cloud offers and should consider a cloud solution in every IT refresh, update or new system evaluation as a viable and in fact often preferred option.

Take the emotives, the 'we have always done it that way' and any resistance from IT people out of the equation and see change as a positive enabler for your business."


Thanks Ian, Frank - We understand you've worked with many businesses as a Cloud expert. What benefits can Cloud Computing bring to employees themselves?


6. Remote working flexibility

Frank Bennett

Frank Bennett is an author and commentator on Cloud Computing and wearable tech enthusiast. He is on the Board of EuroCloud UK and advises businesses adopting cloud on both the supply and buy side.

"In 2014 UK legislation was introduced for employees to request flexible working arrangements. The cloud is helping employers accommodate these requests particularly when an employee’s work has a dependency on access to IT systems.

Where those IT systems (e.g. email, CRM, Accounting) are cloud based it is easy and affordable to grant flexible working arrangements and the employee to remain productive. This is also helping SMEs to attract employees and employee retention.

Most people think of cloud as a technology phenomenon whereas it is creating many new opportunities to reframe how we organise our work (anytime, anywhere) and deal with the awkward pursuit of work life balance.

The cloud is a connector and the office is no longer the only place to get things done. A poll carried out in 2014 by O2 Business made the rather startling claim that 46% of workers think coffee shops are a more productive workplace than the office.8 Perhaps the coffee shop serves better coffee but as they are all now equipped with Wi-Fi that productivity is captured with the cloud."


By now you’ll have a good feel for what Cloud Computing is and how it can benefit you. But should you have security concerns?

With private data being hosted externally and easily accessible worldwide should you be concerned over security? 

In order to answer this question we turned to Frank Jennings.


Should we be concerned with Cloud Security?

Frank Jennings

Frank Jennings is a lawyer specialising in cloud & data security and regularly advises cloud providers and customers on data security issues.

Frank - With more businesses adopting cloud technologies and rising data protection laws, should SME’s be concerned over cloud security?

"Businesses should take proactive steps to protect their data. Not surprisingly, data security (“Is my data safe?”) and data sovereignty / residency (“Where is my data?”) are key concerns raised by businesses contemplating a move to cloud in every survey I’ve seen over the last 5 years.

1. Is your data less secure in the cloud?

In fact, data security is just as important in an on-premise environment. Some businesses have told me they believe their data would not be secure in the cloud as cloud is inherently insecure.

This fatuous belief is also held in reverse: that data is automatically secure just by storing it on-premise. While it is true that centralising customer data in a data centre might make it a more obvious target for hackers – providers invest heavily in security measures and spread the cost across all their customers.

Unless data is similarly protected on-premise, the business will be hoping nobody finds their data; and security through obscurity is hardly an effective strategy.

2. Data center security

Clearly, you should undertake diligence on your prospective cloud provider and its data centre. For example, what Tier is the data centre? Does the provider have any recognised accreditations such as ISO27001 or 27018? Is it affiliated or accredited by recognised trade bodies such as the Cloud Industry Forum or the Cloud Security Alliance?

Cloud Security

You should also ask where the data centre is, not necessarily with a view to preventing transfer of data outside the UK but because it is sensible to know from a compliance point of view. Don’t base your move to cloud on trying to evade the NSA, as there is an equivalent body in every country.

If it is based in the USA, you should ask not just if they are Safe Harbor registered but also for proof of how they will actually protect your data.

You should also identify who will get access to the data, not just at the provider’s end, but within your business. After all, you can put in place secure technology, but it can all be undone by a disgruntled or ignorant employee.

Public VS Private VS Hybrid Cloud Security

Not surprisingly, as a cloud lawyer, I advise my clients to read the contract terms. Public cloud contracts are generally not negotiable and they contain numerous provisions disclaiming the provider’s risk, including for loss or corruption of data.

Public cloud has many advantages of course, but the terms are heavily biased in the provider’s favour so you need to go into it fully aware of what you’re buying.

On the other hand, private or hybrid cloud can be tailored to your needs and you can negotiate the contract but smaller providers might be outsourcing data storage to a third party. If your data is being held by a third party, unless you have a direct contract with them, you will have no direct control over your data. You need to ensure you can get back your data later.

Cloud can offer many advantages to a small business but it is important to evaluate what you are buying to make sure it will deliver the security standards you require."


Cloud Computing - What does the future hold?

Google Trends for Network Computing VS Cloud

What is cloud computing

Google searches suggest a huge decline in network computing when compared against 'public', 'private' and 'hybrid' cloud searches.

We can confidently predict a continued increase in Cloud Technologies with more and more traditional businesses evolving to take advantage of cloud based technologies.

Further predictions:

Increased investment

Forrester (analyst group) predict that the world cloud computing market will grow from £23.5bn in 2011 to £100bn by 2020. 5.

David Merrill

'As a result, by 2020, if you were to ask a CIO to draw a map of their infrastructure, they would not be able to, says David Merrill, chief economist of Hitachi Data Systems.'7.

"He will be able to say 'here are my partner providers'," he comments, but he will not be able to draw a diagram of his infrastructure.” 6.

Software and Infrastructure

A sharp rise in Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is predicted, enabling businesses to scale their hardware & software quickly and conveniently allowing a sidestep from physically storing and maintaining large cumbersome servers as well as a reduction in initial software license charges.

Further reduced costs

With the rise of ARM processors (50 billion produced in 2014, 10 billion in 2013) a reduction of heat, costs and power use has become available, combining that with an increasingly competitive cloud market, cloud providers are beginning to pass on cost savings to customers. 9.

We hope you now see the future of cloud technologies is bright - With more and more SME’s taking advantage of these solutions to reduce costs, increase profits and expansion we’re excited to be riding this fundamental shift in how businesses are operating.


Contributors biographies

Esteban Kolsky

Esteban Kolsky

Esteban Kolsky is the founder of ThinkJar LLC an organisation set-up to help organisations approach Cloud based technologies such as Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) & Customer Experience (CX) Solutions.


Ian Moyse

Ian Moyse

Ian Moyse sits on the board of Eurocloud UK and the Governance Board of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and was named by by TalkinCloud as one of the global top 200 cloud channel experts in 2011. He is listed on the MSPMentor top 250 list for 2011 & 2014 which tracks the world's top managed services experts and was listed in the top 25 of the worldwide SMB Nation 150 Channel Influences list in both 2012 and 2013.


Frank Bennett

Frank Bennett

Frank Bennett is an author and commentator on Cloud Computing and wearable tech enthusiast. He is on the Board of EuroCloud UK and advises businesses adopting cloud on both the supply and buy side. He blogs regularly at www.frankbennett.co.uk


Frank Jennings

Frank Jennings

Cloud Lawyer & Commercial Contracts - Wallace LLP

Frank Jennings is a lawyer specialising in cloud & technology, data security, intellectual property and commercial contracts.

His clients come to him not just for his specialist legal advice but also rely on him for his “can do” mentality and his pragmatic approach to solving problems and managing risk. Frank regularly advises cloud providers and cloud customers on a range of issues including identifying and managing risk, robust contracts and data security issues.

Frank chairs the Cloud Industry Forum’s code governance board, is on Twitter at @thecloudlawyer, blogs at http://thecloudlawyer.net and is ranked #1 for cloud law by the independent legal directories.

frank.jennings@wallace.co.uk

http://thecloudlawyer.net


Sam Jefferies

Sam Jefferies

Sam Jefferies is the Digital Marketing executive for Workbooks CRM. Workbooks provides CRM Software aimed at small to medium sized businesses. To find out more sign up for our 30 day free trial.


References

1. Esteban Kolsky, 2012. Defining a Pure, Open Cloud. [Online] Available at: http://estebankolsky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Cloud-Purist-eBook-FINAL.pdf [31/03/2015]

2, 3, 4. PC World, 2014. SMB Cloud adoption trends in 2014. [Online] Available at: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2685792/infographic-smb-cloud-adoption-trends-in-2014.html [31/03/2015]

5, 6, 7. Jack Clark, 2012. Cloud computing: 10 ways it will change by 2020. [Online] Available at: http://www.zdnet.com/article/cloud-computing-10-ways-it-will-change-by-2020/ [31/03/2015]

8. O2 Business, 2014. Brit workers spend 131 million hours a week working flexibly. [Online] Available at: http://news.o2.co.uk/?press-release=brit-workers-spend-131-million-hours-a-week-working-flexibly [07/04/2015]

9. ARM, 2015. Architecture for the Digital World. [Online] Available at: http://www.50billionchips.com [31/03/2015]


Mar 31,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be a big success factor for consumer-facing companies. But in order to get the most out of a CRM, you need to make sure your employees—especially your sales teams—are using it.

The CRM market has certainly grown in recent years, and is valued at over $18 billion by research firm Gartner. But implementing a CRM system or migrating to a new one is never something you should take for granted. Despite the success of the overall market, CRM initiatives have suffered from failure rates of up to 63 percent. These “fail stats” are admittedly sometimes prone to exaggeration, but their mere existence indicates an alarming weakness in what is still a flawed process. 

Reasons for Failure

There are a number of ways a CRM initiative can fail to gain traction among a sales team, the most obvious of which is simply choosing the wrong product in the first place. Maybe it lacks the right features for supporting your sales workflow. Maybe it has too many features, causing reps to find it complicated or frustrating. Maybe it doesn’t integrate with some of the productivity apps already in use, like file sharing or email.

A CRM can also be a dud if there are no measures in place for tracking usage and return on investment, or if it doesn’t receive support and enforcement from key leaders. No buy-in, no pay out.

Ways to Boost Adoption

CRM adoption isn’t about forcing software down people’s throats; it’s about showing them the value it adds to the sales process and equipping them for successful use. Here are four strategies for doing just that:

  • Pick the Right CRM Software: This one is a no-brainer, but it’s also one of the easiest places to make mistakes. The procurement process should be driven by experts and stakeholders to ensure an informed, balanced decision. The large majority of business software purchases involve at least three decision-makers. The product that’s best for your company’s needs will largely be determined by features, integrations, scalability, price point, and any industry-specific needs you might have.
  • Upper-Management Buy-in: When most software buyers think about increasing adoption, they think about finding ways to make sales reps use the dang software. But end-users aren’t the only target audience for CRM projects. It’s equally important to get upper management (CIO, Director of Marketing, CFO, etc.) on board. Leadership plays a pivotal role in “selling” CRM to the rest of the company and enforcing standards for use. If you’re implementing an enterprise-scale solution, you might even consider appointing a dedicated CRM project manager.
  • Employee Buy-in: Intrinsic motivation is almost always more effective than extrinsic motivation. Instead of pressing a new CRM onto your reps from the top down, get them to make a personal investment in the initiative. One way to do this is simply by getting their input before you commit to a particular product. What do they like or not like about the current system? What features would be most valuable to them. After installing the software, encourage adoption by providing rewards or recognition to top performers, or reps who enter the most data, close the most sales using the new system, or other metrics.
  • Provide Pre-emptive and Ongoing Training: For the average sales rep, the prospect of learning a new system can be intimidating. The old system might have had its problems, but they had it down. Part of the training process will involve showing users how the new system is more intuitive (hopefully) than the old, what advantages it has, and how to navigate through menus and dashboards. Some vendors even offer their own training tools online, through video tutorials, webinars, and troubleshooting guides. Beyond initial training, make sure sales teams have access to ongoing support tools, updates, and best practice information. If you’re implementing an enterprise system that causes a drastic change in workflows, you might try breaking implementation into multiple phases to allow a more gradual acclimation. 

When adoption doesn’t stick, a lot of business leaders tend to blame their sales reps or the software itself, but these are only two components in a larger shift that should take place. The rest of the picture—in fact, the bulk of it—is about building an infrastructure of training and reinforcement, from top to bottom, from before you select a product to long after you sign the contract. Sure, the system you buy makes a difference, but the success or failure of a CRM adoption depends, more than anything, on the workplace culture that surrounds it.

Author

Aleks Peterson

Technology Analyst

Technology Advice

Connect on LinkedIn

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Mar 24,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

There is often a misalignment of sales and marketing in many organisations. This can result in tension between the teams which can impact the ROI of your lead generation activities.

Combining marketing automation and CRM can aid with bridging the gap between your sales and marketing departments but there are a number of other considerations you need to make to ensure they are on the same page.

1. Defining & Identifying

Sales and marketing can be working towards the same goals e.g. lead conversion, but often have different ideas of the definitions of those goals. If you were to ask a sales rep for their definition of a qualified lead it may be very different from what a marketing rep may suggest. These definition differences can lead to tension, especially when there is pressure for marketing to deliver more leads and sales to convert at a higher rate.

Agreeing common definitions will enable sales and marketing to be on the same page. You can start by focusing on defining elements that relate to your sales funnel e.g. what does a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) mean? What qualifies a lead as an MQL or SQL? It is important to identify the sales criteria of a perfect lead.  This makes it easier to identify which leads should be developed and in turn increase the amount of leads moving through your sales funnel.  

2. Metrics

If your sales and marketing teams are misaligned they may be working on different metrics e.g. a focus on quantity rather than quality. Sales may have a bad quarter as they have not met their conversion target but marketing may have had a good quarter as they have produced a high number of leads. But if these leads were not the right quality then they were no use to sales. Since both sales and marketing benefit from closed deals it is important that they work to a common goal.

Mutually, both teams need to agree the metrics that they will be measured against. A win for sales should be a win for marketing.  For example, it may be better to target your marketing team on the leads they have generated that have actually converted into the pipeline. This will ensure your marketing team have more incentive to pass over quality leads rather than quantity.

Communication between your teams may be the first step to aligning your sales and marketing departments but technology can also play a big part in easing this tension. Technology is driving sales and marketing departments together.  If you have a good communication strategy between the two departments you can integrate marketing automation and CRM to boost your revenue machine. Creating a standard for lead qualification, lead nurturing and accurate reporting is a vital step in sales and marketing alignment.

3. Lead Qualification

The administrative burden of updating a CRM can often overshadow its value. Updating notes and qualifying leads can be a time consuming task for both sales and marketing reps. Marketing automation systems can streamline these processes by taking over a lot of these administrative manual tasks automatically. Integrating marketing automation and CRM can take over filling out details of company information, recent activity and lead interests etc. Not only does this automation save time allowing sales to focus on closing deals, but it also allows sales to get a holistic view of a prospect so they can tailor their approach when following up.  

Marketing automation collects all of the interactions with a lead and automatically qualifies your leads against the lead definitions that were agreed mutually between your sales and marketing teams.  Lead scoring and grading eliminates any disagreements in lead quality. It also allows your teams to focus on the higher quality leads and nurture leads that are less qualified to help them move through the sales funnel.

4. Lead Nurturing

You can easily miss out by not nurturing the leads that are not ‘sales ready’ yet. They are often passed over to sales in the same way that ‘sales ready’ leads are. This frustrates sales reps and inevitably these leads are often neglected in favour of the higher quality leads. However, with marketing automation you can create a lead nurturing program that will help with moving these leads through the buying cycle until they are ‘sales ready’. This frees up sales to focus on the hotter leads that will result in a higher conversion rate. Non-‘sales ready’ leads can be added to drip campaigns where they will automatically be sent relevant information that is useful to them at their particular stage of the buying cycle.

5. Reporting

Integrating marketing automation and CRM aligns your sales and marketing teams. They can work together from the same definitions, towards common goals and common metrics. The two tools sync in both directions. The closed loop reporting you get from integration allows you to get a holistic view of the whole sales cycle, it also increases accountability for both sales and marketing.

You can track closed deals all the way back to where the lead originated from allowing you to replicate success and improve your marketing strategy.  Marketing will now be able to see how their campaigns and lead generation activities have resulted in revenue.

aligning sales and marketing ebook image

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now. 

Download Now

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Mar 18,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

At Workbooks, we believe that sharing knowledge is crucial to success, and we want you to enjoy using our software to enable you to complete your day-to-day role with ease. Workbooks Wisdom is here to save the day bringing you monthly tips and tricks to enable you to do just that. See below for March's tips.

Accounting Periods

With the end of the financial year coming up, have you got your Workbooks accounting periods ready for 2015/16? You won’t be able to create new accounting documents without them! So it’s well worth checking that they’re set up in Configuration - for more information click here.

MailChimp Integration

Design eye-catching emails in MailChimp to send to your Workbooks Campaign members with our MailChimp integration. The key marketing metrics such as opens, clicks, hard bounces and unsubscribes are seamlessly synchronised from MailChimp to Workbooks. Not only does this save you time by avoiding manual data tasks but it enables you to track the ROI from your marketing campaigns and improve on their performance.

Reminders

Don’t miss an important activity. Remind yourself by making use of our Reminder checkbox - that way you will receive a notification at the time specified with a convenient link straight to the record. Note that reminders are set for yourself, not the user the record is assigned to. Click here for more.

Marketing Automation for small businesses

Smaller sized businesses (SMBs) are reaping the rewards for adopting marketing automation technologies. SMB owners are highly focused on the ROI they are getting from their marketing. Newer technology advances are allowing this to become possible. Find out more.

Remember, you can find more useful information about all of the Workbooks features on our Knowledge Base.

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Mar 03,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Smaller sized businesses (SMBs) are following in enterprise-sized businesses footsteps and are reaping the rewards for adopting marketing automation technologies.

In today’s financial climate, SMB owners are highly focused on the ROI they are getting from their marketing. Newer technology advances are allowing this to become possible. And those adjusting quickly are reaping the rewards.

How does a lead become revenue?

Where does a lead come from? Marketing creates campaigns that generate interest with an audience. This ‘Demand Generation’ often comes in the form of engaging content, which can come from various marketing sources e.g. email campaigns, your website or events.

Sales reps actively engage with these leads and filter down a number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and work them through the sales pipeline until some purchase the product or service. 

In terms of revenue, the Cost per Lead (CPL) is worked out by dividing the cost of the campaign by the number of leads generated. The conversion rate is worked out by looking into how many of the leads resulted in a sale and then an Average Sale Price (ASP) can be calculated.

The technology

In SMBs, owners are often required to be experts in multiple roles, including the ability of understanding marketing ROI. Marketing automation technology helps SMB’s to keep overheads low whilst still growing their lead volume and inevitably their pipeline.

Here are 4 reasons why SMB’s are adopting Marketing Automation:

  • Simple Technology - SMBs need to adopt the growing IT needs of their company and advances in technology have provided simpler solutions that owners can get to grips with fast.
  • Staying ahead of the game - Unless you want to fall behind the competition, you have to keep up with the fast pace of changes in your industry. Owners need technology that is simple to use, easy to set up and can quickly prove ROI.  The quicker these technologies are adopted by SMBs, the higher the value they produce for the business.
  • Excellent Customer Service - Competition has resulted in marketing automation technologies improving their customer support. Not only does the technology need to be great for SMBs, but they also need great customer service when things go wrong. If you are looking for marketing automation technology, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you get dedicated customer support.
  • The answer is in the ROI - SMBs are becoming more comfortable with the risk of implementing marketing automation as they are becoming savvier to the benefits it can produce. Marketing automation is proving to have real ROI for SMBs and with technology advances, it is becoming easier to determine what the actual ROI is.
     

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now. 

Download Now

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Feb 17,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Reading, England, (17th February 2015) - Car Benefit Solutions (CBS), a leading provider of car benefit schemes has selected Workbooks cloud CRM system to roll out across its business. Workbooks CRM was selected after a market comparison and was shortlisted and selected over Maximiser, Sugar and Gold-Vision systems.

Martin Greenhalgh, Business Analyst of CBS commented: “We were using a home grown system, email and spreadsheets , but found this limiting and increasingly administration heavy, particularly when we wanted to pull sales data and reports.” 

Martin continued: “We identified a need to create a central source of customer data which was easily accessible to the Sales and Marketing teams and this in turn would provide opportunities for cross and up selling. We sought a system that was easy to use, affordable and where we felt we could gain a business partnership instead of a technical supplier. With Workbooks we feel we have the best solution for all of these needs."

Ian Moyse, Workbooks Sales Director commented: “We are proud at our high selection rate against such other CRM systems and that leading firms such as CBS select us after considerable diligence and comparison.”

About Car Benefit Solutions (CBS)

CBS was formed in 2002 by the current Management Team who believe that customers are best served by having car benefit arrangements specifically designed to meet their objectives rather than having to take a vanilla product.

In addition to ensuring that employees have the right tool for the job where appropriate, the car benefit is seen by many as the most important element of their remuneration package after salary and is a key differentiator for recruitment and retention purposes. It is therefore essential that your car benefit is designed and delivered to meet your corporate needs.

The CBS Management Team were integral to the development and implementation of the first Employee Car Ownership Schemes (ECOS) in the 1990's with some of the largest corporate fleets in t

About Workbooks

Workbooks.com delivers world-class CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business. Unlike traditional CRM solutions, Workbooks.com extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price which is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Netsuite. 

Our customer base spans many industry sectors including Finance, Professional Services, Insurance, Not-for-profit organisations, IT, Telecommunications, Construction, Transport & Logistics and Manufacturing. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding levels of customer commitment and customer service to all our customers. As a UK based company, with our engineering team working alongside our support team, we are on hand to respond quickly and efficiently to any questions that may arise.

For more information visit www.workbooks.com.

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols

Senior Marketing Executive

0118 3030 100

marketing@workbooks.com

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Feb 13,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

In the last decade, cloud innovation and new development strategies have brought a significant increase in customer relationship management (CRM) software to the market. As a buyer, it’s easy to be lured in by marketing language, the promises a vendor makes, the reputation they have, or the way their product makes you feel.

But CRM software is a critical investment that customer-facing organizations can’t afford to take lightly. An uninformed, un-curated purchase will inevitably lead to buyer’s remorse. As recently as 2013, CRM initiatives have suffered from 63 percent fail rates, and hasty software buying accounts for a large part of that.

It’s important to dig deeper than the product website and determine how your relationship with a software provider will actually play out, from setup and installation to the availability of future updates and support. This information (and more) is spelled out in the software contract - yes, the one that many businesses don’t fully read. 

Not only should you thoroughly read the contract, but you should also decide which points aren’t working in your favor and try to negotiate them. Believe it or not, most CRM providers are willing to negotiate, but only if you make your needs known. 

You can start by paying specific attention to these three key areas:

Fee Schedules

Whether you’re looking at cloud-based software (sold on a recurring subscription) or on-premise software (requires a larger up-front purchase), pricing is always more complicated than meets the eye. The fine-print pricing and fees information will be detailed in the contract. Comb through it and identify hidden charges or penalties and the conditions that can trigger them, both to help you minimize total cost of ownership and to determine if any are unfair. Common examples include early termination fees and data migration fees. 

Product Lifecycle

A well-written CRM contract will give you a clear roadmap for your relationship with the product, beginning with installation, allowing for growth or reduction in the middle, and ending with contract completion, renewal, or early termination. If it’s important to your business that initial set up be completed within a certain timeframe, ask that the contract clearly spell out who is responsible and how long it should take. Be wary of language that may trap you in a continuous renewal cycle; it’s almost always better to manually renew, as this keeps the reins in your hands. You’ll also need to know the procedures for adding or removing users, in case the scope of your needs changes. 

Data Ownership

If the products or services you deliver rely on proprietary customer data, make sure the contract limits data rights and ownership to your company. This is less challenging with on-premise software, since it’s housed on your own servers, but the software-as-a-service model (which has permeated 41 percent of the CRM market) can easily complicate data ownership. A vendor has the right to restrict access to their software in the event of a dispute, but your data should never be held hostage. Make sure you’ll have immediate access to your company’s data at all times. Furthermore, if the vendor has promised compliance with certain industry data regulations, make sure that compliance is guaranteed in the contract. 

There are countless other aspects of CRM contracts that will affect your satisfaction with both the product and the vendor. Your safest bet is to carefully read the entire contract—even let other members of your procurement team look it over. Here are few more final considerations/questions to address before you sign:

  • Does the vendor charge a data retrieval fee in the event of service cancellation?
  • Does the vendor provide free, regular updates as part of your subscription or license cost?
  • Is the vendor willing to provide a service level agreement?
  • Have you conducted a software demo or free trial before committing to purchase?

Although contract negotiation can sometimes make blood boil on both sides of the conversation, it doesn’t have to be a battle. Think of the contract as a treaty—an agreement that will define and preserve your relationship with the software provider so you can spend more energy managing relationships with customers. 

Author

Aleks Peterson

Technology Analyst

Technology Advice

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