What Up?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

There have been a lot of changes at Po3 over the last couple of years, and you might be wondering why you haven’t heard from me in about that same time. Fair question. Life threw me a curveball, as it’s known to do, if you want the backstory, click here.

T̶h̶r̶e̶e̶ Four Big New Things at Po3

1. Po3 Selects Primary Cloud CRM for Our Clients

I’ve been looking for an alternative to Salesforce.com ever since I wrote the book on it back in 2008. Not because it’s a bad product, it’s not. It’s great, in fact. But I wanted a CRM tool that met the needs of my clients, and my clients tend to fall into the SMB market – firms with fewer than 1,000 employees. Organizations in that space need a flexible solution that doesn’t weigh them down with features they don’t really need. They also need a solution that works, is easy to use and from a company they can rely on. I also wanted a cloud-based tool with slick apps so that my clients would have access to their critical lead and client data everywhere – smart phones, tablets, phablets, laptops and watches.

Well, 3 years ago, I found it. Zoho. Click here to register for my demo on Zoho CRM on June 1st at 11 am pacific.

First, Zoho is more like a platform, or an operating system for your business. They have over 30 apps in a variety of categories from back office to front office. Zoho as a company has been around for 20 years, with their headquarters in Pleasanton, CA. The company has grown organically, which means they’ve bootstrapped the financing and have always been profitable. They have over 3.600 employees across the globe and more than 18M users. Here’s a link to CEO Sridhar Vembu’s recent keynote address at the Zoholics Developer Conference in April of 2016.

In it, he talks about the role of software in an organization – which is essentially productivity. The Zoho Sales & Marketing User Conference is coming up June 7-9th in Pleasanton, CA, click here for more info and to register. If you are a Po3 Customer, email me for a 50% code.

Second, as a platform, I can work with my clients and help them pick and choose the apps they truly need for sales enablement, from the core CRM to email marketing campaigns, support, project management and more, and they only pay for what they need right now, but we have the option to add and grow their toolset as their business expands and grows. At a minimum, Zoho CRM is about half the cost of Salesforce.com and much more robust than some of the smaller cloud CRM solutions.

Third, it’s the cloud. In the last 3 years I have moved my entire business to the cloud and I’ve never been happier. Starting with Google Apps for Work and then Zoho CRM, followed quickly by migrating from Quickbooks to Zoho Books and now Zoho Support, Zoho Projects and more. Now I have access to all my systems and data, no matter where I am. And I don’t have to invest a ton in maintaining an expensive infrastructure – I even got rid of my server! This enables me to focus on my business and clients, not on solving IT issues.

To start your free trial on Zoho CRM, click here. Oh, and we can get all of your data out of your current CRM, including Act!, and into Zoho CRM, which makes switching e̶a̶s̶y̶ easier. Just ask me.

2. Po3 Merges Act! Business with Keystroke

So with the move to Zoho, you might be wondering what of my longtime Act! business? I’ve been an Act! Consultant for over 16 years now, and I still think Act! is a good product with a definite niche. I’m still supporting my Act! clients. That won’t change. But a few key things convinced me to merge my Act! business and Act! Consultant listing with Keystroke.

First, if you read the backstory blog about why I’ve been so quiet the last couple of years, you’ll know that I needed to have backup. I found it in Keystroke. I’ve known Ken Quigley for around 10 years, served on the Act! Advisory Board with him and I really like both him and his company. He’s smart, easy to work with and fun. When I joined the Keystroke Partner Program I was instantly part of a team of over 30 qualified Act! Consultants, access to Team Keystrokes 14+ employees that support the business.

Second, Swiftpage (maker’s of Act!) made changes to their partner program and it made becoming part of the Keystroke Partner Program a no-brainer. For all Act! software sales, you’ll get a quote from Keystroke and they’ll handle the order and provisioning process. I still get [tiny] credit for the software sale, but Team Keystroke manages the process for us and they rock.

Joining the Keystroke Partner Program just made so much sense. Expect to hear from them if you are on Act! and coming up for subscription or business care renewal. As always, I’m here to support you and your decisions around CRM software, so please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I’m not leaving Act!, I just made some changes to make my Act! business better.

3. Po3 is Expanding Our Services

We’ve always had a focus on CRM – because that’s the cornerstone of any sales enablement strategy. But there is so much more. At Po3 we like taking a step back and helping our clients look at the big technology picture and identify areas to make major productivity improvements. This includes invaluable tools for email marketing, inbound marketing, social selling & marketing, proposal management, customer support, project management, finance and more.

Also, while we are partners of many CRM solutions, inlcuding Zoho CRM, Nimble, Infusionsoft, MS CRM and Act!, we can actually help folks leverage their CRM, no matter what tool they are using. That inlcudes Salesforce.com, Sugar CRM, Netsuite, Insightly, Pipedrive and more. If you’re using a CRM tool, we can help you squeeze more ROI for those investment dollars, guaranteed.

We’re looking at a few cool new things to offer our clients, including sales coaching and sales enablement technology strategy. We’ll reach out over the next few months as we have more to share, but it’s going to be exciting and we can’t wait.

4. Po3 has a Weekly Radio Show – Unleash the Rain

A little over a year ago we launched a weekly internet radio program called Unleash the Rain on MutinyRadio.fm every Tuesday from 4 – 6 pm pacific. The show’s focus is on helping small and medium businesses leverage technology to increase revenue and reduce expenses. You can listen live here or choose a previous broadcast from the podcast archives. We’re rigging up an RSS feed through iTunes and possibly another podcast subscription app, we’ll announce that when it’s ready. In the meantime, feel free to listen in and we LOVE taking questions – you can call in live or email questions to stacy@unleashtherain.com 

I post a lot of information about the show, topics, upcoming guests and more on our Facebook page.

UTR _headerLrg

That’s all for now, watch for more posts and information on the regular and as always, if you have any questions or I can help in any way, please reach out.

Thanks,

Stacy Roach

Sales Coach // Technology Strategist
Zoho CRM Authorized Partner
Zoho Creator Certified Solution Provider – The “make magic happen” platform!

Power of 3 Consulting, Inc. 
(866) 362-4263

To book an appointment with me directly, online, go here: http://po3inc.setmore.com

Book Appointment

 

I’m Back; Or, On Business & Shame & Starting Again Anyway

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’ve been following Brené Brown for several years now, her Ted Talks on vulnerability and shame spoke to me and I can still watch them and be so moved and informed and inspired, all at once. If you haven’t seen them, I recommend watching, they are about 20 minutes each but so worth the investment. I’ve also read a few of her books, and “Daring Greatly” is currently on my stack of BIP – Books in Process.

In one of her talks, she says “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” I get that. Intellectually. But putting it into practice, not so much. But that changes with this blog post.

brene brown vulnerability

Two and a half years ago, my fiance committed suicide. It was unexpected and to say it was a tragedy is beyond insufficient. It was a bomb tossed into my life with far-flung shrapnel. Why am I telling you this? To elicit sympathy? No, but you’d have to be a pretty cold hearted human not to feel bad for me. No, I’m telling you this because the crushing grief, sadness and depression had an impact on me, my family, my loved ones and my clients.

I’m in a place now where I’ve shifted my business, and I’m really excited about the shift. But to step before you, my readers and my clients and my partners, and talk about the new direction and stuff I’m excited about now, without addressing the last two plus years feels disingenuous and false.

I couldn’t stand here (I actually do write standing) and tell you to check out my newest ventures without talking about why I’ve been largely absent for the last couple of years. I’ve literally done zero marketing and writing for business. I’ve had plans to tell you about the cool, new stuff in my consulting practice for a while, but shame and the unwillingness to be vulnerable have stopped me.

I want to share all about what I’m doing now, what great new tools I have to help my clients and how re-energized and excited I am about my own business. But to get to a place where I can do that, and feel like I’m being authentic and in integrity, I first have to apologize.

After Steve, my fiance, killed himself, I struggled. As a solo-preneur, my business is all on me. If I don’t perform, or deliver, then it doesn’t get done. I like that. But after Steve’s death, I struggled. And I dropped some balls. Not all of them. Some clients might even be surprised to read about this. But others will be knowingly nodding their heads and saying, “Ah, that makes sense.”

If you are a client for which I dropped a ball, I’m sorry. And I’d love the opportunity to address that with you. I don’t know what that will look like, but I’m willing to have an honest and direct conversation and mutually determine what that would be and how we get there. If you think you fall into this category, then please, reach out to me directly via email here-stacy@po3inc.com or via phone at 866.362.4263. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t also say that I am blessed with an amazing tribe of friends and family that have helped me through this tough time. Those amazing peeps, and a small fortune in therapy, have been my saving grace and I have much to be grateful for in my life.

Watch for new blog posts regularly, my next post will be about some cool new things I’m really excited to share with you.

I’ll leave you with one more Brené Brown quote, which is mostly to give me the courage to press “Publish”.

brene brown vulnerability courage

Thanks for reading –

Stacy Roach

Sales Coach // Technology Strategist
Zoho CRM Authorized Partner
Zoho Creator Certified Solution Provider – The “make magic happen” platform!

Power of 3 Consulting, Inc. 
(866) 362-4263

To book an appointment with me directly, online, go here: http://po3inc.setmore.com

Book Appointment

5 Trends to Consider in Your E-mail Marketing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The basic tenets of email marketing have largely stayed the same over the last few years, but many things have shifted – innovative trends have surfaced, most having to do with your customers and prospects reading their e-mail on mobile devices.

More people than ever before are now using smart phones to read books, listen to music, and check their e-mails. Some surveys say as many as 45% of American adults use their phones for e-mails. There’s just no way around it: e-mails look different on a smart phone. If you do any kind of e-mail marketing, you can no longer control for screen size or other crucial settings.

As a result, most new trends in e-mail marketing for 2013 are geared towards mobile marketing. E-mails need to be streamlined and more user-friendly. In addition, coordinating content with landing pages and your web site is more important than ever. Below are 5 trends to keep in mind for your e-mail marketing:

1. Smaller subject lines: Mobile devices are often vertically-oriented and have smaller screens. To make sure subject lines aren’t being cut off, they should be small and attention-grabbing.
2. Greater interaction between subject lines and pre-headers: Mobile devices often offer a preview of the e-mail by providing the first line on the inbox home page. Cohesion between subject lines and pre-headers is now more important than ever, as readers often glance at these previews when deciding to open an email. Also, personalizing the pre-header with a “Dear [FirstName] is a great way to remind your customers and prospects that you know them, this personalization is a nice touch. (This is easy to do using ACT! & Swiftpage – it will pull the first name or salutation directly from your database.)
3. Mobile-friendly landing pages: If a potential customer has clicked over to your landing page, they shouldn’t be put off by a clunky homepage not configured for mobile devices. Creating versions of your site for mobile users makes their experience better and encourages them to continue browsing.
4. “Folds” are less important: All mobile devices have varying screen sizes, and thus there’s no longer any set standard for where a “fold” occurs in an e-mail; it’s anyone’s guess at which line a reader will have to scroll down in the e-mail. As a result, it’s important to include interesting elements which draw the reader’s eye downward in any e-mail, to entice them to read on.
5. User-friendly clickable elements: Mobile screens can be very small, making small links difficult to click on. To prevent readers from simply getting frustrated and clicking out of e-mails prematurely, make sure all links are large (think thumb-sized), stand out, and are distinctive from other links.

While many things in e-mail marketing have stayed the same, there are some new twists. E-mail marketing is geared more towards mobile devices than ever before, and any successful e-mail marketing plan or campaign that wants to be successful will take these trends into account.

And to make us feel better than ever about email marketing, Beth Hayden at copyblogger.com notes that, “At a recent social media marketing conference…I was surprised to hear one particular topic kept coming up over and over again, in almost every session I attended. It wasn’t Goggle+. It wasn’t Pinterest. It wasn’t Instagram. It was e-mail marketing.” Read the post.

Beth also references the importance of tracking your e-marketing campaign’s effectiveness. Swiftpage, the e-mail marketing tool that is integrated with ACT! (and the new owners as well) offers the ability to track opens, clicks and forwards. Understanding how your customers and prospects are, or are not, interacting with your e-mail content is invaluable.

We have covered a lot of grounds in this blog post. We would love to help you setup e-mail campaigns that are designed for smart phones and tablets, and show you how to improve your campaign’s effectiveness by monitoring your Swiftpage reports. Remember, enjoy the process! You are growing your business and expanding your brand and building relationships.

First Video Blog!

Reading Time: 1 minutes

We are excited to debut our very first Video Power Blog! (Video! I know!) This is due in large part (ok, totally) to our newest team member, Kiley McInroy, Account Specialist and the Manager of Make it Happen here at Po3inc. She rocks.

This Power Blog includes an update on my recent trip to Arizona to meet with the “Swifties” (Swiftpage employees) and learn about some of what they have in mind for the future of ACT! – I am excited and loving the journey.

We also included a useful tip on backing up your database – an important function that is often overlooked. I hate it when I have to tell people that I can’t help them get back the 25 key customers a user “accidentally” deleted because they have no backup. That sucks.

Enjoy!

 

Excel – How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Sum the Ways…

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Microsoft Excel. Oh, how I love thee. I love the endless geeky ways that I can analyze data to my heart’s content. Pivot tables anyone? But I’ll tell you my dirty little secret about Excel… I just about start cheering when I am talking with folks about how they are currently managing their contacts or sales pipeline and they say “Excel”. Why does my heart beat just a little faster? Is it because I love working over their data in Excel? Nope. It’s because these are the types of people that have the most to gain from implementing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution like ACT! or Microsoft CRM. And those are just the sorts of people I love to work with.

Excel is a great tool, but it is really limited. With a CRM solution like ACT!, you get so much more. First, you have that all-important central repository of leads, prospects, customers, vendors and even competitors. Second, you have an integrated calendar that links activities, appointments and follow-ups to your contacts. Third, you can track and view all the history and interaction with your contacts and you can view that information on the individual contact level, or the account level or even a project level. That includes all the e-mails sent & received from Outlook, and you can live your e-mail life in Outlook and ACT! will still note your e-mail activity on the contact’s history tab. Fourth, you can use ACT! to track your deals in your pipeline. Fifth, you can setup e-marketing campaigns and track your lead/prospect/customer interest and response to those campaigns on the history tab. There’s more, a lot more, but those are the biggies. But here is the cool thing, the feature that makes my geeky Excel-loving side just dance a jig – you can still export most of your data to Excel, often with one easy click, giving you the ability to continue your data slicing & dicing.

Let’s take managing the sales pipeline, for example. You can have an Excel list of your current deals, but updating that list and keeping it current is time-consuming and, over time, can become unwieldy. If instead you use ACT!, and you track your deals using Sales Opportunities, then you can view your deals on the Contact and/or Company view, or you can view a list of all your deals.

And hey, while we are on the topic, I did a guest blog for Sage on the latest cool features of Sales Opportunities in ACT! 2010, the latest version of ACT! – check it out here.

Back to ACT! & Excel – so you have all your sales opportunity data in ACT!, and you want to send an Excel report to someone in your company, but you first want to work with the data in Excel. No problem, just follow these easy steps:

  1. Click View | Opportunities from the pull-down menus.
  2. Filter this list view to show the data you want to play with in Excel. Maybe you only want Open opportunities, or just the deals that are set to close in the next month, or deals that are over a particular dollar figure. Hmmmm, I think I smell a future blog post on filtering list views…
  3. Customize the list view to add whatever opportunity data you want to see. For instance, I always add Days Open and Probability of Closure to the opportunity list view. Hey, there’s another blog post topic, customizing list views.
  4. Now click Tools | Export to Excel and voila, all you data is in an Excel spreadsheet. But wait, there’s more. Notice the other tabs at the bottom of the Excel worksheet – ACT! very kindly builds a pivot table which you can use as a starting point to begin some really slick data analysis. Pivot tables, blog post topic #3!

 

ACT! 2010 – The Upgrade Question

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The fine folks at Sage Software have cranked up the ‘ole marketing machine for their latest release of ACT! – ACT! 2010 – we refer to this version as Twenty-Ten. If you are currently a registered ACT! user, you have probably received an e-mail on Twenty-Ten with a tempting discount to upgrade NOW. So, should you upgrade? Well, that depends…

First, on the discounts, if you are ordering more than 1 license, contact us. We are a Platinum VAR (value-added reseller) for Sage, and as such we get the highest level of discounts on the software, most of which we typically pass on to our Consulting & Training customers. Right, shameless plug aside – now for the question of the day, to be or not to be? Nooooo, to Upgrade or Not to Upgrade. There are definitely some cool new features of Twenty-Ten that we at Po3 really like and think will deliver significant value for our customers. There are also some new “features” as listed by Sage that we look at and say “Nice, but not sure it’s worth the $$$ to upgrade.”

Since the recession is over you probably have a bunch of spare cash to toss at a software upgrade, right? No? Hmmmm. Chances are you were fiscally conservative with expensesbefore the economic calamity of the last year, and are continuing to watch the dollars and cents.

That doesn’t mean we think you should NOT upgrade, for some of our customers upgrading is the best path forward. For others, upgrading doesn’t really make sense right now.

One approach would be to look at the list of new features and determine the value to your organization. That’s a classic mistake made by many companies when looking at software. Instead, you should review your sales goals and/or business model and determine how the use of the new feature in ACT! might help you meet those goals or improve your business processes. Starting with the business requirements is a core tenet here at Po3. By starting with your goals and requirements, you will be able to easily determine if upgrading will provide any significant assistance or contribution to achieving those goals.

For example, let’s say that you want to have a sales manager step into the sales process earlier in the sales cycle if certain conditions exist. And you know that there are several key pieces of information that will provide you signifcantly better forecasting data, which will in turn allow your sales managers to step into a sale earlier in the cycle to assist in closing the deal. Visibility to that data, and the ability to act on that data earlier in the sales cycle will likely mean a higher close percentage on your sales opportunities. The new sales opportunity customization options in Twenty-Ten will definitely help you achieve that goal, which in turn will mean more revenue. In that scenario, upgrading is a no-brainer.

So, should you upgrade? I dunno, should you? (Isn’t it just like a consultant to answer a question with a question?!) The net-net is that if you have taken the time to review your specific sales goals and business requirements, and then looked at how the new functionality in ACT! 2010 can help you with those goals and requirements, then  you are in a position to make a solid upgrade decision.

Stacy Roach
ACT! Certified Consultant & Trainer
Swiftpage Gold Drip Marketing Certified Consultant
stacy@po3inc.com
866.362.4263

 

Recording History in ACT!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Recording History

Many of our customers use the ACT! calendar and scheduling features, so they understand the value of clearing those activities and recording the details of a call or meeting, which then appear on the History tab in ACT! But other customer either don’t or can’t use the ACT! calendar, and use the Outlook calendar instead. In fact, we talk to virtually every one of our clients about integrating the ACT! & Outlook calendars. There isn’t a simple answer, it really depends on what information you want to send to and from Outlook and how your ACT! database is setup. If you do primarily use Outlook, there is a quick way to enter the details of your customer & prospect interactions into ACT! so that the information can be viewed, shared and reported on from ACT!

For most of our clients tracking that all-important history of your interaction & communication with your ACT! contacts is an important requirement. And even if your company relies on Outlook for calendaring, you can use the powerful Record History function in ACT! to enter the details of your meetings and calls with ACT! contacts.

How To Record History:

  1. To Record History on a contact record, first find the contact by looking up the contact.
  2. Click on the History tab and then either click on the Record History icon, or anywhere in the white space on the tab, right-click and select Record History.
  3. Set the Type to either Call, Meeting, To-do or one of your custom activities if you have those defined. In the Regarding field enter the main topic of the interaction, such as “Proposal Review”.
  4. Click in the Details: area and add all the detailed notes from the interaction. Note here that if you do use ACT! activities, you can click on the Follow-up button at the bottom of the dialog box and schedule the next follow-up activity for this contact, so that any key next steps don’t fall through the cracks.
  5. Click OK and you should now be viewing the your recorded history on the History tab.

This is an image for recording history in ACT!

Recording History

This is a screen shot of the Record History Dialog Box in ACT!