Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Don’t Get Hung Up on the Peaks and Valleys

It’s very easy to become elated and celebrate on a peak, and just as easy to become dispirited in a valley. Peaks and valleys are a natural part of business.

We recently changed our on-line chat service on www.myGPcloud.com to allow chat slide-overs on the site. Others have had great success with this subtle change in regards to web site conversions. We initially experienced greater use of this function by site visitors, and then it dropped off. However last week we experienced three times more activity than we have ever experienced before. Yippee! It’s working. But now it won’t surprise me if activity dips. It’s a natural part of business.

I’m currently reading Harvey Mackay’s book, “The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World” and in it he relates a story of a veteran sales person Harvey met when Harvey was starting out. Harvey knew that the veteran was experiencing a slump and was surprised to see him enjoying himself at a sports event instead of pounding the pavement. The veteran explained that he realized that he was in a slump but knew that the slump would come to an end, and then he would be on the attack once again. No need to expend extraordinary energy when you’re in a slump. It will come back.

Peaks and valleys are a natural part of business.

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Guitar Center Gets it Right

Guitar Center has developed and deployed a very effective automated marketing campaign. The beauty of it can be seen in how Guitar Center responds to a single purchase from their web site.

In his article, “What Guitar Center Can Teach You About Smart Email Marketing“, Derek Halpern relays his experience following his purchase of a shock mount for a microphone.

What you can see from his experience is that Guitar Center is dynamically tailoring its e-mail marketing to each customer. This is beautiful. Guitar Center is deepening its engagement with customers and encouraging repeat business. This is so much better than just sending out generic e-mail messages.

Can you find a way to incorporate this in your own business?

  • Follow up with customers every time and follow up with a specially tailored message for each one
  • Provide additional content that is not just trying to sell another product or service

There is a lot of value in what Guitar Center is doing. You can move in that direction.

Read Derek’s full article here: http://ww.visibli.com/share/G7QXZY

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Cross Browser Support for Dynamics CRM – Finally

Almost everyone has been waiting for this feature. It is scheduled to release in the 2nd quarter of this year. That generally means it will be available June 30.

Here is a video that shows some of the new functionality: http://youtu.be/5HVqc5MthbI

Here is a Microsoft page that has further explanation of the features: http://crm.dynamics.com/en-us/roadmap

“…additional browsers and platforms will be supported as part of this update including:

  • Safari running on Mac or iPad
  • Firefox running on PC or Mac
  • Chrome running on PC

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Don’t Forget the Glass is Half Empty

I’m a “glass is half full” guy. And compared to its opposite, I much prefer to be this way. In fact, I can generally prescribe this for everyone.

But I recently learned a lesson that reminds me to not forget that the glass is also half empty.

We’ve been running an effective e-mail campaign across our target market for over three years. The response rates are what I had hoped for, the click through rates are good, and the conversion rates are certainly acceptable; enough so, to keep me moving forward with the campaign as designed and executed.

We recently looked at the annual activity from our target market and shockingly discovered that the results, the kind that show up on our financial statements, were not impressive. We immediately moved resources to support that part of our business.

On further analysis I realize that I had missed early warning signs of the problem. Because the engagement results from our e-mailing campaign were acceptable, I didn’t look much deeper into the results. I was seeing the glass as half full, and ignoring the empty half. As it turned out, I was missing the trees for the forest (another cliché turned on its head). And it happened that the trees I was missing were the trees with the small pots of gold buried beneath (oh, shoot, another cliché). This realization supports our previous reallocation of resources (good), but I should have seen it coming. I missed it (bad).

It’s worthwhile to examine the empty half of the glass from time to time.

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Why I Use Chrome

I’m a Microsoft Gold Partner, so if I use Chrome, there’s a pretty compelling reason. These are my two compelling reasons:

WordPress. I manage four WordPress blogs, contribute to a fifth, and will be launching a sixth in a few weeks. WordPress does not work well with Internet Explore 9. So Chrome is a great alternative. I can do all I want in WordPress with Chrome. It’s simple. All the WordPress functionality I use, works with Chrome, not with IE 9.

Twitter. I have been an active Twitter user for three years. I have multiple accounts I manage. I have struggled to find a good application to manage them. I started with TweetDeck on my laptop OS. No good. At the time it used Adobe Air, which had a horrible memory leak and made the application unusable, and eventually rendered my laptop unusable. I switched to Tootsuite. Fun name. Decent product, but it was slow.

Just last week I looked at TweetDeck again. To my delight they have a web based version that is a native application in Chrome. It is wonderful! Runs great! Couldn’t be happier.

Am I shucking IE? No. IE lights up certain websites in a way that Chrome just cannot. IE is my default browser.

Having more than one web browser works well for me.

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CoreMotives Microsoft CRM – Initial

CoreMotives is one online service, among several, that allows you to better monitor and execute your marketing activities on the Internet. I started using CoreMotives four months ago.

What initially drew me to the service was their ability to track and identify visitors to our several web assets. We receive thousands of visitors each month to our websites and blogs. I assume that people who visit our sites several times are either doing business with us already, or could be persuaded to do so in a shorter period of time than a typical prospect. My problem was how to measure the level of engagement for each visitor, how to identify them, and how to gauge when they might  most be inclined to enter into a sales process.

CoreMotives provides that functionality right out of the box, with very little configuration. A big bonus for me is that they integrate directly and significantly with Microsoft CRM. In fact, access to most all of the functionality is within Microsoft CRM.

It took me a couple of days to coordinate with various developers to install the required tracking codes on all the pages that I wanted to track. But it’s easy to do. I installed the codes on our blogs myself. Simple. As soon as the tracking codes are installed, CoreMotives starts tracking your web traffic. This is a sample of what the traffic records look like:

CoreMotives Web Traffic

If you look at the file you’ll notice that the visitor is identified as, “Anonymous Web visitor”, and you’ll wonder what possible use that is. I’ll cover that in a later article.

Now you’re interested, right?

Wow, this would be neat: I’d like to be able to track traffic to our YouTube Channel. That would be neat.

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Are You Blogging Yet?

I posted my first blog article on our Dynamics GP blog on this date, four years ago: http://gp.rosebizincblogs.com/2007/12/fear-not-it%E2%80%99s-only-great-plains-10-0-2.html

So what?

I along with others at our firm have gotten into the habit of blogging and sharing our expertise and thoughts with our communities. Beyond just the personal expression benefits, blogging has helped us develop a strong Internet presence that supports our marketing objectives.

What we’ve found is that blogging is pretty easy to do, and it’s cheap. We feel that it definitely differentiates us from our competitors, and draws in prospects.

This is the quick summary. If you’re not already blogging, get started. You cannot have an immediate impact on your market, so you need to start as soon as possible and build momentum.

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CRM Outlook Integration Rocks

I’ve been using Microsoft CRM, version 4 intensely for about two years.  The integration with Outlook is solid.

I regularly e-mail out of Outlook and promote e-mail messages, outgoing and incoming, to CRM.  This leaves a wonderful trail of activity records at both the Contact level and the Account level.  It is so easy to quickly refer to the history, and get caught up on any opportunity or relationship.

I also use CRM to track phone conversations, a lot.  I schedule phone calls to complete in the future.  They automatically show up in my Outlook task list on the appropriate day.  I can go right into the record, or “snooze” it for awhile.  If I don’t actually talk to the subject of my phone call, I make a note of the date and the attempt, on the task, leave the task open, and reschedule it for some time in the future.  I usually follow up with an e-mail message and make a note of that, and note any response from the subject.

Whether I schedule the task in Outlook or CRM, or I update the task in Outlook or CRM, the two systems synchronize in due course.  This keeps me productive and moving through my day.  Terrific!

Here’s what my Outlook task list looks like with the CRM tasks:

This is a video I created sometime ago, that shows this in action:  http://youtu.be/XeZTa3ksMBI

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Local CRM Launch Event

This is the slide deck I used at our recent Microsoft CRM 2011 Launch Event.

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CRM 2011 Launch Event

CRM 2011 is loaded with new functionality.  Plan on attending the launch event:

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