An important announcement from e1evation, llc

e1evation, llc announces that Todd Lohenry has been named the interim VP of Marketing, Sales and Technology at Jag, Inc., one of Northeast Wisconsin’s oldest and most trusted names in advertising.

There are two objectives behind the move:

Introduce internal systems and process improvements at Jag, Inc.

Jag, Inc. has already migrated from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps for Business Communications. It is also in the process of implementing a new Content Management System [CMS] website, social media strategy, and Customer Relationship Management [CRM] system to improve both sales and customer service. Todd will manage the business development process and oversee the day to day operations of these systems and their processes which drive business development at Jag, Inc.

Expand the existing product lines of both companies.

Jag, Inc. is already one of the top providers of outdoor, indoor and commercial signs in the State of Wisconsin — President Jane Sweasy is a respected member of the Wisconsin Family Business Forum and the Northeast Wisconsin business community. e1evation, llc is a Google Authorized Solutions Provider, a CMS Website developer, a social media marketer, and a Charter Business representative — owner Todd Lohenry is also a public speaker and teaches the social media certification course at NWTC.

Together e1evation, llc and Jag, Inc. offer a full range of cost effective options that will work together to generate leads for our customers ‘here, there and everywhere’. Moving forward, billing and administration will be handled through Jag, Inc. – please contact Todd Lohenry regarding any transitional business issues…

About Jag, Inc.

“Jag billboards and commercial signs have been getting companies and their products noticed since 1946. As a family-owned business, Jag Outdoor Advertising prides itself on going above and beyond when delivering customer service, ensuring that every Jag customer achieves optimum results while earning a lifetime friend.”

About e1evation, llc

“e1evation, llc [pronounced elevation] is an international consulting firm that helps businesses, non-profits and academic institutions with marketing, sales and technology solutions.”

For Jag, Inc.:
Jane Sweasy, President
Jag, Inc.
1508 Sunset Avenue
Algoma, WI 54201
http://jagoutdoor.com
jsweasy@jagoutdoor.com
(920) 487-3443

For e1evation, llc:
Todd Lohenry, Owner
e1evation, llc
305 Steele St., Suite 27
Algoma, WI 54201
http://e1evation.com
(920) 710-0790
todd@e1evation.com
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It's not easy being social

THE Jay Baer and Zena Weist
Image by tysongoodridge via Flickr

Better said “It’s easy, but not simple”. Jay Baer’s got some great thoughts on adding social media to your mix…

“Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s different expensive.

In the QA portion of recent speeches, I’ve frequently been asked this is great, but doesn’t it seem like it will take a lot of time?

Yes. It. Will.

Succeeding on the social Web requires daily participation. Whether it’s brand reputation management, PR and influencer outreach, customer service and social CRM, interacting with fans on a brand community, or just creating content that builds thought leadership — it all takes time.

Fundamentally, there are no shortcuts in social media, because the entire premise is that you’re interacting with customers one on one (or one on few). That is of course more time consuming than reaching hundreds, thousands, or millions of customers at one time with a paid advertisement. How could it not be so?

The only way America is even keeping its head above the global water line is by squeezing every last drop of productivity out of all of us. Please raise your hand if you’re working fewer hours these days than you did five or ten years ago. Exactly. Unless you’re somehow on Justin Bieber’s management team, you’re probably busting your hump like never before, tethered to the world by the iWhatever. So, I recognize that you probably don’t have the time to really commit to social media, and neither does anyone on your team.” Source: Nobody Said Social Media Was Easy Read more of this post

While you were sleeping 3/24/2010

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Did you catch ‘Twitter Tuesday’?

“Happy birthday, Twitter! Four years ago, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent out the very first tweet: “just setting up my twttr.” Fast forward to today, when even having a million followers doesn’t make you a bigshot anymore. We’ll tell you all about that, as well as some new apps and changes to the Twitter API, in this edition of Twitter Tuesday.” Source: Twitter Tuesday – this week’s Twitter news, apps and more

Twitter says spam is way down…

“Twitter spam is “way down – and counting,” the micro-blogging site said Tuesday.

“While the battle will never be over, we’re doing well on the front lines. Advertising Age recently profiled our Trust and Safety team noting the strong progress we’ve made keeping Twitter light on spam,” Twitter said in a blog post. “With help from engineers on our Research team like @wfarner, we’ve moved the percentage of spam flowing through the Twitter network way down–and counting.”” Source: Twitter Says Spam is ‘Way Down’ – AppScout

Elsewhere, the focus is on Google contacts…

“Google Contacts needs to get better. Google and Gmail devotees regularly deal with duplicate contacts, sync abnormalities, over-stuffed contact groups, and other problems. Here are our best methods for fixing those annoyances yourself until Google does for real.” Source: The Complete Guide to Fixing Google Contacts – Google Contacts – Lifehacker

And a product called Etacts wants to enhance your Google contacts experience…

“Let’s all just agree: Contact management is a pain in the butt. You want to keep in touch with your friends, business contacts and others, but solutions such as Google Contacts don’t offer advanced customer relationship management (CRM) features like what you see in Salesforce — even though a lot of us could use it. That’s a need Etacts seeks to meet.” Source: Etacts Transforms Your Gmail into a Contact Management Hub

Wow! It’s already Wednesday…

Social media and CRM

Image representing Gist as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Well begun is half done, as they say. Michael Reynolds of SpinWeb has a good post on the issue of social media and CRM. As a CRM [customer relationship management] consultant ==> social media meister, I couldn’t resist weighing in on this article with a few thoughts of my own. First Michael…

“According to Dr. Ivan Misner, the father of BNI, “The best CRM application is the one you will use”. This is a great way of saying that all the fancy CRM programs and features in the world will not make a difference if your software is too complex or no fun to use. For that reason, I know many people who get by just fine with an Excel spreadsheet. It works for them because it’s simple and it makes sense.

However, what about using social networks for CRM? Sure, social media is all the buzz right now and sometimes very effectively used as a marketing medium but how about using it more systematically and tracking your customer relationships using these networks? I’ve presented some ways here that you can use the “big three” networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) for CRM.” Source: Using Social Networks for CRM

Michael goes on to discuss how LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be bent toward this purpose…

“Can social networks replace standard CRM software? Maybe in some cases, but more often I can see them supplementing your core database. Social networks give us an extended, organic database that updates in real time with information that can be very valuable to account managers and sales professionals. Why not take advantage of this and use social networks to stay more connected to your customers and provide better service?” Source: Using Social Networks for CRM

There are two additions I’d like to make. First, simply monitoring LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook is too time intensive! I recommend a new tool called Gist as a way of tracking them all. It’s not to say that LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter aren’t essential components of ‘social crm’, but Gist is the glue that brings them [and all a contact’s other online content] together in a single dashboard. Reviews or information on Gist are scarce, but here’s a good demo from social media goddess Erin Blaskie that will give you the gist of Gist [sorry!]…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqR-J8ssNDE

Secondly, as good as Gist is, I don’t think of it as CRM. I think of it as BASF. You know, ‘we don’t make the cassette, we make it better’ — Gist amplifies CRM by giving you a dashboard to help track the important people in your business…

True CRM is a different discipline altogether. It has the ability to track opportunities through a business development process and attach activities and information against the players [individuals and companies] associated with it. If you’re an entrepreneur who needs the discipline of CRM [and I highly recommend developing that discipline!], use Gist in conjunction with Zoho CRM. If money is no object, consider using Salesforce.com in conjunction with InsideView, a truly social addition to crm, although watch Salesforce.com closely!

Questions? Feedback? Comment, call or contact me to discuss how this applies to your project…

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Salesforce.com Enticement Program: Migrate with Ease

Another sign of growing customer dissatisfaction with Salesforce.com…

“Salesboom.com™ leading vendor of Software-as-a-Service CRM Software Solutions today announced the implementation of their Salesforce.com Enticement Program which is designed for displeased Salesforce.com customers who are looking to migrate to another CRM provider. Businesses who migrate to Salesboom.com On-Demand CRM Solutions receive a $5,000 check and a guaranteed lower annual rate than that of Salesforce.com, some restrictions apply…

An increasing number of businesses driven by frustration with poor customer service and high license and integration costs are leaving Salesforce.com for Salesboom.com. As described by Rami Hamodah, the President and Co-Founder of Salesboom.com, “The relationship between Salesboom.com and Salesforce.com is a one way street. Salesforce.com customers embark on their journey along this one way street and find themselves at our door. This one way street analogy sums up our relationship with Salesforce.com, we should be thankful to them, after all they are our largest source of new clients!”

Myself, I was a huge fan of Salesforce.com for many years but have moved on to the community version of SugarCRM which has much of the functionality of Salesforce.com but is free and just fine for a smaller sales team. Salesforce.com is doing a lot of stupid things lately from their lame channel program to their ever escalating prices. Think twice before getting invoved with Salesforce.com…

Update 11/21/09: Since writing this post, have also become a huge fan of Zoho CRM!

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Top Ten marketing success tips for small businesses

“Definitions of marketing are plentiful. For small business owners, most would agree that marketing is about generating sales opportunities so that your businesses can grow. Concepts such as brand building and customer relationship management may seem slightly more nebulous in terms of immediate impact on revenue, but it is this type of activity that will assist in achieving customer loyalty. Loyal customers generate invaluable Word of Mouth (WoM) referrals and provide repeat business, reducing your cost of sale.” Click here to read more…

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