Mailchimp Integration

Do you use Mailchimp to send newsletters and communications to your clients? So we have got good news for you. Clevertim initial integration with Mailchimp is now available.

If you don’t use Mailchimp but are considering an email campaign software, Mailchimp is free and relatively easy to use. It is not the only one, but it is the only one Clevertim is currently supporting.

First things first. Assuming you have a Mailchimp account, you will need to go to Settings => Applications on your Clevertim account and enable the integration.

Clevertim_Mailchimp_Settings01

The Enable/Disable button is on the right corner. Once it is enabled, you will be able to do a few things on this page.

Clevertim_Mailchimp_Settings02

  1. You can choose whether to use just the first email address of your contact, or all of them.
  2. Check all the lists you have on Mailchimp. If you add new ones, just press Refresh lists and you will see new ones in the list.
  3. And finally, you can import the contacts from Mailchimp into Clevertim here. It will import contacts from all existing lists or just one specific one, your choice. If a contact with the same email address already exists in Clevertim, it will be updated, not duplicated.

Don’t forget to press Save when you’re done!

We recommend you starting from the last point above, importing your Mailchimp contacts to Clevertim, so your contacts are already included in lists.

Now that the Mailchimp integration is enabled, you just need to remember to update your existing contacts on Clevertim (the ones that aren’t already on Mailchimp and were imported to your account) with the lists you have on Mailchimp.

When you open a contact, you will see a section for Mailchimp on the right hand side, just under Custom Fields. Just click on Add a value in the list field and a drop down menu with all your options will appear.

Clevertim_Mailchimp_contacts

Repeat this step to all contacts you want to add to your mailing lists.

This is the initial integration with Mailchimp; we are currently working on updated and improvements and will come back with more news soon.

Coming soon

After writing a couple of posts about using videos to promote your businesses (Part 1 and Part 2), we’ve decided to give it a go too. Nothing fancy or complicated. The idea is to have short and easy-to-follow tutorials explaining some of the key features of Clevertim.

The video tutorials will come to complement any “How to…” posts we write or the help section on the website, as there is nothing wrong in having lots of help available.

Watch this space – we are looking at this as we speak and should have some news soon.

Personalise your Clevertim account

If you are the administrator of your Clevertim account, you can personalise it by adding your company’s logo, slogan and description, by just following these simple steps.

1. Go to the business preferences

Clevertim_Business Preferences

 

2. Upload your logo file as .JPG or .PNG. It will generate a thumbnail, so make sure the file is big enough

3. Add your company’s name, slogan and description. Why add these things? It will help your new employees and contractors to check it without having to ask other people. This might come in handy to your marketing and PR teams

Clevertim CRM - Company's info

 

4. Save the changes. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Save Changes.

You will notice that your logo will show at the top left corner of the website. If you hover the mouse on the logo, you can see the slogan too. The description is only available in the business preference screen (for now).

Clevertim CRM_your logo and slogan

 

Whislt updating the company’s details is only for admin level, updating personal photos, name and email goes for each single user. Just go to My info & settings.

 

Clevertim CRM _ add your info

 

Our contact management Android app

Happy New Year, everyone!

We’re proud to announce that we’ve released an Android app for our contact management system. It supports all the features that the web site supports, but includes a better display on mobile phone. You can continue to use the website on mobile devices without any problem.

Get it on Google Play

Below, we’re including a few screenshots taken from a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone.

Clevertim CRM for Android

 

Clevertim CRM for Android

Clevertim CRM for Android

Clevertim CRM for Android

Clevertim CRM for Android

 

Contacts or companies?

When you start using a contact management system or a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, one of the first problems you encounter is what level should you track your data at? Sounds like such a simple problem too, and, depending on your business processes (i.e. the way you work), it might be simple or not so simple. But the fact you come up with the question shows you one important thing: until you try to add a structure to the way you work, you don’t really discover some of these questions. Discovering the trivial, yet important questions about your business is important when you want to scale your business, train more staff, transfer knowledge easily and institute some consistency in the way you deal with your business partners, be it customers, potential clients etc. For example, how can you be sure that both Mike and Pete in your company follow the same rigorous steps in the sales process?

But let’s go back to our simple question. What level should you track your interactions in your customer management system? Contacts – that is people? Or companies? The answer depends on the industry you’re in, the way you interact with your business partners and what you want to get out of the contact management system. Let’s see the options you have.

1. Contacts only

If all you do is interact with individuals, then this option is the most natural choice. It is the most appropriate option if you work in retail or take appointments from the regular Joe out there. If you’re a financial adviser trying to sell retirement plans, then you obviously work with individuals. Companies are irrelevant and you don’t want the additional complexity.

2. Companies only

You might be in the B2B domain, where you work and sell to companies, not to individuals. Even then, the interaction for selling purposes with inevitably happen with actual individuals working for the target company. You might decide to only track notes under the company and not care about the individuals involved. You might lose some of the business intelligence in that case, but that might not be relevant in your case.

3. Contacts and companies

This is probably the most common scenario when you work with individuals and companies. The actual exchange of information, communication, emails happen with individuals. When you use the Dropbox feature and forward or CC emails to your dedicated email address, those notes will be sent to actual individuals, unless you use generic email addresses (e.g. sales@domainname). If you want to attach a note under a contact and a company at the same time, that is possible with Clevertim, as Clevertim allows you to attach a note under multiple contacts and companies. It also allows you to attach notes under an opportunity or a case.

We want to encourage our customers to use both contacts and companies when using our contact management system. One of the common complaint is that is not easy to have a single view of all the communications with a company. To facilitate this, a while ago we’ve added an option under the Business Preferences. It is called “Automatically file contact notes under their respective companies too”, and, as the name suggests, it makes all the notes filed under contacts visible under their respective companies. As a result, the company becomes a single view of all the exchanges done with any employees within that company.

Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales

A lot of companies use both Inside Sales teams and Outside Sales teams and both teams collaborate on the ultimate goal of closing sales and converting as many leads into paying customers.

An outside sales team is a team of travelling sales people, field agents visiting existing customers or prospects, trying to sell or sometimes discover needs. An example would be a sales agent going from shop to shop trying to convince small businesses to sign up to buy a new website from a web agency. But not all outside sales teams try to convince cold prospects of the benefits of a new product or service. Some of them visit existing customers trying to discover needs, especially in businesses where existing customers periodically purchase inventory, machines, repair services, etc. MRO is an example of such a business. MRO stands for maintenance, repair and overhaul, it involves selling maintenance services, machinery, replacement components, etc.

An inside sales team by contrast doesn’t travel, but instead they stay back at the headquarters and they operate remotely, trying to close deals by phone, email, social media, etc. They do not generally meet customers face to face.

Many companies need an outside sales team and an inside sales team to work together. Some companies outsource the outside sales team or hire outside sales agents and pay them a commission. Many times the outside sales agents are self employed sales people who might work for multiple companies at the same time.

These companies need to centralize their data to make the collaboration between the inside and the outside sales team work. They also need ways to track how productive the outside sales agents are. Are the outside sales people working hard enough for your business? This is so much more important when you outsource the services or hire freelancer sales agents. So not only you need to make the data available to everyone for collaboration, you need to make the data query-able via reports, so you can see what the data tells you.

Clevertim CRM was designed for this use case. It was designed to help inside sales teams collaborate efficiently with outside sales teams, while also providing flexible custom reports that allows companies and the management to see through the data and optimize the processes accordingly. A lot of our customers use Clevertim CRM for this purpose. So if you have inside sales and outside sales teams, why don’t you give Clevertim CRM a try today and you will see the same benefits some of our customers are seeing.

Small businesses need a simple CRM

Last week I had another look at Salesforce, something I do from time to time, to see for myself what’s new in terms of features, usability, plugins, etc. Salesforce is a great platform, but every time I log in, my head hurts. It’s just so complex – it can do so many things, which is great for big enterprises, especially when they have lots of money for customizations (and they inevitably need to customize it big time).

But when you’re a small business, complexity kills productivity. If it takes you 10 minutes instead of 1 minute to perform an action, then that’s 9 minutes you won’t get back. 9 minutes you won’t sell, you won’t market, you won’t support your customers and you won’t spend time with your love ones.
It’s not just time though. It’s the frustration. If you’re like me, I tend to lose my patience, start pulling my hair out when things are not immediately obvious and when, something that I think of as “this should be easy” proves out to be more complicated or take longer that what I’ve prepared myself for.

Now this post is obviously a rant. It’s not about Salesforce. Again, Salesforce is a great business and a great CRM swiss army knife. It’s about complexity, it’s about optimizing the use of your time and time is so much more precious when you work with the limited resources of a small company.

Time and time again, I keep telling small business owners that they should choose a simple CRM, a system that works for them. But most of them like to think big … in 6 months we’ll outgrow it. We need something that can grow with us. And inevitably they fall into the “complexity trap”. They go for something more complex, something they don’t need now, just because they’ll need it in 6 months. Many of them turn out not to grow as they expected to, but they’re still saddled with the complexity of a behemoth. It just kills their productivity.

Start with something simple that you can use today. Cross the complexity bridge  when you absolutely have to, because complexity is not a nice problem to have. Complexity kills productivity.

Dropbox and Google Drive integration

We’ve just released a feature that allows users to attach files from Dropbox and Google Drive to Clevertim CRM notes. This is in response to demand from our users for such integration.

To access the new functionality, just click on More options when adding a note. That should expand a dialog with more options that allows you to attach files from your local drive and now, it also allows you to pick a file from your Dropbox or Google Drive repositories.

When using it for the first time, you will be prompted to give Clevertim CRM permission to access your Dropbox or Google Drive files. Once you give access, you will be prompted to select the files you want to attach.

You can attach files in one of two ways:

Link to the file
This option, as the name suggests, just attaches the link to the file. It does not copy the file, so users can click on the link and always get to the latest version of the file that still resides in Dropbox or Google Drive. Users need to have permissions to access the Dropbox or Google Drive repository and this can be a problem.

Download and embed the file
This option essentially takes a snapshot of the file at that time and inserts it into Clevertim CRM. Any changes made to the file in Dropbox or Google Drive will not be reflected in Clevertim CRM (the CRM only has a snapshot at the time when the note is added). On the positive side, the users can see the file without having permissions to access the Dropbox or the Google Drive repository.

Let us know what you think of this feature.