Contact Management is Key to Selling Success. Smartphones for Smart Business Owners. Upcoming SBDC Workshops and Events. Business Briefs for June 2010

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1 Business Briefs for June 2010 Contact Management is Key to Selling Success Making sure your sales pipeline is full is one challenge. However, it is equally important to manage your prospects and customers. In today s competitive business environment you can t afford to miss an appointment, forget a follow-up call or lose a sales lead. If you neglect to capitalize on a sales opportunity, you will likely lose the sale. At the very least, failing to follow through on your business activities means the loss of your reputation and credibility. Smartphones for Smart Business Owners In the 1980 s, the personal computer offered businesses an innovative tool to improve efficiencies and lower costs. The Internet was commercialized in the 1990 s and opened the world to global business without boundaries. Today smartphones are beginning to have an equally dramatic impact on business and customers. If you haven t purchased a smartphone yet, there are some good reasons why you should adopt this technology in your company. To prevent the unnecessary loss of sales and your reputation, small business owners should use contact management software. Contact management software provides an easy method to keep track of appointments and keeps a record of all customer and prospect activities. This type of software is part of a broader business area called customer relationship management (CRM). Basically you want to effectively manage the relationships with your customers and prospects to maximize sales and profits. Upcoming SBDC Workshops and Events The SBDC is committed to providing valuable training and resources for our clients. We typically offer workshops in the following areas: "Small Business Orientation" "High Impact Marketing" 'QuickBooks Training" "SBA Lender Forum" "E-Business Start Up" "Business Tax" "California Construction Contracting Programs" Visit our site to get details and register for upcoming workshops. Click Here SBDC s are a program supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Economic & Workforce Development through California Community Colleges (EWD) and extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. SBA and EWD cannot endorse any products, opinions or services of any external parties or activities. This material is based on work supported by the SBA and EWD. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or EWD. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Maria Hughes, Small Business Administration, 550 West C Street, Suite 550, San Diego, CA, 92101, (619) Ext

2 Small Business Survival Tips Making sure your sales pipeline is full is one challenge. However, it is equally important to manage your prospects and customers. In today s competitive business environment you can t afford to miss an appointment, forget a follow-up call or lose a sales lead. If you neglect to capitalize on a sales opportunity, you will likely lose the sale. At the very least, failing to follow through on your business activities means the loss of your reputation and credibility. To prevent the unnecessary loss of sales and your reputation, small business owners should use contact management software. Contact management software provides an easy method to keep track of appointments and keeps a record of all customer and prospect activities. This type of software is part of a broader business area called customer relationship management (CRM). Basically you want to effectively manage the relationships with your customers and prospects to maximize sales and profits. Since the 1980 s there have been a number of contact management programs available for small businesses. Most of these software packages offer features valuable to the salesperson such as: Calendar Rolodex Customer activity tracking Appointment reminder Customer history Sales opportunity tracking Here are some important benefits for the business owner to implement a contact management system: 1. Increase sales 2. If you lose a salesperson, you can still have the account information for customers and prospects. 3. The system will help a business more accurately forecast sales. 4. The software can streamline sales operations to save time and money. 5. A CRM system can lead to better customer satisfaction. 6. The software can provide sales activity reports to help owners more effectively manage their sales team. 2

3 There are several leading contact manger programs available such as Goldmine, ACT, Salesforce.com and Microsoft Contact manager. Before making a purchase you should consider the following questions: How many employers (employees?) will be using the system? What software features are most important to you? Do you want to have the software hosted on a company server or do you want the software to be hosted and accessed on the Internet? What is your software budget? Once you have done your homework, evaluated the software packages and made the purchase, you are ready to implement your CRM solution. It will be a smart move to take the recommended training on the software to reduce the learning curve, reduce frustration and obtain the maximum benefit from the software. Before you forget about reading this article, make a note to yourself about investing CRM for your company. If you have further questions about sales and contact management software, be sure to contact the SBDC North San Diego County for assistance at (760)

4 Smartphones for Smart Business Owners In the 1980 s, the personal computer offered businesses an innovative tool to improve efficiencies and lower costs. The Internet was commercialized in the 1990 s and opened the world to global business without boundaries. Today smartphones are beginning to have an equally dramatic impact on business and customers. If you haven t purchased a smartphone yet, there are some good reasons why you should adopt this technology in your company. 1. Increase your Sales The Apple iphone is a huge success and widely used by consumers and business professionals. You should create applications that your customers or prospects can download and use. These applications can be developed to enhance your brand and/or increase sales. For example, Starbucks has created and launched an iphone application for ordering food and drinks. Starbucks application lets customers locate the closest store, order drinks and pay for the order via the smartphone application. In addition to enhancing their customer service, the mobile apps generated huge media buzz for the company. It has created a huge buzz because it is a unique application and involves the iphone. 2. Access Information Quickly and Anywhere You should never get lost going toa business meeting again. Most smartphones have Internet access so you can use Google to map your route. Clicking on 'address' will show you where the company is on the built-in map and you can even use street view to see what the building looks like. Also, many smartphones have built in global positioning software, GPS, which will show your current location and provide directions to your destination. 3. Improve Productivity With a smartphone, you have 75 percent of the functionality of your desktop computer and total freedom from your desk. For the self-employed or anyone in sales or business development this mobility gives you the freedom to leave the office to network with prospects and meet with customers. Instead of coming back to an office full of phone messages and s, you'll be able to manage your business activities while out, maintaining your connection with calls, s and work. There is an iphone application called Documents to Go (US$5) that gives you access to your entire Microsoft Office suite on your iphone. You can use this application to edit, create and view Word documents, as well as view and synchronize Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and other files. It provides an easy way to send files using your existing account right from your iphone. 4

5 4. Mobile Business Education A smartphone with an Internet connection will enable you to access educational material anytime and anywhere. So instead of waiting in line at the post office staring at the stamp county, you can learn while you wait. For example you can catch-up on your business magazines, industry newsletters and the current edition of the Wall Street Journal. If you are really ambitious, you can start learning a foreign language. 5. Business Communications Made Simple The next time you want to use the telephone or to confirm an order or an appointment, you should consider sending a SMS message instead. It requires less time for you and the recipient, eliminates telephone tag, costs less than a phone call and is more immediate than . Further, you're sure to get a rapid response and demonstrate your expertise with new technology. 6. Use Professional Rather than Social Media Smartphones give you access to the popular social and professional website downloads for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These download applications make it easier to access and post information on these networking websites. So you are always able to communicate with your customers, fans and new prospects anywhere you are and a 24/7 basis. Don t delay buying your new smartphone today, because you want to wait for the latest device. There will always be a new technology introduced so take advantage of what is available now. After discovering the tremendous business benefits of a smartphone, you will be eager to implement newer technology in the future. If you would like assistance with small business issues, be sure to contact the SBDC North San Diego County for assistance at (760)

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