7 key points to make informed decision about Mobile CRM for your business

Customers are driving growth and transforming their sales teams by adopting better ways to manage their sales function with the help of an intelligent Mobile CRM solution. Businesses seeking a truly mobile workforce must provide its workers the right mobile CRM, a set of extensive tools that is flexible and provide seamless integration. While today’s mobile CRM solutions work on smartphones and tablets powered by Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows, one can’t assume that what works well on computers will work equally well on mobile devices.

Organize your decision-making process around the tips below and you will be well placed to make an informed decision about your new mobile CRM. Alternatively, use the tips to assess the performance of a system already in place.

  • Requirements: It may seem obvious, but it is impossible to choose correctly without determining what your company’s requirements are. Ask yourself which departments need to use a CRM platform and how many users there are likely to be. For companies intending to utilise their CRM primarily as a sales tool, a simple out-of-the-box deployment accessed only by sales, marketing and customer service is probably adequate. However, if you require extensibility to other departments, check with potential vendors if such options are available. Another area to investigate is the possibility of integration with applications already in place. For example, an investment bank is likely to need a complex, tailor-made solution with customized forms and connectivity with various external systems; a small family business, however, can probably make it without such complexity and the associated costs.
  • Cloud vs. On-premise: If you analyse these two options, be sure of your reasons. On-premise is a good option for those companies who are concerned with data security and willing to pay more in advance in order to avoid a greater total cost of ownership later. However, a start-up with a low budget may go for the cloud because the initial cost is much lower. If your company is likely to evolve and require changing functionalities, making adjustments is easier with the cloud option, but at the same time offers less capacity for integration with other systems.
  • Scalability: It should be one of the most sought after features. It is nice to have a good estimate about the expected number of users because  it will be high but fairly stable in a midsize or large company, however, in case of a start-up, it keeps on changing as the time progresses.  A cloud solution allows for such flexibly because the number may go up or down with individual licences. You should opt for a vendor that enables a swift change to an on-premise solution in case the size of your company abruptly changes.
  • Predictive Analysis:  Analytics provides you the ability to filter and review charts, graphs on sales pipeline, sales cycle analytics, activity effort etc. With the maturity of big data and analytics, systems today can leverage existing data and identify customers’ future needs before they even know it. By integrating these capabilities into a mobile CRM like Relaso Sales CRM, the system can assist sales teams in identifying opportunities. Mobile CRM applications are also becoming more helpful as they provide insight into products that suits customer’s need. This is powerful because it shows clients that their needs are considered ahead of time.
  • Social CRM Feature for better customer engagement:  With the integration of Social CRM, you can combine everything you already know about each customer, prospect and lead in terms of  their social media activity. And when a customer chooses to contact you via Twitter or Facebook, you can track and manage the conversation in more details in comparison with telephone or email inquiry. You’ll be able to act faster, respond better and anticipate your customers’ needs.
    Additionally, You can monitor, track and benchmark your social media communications using different tools, dashboards and metrics. Customer service, marketing and sales can benefit from a holistic view of each individual customer, and can also use of social tools to communicate among themselves.
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  • Data Integration: Sometimes you may require to integrate your mobile CRM data with other sources of information. The nature of your business will tell the connectivity you require and some of these options may be available readily out-of-the-box. The theory is applicable for widely-used software such as marketing or accounting program. In other cases, a customization may be required.
  • Workflow Notification: The mobile CRM should be able to notify users of important events in such a way the notifications are never missed. Smart alerts feature lets administrators instantly notify users of important workflow events to speed up business processes. This includes notifications about new customer leads, customer service responses, pricing approvals, expense authorizations, credit approvals, work assignments, and pretty much anything you can imagine.

7 ways to guarantee ROI for your Mobile CRM

While building a business case for a major investment, whether it be for a new hire, new piece of equipment, or even a company acquisition, it is very crucial that you present the ROI which shows a rapid return for the investment.  And the same theory is true for software solutions such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  With more functionalities of Mobile CRM like automation and access to real-time information, businesses today have many more options to support strategic goals, communicate almost in real-time, and build long lasting and profitable relationships with customers.

You may consider the top capabilities as follows in order to guarantee ROI from your CRM implementation:

  • Mobile CRM boost sales productivity: According to a new Nucleus Research report, social and mobile access to CRM applications increased the productivity of sales people by 26.4 percent. Apart from this, mobile solution can help the CRM with broader corporate objectives. The software is quickly moving beyond apps with improved functionalities. The better visibility of the app allowed sales people to more readily identify accounts they need to contact on the basis of location and pipeline and helped managers keep better tabs on which accounts need to be managed proactively.
  • Choose features wisely: Focus your efforts on using more features that actually matter to your business, and less on the features that you don’t need. Many CRM systems aren’t customized to fit your business needs. Investing in additional features, integration or customization, automating critical workflows and business processes within your system can take it to the next level. All this will further help increase productivity and thus an increase in your ROI.download

 

  • Get Social: Social networking is, perhaps, the biggest trend and change facing IT professionals. Clients expect to directly communicate with their brands and vendors, and companies must quickly respond via the same channels. “For years we have focused too much on the management of our customer relationships, and we now need to focus much more on the relationship part, we need to collaborate, we need to inject a sense of mutual benefit into everything we do with our customers,” said Gartner research director Jim Davies.
  • Analyze DataOrganizations that integrates mobile CRM systems and social networks not only satisfy customers’ desire to communicate over multiple channels, they also generate structured and unstructured data. If those data is associated with powerful analytic tools, the software solution is going to provide businesses insight into their customers, trend information, and valuable research document. These analytic tools can drill-down further into the  consumers’ information, either private information collected through interactions between company and client, or public data collected through the customer’s postings on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Combining together, this information creates a holistic view of the clients, their likes and dislikes, giving businesses a better ability for effective marketing, product-development, and support offerings to customers’ specific needs.
  • Ensure that manager act on data: Sales managers will need to take a look of the information and reports from the mobile CRM like Realso Sales CRM. They not only analyze them, they should also act on them. For example, if they find that several leads are exiting the sales funnel at the demo stage, they should begin the process of changing the demo. If they find out that there are hundreds of leads that they are not in touch over a year, they should make a marketing agenda to nurture them and change processes that their sales reps follow. If they aren’t willing to take time to analyze reports or make changes based on them, they won’t be taking advantage of the power of their CRM.
  •  Consider ongoing maintenance costs: Sometimes you may overlook the ongoing maintenance costs for the software due to steep upfront costs associated with deployment of on-premises licensed software. You should also consider these. What is the annual vendor maintenance fee associated with the license? Is there enough support built into the vendor subscription fees, or  any extra charges for premium support? What ongoing application maintenance and user help desk support is required? How will maintenance costs grow over time? Is third-party maintenance a better alternative?
  • User Adoption:  User adoption poses a challenge after mobile CRM deployments. One of the main reason that CRM adoption fails due to the low user adoption. One of the best ways to achieve successful CRM user adoption is to define the roles for each team and its members within the project. Involve your team early, from the start till the end of the implementation process.Training part is equally important. Make sure that the users are taught how to use every part of the system, that they will be required to utilize in the CRM. Also, ensure that user adoption is encouraged at all levels of management.

How you can increase efficiency of your Mobile Sales force by 40% in 7 days

Sales teams are under constant pressure to meet customer expectations, as well as bringing in revenue for the company. These pressures increase due to globalization. As per Aberdeen survey; companies that implement mobile sales force automation solutions are 1.5 times more likely to see an improvement in sales force productivity versus those that do not. Sales teams are increasingly looking for Mobile CRM technologies so that the field reps will be able to handle the more customer demands on a global basis in an effective way.

Companies that want to shorten the sales cycle  typically face several major obstacles:

  • Manual data entry takes away longer time: If a rep receives the list of his lead via email, he then has to manually key the data from the list into his customer relationship management (CRM) system. If he is slow in entering those data that will eat up crucial hours of his prime selling time. Analyzing a prospect’s profile means you have to spend hours researching companies and contacts online even before the first call. And once they’ve made the call, you still need more manual data entry. According to that CSO Insights study, salespeople are spending 18.8% of their time generating leads and researching accounts.
  • Sales reporting cuts into selling time: Sales reps can spend hours each week gathering information on current sales opportunities to satisfy management requests – and sometimes rushing to meet deadlines.  Some study say that sales reps were spending 60% or more of their time in non-selling activities such as paperwork, reports, training, and sales meetings. The CSO Insights study also found that salespeople are spending nearly a quarter of their time on meetings and administrative tasks, including reporting.mobile-crm-sales-quotas

 

  • Lack of sharing useful information: If information is not shared with other co-worker or Manager, you may miss some good opportunities. If they can’t easily see what your colleagues are doing, reps may worry that a call will interfere with the efforts of one of their sales colleagues. This way a hot prospect may go cold due to the delay.
  • On-the road means disengaging with company information: Sales reps on the road without quick access to corporate systems can’t effectively address questions, place orders, or even compile detailed notes. Once they return to the office, they have to go through emails, spreadsheets, and handwritten notes to put detail information of each meeting within the company’s system and that leads to more time lost.

Mobile CRM solution should help you  boost efficiency in ways you can measure, as quickly as possible.

74% of companies have allowed mobile access to CRM applications— and have increased the productivity of their sales teams by 14.6%

  • Lead entry process should be automated: A good mobile CRM system can capture the contents of web forms and convert them into leads.  A good mobile CRM app also captures lead from the social crm site. Then the system automatically allocate those leads to the right salesperson. So, the sales manager can free up his time rather than allocating each of them individually. The benefit is that the Sales department can respond to the hottest leads immediately, qualifying them right away and increasing the chances of a successful engagement.
  • Share information on all prospects and customers: With the mobile app, a sales rep with a prospective lead should be able to find past history of the previous contacts with this prospect in terms of all sales intelligence entered at that time. Otherwise, regarding a new contact at an existing account, they can get complete information on the relationship— including products purchased, licenses held, and any outstanding maintenance issues in no time.
  • Business Intelligence:  A good mobile CRM software like Relaso sales CRM can give you smart capabilities for data analysis by pulling in data from sales activities and inserting it into a well formatted report or intuitive dashboard. A web-based dashboard can help your manager monitor opportunities, react to changes, and work towards their quotas.They can also use the dashboard to get a high-level overview of key metrics, while drilling down for further information.
  • Closing more Deals in less time: Mobile CRM can help you close deals faster with lesser interactions. And that means you can give more time to prospect or work on new opportunities. Imagine this: you are outside the office and you’ve been following a prospect for a month with phone calls. The prospect’s company is willing to close the deal, but now they want a quick summary of the various options you’ve offered them. You are pretty sure you’ve assured them additional services and even offered a special discount, but it was sometime ago. You know that you have this information stored at your company database, which is, unfortunately, far away right now.
    “I will send the details tomorrow by email” is not a good way to respond, when you are trying to close the deal ASAP. With mobile CRM, you have all the critical information available for you to win sales. No need to return to the office in order to follow up on your customers or even submit orders. You simply can take care of the entire process via your mobile device.

How to remove Squeak and Scratch from Raspberry Pi: Raspbian Jessie and Wheezy Distro

Raspbian Jessie and Wheezy distribution includes Squeak and Scratch. While these can be helpful educational tools for students which provides a gentle introduction to programming, it doesn’t have much use for others. The following instructions will remove both Squeak and Scratch from your Raspberry Pi (Raspbian distribution). It saves 92.7 MB and 1.15 MB respectively in Jessie and another 10.2 MB with subsequent autoremove, so over 100 MB space saved.

root@puma:/home/pi# apt-get remove --purge scratch*
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Note, selecting 'nuscratch' for regex 'scratch*'
Note, selecting 'squeak-plugins-scratch-dbg' for regex 'scratch*'
Note, selecting 'squeak-plugins-scratch' for regex 'scratch*'
Note, selecting 'python3-pifacedigital-scratch-handler' for regex 'scratch*'
Note, selecting 'libdirectory-scratch-perl' for regex 'scratch*'
Note, selecting 'libdirectory-scratch-structured-perl' for regex 'scratch*'
Note, selecting 'scratch' for regex 'scratch*'
Package 'libdirectory-scratch-perl' is not installed, so not removed
Package 'libdirectory-scratch-structured-perl' is not installed, so not removed
Package 'squeak-plugins-scratch-dbg' is not installed, so not removed
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  fonts-roboto gtk2-engines-clearlookspix liblightdm-gobject-1-0
  libxfce4ui-1-0 libxfce4util-bin libxfce4util-common libxfce4util6
  libxfconf-0-2 lightdm-gtk-greeter pimixer pipanel squeak-vm wiringpi
  xfce-keyboard-shortcuts xfconf
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  nuscratch* python3-pifacedigital-scratch-handler* scratch*
  squeak-plugins-scratch*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 4 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
After this operation, 92.7 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
(Reading database ... 136309 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing nuscratch (20160115) ...
Removing 'diversion of /usr/bin/scratch to /usr/bin/scratch.old by nuscratch'
Removing 'diversion of /usr/bin/squeak to /usr/bin/squeak.old by nuscratch'
Removing 'diversion of /usr/share/scratch/locale/ja_HIRA.po to /usr/share/scratch/locale/ja_HIRA.po.old by nuscratch'
Removing 'diversion of /usr/share/scratch/locale/ja.po to /usr/share/scratch/locale/ja.po.old by nuscratch'
Purging configuration files for nuscratch (20160115) ...
Removing python3-pifacedigital-scratch-handler (2.0.5-1) ...
Purging configuration files for python3-pifacedigital-scratch-handler (2.0.5-1) ...
Removing scratch (1.4.0.6~dfsg1-5) ...
Purging configuration files for scratch (1.4.0.6~dfsg1-5) ...
Removing squeak-plugins-scratch (1.4.0.2~svn.r83-2) ...
Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme (0.13-1) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.7.0.2-5) ...
Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.13.3-6) ...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1) ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.58) ...
Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.3-1) ...
root@puma:/home/pi# apt-get remove --purge squeak*
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Note, selecting 'squeak-plugins-scratch-dbg' for regex 'squeak*'
Note, selecting 'squeak-vm' for regex 'squeak*'Mathematica
Note, selecting 'squeak-plugins-scratch' for regex 'squeak*'
Package 'squeak-plugins-scratch' is not installed, so not removed
Package 'squeak-plugins-scratch-dbg' is not iAfter this operation, 1,151 kB disk space will be freed.nstalled, so not removed
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:And 
  fonts-roboto gtk2-engines-clearlookspix liblightdm-gobject-1-0
  libxfce4ui-1-0 libxfce4util-bin libxfce4util-common libxfce4util6
  libxfconf-0-2 lightdm-gtk-greeter pimixer pipanel wiringpi
  xfce-keyboard-shortcuts xfconf
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  squeak-vm*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
After this operation, 1,151 kB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
(Reading database ... 135057 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing squeak-vm (1:4.10.2.2614-1.1+b1) ...
Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.3-1) ...
Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.13.3-6) ...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1) ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.58) ...
Processing triggers for gnome-icon-theme (3.12.0-1) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.7.0.2-5) ...

Don’t forget to run clean and autoremove:

apt-get clean
apt-get autoremove

Now you are done!

The commands were run as root. However you can do the same from pi login by prefixing sudo at the beginning of each command. Here is a single-line version of the above using sudo:
sudo apt-get -y remove --purge scratch* squeak*; sudo apt-get clean; sudo apt-get autoremove

How to remove Wolfram Language and Mathematica from Raspberry Pi: Raspbian Jessie and Wheezy distro

Raspbian Jessie and Wheezy distribution includes Wolfram Language and Mathematica. While this can be helpful for students, it doesn’t have much use for others. The following instructions will remove both Wolfram and Mathematica from your Raspberry Pi (Raspbian distribution). It saves 658MB in Jessie.

sudo apt-get remove wolfram-engine
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree 
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
 wolfram-engine
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 to remove and 59 not upgraded.
After this operation, 658 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
(Reading database ... 150191 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing wolfram-engine (10.3.1+2016012407) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.7.0.2-5) ...
Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.13.3-6) ...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1) ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.58) ...
Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.3-1) ...
Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme (0.13-1) ...

Then there is one final step:

sudo rm /usr/share/raspi-ui-overrides/applications/wolfram-language.desktop /usr/share/raspi-ui-overrides/applications/wolfram-mathematica.desktop

And you are done!

PS. You can read more about these free (not for commercial use) packages here.

Code: How to reboot TP-Link Router

TP-Link router may need to be occasionally rebooted as it sometimes hangs in my experience. Here is a script I developed long back to boot such errant server from command line:

wget -qO- --user=admin --password=admin-password http://192.168.1.1/userRpm/SysRebootRpm.htm?Reboot=Reboot

Notes:

  • You will need wget installed on your system.
  • You may need to change the IP Address and Password.

If you want (let me know) I can give the script to check periodically and reboot TP-Link Router as needed.

BitBucket vs. GitHub vs. ProjectLocker: Where would you setup your closed source project for free and why

Each of the Source Code repositories come with a free tier but each has their own restrictions

BitBucket from Atlassian is free for small team up to 5 users or you can self-host for up to 10 members for one time fee of 10$. With the free plan in cloud, you can have unlimited public and private repositories.

GitHub doesn’t allow private repositories at this time. While you may host closed source project there, I wouldn’t recommend it.

ProjectLocker provider a free tier: 1 user, 1 project and up to 50 MB of storage.

All three supports Git which is probably the most widely used Source Control system these days.

Of the three BitBucket stands out in hosting closed source private repositories for free. Overall their pricing is most lucrative in the long run.
GitHub, while not free, has the most traction.

Mini-Story: Deathly Silence of Linux (after rm -rf /*)

Silence of Linux (after rm -rf /* )

To be fair, rm -rf /* was taking way too long with several millions of files in deep hierarchy. So I ran Delete (Java based recursive File & Directory Delete Tool).

Finally all data that could be deleted was deleted. I could’ve run shred, I could’ve run dd on the drive itself ( dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda ), I chose the simpler path.
-bash-3.2# clear
-bash: /usr/bin/clear: No such file or directory
-bash-3.2# ls
-bash: /bin/ls: No such file or directory
-bash-3.2# echo *
boot dev media misc net proc sys var
-bash-3.2# echo boot/*
boot/*
-bash-3.2# echo dev/*
dev/initctl dev/pts dev/shm
-bash-3.2# echo misc/*
misc/*
-bash-3.2# echo net/*
net/*
-bash-3.2# echo net/*
net/*

Only one thing left to do:

-bash-3.2# reboot
-bash: reboot: command not found

I still have the final weapon:

-bash-3.2# echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq
-bash-3.2# echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

This is pretty much the same as pressing the reset button on the server (if equipped). No daemons will be shut down gracefully, no filesystem sync will occur, and you may get the wrath of a fsck (or worse, a non-booting server) upon reboot. But what do I care?

R.I.P.

What I learned and how I recovered from Partition Table corruption due to Power failure and fsck

Had an interesting experience. Our power blinked (rapid off and on) few times. Not only did SuKam UPS pass that through the power fluctuations but continued after power has stabilized. By the time I switched off the computer, the damage was done. It would only boot to Grub prompt.

Used a SSD drive from another computer to boot the computer and ran fsck. Instead of fixing the situation, it f*ck’ed up the three partitions of /dev/sda (/boot, swap and /) and created a single partition!

I hadn’t saved the partition information and didn’t remember how much I allocated to swap so I couldn’t safely guess their size and re-partition the disk myself.

I tried rescue option of parted and part, none of them helped.

Then I used testdisk from CGSecurity. It accurately detected the partitions and saved it. Then I fired up gparted. It couldn’t read /dev/sda3 but suggested I should reboot first, which I did.

Funnily the system was rebooting with /boot -> /dev/sda1 instead of /dev/sdb1 (SSD added for recovery) but then mounting /dev/sdb3 as / instead of /dev/sda3. This happened because the menu.lst specified the volume by label and both sda3 and sdb3 had identical label:

kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.18-408.el5 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet

During booting I changed it to use ID: root=ID=yuwew…

The ID used was of /dev/sda3

It came up but gave an error in nvidia.

I decided to try again on the actual system. I removed the extra SSD to allow the actual SSD to boot properly.

It came up fine but nvidia driver was not loading. After working for so loong with multi-monitors, it was strangely restrictive trying to get work done with a single monitor, duplicated. After some frantic search I found that the best option was to download it from nvidia and run it using init 3.

chmod 755 NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-340.96.run
./NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-340.96.run

Then switched back to init 5, rebooted and it multi-monitor started working again.

Take away from this experience:

  1. Always backup partition table.
  2. Do not run fsck without backing up partition table.
  3. Don’t expect fsck to always do the right thing. After all the name is intentional and the tool is to be used only as a last ditch effort to save your disk and data.
  4. UPS should not be your only protection. I am thinking of adding a spike buster in between.
  5. Regular backups are a must. I had some backups but when it happened I realized they were much too old to be of much use. Cloud backup services like Dropbox are your friend.
  6. Backup is of no value unless you remember how to restore them in an emergency.
  7. Backup disk on the same machine was unharmed. So backup even on the same machine is of some value.
  8. Next time around I will choose Graphics Card with seamless Linux support
  9. Always have a second computer around in running condition, even a Raspberry Pi is good. You may need lots of help from the Internet.
  10. Do not setup your Internet connection, router, firewall, DNS, DHCP etc. on your machine. Use your router and share with all your machines from there. Your router is less likely to fail than your machine. You may keep the settings on an unused NIC on a computer to use if your router fails.

PS. The SuKam Tubular battery has failed which SuKam support insists as the cause of this catastrophe. It was aged over 5 years.

How to install WordPress Network for Hosting Multiple Blogs Easily

WordPress Network was previously installed using WordPress Mu, which has since been discontinued. However since WordPress version 3, you can have more-or-less the same functionality using WordPress.

A multisite network is your own version of WordPress.com where your users can create their own blog / sites on demand. You can restrict it so only you, the administrator, can create new sites.

A multisite network is a collection of sites that all share the same WordPress installation. They can also share plugins and themes. The individual sites in the network are virtual sites in the sense that they do not have their own directories on your server, although they do have separate directories for media uploads within the shared installation, and they do have separate tables in the database.

The detailed instructions can be found in WordPress Multi User.