We’d like to celebrate this week of love and heartfelt huggery with some creativity, charisma and extra yummy chocolate. We will be collecting stories of creative kindnesses that small businesses show their customers. Fun thank you gifts, a customer name on a bourbon barrel, chocolate sketches on a food plate; these are some of the ideas we have found roaming around the web. But we need more! We’re out to set a Valentine’s day record for the most small business love that can fit into one blog post. We’ll be publishing ideas as part of our Doing Sales Right: The Small Business Guide to Customer Happiness in the “Making Friends” section. And as a special treat to anyone who shares…
You know that sales person — the quota guy or the commission girl — the one who thinks you want to talk to a stranger about refinancing your mortgage at 9:00 pm on a Friday night. Or the one who adds you to all 13 weekly email lists their company sends out just because you bought a new laptop from them.
They work for a big business. Not that there’s anything wrong with big businesses. They keep a lot of giant, important gears turning in our world. But these armed forces of shareholder value have taken sales to a ridiculously aggressive level.
Sales for the Rest of Us
This kind of selling sometimes gives the rest of us a bad taste. A lot of small business owners aren’t in love with this idea of sales. They don’t want to count phone calls and bang on shut doors. What small businesses want is to connect to the right people and show them how their lives can be improved by becoming a customer.
We are in the second camp when it comes to sales. And we thought it was time to pull together some useful advice on sales for small businesses. Let the big guys obsess over their quotas. Your job as a small business is to sell your awesome product or service, and to have you and your customer both feel good about it.
Free Sales Guide for Your Small Business
Today we are launching Doing Sales Right: A Small Business Guide to Customer Happiness. The entire Batchbook team, from product managers to onboarding specialists to the communications team have developed this straight forward guide to setting up your own customer-centric sales process. We’ve included step-by-step process suggestions, examples of what other businesses are doing and some tips on how to avoid being that pushy sales team.
Knowledge is power. Knowledge of your customer. Knowledge of their needs. Knowledge of their habits and desires and beliefs. As important as building the right widget or service to meet their needs, is building the right process for finding those who will benefit from your product and selling it to them.
Today we are releasing a new set of sales tools in Batchbook to help you better develop and manage the right sales process for your business. We’ve made it super simple to create a process for turning your interested visitors into paying customers and long term champions.
The new deals tab in Batchbook will let you:
- Easily work through your sales process – Easily sort deals based on assignments. Quickly preview action needed, contact your customer and update the deal stage from one screen.
- Customize your sales stages – Create your own custom deals stages based on the steps involved in marketing and selling your product or service to your customers. Update that process as you learn more about what is working and what isn’t.
- Categorize different deal types – Create your own categories for the different services you offer, versions of your product or distribution channels. No matter what you are selling and who you are selling it to, you can easily set up different strategies that will work for you.
- Create your own territories – Create your own territories and track all deals based on those areas. Whether you distribute opportunities to your sales team based on locations, or just need to track different currencies across your sales region, you can use custom territories to track locations that make sense to you.
- Manage sales from your phone – The new deals tab is designed for mobile first. All features available in the web version are also available across all smartphones including searching, viewing, updating, quick calling and mapping customer locations.
- Involve everyone at your company in the sales process. The owner, partners, business development, front desk, support team. Everyone is part of the customer conversations, so make sure everyone is sharing their conversations and notes in Batchbook. Unlimited users means everyone can be involved for the same low price.
Get a Glimpse of the New Sales Tools
As with the rest of Batchbook, we have made the new Deals feature extremely customizable. Creating the right process for yourself and your team is a very important and an ongoing process. Below are a few screenshots of the easy customization and deal flow in the new Batchbook Deals feature.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, author of NYT Bestselling book “Crush It!” and just all around famous web guy. He is an inspiration to anyone trying to figure out how to build a successful business and fulfilling life with equal abandon.
We recorded the interview, so you can hear Gary’s advice in his own words (and accent) below. I’ve condensed things up, but kept the best nuggets here.
Balance is My Religion
Pamela: First, I asked Gary a bit about how he manages so many impressive accomplishments; running a business, authoring several books and staying so involved with his family.
Gary: I have a great partner in crime. Balance is the religion I am most connected with. It is crazy to me that 2013 is the year I worked the most, but it is also the year I spent the most time with my family. I did it through extremes. I work hard & long during the week, but I get more from the weekend and vacation because I am all in when I am working.
Avoid Paralysis of Tools
Pamela: Gary is famous for his personal engagement. He answers all of his e-mails, tweets, vines, etc. I asked Gary what tools he uses to stay so engaged.
Gary: I make it a priority to engage with the end user. I am a farmer equally as I am a hunter. Massively important thing to me. I am less tool oriented. People over tool themselves. All you really need to eat your meal is a fork. It gets the job done. Paralysis of tools. People are crippled by tools. People want tools because they don’t want to do the work. It’s like bringing a cannon to a thumb wrestling match.
Each year, there is an event called Blog Action Day. Bloggers are encouraged to take a pause from their regular content to write about a topic that is important to humanity. This year, the topic is one of the most important of all; human rights.
When we learned the topic of discussion for the 2013 Blog Action Day is human rights, we were honestly a bit stumped. Though our own mission statement includes our desire “to create tools that allow passionate small businesses to build better relationships with their community,” we had never thought of it in terms of human rights. When you are going about your own daily life, running your business, paying your employees, it is easy to assume that basic human rights of all those around you are being met. But this isn’t true throughout the world (or even always right at home).
I had the pleasure of speaking at the first annual WomanCon event in Manhattan last week. I always love the chance to head into that spectacular city and spend some time meeting with other small business geeky folks. And I especially enjoyed this trip, as it was a group of women entrepreneurs gathering to share different aspects of the grand game that is business building. I was so inspired by the presentations and the conversations I had there. It is a very collaborative and encouraging community, which comes in very handy when you are working to build a successful business.
I thought I would share my speech with all of you, as I think it pertains to a broader audience of entrepreneurs. I talked about how to keep the human side of your business thriving. These are the original notes I wrote for my speech. I don’t believe in “reading speeches”, so the actual talk itself was an ad-libbed version of this. I even got a bit lost in the mid-to-late slides, so a few parts of these notes were skipped completely in the presentation!
Our newest integration is here! Starting now, you can hook up your Batchbook account to QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online does a terrific job of helping us here at Batchbook manage our bottom line, file what we need to with Uncle Sam and keep our bookkeeper updated with the paperwork she needs on an ongoing basis. But it does not give us much of a sense of what is happening with our vendors and customers, other than how much they are paying us, or how much we are paying them. We like to think there is a bit more to our relationships than that. We’ve integrated Batchbook with QuickBooks Online so that you can now easily keep your contact information updated…
It bothers me that the work/life balance topic seems to be stuck on the subject of moms. I’ve stayed out of the tech CEO mommy conversations, largely because I’ve been too busy being a start-up CEO and mom to three young children to have any time to join in the conversation. I’m glad that the appointment of Marissa Mayer as the new CEO of Yahoo and the recent release of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In has sparked larger conversations about mommy execs, but I would like to extend these conversations to some of the practical things those of us working and caring for a family are doing. And I would like to hear from everyone facing this responsibility, not just…
I am joining the Batchbook team in opening up conversations about the challenges of raising a family in today’s workplace. Here is my story. First, I humbly admit there are many challenges to working full time while raising a family. It is a harried, hectic life full of tough decisions and constant roadblocks. It takes much more than a village to successfully navigate these rough waters. It takes a supportive family, a helpful community, an understanding workplace, a non-judgemental society and pocket full of pixie dust at least once a week. People frequently ask me how I do it, and my answer is always the same, “one day at a time.” I decided to start my own company after my…
A customer recently wrote in to our support team with a terrific question concerning the number of contacts he should have in Batchbook. I want to share the question and my response with those of you who may have the same question or would like to weigh in on the response. The question is: If the thrust of contact management with Batchbook is to manage a smaller number of “important” contacts, then what happens to potentially thousands of contacts that could be generated from an ecommerce site using webforms? First, I am delighted that this customer understands the gist of what we are doing with Batchbook and I appreciate the chance to clarify how this approach fits into traditional marketing channels.…