Tag Archives: Strategy

Best CRM 2011?

CRM 2011Greetings to all the “best CRM” fans these days – the CRM’s spring peak is back with lot of interesting projects. Should I use an in-house or hosted solution, how to integrate our ERP, the Asterisk call center, helpdesk, our email marketing center, RSS feeds and 30 social media profiles?… The old myth about ”the magic CRM software, which “the management installed last year” is dead.

Welcome to the social CRM cloud!

Few friends manage their sales transactions, campaigns and lead tracking progression from their smartphones/ iPhone or Android-based PDAs.  Skype and even Seeismic and TweetDeck are main tools – that’s how they like to streamline interaction, maximize sales and customer satisfaction. Most of the folks I meet are happy to practice CRM with their Excel 97 spreadsheet or MS Outlook with Business contact manager. Nostalgic users of ACT, Maximizer or GoldMine lately are moving to online contact managers like SalesNexus and Zoho. For end-customer shops we use efficiently InfusionSoft, customers with bigger shops and several websites/ brands / language version in Europe use Magento with CRM extensions.

SugarCRM led the open-source way in the last 6 years with a flexible one-hat-fits-all solution, yet for huge projects with dozens of users and specific modules with custom workflow you need the enterprise edition or a more sophisticated, yet open platform – we had great experience with the CRM-in-the-cloud platforms VTiger and openCRX. Enterprise-wide multilingual coordination of sales generation, fulfillment, product structuring and pricing, real-time issue tracking and drill-down dashboards with pipelines are not a bread-and-butter task. Which is my favorite CRM beast? Salesforce.com of course, but it comes pricy when you grow, so for SMBs we stick to customized SugarCRM, vtiger or openCRX implementations. What about SAP CRM or Oracle Siebel? They are out of reach for most of the local companies, plus we are fans of scalable platform-independent and vendor-neutral open-source solutions, aren’t we?

CRM is just a database tool to collect, manage and present data to optimize and meet your goals. The software is not the solution – the focused definition and execution of the business strategy and objectives is the roadmap for success. Self-service portal and social marketing integration is much more important than the system itself. There is no “top” or “best” out-of-the-box CRM. As a CRM implementation consultant I always try to understand and help customers to define the brand challenges and strategy, to tailor every aspect of the CRM experience from the start. The right opportunity management solution comes a month later. The perfect – 2 years later. Understanding your own business and introducing features to your staff makes the difference.

Back in 2008, CRM 2.0 was still beta, today it’s a >$3 billion business. More SocialRank than PageRank, more customer insights and social media  analytics than noisy spam. Go social (2 billion web users worldwide) and Mobile (1 billion mobile workforce worldwide).  90% of organizations will support corporate applications on personal  devices by 2014 so grab your iPad or tablet and mash your perfect CRM deck on iGoogle, CoTweet, Pardot, Facebook, Foursquare… you name it. Compose a more experimental, Twitter-like social CRM for emotionally high-touch customer engagement.  See you in Gartner’s Social CRM magic quadrant!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact me. Join the cultural transformation, get closer to the customer and keep walking!

Brand Integrity Management 2010

Top Brands

Every third import in the united European market is suspicious counterfeiting with infringed brand or design rights. The global loss is $30-50m just for one brand and billions per year for the top 5 cosmetic brands, mostly in less developed markets. Seems when your brand is 120 years old and you sell in 210 countries, you have an attractive critical mass to be attacked by counterfeiters, even if your licensee produces the goods in the same Chinese factory where the fake products come from.

What would you do? You develop a brand integrity strategy, you invent optical quality packaging, laser-focused quality control, nanocoatings, sophisticated visible/ invisible color shifting labels, individual 2D barcode tagging, transparent packaging, licensed factories and exclusive authorized distributors. You constantly secure, enhance, deter, partner and do brand ID trainings of law attorneys, National Customs Agency officers, The Border Police, NSCOC (National Service for Combating Organized Crime) agents.

Thanks to Turcu & Turcu law office, we had a chance to meet dozens of brand integrity managers and government, police and customs agents, monitoring and protecting global brands such as Sara Lee, Timberland, Samsung, Epson, Eli Lilly, Nokia, Estee Lauder, Coty Prestige, L’oreal, Lacoste, Chanel, General Motors, Levi Strauss, Puma, Daimler, Adidas, Bvlgari, Harley-Davidson and many others.

Sofia is a part of a worldwide network of administrative and brand integrity investigators and I was happy to see so many fake website knock-downs, seizes, raids and litigation programs. With more than 75 000 annual counterfeiting cases for Europe only, you can be sure that buying a fake Estee Lauder perfume, full of sulfur, ammonia, phosphorus, potassium, titanium and horse/dogs urine as a binder to keep the alcohol and oils, will not be the best bargain to make you girlfriend happy, especially if you don’t wanna see her face and skin burned tomorrow. It’s not only a brand protection or tax/unemployment protection issue; it’s your own health and consciousness.

Keep brandmoving. See ya at the top!

Something Velly powerful is happening to me this weekend!

Outer Inner World

Outer Inner World

“We have to assume we’ll never meet again. This is the only unique opportunity!” John Kehoe is a mesmerizing inspirational Canadian guru with 33 years of experience, his books are bestsellers in Bulgaria, the only Wikipedia article is in Bulgarian, his website has a rank beyond 6 million, but is translated in Bulgarian?!. Today 970 Bulgarian idolaters were genetically and neurologically wired for success and discovered their potential to the whole of humanity.

Something very powerful is happening to me this weekend! I had 8 hours of repeating positive energy vibrations, met a lot of old friends, the gentlemen lavatory was full of gorgeous women waiting in a queue, my chair mystically disappeared after the seafood lunch and we prayed to every religion and teacher with the same CR (curing rate, not conversion rate)  in a way appropriate to us. It was a nice “Pray to whom it may concern” on a rainy sabbatical listening to Navajo “holy-holy-matrix-song” Saturday. Still not feeling blessed with grace and synchronicity? Still don’t know how to escape the 9-to-5 rat-race? Any dysfunction or limitations of your inner-to-outer-world energy sources? Still not sure where confidence, luck, fate, happiness and success are living? Who are you, where are you going and why are you going there? What was consciousness before the Big Bang?

Well, at least we have a free unused Sunday left. Let go all beliefs that no more serve you. Meditate on that ;-) Let’s set an intention in our positive thoughts and vibrate with the universe, which is here to give you exactly what you want. Our power comes in the minute we realize that we are “not limited to reality”, everything in the universe is governed by laws, and yes – you are the cause of everything that happens to you. It’s not the economy, or the virus, or the “jerks”. This is the “greatest news that you have ever been given!” Sure, the only greatest exception is that I didn’t pay €150 (thanks Tonny!) to hear this great positive news. Our mind knows our great fears and vulnerable spots, but I will still try something new and go somewhere else. Once we’re out from Hall 3 of the National Palace of Culture, we begin to control our mind, relationships and communication with the universe in the most incredible way – we’ll cut all negative thoughts, observe and label them and counteract with the exact opposite. I’m sending and receiving powerful thoughts, attracting similar matches, I’m inserting anything I want in my mind. It happens when you realize that you are the artists. You have to go deep and creative way beyond books, education, etc. From mind power to Zen Buddhism – we must be “realistic”. Thanks, I’m not interested.  “If a farmer wants cucumbers, he seeds cucumber seeds“. There’s a nice Bulgarian saying: Глупости на търкалета (cucumbers on bicycles) . There’s another Bulgarian saying: На краставичар краставици ще продаваш ( Selling cucumbers to a cucumber grower)

Blessed are the believers. Let’s have some real-world stuff like our jam at DaDa last night, Dimmy’s exhibition opening tonight and a feeling for a creative spring Sunday!

Something Velly powerful is happening to me this weekend! Is it happening to you too?

Wild Ride

You can hear it here:

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or in the Bulgarian National Radio Land Adventure’s interview (in Bulgarian)

Shadows on the walking path
stalled me for a minute
reminds of good ol’ friends
who burned fast still young
Sunny weeks on wide wild roads,
indian summers never ending
hours of speedy rides
and fairy clouds ‘n sky

Ch. (aborigines jabber)

I’m a rider to a world I can see
got a rhythm and a magic sound
the source of energy
I’m a rider and what you’ll want I’ll be
I’m a sophisticated exception
to your “stable” theory

Shall we strip the rusty wings
and look in our future
let’s believe in impossible things
and skip the possible pasts.
Abandon all your freakin’ doubts
career and bloody greed, babe
Trading the warmth of youth
for a drink at the bar

Ch.

Get back your freedom now
the calmness of your soul
stop gambling with your life
feel the wild wind calling
Sunny weeks on wide wild roads
indian summers never ending
hours of speedy rides
fairy clouds ‘n’ sky.

© 2010, Velly Petrov
lyrics & music

8CVQQSUW87A9

3-lane highway (to Heaven)

The Third Lane

The Third Lane

There’s a huge traffic flow these days. Billions of people worldwide take their lane, every day. We can see three kinds of driving behavior:
The first enjoy the rat race – from the kindergarten’s square sandbox, trough the cube-shaped university and cubicle career to the weighty top management position. In the System they see a secured “happy smile of success”, someday, somehow, somewhere – after 40 years of work FOR somebody. There’s lot of isolation from your own values, family and life here.

The second type of guys manage to establish and work IN their own companies, 12-14 hours a day, until they grow, sell or quit the business. Kind of ambitious, brave, creative, innovative and “suicidal“.

The third kind enjoy an automated passive income (web service, IPOs, commissions, etc.) on the third lane, while working ON themselves, globetrotting the world in a search of the perfect mate, life, value, etc. Kind of adventurous, speedy and peaceful at the same time.

Recently, I found (by investigation) that in this high density region:

  1. We often pass each other from the inner lane
  2. The traffic flow in the low density region of the outer lane is enhanced and kind of “reserved” for a strange, extra-ordinary, out-of-the-box type of people
  3. There is a benefit if you stick to your lane and don’t change it unnecessary.

I used to stick to the first lane for an year, switched to the second for 10 more years and now, after I tried the third one (and it seems to be my type), I’m ready to keep the pace there and enjoy the freedom of doing what you love at the time and speed you prefer with the ones you love (their smile, creative time, etc).

Whichever your lane is, I wish you a safe and twister/ tsunami-free drive!

In a search of an extra month

October

October

Back to our personal values, goals, beliefs, muse… and digital branding projects. After a long vacation, it’s kinda  hard to sync back with ongoing projects and schedules. Shouldn’t independent consultants merge their free and working hours to dissolve the difference?

Well it depends from your level of lifetime design freedom – what you do, when you do it, where you do it and with whom you do it. Some of us still can’t afford to travel all over the world for 4 months and keep up with all important todos in parallel.  Even if you cover 80% of them, you still need the rest 20% shortly afterward.

Despite the falling leaves, energy is here, the timing is right, we just need some more time, right? October usually starts with a day for dissection of personal and business life. What we dream vs. what we should do. Today vs someday. Excitement vs. existential vacuum of business boredom. Realistic vs. Reachable.

My approach is to sit down with a sheet of paper and glass of good wine ( helps getting terrific life-hacking insights) and cut down half of my activities and tasks to the bone, leaving only the 3 most important projects. Less follow-ups, more planning. After eliminating the “muda” waste (as a Japanese friend of mine use to say) , it’s time to dig in the swipe-file data and deliver (and overdeliver!) what I promised to myself and to the customers ASAP. To do what we do best, with greater speed, accuracy, efficiency, creativity and honesty.

This means launching important websites, upgrading production equipment, tuning brand performance. No communication distracters, no trips, no music making, no poetry, no blogging, and most of all, no fakebook chitchat (sorry virtual friends, I’ll be off for a while and I don’t care “Which kind of pasta are you” ;-) . Let’s cut the fat from our schedule, clone or replace ourselves with partners, outsource the fluff, free our time and focus on bigger/ better things.
Searching for the best life, unleashing our potential on a world-class level, living our days to the best with energetic passion and harmony… 500 months still to go?  Just pass me an extra one please.

Cheers from the sunny slopes of the autumn mountain! Great branding brains are warmly welcomed at our official BrandBuild launch – 20 October 2009.

P.S. What’s your secret recipe to recover your performance and sync your time, financial and ranking independence? Where you will be in one month?

Life strategy? One life, live it.

Life Strategy 2009When you ask your friends if they have created a life strategy for the next week, month, year, five or even ten years – over 90% will answer No! or should I?

Yes, we should. Some of us create to-do lists, (I prefer to make not-to-do lists), other are permanently writing “business-in-recession” strategies, but do we share our life strategies? Rarely. Are you interested to prepare a life strategy, if you knew how to?

We share those mumble-grumble social network status updates that “it was a great weekend, but now it’s Monday again and I have to wait 340 more days for my next vacation“… but there is no time to think and commit to paper?

Most of my friends from the past have only shorter life horizons because it is difficult for them to look far into the future and predict an outcome.
We didn’t learn why it’s important to create a life strategy at school.
It was only “I want it all and I want it now”, or “I’ll be happy if I can afford a beer tomorrow”. Carpe Diem, live in the moment – spontaneous, natural and keep rolling?

Well my friends, I don’t agree. Well-being is the way you want it to be. We should be open to all possibilities and not overlook new opportunities, but how will you  know WHAT’s a new opportunity, if you don’t know where are you going?

A life without a strategy is like a ship without a target and a reason. Your canoe will definitely sail you somewhere, but where you end up may not be where you really want to go. Or the most important part is to live every moment as though the whole world were watching?

Life strategy is not about a boxed career, income, buying a house, getting married, having kids or being self-reliant, financialy self-sufficient entrepreneur, retired as multi-millionaire at 60. It’s about the big idea, HOW to achieve the desired level of freedom, relationships, income, business, emotional and spiritual intelligence, etc.

I’m happy that most of my current friends and contacts have a life strategy. They can share it with a Tim Ferris’ DreamLine or Richard Koch’s ActionPlan in 10 minutes  and we can compare our progress, meeting for monthly happiness plan brainstorms and and shortening the horizon to our goals together.

Do I have one, yes, I wrote one, called Clouds (abstract, but solid foundation of clear life-goals) when I was 15-17 and it’s continually tuned every day, with every new knowledge and experience, tweaked for perfect outcome. Clearly, developing and sharing a life strategy makes a lot of sense and can be useful to all of us, who want to find something to be happy about.

Why? Because we can feel unlimited where we stand, to know that anything that we desire can be ours, that we are eager and full of life, free and fun and easy. Let’s challenge our perception of personal limits and don’t let our dreams stay dreams.

Here are 10 highlights from my mid-2009 life strategy update:

In the second half of 2009 I will:

  • Move from doing most of the things to what I do best and let others do the rest. (I can’t be expert on 80 things, just on 20 ;-)
  • Leap-frog my top5 direct competitors in the next 6 months, building and top positioning global brands with higher quality at 70% of the price.
  • Increase the quality and reduce the quantity of my relationships and friend-lists by at least 30% for 6 months.
  • Decrease compromising my integrity for anything or anybody.
  • Decrease the communication and social noise by 60% more in 3 months.
  • Say NO politely but immediately 20% more often.
  • Stop wasting energy on peripheral issues that cannot yield a payoff no matter the outcome.
  • I’ll use pure strenghts and truth instead of trying to make true that which I love or I am weak at.
  • Use free will and energy to go ahead and uphill, day after day
  • Stop wasting time talking about my plans to others. Give you only 2 minutes to say what you have to say quickly and simply – then we probably stop talk/chat? Zipping the lip.

We have all the time on this planet, but without Destination, Route and Actions, we are going nowhere.  Success is our own damn fault. So work less, succeed more, enjoy more, be more strategy-focused, less tactic-focused,  and let me know what do you think.

The Revolution starts on 1st of July. You are Vellycomed to join.

Which web strategy to follow?

Web priority

Web strategy priorities

Most marketers will guide you to follow one well-tried and reliable marketing strategy, when there are hundreds of ways to reach your goals, depending on your niche, current trends, competition, time and resources.

Using the right keywords, fresh content and quality links to beat the top 10 competitors …and that’s simply all is a popular song.

What really works depends on the situation. No two SEO projects are equal. The goal could be to spread the buzz, to target focused commercial intention, to generate ruthless profit or just get some new members. The target could be kids, housewives, researchers, businessmen, wholesale buyers, etc.  Geo and language targeting are wrapping another layer on top.

Let’s clear the sky and recall some powerful web marketing priorities:

When was your last competition SWOT, market survey, industry benchmark? Send the spies out to check the strengths and weaknesses of the big ones in your industry.
Research or Shopping motivation? Check the commercial intention and test it with PPC.
Which keywords convert better? Specific, urgent, long phrases, thousands of “low-hanging” fruits.
Singular or plurals? The second always converts better in sales except for brand names.
Which traffic sources convert better? Test and measure. Analytics drill-down to the bone.
Which brands and products convert better? We can even crush them with THEIR brand awareness.
Why target 3 keywords? We should target a cluster of hundreds related and relevant phrase combinations.
Why promote free stuff? Attracting big-headache leads means wasting your resources and time.
How do you offer it? Custom or premium or wholesale or fresh or blue or antiallergic?
How they link to your website? – by domain, brand name or by targeted keyword? What about if tomorrow the search trend goes down?
Where are the latest trends, hot issues, answers, news, reviews, cases, comparisons, blog posts and comments on your website? Content is still the king.
Where is your media files repository? Tagged images, documents, videos and other media files means a lot.
When was your last web and CRM database mining? Te gold is in your private data and analytics reports.
How many times your brand is listed on Google’s first page? Use subartciles, subdomains and authority web 2.0 sites to dominate the niche (Yes – communities, directories, blogs, bookmarking and sharing web services, etc).

How to value and prioritize all this stuff?

Well, you don’t need to.
Just focus on your primary business and let the SEOs execute sophisticated research, website optimization and top ranking campaigns.
Keep brandmoving  ;-)

Sales automation for more free time

Yesterday I’ve got another “better ranking” request. Strange that most of the companies I know strive for “more traffic and better ranking“.
And they stop there, sticking to couple of web pages, which no one visits, when they should look for more leads, more sales and happy, loyal customer.

Many businesses owners talk like internet victims:

“ Network marketing is broken and it’s hard to fix it. We had a strong desire, but it doesn’t work.It can’t help my business, because it’s complicated, expensive and takes years.”…
…“With all these 470 million active websites, prospects are overlooking our website for someone else…Making our site stand out is as realistic as winning the lottery”.

…unless you have the knowledge of how to make your website work for you.

What about if they used the wrong technique?
What about if we start doing the predictable and simple action in the right way – automatically. Manual business software just don’t work! You must get a better system and put your business processes on autopilot. Technology can turn the nightmare into a simple, predictable and working process.

Yes, they are so wrong, especially within the current recession.

Today the average adult spends up to 3 hours a day more on the Internet than they spend watching TV. About 70% of the EU and US populations regularly use the Internet. Over 1.3 billion people in the world are online,
ready to make a purchase if they find something worthwhile. Online shopping has increased by as much as 50 % over the last year. Geography can no longer limit the number of sales.
The reach of customers is absolutely amazing! There has never been a more accessible market in any other decade. Using the web correctly can popularize your brand and produce more customers than was ever possible before.  Only 4% of small businesses are currently selling online! Where are you, where is your competition? Are you using the web to your maximum to grow your business? If you don’t get on it, you’ll be left sitting on the porch with your product. Sure, everyone is not a prospect and chasing all of them goes nowhere. But getting them come to you first, finding you, instead of you finding them is the real thing.

Let’s take a real-world example

Sales Automation

Sales Automation

With 14000 searches daily for a specific business niche, they get around 1000 visitors (organic / referral /ads), from which some 25 make orders the same day. What happens with the other 975?98% of their prospects, marketing opportunities and even BUDGET is thrown away!

975 opportunities, some of which they have paid to have, but they lost, because they didn’t follow-up them.

They just tune, educate and send the potential customers to their competitors?! If we don’t grab at least their emails today and follow-up later, we are in a huge, money-eating hole.

Not maximizing your web presence can have devastating consequences.

No matter how great your product is, some people are simply not ready for it. Customers buy when they are ready to buy, not when we are ready to sell. They act according to their own, incalculable reasoning. That doesn’t mean, that they won’t buy, most of them will. If you do follow consistently and automatically, there is where exponential growth happens. You need to be there when your prospects decide to give your product a try. But, you also need to be there when your customers make a second or third purchase. You should be there to promote up-sells and cross-sells, building RELATIONSHIPS. It’s our responsibility to create moments of interaction with our prospects, to maximize those moments, close more sales and grow our business.

Have you ever felt like walking zombie?

We all (small and big) have the “overwhelmed workaholic” pain and there are days when we even can’t get a decent sleep. We forget to live our life, to devote time to favorite activities… this reflects in our family, budgets, dreams, happiness and every other personal area. The Cure?

Automating and doubling our sales. It’s not only possible, it’s measurable. Plus it removes the lack of time and energy, the inability to break free!

Today there are thousands of CRM, salesforce automation and business process management solutions. Millions of people use them every day to follow up, educate their prospects and customers, cultivate lasting relationships and maximize the value of their database and businesses. Assign ALL your leads the value they deserve. Treat each prospect as if they were already your customer, and remember that a vast number of them will be. You’re never going to be able to give your customers the best deal. But, by treating your customers the way they deserve, they will be creating customers for life. Reselling (cross-selling and up-selling) is much more profitable. One who spends significant amounts of money in your business, loves you, and brings in dozens of referrals.

There are just 4 key actions, which produce 80 percent of our sales:

  1. Increase your rankings with the art and a science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  2. Update your content-rich and effective website, capturing as many leads as possible.
  3. Use a full featured web-based CRM system to follow-up and support all your contacts.
  4. Track, measure and optimize the results with usability, performance and split testing.

When you test and measure, you’re bringing marketing to a scientific level.
You don’t have to rely on instinct or hope anymore.

Define, Empower, Liberate and Enjoy more free time in 2009!

Incorporating automated Internet systems to your present business structure often results in an exponential gain in productivity, it adds impact and consistency to your sales process.
I can do the same for your company. I’ve spent the last several years working with many types of traditional offline and online businesses, helping them do more and most of them have benefited from using these strategies.

Even this post is an initial conversation, a chance to begin a relationship.

You’re important to me, so please let me know what you think.

2009 priorities

2009

2009

Back home after the long winter vacation and great holiday!

Sunday is a good time for some planning: 2009 strategy and priorities. Skipping casuals like “new laptop, camera, website, blog, etc…”, let’s check the serious ones.

Everything, which comes up in my mind starts with re:
re
think
reuse
recession recovery
renovation
redesign
reimagine…

According to CEOData, the good ol’ friends are again in top5:

  1. Business strategy – Innovation
  2. Outsourcing, Virtualization, SOA – the Web 2.0 way
  3. Customer and acquisition and retention – new leads and increased conversion
  4. Talent acquisition – recruit new CEO and SEOs
  5. Front/back-office automation – green, cutting costs

I’m OK with that, for 30% of the time.
The rest is reserved for tribal arts, jazz and world exploration.

Step by step ahead and uphill. See you at the top!
Let me know which are your priorities for 2009?