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Yesware Deal for Vsnappers

Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap

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Hi there Vsnappers! 

Our friends over at Yesware want to offer you 3 months free of Yesware Enterprise (valued at $150 / user - available for new users / teams only). If you haven’t heard of them yet, Yesware is an email productivity platform that helps salespeople work more effectively right from their inbox. 

Yesware Features: 

- Track and analyze email communications.
- Quickly integrate Gmail and Salesforce.com.
- Get real-time feedback on every opportunity.
- Share top performing templates with the whole team.
- Make new reps more productive in less time.

Click here to claim the deal!

If you have any questions about the deal, please don’t hesitate to email / vsnap me: trish@vsnap.com

Take care and happy vsnapping!

Filed under trish blogs yesware sales

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Try In July: 6 Top Execs Tell Us Why They Test in the Summertime

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap

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For many businesses that sell enterprise software, July can be a slow month. That makes it a perfect time to be experimenting with new technologies and processes. I reached out to a few contacts to ask them if they think of July in this way. Here’s what they had to say.

Mike Troiano is CMO at fast-growing copy data virtualization company Actifio.

“July is halftime on our year. We use it to regroup, check what’s working and what’s not, and to be sure we’re doing more of the former and less of the latter in the back half of the year. It’s a good discipline, given how different the world usually looks in July than it did in December.”

Michael Nugent is CEO of BISON, which provides data to help fund managers and Limited Partners find the right match in both directions.

July and August are great months to test stuff with hardcore users — those that will use your product despite the natural tendency to go off the productivity grid for the summer.”

This July, Nugent is testing a new connection capability in their product, and a new approach to gathering data directly from GPs.

Matt Bertuzzi, of The Bridge Group, is an inside sales leader and a Salesforce.com MVP.

“July is a great time to try things.  More off-time, fewer coworkers around, less overall grind — it just gives you more space to explore. In essence, a refreshed mind and less cluttered calendar is a requirement for developing and trying new ideas.”

Bertuzzi is currently testing a new Salesforce.com app he has built. Also, as a result of some new strategic thinking, his team has accelerated a major technology purchase that  had been tabled for several quarters.

Joe Moriarty is VP Global Sales & Marketing at Content Raven, which provides security and deep analytics on documents you share.

“People are in the office,” Moriarty says, “but they’re doing less since the decision-makers are less available to give them approvals. That can actually be an opportunity to really capture attention.” Moriarty’s team is using this as an opportunity to test edgier collateral to more aggressively capture attention. That ranges from trying different messages in reps’ talk tracks to actual A/B/C testing of messaging on their site.

I did get some push-back on my premise that July is the time to try and test new tactics.

Emily Green, CEO and Chief Lunch Lady at Smart Lunches, reminded me that many businesses have seasonality, and so the summer months aren’t always the slow time of year. Also, she pushed the perspective that companies should be allocating resources for testing at all times.

“Vibrant learning businesses are always trying things,” Green says. “Fail Fast is the startup mantra — but why isn’t that the motto for every business that wants to grow?”

Andrew Burton, CEO at Logentries, echoed this perspective.  “I’d argue that every month is a great month to do experiments, and often we’re running multiple experiments at one time.”

Burton says it’s easy to empathize with sales leaders who are under pressure and feel they don’t have time for testing. They effectively say, “Our approach may be imperfect but it’s predictable.”

But, says Burton, every organization is resource-constrained — that’s no excuse for sticking with approaches that can be improved on.

“Depending on stage of the company or the area of the business that’s being developed,” says Burton, “I put a percentage of time and effort on execution/scale, and a percentage of time and effort on experiment/build. Striking the right balance is key, but too much of one without the other, and you’re doing an incredible disservice to individuals, the team and the company.”

Conclusion

Test and learn, whether you’re slow or busy. That’s what these leaders say is the recipe for growth. If you can do it year-round, that’s great. But at a minimum, you should be trying new products during your downtimes to help you capture maximum growth during the busier months.

Filed under Dave McLaughlin dave blogs vsnap influencers july sales testing sales tips

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4 Ways to Engage With Customers As a SaaS Biz

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap

If you’re a web-based business, you’ve probably faced some relationship building challenges when it comes to customers. It’s hard to recreate some of the interactions that brick and mortar businesses easily have just by having a physical location. So you’ve sent vsnaps, done some Google Hangouts, had phone calls, and written thank you cards - what other ways can you connect with your customers?

One company that I believe is doing an awesome job is Grasshopper, which offers a phone system for entrepreneurs. Here are 4 ways they’re engaging with their community both online and offline.

Featuring customers beyond their platform
Some companies get quotes and testimonials from their clients to feature on their page, but Grasshopper goes the extra mile. With their Tell Us Your Story program, they highlight their customers on their site, but they pitch their company stories to the media as well. They’ve gotten their customers featured everywhere, from their local paper to The Wall Street Journal.

Grasshopper’s core purpose is to empower entrepreneurs to succeed, and like a lot of great companies out there, they go past their platform to carry out that mission. For their customers, it’s like having an extra PR person on the team and it shows them just how invested Grasshopper is in their success.

Buying customers coffee the online way

Grasshopper sends thank you cards with Starbucks gift certificates to both customers and community members that engage with them in different ways. As a way to scale some of that effort, they’ve started to use Tweet A Coffee. Using Tweet a Coffee, you can connect your company’s Twitter account with Starbucks.com to send $5 online gift cards to anyone in the US and Canada.

Not only did Grasshopper tweet a coffee to me recently, they also offered to connect me with someone for a coffee meeting. What an incredible way to up the ante, and be totally on brand (remember their core purpose I stated above?). Sending your customers a coffee can be a great way to connect with them before a call, an online demo, or just to say thank you.

Making sure their customers have fun at work

This past January, Grasshopper declared the last Friday of the month, “Fun at Work Day”. They sent off boxes of toys to their customers that they could enjoy while they were at work, in addition to showing off games that were happening at Grasshopper HQ in case people wanted to play along. What I love about this is how it was unexpected, but if you were to recreate this box it wouldn’t break your budget. I also love that they shared pictures of how their team was celebrating throughout the day. Yes, even B2B companies know how to have fun and it’s important to connect with your audience outside the product.

Empowering customers through event sponsorship

(pictured - L to R - Robby Bitting from MassChallenge; Taylor Aldredge from Grasshopper)

If you’ve been to one of our Customer Love Meetups in Boston, you’ve probably met Grasshopper’s Ambassador of Buzz Taylor Aldredge. Taylor sponsors our events on behalf of Grasshopper to make sure everyone is fed. But it’s more than that. For them, sponsorship is more than a good use of their budget, it’s an awesome way to form relationships with their customers. Not only are they showing support for what we’re working on, they’ve found it’s a great way of building grassroots support in each city they sponsor events in. Companies are always looking to sponsor industry events and conferences, but take a note from Grasshopper and check in with your customers to see if there’s something you can do to help them produce an event or project.

What are some out of the box ways you connect with your customers? Feel free to post below!

And a brief plug, if you’re a Vsnapper, we’d love to feature you in our Spotlight series, click here to fill out the form.

Filed under trish blogs grasshopper custlove14 customer love customer service customer engagement saas business

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Recap: Customer Love Meetup Boston #5

By Guillaume Delloue, Director of Marketing at Vsnap

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“Cozy” isn’t a word New Englanders usually throw around in the summertime. But it’s an apt description for this past Tuesday’s Customer Love Meetup. We all gathered at EverTrue’s headquarters to trade stories of customer love and enjoy a beer (or two). Not a bad shelter from the heat! For those of you that couldn’t make it this time around, here are some of the highlights from the evening.

#VoteForNed to show your support for entrepreneurs.

The night kicked off with Taylor Aldredge of Grasshopper. He spoke about #VoteForNed, a new campaign to help make National Entrepreneur’s Day an official U.S. Day. It’s Grasshopper’s way of giving back to the thousands of small business entrepreneurs who built this country. It’s also a great way for Grasshopper to celebrate their customers and bring national attention to their efforts. Read more about it and lend your support by visiting http://voteforned.org.

Help your customers when they need it most.

Next up was our most gracious host, Joanna Vinick of EverTrue. EverTrue has a set of apps that help universities better manage their alumni relations and donor efforts. And they really go the distance for their customers. Not only do they ship EverTrue pennants to every new school that signs up, they also ship “survival kits” during crunch time. By acknowledging and offering relief during their customers’ busiest time of the year, they show how much they care about them.

Give your customers some unexpected recognition.

Christine Del Castillo talked about Wizeo’s recent partnership with folk-singer Melissa Ferrick. At the end of her pop-up set, Melissa announced the winner of an iPad giveaway. To be called on by one of your idols is a dream come true for any fan — and a great way for Wizeo to make their customers feel special. Although not every company has access to a celebrity, it’s always a great idea to have executives or other high-level employees connect with and recognize customers.

Empower your team to surprise customers in real-time.

HubSpot is always finding ways to surprise and delight their customers. But did you know they once paid for someone’s massage? Katherine Yasi shared how one customer called the company’s hold music a “tease” and jokingly said she deserved a free massage. The customer service rep replied that they’d happily pay for a session at her favorite spa. Yes, Brian Halligan approved.

Last but certainly not least was Sean Butler from Leanbox. After his 4th of July plans were cancelled because of the storm, Sean took it upon himself to bring 50 savory pies to one of his client’s offices. They were so delighted by his spontaneous act of generosity that they invited Sean to watch the fireworks from the 45th floor of the John Hancock Tower. How’s that for a 4th of July?

Thank you to Grasshopper and EverTrue for sponsoring the event, and to everyone else who came, you’re all wonderful! To make sure you don’t miss our next Customer Love Meetup, please sign up for the Customer Love mailing list (you’ll only receive emails about the meetups).

 

Filed under Customer Love customer love meetup guillaume blogs vsnap startup culture customer service customer experience custlove14

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13 Tools to Recapture Your Buyer’s Attention [eBook excerpt]

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap

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(This is an excerpt from Tools & Tactics to Close More SQLs, a free eBook that spells out the benefits of focusing on SQLs, provides a case study to illustrate how to improve, then breaks out 11 individual obstacles and the tools to help you overcome them.)

The definition of a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is that it has the attributes of a buyer. In theory, every SQL is winnable. You won’t actually win every one of them, but you almost certainly can increase your close rate from what it is today. Doing this requires commitment though, and you may wonder if it’s worth the work.

The following section is excerpted from the eBook.

OBSTACLE: BUYER DISTRACTIONS

There is a constant array of events that will compete for your SQL’s attention. If your rep finds a warm conversation going cold, he will need a plan to re-engage the SQL by means of multiple touches. The emphasis here should be on helpfulness and warmth. Make your engagement personal to the buyer. That means it’s about them, not about you and your product.

SOLUTION: SOCIAL LISTENING

Your SQL may not be engaging with you, but chances are she is sending all sorts of signals on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Similarly, her company is putting out information that may help you re-engage. You can use social listening tools to help you here. Many companies do this earlier in the funnel, with tools ranging from Radian6 / Salesforce Marketing Cloud to HootSuite, but then forget the value of these tools in the SQL phase. So this is a reminder to take whatever listening tools you’ve already invested in, or use free ones like LinkedIn Updates and Google Alerts, and look at how they can be leveraged to help reps re-engage prospects.

SOLUTION: TRACKABLE TOUCHES

You want reps to use those bits of information they capture as hooks to reach out to the prospect. Reps should not make their touches about their need to get the prospect back into a buying posture. Instead, make them about the prospect, and about the prospect’s needs, to the extent that they can be inferred from what your rep is hearing through the social listening exercise. Work hard to find an opportunity to create some nugget of value for that prospect. Then use a trackable email or video message (Yesware or Signals for email, Vsnap or EyeJot for video messages) to ask for a call to either get him back on track, or to requalify his interest and ability to take action.

SOLUTION: TRACKABLE CONTENT

Another tactic here is to provide rich content that is trackable. Knowing that the prospect has consumed your information is valuable because it allows you to affirm that they still have a certain level of interest. Tools like ClearSlide, PostWire and Brainshark allow you to communicate a lot of complex information. ContentRaven is another product that offers rich insights when you share it.

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To learn about the other 10 common obstacles that can keep you from closing more SQLs, download Tools & Tactics to Close More SQLs for free.

Filed under sales sales tools sales tips Dave McLaughlin vsnap