Chances are, your business is using CRM, some version of document creation, and shared online storage. Too often, these are separate systems, which means you are wasting way too much time, and possibly have different versions of documents out there. That could mean not everybody is on the same page, and you’re certainly wasting time.
Time is your most valuable asset today, and we never seem to have enough. While the technology is in place to streamline processes and maximize time, many business owners are resistant to change, perhaps because new technology happens so fast it’s difficult to gauge what automation will help, and what will only prove a bigger waste of time as employees struggle to understand new processes.
As a result, we often tend to adopt new ideas piecemeal, one agonizing step at a time. We’ve come a long way from day planners stuffed with notes, cards, and post-it notes to online calendars with automated reminders.
Now it’s time to take a new step forward. A big step. Integration of all your individual Google apps (now rebranded as G Suite) with your CRM – including documents, customer records, calendar, email, workflow, and task reminders – will enable you to collaborate better and faster, keep employees informed and up to date, and create lean workflows with little wasted time.
The State of Business in the Cloud
Chances are, your business is already on the path to integration. For some business owners, all it takes is a little extra knowledge for everything to fall into place.
Not long ago, cloud computing transformed every aspect of customer management, making powerful unified communication available to every business, no matter how small. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) allows small and medium businesses to harness and customize the kind of enterprise level systems only available to large businesses in the past.
In 2015, a study released by Intuit revealed that 37% of small businesses in the U.S. were already in the cloud, and predicted that 78% will be fully operational in the cloud by 2020. Of those, 65% said they were doing administrative work including bookkeeping and accounting with cloud-based apps, and 43% were using a smartphone to run their operations.
Then a 2016 report by IDC revealed that the majority of fast-growing small and mid-sized businesses with 10%+ annual revenue are those using digital technology to automate and optimize functions.
In a recent article, Bain discusses the value of technology in the context of lowering your business budget:
“Automating tasks and processes end-to-end through software reduces costs significantly, typically by 25%–50%, but sometimes as much as 65%. It can also improve efficiency by allowing these activities to run around the clock. Productivity rises and the need for training declines.”
In summary, here’s what studies show digital cloud technology with integrated systems means for businesses of any size:
- Over the next few years, almost all businesses will be almost exclusively using the cloud to run their businesses.
- Businesses who use integrated digital technology enjoy a much higher growth rate than businesses who do not.
- Automating tasks using end-to-end (integrated systems) technology reduce costs from 25% up to 65%
How’s that for incentive?
The numbers don’t lie. Cloud services give businesses an advantage in several areas; the ability to move into new markets, internal process streamlining, better use of internal and access to resources, Better customer service, and sales pipeline communication, better connectivity for employees and a more efficient automated approach to analyze and act on data.
WhyYou Should be Using G Suite (Google Apps)?
PCs have come preloaded with Microsoft Office Suite since the web was invented, which is why it is the business standard, and rightly so. The granddaddy of all document creation, MS Office offers an amazing array of choices and options. The more options you choose, the more you pay, with their basic plan starting at $12 per user/month.
Google Apps, or G Suite, offers more features and options than most businesses need, with a very simple pricing structure. It’s free for individual users, even if you share docs, and businesses can choose from two plans: G Suite Basic for $5 per user/month, or G Suite Business (formerly known as Google Apps Unlimited) for $10 per user/month.
Another distinct advantage to Google Apps is collaborative enhancement. Multiple users can edit a document in real time at the same time. Changes are saved automatically and almost instantly, and you can revisit previous versions of the document without setting tracking options.
Integrating G Suite/Google Apps with CRM
Now that you know why your business should be in the cloud and why you should choose Google Apps over other office suites, let’s talk about how this all fits together and makes efficiency happen.
Almost everyone today is using some form of automation for business. Who doesn’t schedule meetings through email and sent events directly to their calendar, which then automatically sends an email reminder of the event 10 minutes in advance? It’s amazing when you compare the efficiency to the antiquated processes of about 10 years ago.
What if you could bring that level of simplicity to customer service, sales, and marketing…all at the same time? And by doing so, save time, increase sales, and increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty? Suppose while you were doing all that, you were gathering and analyzing customer data to predict what they will want next, in advance?
You do all of that and more when you sync Google Apps with Agile CRM. Here are just a few of the advantages:
Instant sync for Google Drive and docs
Attach documents directly from Google Drive to Agile CRM records for easy access. Documents are created and cross-referenced instantly. No duplication, no multiple or different copies stored who knows where. One point of information, always up-to-date with the current information, and available to anyone with access from anywhere, at any time. No uploading and downloading of versions that may overwrite more current information. No confusion, and no conflicts.
Better contact management
Why create duplicate records for contacts, when Agile CRM can do it for you? Choose to sync your Google and Agile CRM contacts and groups daily, weekly, or once a month both ways. New records are created and useful information – like social media profiles – are automatically populated.
Manage your schedule
You can also sync your calendar both ways to avoid conflicts and set automatic reminders.
Attach emails to client records
It happens to all of us. A customer makes a reference to something mentioned in an email a few weeks ago, and we have to switch programs and search through dozens, or hundreds, of email conversations to find the details. Disorganized emails can be a huge waste of time.
Wouldn’t it be great to have all communications, documents, and contact information in a single location? We thought so, too. When you integrate Gmail with Agile CRM, you have everything you need to know in one place. Without digging or switching between programs. And with the Agile CRM Gadget for Gmail/Google Apps, you can see everything you know about your contacts in your email programs – so you always know exactly who you are emailing and what has gone before. Make notes on the fly and they are added directly to the CRM record. Even add contacts to a campaign while you’re answering an email. No matter which program you have open, you can see and do everything you need.
Agile CRM helps you automate and streamline your processes, and integrating Google Apps with your CRM represents a big leap forward in efficiency. If there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, streamlining, automating, and organizing might be the cost-effective answer to your problems.