Author: 17grapes

Being a good manager is made up of many skills. But what are some of the most valued to employers and employees alike?

1. Time management

This might sound like a very specific skill, but good time management is indicative of several other skills. Managers with good time management skills are organized and able to see how the parts make up and affect the whole. Time management also involves good communication, not just to kick off a project but to follow-up on deliverables and to be able to effectively delegate when needed. Tracking and meeting deadlines is an essential skill to almost any managerial position.

2. Relational

Having a good head for business, budgets, decision-making and deadlines is no doubt a hugely important part of the role of most managers. It’s also important, however, to have relational and interpersonal skills. This doesn’t necessarily mean being an extrovert or a pushover. It does mean being able to listen, practice patience and work with a measure of empathy.

3. Motivation

You don’t have to be a cheerleader, babysitter or tyrant to motivate employees to get things done. Motivation might mean different things to different people, so it’s important to get to know your employees and have a desire to see them succeed as individuals, as well as part of your team. Providing and soliciting feedback are important parts of motivation, as it helps to build good communication and better trust.

Being a manager is a careful balance of asking questions, making decisions and listening. How do you feel your managerial skills measure up? Are there areas you could use some work? What are some of the most important qualities you think a manager should have?

Even though we’re born to be social, many of us don’t know how to build a large network of business associates and friends. We often limit ourselves to second-degree connections.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, according to one popular theory we all have an average of six degrees of separation from everyone on the planet! What’s the significance of that statistic to you? If you work your personal connections, you can link with one person, who then knows another person who might be interested in doing business with you. That’s considered a second-degree connection, and for most people that’s as far as it goes. Yet there’s a tremendous wellspring of networking potential when you venture further.

So how do you build a connection with as many people as possible? It’s important to attend both small and large gatherings, viewing those opportunities as potential to amass a gold mine of contacts. The type of networking events you attend makes a big difference. Do you attend only those networking events designed for your industry? Look for networking opportunities at events designed for a wide variety of industries and interests other than your own.

And always think about ways to reach out to others beyond traditional networking events. If you’re attending a speech or presentation, for example, you may want to make an effort to approach the speaker after he or she is finished to ask a question or make a comment. Ask business associates and friends for an introduction to people who may be interested in what you have to offer. And remember, networking isn’t only about how other people can help you. It’s about how you can help others. That’s a great way to build a bond — and develop a new client or customer!

What are you waiting for? Put a plan into action to build your business by mining those second-degree connections, with the goal of progressing to third-degree connections and beyond!

Working a full time job takes at least 40 hours a week and often longer. As a result, many professionals get to a point in their career where they stop learning. Not because they want to necessarily, but because there’s only so much time in the day. Sound familiar?

You might not be able to add hours to the day, but there are things you can do to hone your professional skills, even if your schedule is already packed. Keep reading for a list of easy and actionable suggestions.

1.) Take an online course during your lunch break. Lunch looks a lot different now that many of us are working from home. If you’re going to be watching Youtube or reading the news anyway, why not fill the time with something productive? Online platforms like Coursera, Skillshare, and LinkedIn all offer classes in a variety of topics at very affordable prices.

2.) Crack into a good book. When was the last time you sat down and read a book? Months? Years? Instead of doom scrolling on your smartphone before tucking in for the night read something that applies to your industry. If you’re a marketer, check out “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller. If you’re in finance, pick up “Common Sense on Mutal Funds” by John C. Bogle. If you’re still unsure where to begin, Google “best books for (whatever your profession is)” –– your sure to find something that’s right up your alley.

3.) Join an online community. Did you know that the average American spends two hours and three minutes a day on social media? What if you spent that time collaborating with other professionals in your field, instead of commenting on your friends’ status updates or posting cat memes? There are hundreds of free communities on LinkedIn and Facebook specifically tailored to different professions. After joining, you can ask questions, start conversations, and expand your professional network.

4.) Familiarize yourself with the latest industry software. Software programs are constantly changing, regardless of industry. Staying abreast of what’s currently popular (and learning how to use it) can help you stand out from the crowd, especially when looking for a new position. One program that can benefit anyone is Salesforce. This customer relationship management platform makes it easy for professionals to connect from anywhere, making it easy to keep clients happy.

Do you have any additional tips for honing your professional skills while working full time? If so, visit our Facebook page and leave a comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Think back to a time you felt truly excited, happy, exhilarated and proud of yourself. Chances are, it was the result of accomplishing something new, trying something different, or pushing yourself outside of the boundaries you normally set for yourself. Big moments we remember fondly often started as something we were nervous about or even downright scared to do. But we did them — and afterwards we felt great about it.

If you’ve been in the same position or industry for some time, you likely have developed and honed a certain set of skills. That’s why at any stage of your career it’s a great idea to learn to branch out. Take a class on a subject that’s not your area of expertise. Learn a new skill. Volunteer to lead an effort at your company that will require you to think in new ways.

Comfort zones are an important part of life. They keep us from partaking in reckless and self-destructive behavior. They create a safe environment for us to live our daily lives. Knowing the parameters of our comfort zone is valuable self-knowledge.

But sometimes, it’s valuable to step outside of that comfort zone. Why? Well, the science is simple. When we test ourselves, we step up to the challenge and do some pretty amazing stuff that we didn’t realize we were capable of. When feeling the right amount of anxiety about a situation, we respond by being more productive and creative.

And the more often we intentionally push ourselves out of our comfort zone, the better we will be at handling difficult or unanticipated changes when they occur. In the same way, the more you leave your comfort zone, the easier it becomes to do so. That way, the next time you want to try something that’s scary, you’ll have an easier time mustering up the courage.

If you want your business to succeed, it needs to run like a well-oiled machine. Inefficient business practices can eat into your productivity, drain your energy, and ultimately, waste money.

Even the savviest business owners make mistakes, but there are plenty of tools available that can help prevent headaches later on. One tool that’s often overlooked is customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRMs like Salesforce make it easy to manage critical aspects of your business like processing invoices and developing marketing campaigns. In addition, they provide a cloud-based login for everyone in your office, no matter their location or job description.

CRMs can benefit your business in a variety of ways, but in this blog, we want to focus on one thing, in particular –– their ability to save you money.

1.) It helps you build trust. If you want customers to count on you time and time again, you need to provide reliable, affordable service. CRM software makes this possible, in that it lets you collect detailed information about each and every one of your clients. When you know who your target audience is, what they do, and where they’re located, it’s much easier to cater to their needs. In addition, CRM encourages regular customer follow-up. By asking for feedback, you can find out what you’re doing well and what areas of your business need improvement. Happy customers return time and time again. That equates to less advertising and greater savings.

2.) It tracks every payment from a single location. Many businesses struggle to collect payments. In fact, a 2017 report conducted by Fundbox found that 64% of small business owners are affected by late payments. The same study found that 79% of business owners were unable to pay themselves due to outstanding invoices, and 23% were unable to invest in new equipment. Can you relate? A CRM platform like Salesforce makes it easy to track all of the money coming in and going out of your business. When all of your invoices are in one location and easy to monitor, it’s much easier to ensure they’re paid on time.

3.) It keeps your team informed. Now that the majority of full-time employees are working from home, it’s important that everyone has access to the same information. CRM platforms like Salesforce provide an easy way to store and access various data points, including customer names and information, buyer profiles, and warm leads. Anyone who has login credentials can access the CRM from anywhere with an internet connection. They can input new data, download necessary documents, or keep fellow team members informed of their progress. When your employees know what’s going on, they’re more productive. And when your team is productive there’s less waste.

Have you thought about implementing a CRM at your business? At 17 Grapes, we’re experts in all things Salesforce. If you’re interested in learning more about its capabilities, call (801) 245-0500 or visit our website today.

We all know that employee morale can have a huge impact —positive or negative — on the performance and success of an organization. But what you may not realize is that the overall attitude, satisfaction and outlook of a company’s employees rest nearly completely on the leadership skills of its executives, managers, and supervisors. In many instances, leaders don’t realize that they are contributing to a morale issue within their organization. Here are some of the biggest morale-killing behaviors to watch out for:

Discouraging constructive criticism

A lot of workplace leaders struggle with accepting unfavorable – but constructive – feedback from their subordinates. After all, you’ve likely been in this industry longer and/or worked for this company much longer than they have – why should you listen to someone with less experience and workplace wisdom compared to you?

Answer: because they may have valuable insight that you’d miss out on if they don’t speak up. If you want to truly develop an innovative workplace culture, then you need to follow through when you promise your employees that they can offer input when they have ideas or suggestions. All too often, bosses verbally encourage this, while their reactions to criticism suggest they’re not so open to feedback like they say they are. Make sure your words align with your actions and be willing to accept constructive criticism from those working closely with you.

Micromanaging employees

It’s hard to feel motivated to perform your job when you know more than half of your tasks will be intensely scrutinized and criticized by your boss later on. Micromanaging bosses tend to correlate with higher employee turnover rates because most people don’t want someone constantly checking up on them and making sure they’re doing their jobs correctly.

Micromanaging your employees can make them feel like you think they’re incompetent (even if this isn’t what you truly think), and most adults don’t want to feel like they’re children with overbearing parents watching their every move in the workplace. Many employees value at least an average level of independence to complete their assignments (within reason, of course), so do yourself and your employees a favor by learning to let go and trust them until/unless they prove themselves incapable of completing assignments on time and/or correctly.

Valuing efficiency above all else

If your only value is efficiency, then hopefully your employees are all machines and robots because human beings aren’t built for maximum efficiency, all the time. Sometimes, life just gets in the way, whether that’s a mental illness, physical sickness, issues with family at home, death of a loved one, financial struggles, or all of the above. Get to know your employees and do what you can to help them not only do their job well but to achieve some level of work-life balance. Have you made any effort to get to know your employees and their career and life goals? Studies have shown that helping employees with life goals —or helping to solve a problem they’re facing — can dramatically increase morale.

Rather than striving for efficiency above all else, take time and effort to display more compassion and understanding towards your employees. Just like you, they’re not perfect – but they’ll be much more willing to give you their best efforts if they feel like you genuinely care about how they’re doing.

No matter the type of business you run, the goal is always the same –– close more sales. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. If you don’t take the time to identify your target audience or their unique needs, you’ll struggle to find them or craft messaging that resonates. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of trial and error, but why make things harder if you don’t have to? Thanks to the advent of new technologies such as automation, cloud computing and machine learning, it’s possible to find the customers you’re dying to connect with.

There are a variety of programs available to help you on this journey, but one stands out from the crowd: Sales Cloud 360. Over the past 20 years, this one-of-a-kind customer relationship management solution has helped more than 150,000 enterprise sales teams successfully scale their businesses. Four features, in particular, really stand out:

1.) Data sharing made easy. Sales Cloud 360 makes it easy for all of your teams (marketing, sales and engineering) to gather and share powerful data. Instead of storing everything in separate silos, Sales Cloud eliminates barriers, allowing you to make smarter predictions that better align with your client’s needs.

2.) Improved sales productivity. It’s hard to stay productive when your sales team has to identify and hunt down each new lead. Sales Cloud 360 prevents much of the guesswork, enabling you to increase revenue through relevant, data-driven selling. In addition, the program’s incredibly easy to learn. Following just one training session, you’ll have the necessary skills to streamline your sales processes.

3.) Better communication. Sales Cloud 360 allows you to store all client communication in a single location. That means your team can monitor each and every interaction, ensuring questions or concerns receive prompt attention. By putting a greater focus on customer service, you can significantly increase client satisfaction. And when your customers are happy, they’re more likely to provide repeat business.

4.) Add services at any time. One of the really cool things about Sales Cloud 360 is that you can increase or decrease your service at any time. At 17 Grapes, we typically recommend starting out with Salesforce Essentials, the all-in-one sales and support app. Once you master that, you can expand to Professional, Enterprise or Unlimited. Each level comes with different features.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sales Cloud 360, call (801) 245-0500 or visit our website and fill out an online contact form. Following our initial consultation, we can make recommendations that align with your business’s needs. We look forward to collaborating with you!

The majority of Americans have been working at home for almost a year now. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Remote work has helped slow the spread of COVID-19, but it presents unique challenges, especially when it comes to communication.

If you have a question in an office setting, you can get up and visit your co-worker’s cubicle. Now, though, you have to send an email, make a phone call, or schedule a Zoom meeting. There are more steps involved and interacting with others electronically leaves plenty to be desired.

If you’re feeling discouraged or frustrated, know that you’re in good company. We’re all trying to adjust to the “new normal” and it’s tough. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make things easier.

1.) Lay down some basic guidelines. Before you can improve communication, you have to establish a companywide policy. When brainstorming, it’s important to consider several factors, including:

  • Time zones
  • Rules for each type of communication (IE: Video, email, text, phone)
  • When employees are “on” and “off” the clock
  • What times of day are the busiest or slowest
  • How quickly you expect a response

Once you come up with a basic outline, share it with your team and ask for feedback. That way they’ll have a role in the decision-making process.

2.) Allow employees to communicate in a way that’s convenient for them. Everyone has their own preference when it comes to communication. Someone who lives alone might enjoy video meetings on Facetime or Zoom, while a busy father trying to juggle work and his children’s schooling might prefer a discussion over text or email.

Allow your team to communicate in a way that aligns with their lifestyle and needs. If you want to keep tabs on everyone throughout the day, consider creating a companywide Slack Channel. If your employees find it difficult to stay focused and on-task, consider investing in a project management application like Asana. Don’t be afraid to experiment. See what works and what doesn’t.

3.) Make sure everyone is on the same page. Working from home doesn’t just require communication, it requires overcommunication. When launching a new project, make sure everyone involved has access to critical information, including:

  • The context and goal of the project
  • A firm deadline
  • Contact information for each team member who is involved
  • Any necessary information or tools required to complete the task

As a manager, it’s important to make yourself available. If someone gets stuck or encounters an obstacle, make it easy for them to reach you, no matter the time of the day or night.

These are just a few of the things you can do to foster improved communication while working remotely.

If you’re thinking about making the transition to a CRM like Salesforce, get in touch. (801) 245-0500We’re here to make the process easy and hassle-free.

Many employers don’t realize that employees’ feelings about the companies they work for are often shaped in the first weeks and months on the job. It’s a critical window of time for employees to find out about the companies they work for and whether the company, culture and co-workers are a good fit.

It’s a time period too important to leave to chance. Studies show there’s one common factor for many employees who leave companies within six months of the time they were hired: A lack of new-hire support. Studies show that as many as half of employees who quit jobs soon after hiring had little in the way of onboarding assistance — or none at all.

Why is onboarding a new employee so important? Researchers say employees’ impressions of their companies are formed much earlier and more solidly than employers realize. And if those impressions are negative, they may not stick with that employer, even if later experiences at the company are more positive. How well does your company welcome new employees in their first days and weeks? Here are some elements of an effective onboarding program:

  • Early communication. Sending several get-acquainted e-mails detailing what the employee can expect on their first days and weeks on the job can do a lot to relieve stress caused by fear of the unknown. A phone call the day before the employee begins is ideal. Ask if he or she has any questions before the first day.
  • A special first day. Send out an e-mail to your team letting them know about the new hire. Make sure the new hire’s work station is ready. .
  • Assistance well beyond the first days and weeks. Onboarding should be continued through the early months and beyond.
  • A mentor or ‘buddy’. Having someone other than the boss to ask questions can be extremely helpful. Google calls them ‘peer buddies’. The key is to have someone a new hire can feel comfortable with who can provide support and encouragement.
  • A culture of celebrating new hires. Order in lunch or take your team out to lunch on the employee’s first day. It’s a great way to celebrate a new hire and make them feel special.
  • Social support. Provide opportunities for new employees to get to know their co-workers. Research shows that an employee with a social network on the job is more likely to remain with the employer over the long term.
  • An empathetic and interested boss. Don’t wait for the employee to come to you with questions or concerns. Make yourself accessible in the first days and weeks. Don’t just stop by the new hire’s desk on the way to somewhere else. Make sure they have time to ask you questions and provide input on their experiences, confidentially if needed.

Each generation brings a new approach to the art of management. Generation Y — more commonly called the Millennial generation — is no different. Well, actually they are different in key aspects, and that turns out to be a positive thing in many cases.

In the past few years, Millennials (generally identified as those born between 1981 and 1996) have become the largest segment of the U.S. population and now represent the largest portion of the U.S. workforce. They are on their way to becoming the biggest force in management today, leaving the Boomers and Gen Xers in their dust. So, what exactly do people in their 20s and early 30s bring to the world of management? Here are a few trends:

A shift in measuring employee performance. Research shows that Millennial managers are more likely to measure employee performance not by how many hours are spent in the office but by key performance metrics and hard data. This age group definitely embraces the idea of work-life balance and the “work smarter, not harder” mantra. As a group, Millennials also are much more open to and desire flexible working arrangements — including telecommuting.

An understanding of Millennial workers. Millennial managers know that many young adults want regular feedback and do not want to wait for a yearly performance review to hear how they’re doing. Providing feedback early and often is a great idea with any age group!

Technology savvy. Millennials are significantly more tech-savvy than their older counterparts, both as innovators and consumers. Millennials are the only generation to have grown up with social media. Social media is now a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Many Millennials know the ins and outs of multiple social platforms.

Enthusiasm. Studies show that Millennials are more enthusiastic about their jobs than are Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. When leaders are enthusiastic, it instills a positive workplace culture that trickles down to the entire staff.

In the end, generational stereotypes are just that — broad generalizations. Get to know each potential employee and keep an open mind to what they can bring to the table.