Author: 17grapes

Employee morale can have a huge impact on the success of your company. However, many workplace leaders assume they’re doing an excellent job as long as nobody complains. The fact that no one is voicing concerns, however, does not mean your team doesn’t have any issues with your management style, and as their boss, it’s your job to ensure you maintain an open channel for honest and constructive communication all the time.

If you’re wondering what negative effect you might be having on your employees’ morale, consider these three common management mistakes and develop strategies for overcoming them:

Discouraging Constructive Criticism

A lot of business owners and managers won’t accept unfavorable — but constructive — feedback from their subordinates. After all, you’re the owner and have been in the industry a lot longer. Why should you listen to someone with less experience and workplace wisdom?

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 ideas or suggestions. All too often, bosses verbally encourage this, while their reactions to criticism suggest they’re not so open to feedback. Make sure your words align with your actions and be willing to accept constructive criticism from those working closely with you.

Micromanaging Every Move They Make

It’s hard to feel motivated to perform your job when you know more than half of your tasks will be scrutinized, perhaps criticized and reversed later by your boss. 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 be made to feel like children. Many employees value at least an average level of independence to complete their assignments. Do yourself and your employees a favor by learning to let go and trust them.

Prioritizing Efficiency Above All Else

If your only value is efficiency, then your employees are all machines and robots because human beings aren’t built for maximum efficiency all the time. Sometimes, life 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.

To avoid damaging your employees’ morale, it’s important to remember: they’re only human! As obvious as this might sound, managers oftentimes forget that every person has problems, challenges and limits, and working long hours every workday can seriously take a toll on employees’ productivity and well-being. Rather than striving for efficiency above all else, take time and make an effort to display more compassion and understanding toward your employees. Just like you, they’re not perfect. They’ll be much more willing to give you their best efforts if they feel like you genuinely care about how they’re doing.

In 2012, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff realized something was off. It wasn’t faulty software, a lack of leadership or a toxic culture. Instead, it was something more obvious and pervasive: the company faced gender disparity and a significant pay gap. In a recent article for Wired.com, Benioff states, “I’d begun to notice, with horror, that when I called a meeting, the number of women in the room was often close to zero. I soon discovered that less than 29 percent of Salesforce’s total employees were women, and they made up only 14 percent at the leadership level.”

With all of the negative news these days regarding big business, and big tech, in particular, you might think Salesforce’s leadership team did everything they could to keep this information from getting out. Instead, Benioff decided to take a long, hard look at himself and immediately went to work making changes. First, Benioff established a new set of guidelines: any meeting conducted at any level of the company had to include at least 30% women. While this was undoubtedly a step in the right direction, the deeper Benioff dug, the more he realized how inherent gender bias was built into the company.

In his new book, TRAILBLAZER, Benioff discusses other steps the company is taking to make pay and benefits equal for all employees, but he notes that there’s still work to do. He also emphasizes the fact that business leaders should never be too proud or defensive to reevaluate their practices and make changes.

Here at 17 Grapes, we’re proud to represent a company that’s always striving to change, evolve, and provide a better work environment for all. If you’re ready to transition to a CRM that’s truly a cut above the rest, Salesforce is the way to go and we can help. Visit our website here or call us today at (801) 245-0500 to learn more.

Source: Wired.com

You’re a talented and hardworking small business owner. You’ve done your homework and know everything there is to know about your target audience, yet you’re still struggling to convert that information to sales.

Sound familiar? If so, know that you aren’t alone. For some reason, many of us think that opening the doors of our business is the hard part, but that’s only the first step of many to come. Without repeat customers, you may have to shutter — and fast. Instead of waiting for clients to come to you, be proactive. One of the easiest ways to do this is by sending cold emails.

A cold email is the same thing as a cold call. The only difference is you don’t have to get on the phone. The goal of a cold email is to start a conversation and get a prospect interested in the product or service you have to offer. There are thousands of articles that tell you how to write a cold email, but there’s really only a few things you need to remember.

First, keep your cold emails short, sweet and to the point. Second, make your short email about the recipient, not you. Third, close with a question, such as “Should we connect? or “I have some ideas to run by you. Would you be willing to schedule a phone call next week?”

Sending cold emails puts you on the radar of potential customers. It’s also a great way to build your network and list of contacts without having to attend a conference or mixer. Might as well try it, right? For additional tips and insights on cold emails and cold email strategy, click here.

Most business experts agree that there are several distinct categories that managers fall under. Depending on where you work and what your team is like, some of these might be more effective than others. Which management style matches yours?

  • Autocratic: A manager with this style often makes decisions without a lot of input from the people around them. It often leads to faster decisions and is good in times of crisis, but it can be ultimately alienating to employees.
  • Consultative: Consultative managers allow for more discussion, often soliciting or allowing opinions, but they remain the final decision maker. It can sometimes cause division in a team if a decision is based on input from some but not others. It can be a good method for managers who have more specialized teams.
  • Persuasive: Decision making control remains with the manager here as well, but a persuasive manager is often more open to listening to evidence and hearing pros and cons from the people they manage. It’s harder for this style to be effective if the team doesn’t support or trust management.
  • Democratic: Managers with this style allow employees the opportunity to engage in decision making and create an environment where decisions are based on the input of the majority of the team. It’s a more open style of management communication but can slow down decisions during the collecting and consideration of input from an entire team.
  • Laissez-faire: This hands-off approach to management means that employees make the majority of decisions with management only stepping in when necessary. Their role is more of a mentor. This management style is popular in businesses that need employees who are willing to take risks. It can lead to difficulty in creating change and actually making decisions in some cases.

Understanding how you manage employees is a good way to identify if you’re connecting with your team and why – or why not. It gives you room to understand where you can make improvements and changes that help you be more relatable and more effective.

Congrats on making the decision to implement a CRM platform at your business. This is a wise decision not only for the financial future of your company, but for your organization as a whole. Used correctly, the data you gather about your clients and customers allows you to better serve them and address their unique concerns.

It’s important to remember however, that even the best software won’t solve your problems if you don’t know how to use it. Salesforce is incredibly versatile and can track hundreds of metrics, but you have to be able to interpret the data you collect. That’s where we come in. Our expert Salesforce consultants will work with you each step of the implementation process, ensuring you’re in full control of your CRM system.

Focused. We pride ourselves in giving our customers one-on-one attention. We’ll never put you on hold or have you troubleshoot over the phone with an automated voice system. We’ll schedule a complete one-on-one training session, for you and your team, in your office or via web meeting. Plus, we’ll answer any questions you have and troubleshoot any challenges that crop up in the weeks or months that follow.

Understanding. Even user-friendly software can be daunting, and challenges will inevitably arise. We understand. Our consultants are friendly and compassionate; you can rest assured they’ll never judge or condescend to you. We believe anyone can use Salesforce, even business owners who aren’t “technologically savvy.”

Trained and certified. All our Salesforce consultants are trained and certified in Salesforce-approved practices. They’re familiar with the ins and outs of the software interface and have extensive experience setting up organizations like yours for success.

Ready to begin? Call (801) 245-0500 and request your free consultation today!

Work appraisals and performance reviews are key to helping keep employees on track, growing, and motivated. Historically, this kind of review has been conducted between the employer and the employee annually, usually around an employee anniversary date or near the time of year that a company will be issuing bonuses. While this kind of communication is important, it has tended to be a one-sided conversation, driven my managers or supervisors. Sometimes employees are encouraged to fill out a self-evaluation, but largely the review is for managers to make sure employees understand whether they are meeting expectations.

This is not always the most effective way to create better employee relationships or drive productivity. As employee expectations and motivations change, the review process may need to change as well. Here are some ideas for how to think about reshaping your employee review process for the better.

  1. Weekly check-ins: More regular conversations can give you better insight into an employee’s work quality. Hard data, like projects completed or deadlines met, doesn’t always tell the whole story. Weekly or semi-regular meetings give employees more regular opportunities to talk about challenges, ask questions, and more.
  2. Different feedback approaches: If an annual performance review is still necessary, you can change the way you give employee feedback. Capturing data not just from a management perspective but also including feedback from co-workers or even clients can be valuable to shaping an employee’s progress. Asking people from different departments who work in a capacity that’s different from the employee’s, as well as close team members, for thoughts on the employee’s work can give both you and the employee a lot of valuable insight.
  3. Separate compensation conversations: An annual review is usually associated with some kind of raise or pay increase, with the conversation around performance justifying the compensation change. This can still be a part of employee assessments, but shouldn’t necessarily be the only time employees receive formal, constructive feedback on their performance.

An annual performance review isn’t the only way to track employee progress or share performance related feedback. It’s become more important for managers to have more regular conversations with employees about expectations and goals. Managers are often already busy and have full calendars and a lot of business responsibilities, but making time for these conversations and different feedback approaches is critical in helping to guide and motivate employees towards their best work.

With all the bad publicity facing social media giants like Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, it’s easy to assume all tech companies are in it for themselves, focused on turning a profit and nothing else. Fortunately, things aren’t as black and white as the media would have us believe. In fact, there are dozens of tech companies out there doing their part and contributing to a better society.

Salesforce is one of those companies. Its broken the mold by asking entrepreneurs to take the Pledge 1%. The concept is simple:

“Pledge 1% invites all entrepreneurs and their companies to commit important resources (product, time, and resources) to support integrating philanthropy into their business from an early stage.”

This isn’t just lip service. Since founding the company, Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, has said, “The business of business is improving the state of the world.”

We couldn’t agree more, which is why we’re thrilled to bring Salesforce to small and medium-sized businesses just like yours. By implementing Salesforce at your office, you’re helping support the company’s 1-1-1 model.

How often do you get to change the culture of your company just by upgrading software? Until Salesforce came around, the answer was never. To learn more about the benefits of implementing Salesforce at your business, contact us!

Source: Salesforce

Whether you’re a lead account manager or an office manager, management requires a certain skill set and sense of self. If you’ve been thinking about taking on leadership roles or have aspirations about becoming the boss, here are some things to ask yourself before jumping into the talent pool for management consideration.

  1. Can you delegate? One of the primary responsibilities of management is overseeing other staff. This means being aware of all of the day-to-day business needs and overseeing them in your employees. It’s important to know how to dole out work and follow up on assignments without micromanaging.
  2. How do you deal with unpleasantness and disagreements? Sometimes management comes with having to be a mediator in disputes and being able to handle all issues diplomatically. It can also sometimes mean firing under-performers or not renewing contracts with agencies, which makes certain people feel like they’re failing their teams or letting people down.
  3. Are your organized? Even if you’re not a project manager, management needs to know about deadlines, timelines, and all ongoing projects. It’s important to be able to manage the pieces and track the work or your department or team.
  4. Are you resilient? Management can sometimes mean longer hours from fielding last-minute requests, attending more meetings, or filling in the gaps on a project if someone is missing or behind on their deadline. Managers need to be flexible, ready for anything, and able to bounce back from surprises.
  5. Does your industry have a clear-cut career path to management? Some industries or career paths don’t lend themselves as well to managerial positions as others. Sales, for instance, has more traditionally defined management roles in many organizations, while copywriters might lack a sense of direction towards advancement and responsibility in their roles.
  6. Does your organization support its managers? Another thing to consider when trying on the idea of management is how your workplace treats its managers. Do they seem burnt out or refreshed? Do they have opportunities for growth and an ability to give feedback? Are they supported by leadership so they can in turn support their teams?

Even if you don’t feel like your skills are up to par, don’t abandon your management dreams just yet. Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, it’s much easier to turn them into strengths. Take a class online or join a business association to help you gain the experience and skills you need to make it into management.

You know about Salesforce, but do you know how it can help you with your business? Sure, you might think, “Well, it can help me organize my client relationships.” That’s true, but is that all it does for you? No, not at all. It’s more than just a way to organize your client relationships.

Here are seven (more) reasons to use Salesforce.

1. Create a sales funnel

How many times have you or your team failed to contact a prospect and missed out on a sale? It’s probably more than you care to say. Salesforce helps you set up a sales funnel, which makes it less likely you’ll forget to reach out to someone a second, third, or fourth time

2. Improve client communication

One frustration that clients often report when working with a large organization is having to repeat the same details of their business, products, or services. When more than one person works on a client account, it’s imperative that each person know everything about the account. Salesforce makes it easy to store all client details, so they’re available in an organized way that can be accessed at any time by anyone.

3. Provide a business growth roadmap

The reporting features in Salesforce allow you to easily create reports on just about any data point in the CRM. So, things like sales, revenue, products, services, open opportunities, closed opportunities, and more can all be isolated to show where improvements can be made for better business success.

4. Meeting management

The meeting scheduling functionality in Salesforce makes it much harder to double-book or miss important client meetings. You just go into the client account, set up the meeting date and time, and any details you want about the notification, and then add it to your calendar. Any scheduling conflicts will show up immediately.

5. Updated client information

Most organizations encounter outdated client information. With so many accounts, it can be difficult to keep everything current, especially when several people work on accounts or speak to clients. Salesforce provides on-demand access, so if there are any changes to client information, it can be recorded as soon as someone is notified. This can save a lot of time and effort when there is conflicting information.

6. Easy to plug into other apps

Your clients are the backbone of your business, and you need to keep them organized. When all of your clients are nicely organized in a single CRM, you can use the contact information in a variety of ways to improve consumer relationships, and ultimately, manage retention. Salesforce allows easy integration with various apps, such as MailChimp, Xero, Quickbooks, DocuSign, AdobeSign, and more, so you can use all of the apps you’re used to in order to do more with your clients.

7. It’s all available everywhere

Salesforce’s cloud-based platform means your team can access information anytime, anywhere. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access information in Salesforce. This can be incredibly helpful when traveling for business meetings.

Having the client information you need when you need it is what makes businesses choose Salesforce. If you haven’t tried it and are wondering if it could work for you and your business, contact us. Our consultation services can help you decide if Salesforce is right for you.

There are certainly traits that many companies will look for in managers, no matter where in the organization they’ll serve. Those traits include organization, good communication skills, ability to understand the scope of projects, able to meet deadlines, and being good at delegating and supervising.

But are there skills you can develop as a manager that will help set you apart at your company? Can you cultivate abilities that will help you down the path of your career? Here are some of the places to pay attention to you as you grow professionally.

  1. Never Stop Learning: Whether your strategy is to attend an annual conference, complete an online certificate program, listen to a regular podcast, or reading a best-selling business book, the key to continued growth is to continually look for opportunities to learn. If you make a point to both master your on-the-job skills and add continuing education into your schedule, you’ll be on track to excel. People will especially take notice if you share your knowledge with your team to help them grow, too.
  2. Creativity and Flexibility: Not every job is “creative” as we have come to think of it, and not everyone is a graphic designer or art director. But creativity is still a huge asset to businesses and should be cultivated to help create more opportunity for yourself. If you’re down a team member before an important accounting deadline, can you come up with a creative way to adapt and meet the deadline? Have you thought of any innovative ways that could save your business money or help streamline processes? This kind of thinking helps you stand out in your organization.
  3. Being a Genuine Team Player: People notice when your work isn’t just a checkmark on a list of to-dos, but a part of helping the business be better. Whether it’s sharing credit on an important, successful project or offering to help other teams meet their deadlines, being seen as someone who put the business first will make a huge impact.

Being a manager is hard enough. You don’t have to be super-human to stand out, but you can slowly work on ways to make an impression as part of your career journey, knowing that any small investment of time and effort is building something greater.