Business Automation Software

Everything to automate your business from Job sheets to full job management and job tracking

Customer Relation Management - What is it

You have heard of Customer Relationship Management CRM but not sure exactly what it is? .  Various definitions are around here are a few

  • CRM is the development and maintenance of mutually beneficial long-term relationships with strategically significant customers  - Source Buttle , 2000
  • CRM is an integrated set of business processes and enabling technologies in support of consistent entry management and use of customers related information across and between channels of sales and service  - Source DHL CRM master class.

In simple terms it means that is you use a CRM business philosophy your customers are king and are at the heart of everything your business does.  A CRM process is a means to capture and analyse your customer information and build a value driven long term relationship with your customers.  To a degree all business follow some form of CRM system and with the costs associated with finding new customers it makes sense to nurture your existing customers after all they are a potential asset to your business.  The more information that you collect about your customers the more you can understand them and use this information to get more.

 Benefits of a CRM system

  • Streamlined sales and marketing process
  • increased sales productivity
  • identify cross sales and up sales opportunities
  • improve customer service
  • increase efficiency
  • increase customer conversions
  • reduce marketing
  • Increase Sales

Are you looking after your hard won Leads

You have a great business idea, you are all set to go ,all you need are the customers

 

For the majority of businesses getting new prospects through the door or getting new customers to contact you is the most challenging part of a business.  From the number of emails that arrive in your inbox for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or from marketing companies promising you amazing increase in sales and revenues if you use their service getting customers is something that every business has to work on.  Why then do a lot of businesses not follow up on leads or not know how people contacted them.

It does not matter what your sales process is there are certain things that are important to capture and analyse.

  • Sales Channel - how did they find you
  • Name and Address
  • Salutation
  • Job title / Company name
  • Home/work/mobile phone
  • Email
  • Date information was updated
  • Industry/Commercial Sector
  • Date they contacted you
  • Who took the phone call/answered enquiry
  • Who that lead is allocated to
  • What happened did they buy/ did you win the business

Storing this information in a database has several advantages

  1. it means that you can reduce the amount of time spent managing your information. 
  2. The information that you have captured can be analysed so you can determine which advert in what paper generated most leads. 
  3. By having a process to capture this information means that consistent information is captured. 
  4. Customer information is never lost and is always in the same place.

BusinessFlow lead database has been developed with several of our customers to produce a simple easy to use process.

Once a customers details have been captured they can be allocated to a particular sales person/admin person for follow up action.  Every time that person logs into BusinessFlow their own Sales Dashboards gives them a complete list of customers to contact with a full history of previous contacts.  No longer get caught out by not knowing what was said in a previous conversation.   If a customer is not available to speak today re-schedule the call for another day. 

From the lead quotes can easily be prepared and sent to customers which if successful can easily be converted into invoices.

 

 

VAT invoices: what they must show

If your business is  registered for VAT, when you supply goods or services to someone else who is also registered for VAT you must give them a VAT invoice and pay the collected VAT to HMR and customs

However by being registered for  VAT registered, you can then reclaim VAT on purchases made for your business when you have a valid VAT invoice for that purchase.

 

What is a VAT invoice

A VAT invoice provides detailed information about Goods and services you have delivered.  If you fail to do this then you may be liable for a fine and the invoice must be issued with in a specific time frame

 

The following are not classed as a VAT invoice:-

 

  • pro-forma invoices
  • invoices that state 'this is not a tax invoice'
  • statements
  • delivery notes
  • orders
  • letters, emails or other correspondence

An invoice must contain the following:-

 

  • an invoice number which is unique and follows on from the number of the previous invoice - if you spoil or cancel a serially numbered invoice, you must keep it to show to a VAT officer at your next VAT inspection
  • a description sufficient to identify the goods or services supplied to the customer
  • the seller's name or trading name, and address
  • the seller's VAT registration number
  • the invoice date
  • the time of supply (also known as tax point) if this is different from the invoice date
  • the customer's name or trading name, and address

for an itemised invoice then the following need to be clear

  • the unit price or rate (Less VAT)
  • the quantity of goods
  • the rate of VAT applied
  • the total amount payable, excluding VAT
  • the rate of any cash discount
  • the total amount of VAT charged

 

Tax point or time of supply

The tax point, or time of supply, is the date when a sale is considered to take place for VAT purposes.

More info about Time of Supply...  More

 

Issuing invoices is one of the most important parts of a business and if not done properly or regularly can be costly. At Infotek Software we appreciate that raising invoices is a time consuming process so we have worked very hard to simplify the process to provide you with a program which will quickly provide you with professional looking invoices.

Invoice Pro is a simple program that will allow you to quickly raise invoices in a PDF format for printing out or emailing to customers.   Alternatively with both BusinessFlow Job Tracker or BusinessFlow ONLINE you can easily convert a quote into an invoice for the whole balance or staged payments.  All created invoices are automatically stored in the document store online and are instantly available to your customers via the customer portal.  Businessflow reports allows you to easily see who has yet to be invoiced or which invoices are overdue and how many days overdue they are.  An account statement will detail all invoices and whether they are paid or not.

for more information about VAT invoices see HMR & Customs website

Copyright Law what you can and cannot use on your website

Content published in a digital format is still subject to the same copyright laws as traditional published material.  Many people assume that just because something has been published on the web then that content is free and can be  modified with out the owners permission. People also incorrectly assume that if the website does not have the copyright notice at the bottom of the page then that content can be copied.

The current copyright law was passed in 1988 (Copyright, Design and Patents Act).  The purpose of the Act is to give creators of literary works, musical, film etc. control over how their work is used.

As a business when compiling articles for blogs, newsletters, website or brochures it is important to know what information is covered.  The type of work that is protected is as follows:-

  • Literary
  • Dramatic
  • Musical
  • Artistic
  • Published editions
  • Sound Recording
  • Films

Written Content

So to protect yourselves always write your own copy after all it is a site about your business which you know best.

If you want to add other people brochures always get permission

Images

So when sourcing images for sites or brochures either buy the image from reputable agencies such as IstockPhoto or get the permission of the creator.  When buying from Istock website  always check that you are buying the correct licence for the use of the image.  Istock Photo licences 

Using You Tube videos on the your website

If you have created the video yourself then there is not a problem as you own the copyright.  If you have not created the video then someone else own the copyright however when a video is uploaded to You tube the owner has the option to enable or disable the embed code for their video.  The embed code is the HTML code you put on your website to show the video.  It would imply that if the embed code is enabled then they want others to use it.  The only  downside to this is if the person uploading the video was unaware of the implication of enabling this option.

read more on copyright issue of YouTube