Some time ago project management was represented by three things: a pencil, a piece of paper and a methodology. But the time flies and the technology evolves… so why stop here? Why not use the technology? Software industry has evolved so much and can do wonders. With the introduction of project management software a few years back, the tools a project manager has at their disposal has been greatly increased.The new project management toolsThere are many different versions and variations to what is available on the market, having many cost ranges including programs for small businesses and all the way up to programs capable of keeping a corporation in business. Managing a business is no easy task, however, and keeping track of everything is often the hardest part of owning a business. These software solutions can make it easier for businesses to communicate with employees, clients, share files and track the status of projects and assignments.Management software can be a lifesaver for busy business owners looking for a better way to manage their business. But just having this sort of software program in place won’t help managers be more effective. It will only allow them to have access to more data, which may in turn make them more efficient. They still need to know how to communicate to the project head and be clearly able to delegate responsibilities to the project team members.Project management software has a simple goal: to help those involved in managing projects to achieve their objectives. For individual projects, the objective is to deliver the expected output from the project on time, within budget and to the expected quality. However, for those that manage multiple projects, such a software must do a lot more and it often has a different label, such as project portfolio management software, or resource management software.So how can project management software deliver such benefits?Some businesspeople may wonder what project management software can offer that the old tried-and-true cannot. It is quite simple: project management software achieves its objectives by providing pertinent and reliable information that the project stakeholders have confidence in. So the starting point is to look at how credible information can be delivered from such a system.By looking at the general advantages of software applications (increased memory, faster processing, virtual rendering, etc.) and taking into consideration that good reporting requires both good data and an effective means of processing and presenting it as relevant information we get the obvious conclusion that there are such benefits. If it is easy for employees to see what tasks they must complete, communicate and collaborate with each other then the project manager can spend less time managing these business aspects and spend more time on other things.But to achieve its objectives, project management tools needs to manage the following types of data:Resources
Skills, experience and other attributes
Working calendars and resources availability
Tasks – describing the activities required to produce each key deliverable, which are normally labeled as milestone tasks
Assignments – work estimates needed to achieve each task, for each resource
Cost rates needed to compute the actual costs and the value of work done, to be compared with the budget
Project management software benefits summaryThere are a few basic features that a management software solution should have in order to truly gain these advantages.
Easily manage your company’s projects
Get resources and finances under control
Bring project’s critical issues to your attention (overallocated resources, critical path)
Track project evolution in terms of completion, time and costs
“what if” scenarios capability is offered via multiple undo and redo levels
Provide a clean way to break down your project, build schedules, allocate resources and manage budgets
If all these are met then any project manager can agree that the key benefit is in relevant and timely management information.
Getting sales and marketing to talk to each other may feel like torture, but it has never been more critical – especially for the more than 5 million mid-market industrial and B2B companies in the U.S.The digital age and a host of technology developments have exposed four major flaws in traditional B2B marketing practices:• Lack of coordination between brand, sales/marketing and digital activities• Dedication to sales at the expense of marketing• The slowness of firms to focus their online voice• Failure to recognize that the internet has changed the sales dynamicB2B companies are struggling to leverage the internet to sell and grow. Unlike consumer product companies, they’ve been slow off the mark in the digital race due a traditional but flawed rationale that branding and digital communications can’t really help their ‘relationship’ style of selling.What’s become glaringly obvious is that three core marketing functions – brand, sales/marketing and digital communications – don’t behave as if they have anything in common. Worse, they don’t work together to build equity, share of mind, customer loyalty, or sales for B2B enterprises.The open secret always was that sales and marketing were never really very integrated. In some firms, they didn’t even like or talk to each other. Not to mention that in many B2B firms, ‘sales and marketing’ actually means ‘sales.’But because the internet has made company ‘walls’ ever more transparent, there are few secrets. Employees complain, whistle blowers whistle, bloggers gossip, e-mails get forwarded, the news media investigates, and your customers actually know all about you – your product benefits and even your prices – before you ever hit their door. So what are you actually selling?When a company’s brand, its sales force, and its digital activity aren’t in lockstep, customers notice. At best, customers scratch their heads at this lack of coordination; at worst and more commonly, firms are losing credibility, customer satisfaction and opportunity because they can’t get their act together.In 2014, Forbes Insights published, Breaking Down Marketing Silos: The Key to Consistently Achieving Customer Satisfaction and Improving Your Bottom Line.Forbes noted that the challenges with marketing silos mean:1. Each silo may have its own brand vision, creating a disjointed experience and message for the customer.2. Team incentives may motivate some team members to exploit and damage the brand in order to boost short-term sales.3. Poorly integrated teams suffer from inadequate cooperation.4. Silo interests stand in the way of programs that require scaling.5. Key growth areas such as digital are not scaled because they are dispersed across silos.6. Success in one silo is leveraged slowly into others, or not at all.And not listed, but in the mix: Inconsistent customer experience across divisions and functions.The good news is that with the right market data, the marketing function is uniquely positioned to lead the charge for integration in the name of better service to the customer. Forbes pointed out why marketing is primed for a leadership role in integration:1. Marketing brings an outside point of view.2. Marketing can articulate the unique truth of the company and what differentiates it within the marketplace.3. Marketing can communicate the product and value-why products are relevant to customers in different ways, identifying segmentation in the market.4. Marketing creates compelling stories for rallying employees and making an emotional connection with customers.5. Marketing is a strategic seat at the table; there is no other department that can see such a company panorama and bring those perspectives together.To overcome the silo issue, the report concludes by offering best practices for CMO’s:1. Replace competition and isolation among silos with communication and cooperation.2. Consolidate when necessary.3. Act as a facilitator, establishing frameworks, encouraging collaboration through teams and knowledge hubs, and upgrading marketing talent.4. Think like a consultant: create company-wide insights, train marketing talent and participate in strategy development.5. Secure access to the C-suite. Teradata found that marketers with executive responsibilities are almost twice as likely as others to believe that there are no barriers to interdepartmental integration.6. Force integration. In Teradata’s study, marketers say the best way for marketing to become more intertwined with other functions is to set up integrated processes.For some firms, these are lofty marketing ideals. But there are practical steps smaller companies can take to force different thinking and action. But there are practical steps smaller companies can take to encourage different thinking and action. One is to use research and market data strategically – know the customer better than anyone else. A second step is to stop planning functionally and start planning via a ‘communications & experience canvass.’ What does the customer need to feel, see and hear? How do we ‘behave the brand?’ Who is responsible for delivering that? What are the methods for delivery?In short, turn the silos sideways. With this framework, suddenly a lot more people see and serve their responsibility to serve the customer – including functions such as accounting, help desk, order fulfillment and e-commerce managers, and the c-suite.
The truth? Email marketing still is incredibly popular today, and may just be the strongest possible online marketing strategy for any business. Depending on 2018 figures, email marketing continues to rank as the fourth most powerful marketing channel, behind search engine optimization, social media, and affiliate programs. These four marketing channels combined account for almost 60% of the content indexed by search engines each month. When used correctly, email marketing can easily meet and exceed the SEO results you’re looking for.Before delving into the email marketing software that will best suit your company’s needs, you first need to define your goals. What do you want to achieve from email marketing? Do you simply want to send new prospects your company’s promotional message or are you seeking to build long-term relationships with current and future clients? Do you need a response straight away or do you like to keep your audience interested in a more subtle approach? Any of these strategies can be met through email marketing, so it’s important to consider which approach will best serve your goals.For those on the hunt for immediate responses, email marketing software such as Roboform’s Aweber could provide a solid solution for immediate follow-ups. Email campaigns generally require follow-up on a very regular basis – at least once a week, but preferably daily. Roboform Aweber includes support for a wide range of email formats and auto-responders, including Aweber, Send Later, and ParetLogic. Autoresponders work as a one-stop solution to sending email messages to potential clients, including information about the company, product, or service being sold. While it’s possible to incorporate Aweber’s live chat function into an email marketing campaign, it may not be the best way to reach clients, since those in need of immediate information might not be ready to talk right away.GetResponse is another extremely easy way to send email messages to potential customers. Users familiar with popular email marketing software will be familiar with this program – GetResponse is often used by many small businesses to send out promotional emails that will bring in new leads, as well as keep older ones interested. This software has been around for a while, so there are plenty of options available to help get rid of that inevitable email marketing plateau. One of the best ways to use GetResponse is to incorporate it into a squeeze page that will be sent out after a lead sign-up occurs. A form for collecting the person’s name and email address goes into the body of the email, so all that’s left for the customer to do is to confirm their registration with a simple click of the “submit” button.The three most popular email marketing platforms all offer some version of a built-in autoresponder, whether for free or for a nominal monthly fee. WordPress is one of the more popular, as its user-friendly interface makes it easy for even a beginner to manage. For less than $5, you can install a WordPress blog and turn it into an effective sales tool. Since WordPress can be used for virtually anything, from simple informational pages to powerful advertising campaigns, it appeals to both businesses looking to stay on top of their competition, as well as individual sellers who need to impress potential buyers. WordPress email marketing services can make your life much easier by helping you take the best of traditional email marketing and turning it into an even more effective online marketing solution.Another popular email marketing strategy these days is using email newsletters as a digital marketing strategy. Newsletters are perfect because they’re both convenient and effective. They don’t have to be broadcast to everyone on your list, which eliminates the possibility of them being overlooked. Newsletters can be sent directly to opt-in email addresses or websites, which means you’ll have an easier time selling to people who aren’t on your list. Because newsletters are also easy to personalize, you can personalize them to fit the interests of the recipient, ensuring that the messages will help them take action.When using email marketing tools such as OptinMonster or a similar builder, the idea is to create as many accounts as possible to increase your conversion rate. OptinMonster can help you by giving you several different options for the name, description, signature, and link to your website. You can use the OptinMonster builder to create an unlimited number of email marketing campaigns for very little cost. With WordPress, you can easily personalize these optin forms to ensure that people who sign up for them to know where they’re going and what they’re signing up for.Another way to effectively incorporate email marketing through your autoresponder series is by using the Convertkit software. Convertkit is not only inexpensive, but it comes with thousands of pre-designed messages that are tailored specifically for every subscriber. This means that you can design separate messages for different categories of your subscribers, ensuring that each group of subscribers has something different to read and respond to. Once you have your list of subscribers, you can use the Convertkit software to help you send out emails at scheduled intervals or automatically based on when your subscribers have read their last message.