The 25 Best CRM Apps

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The 25 Best CRM Apps

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A friend shared this article on CRM Apps – Customer Relationship Management Apps and I thought I’d share it here for my readers and clients.top CRM solutions with J.R. Atkins Click on a category below to learn more about the strengths of those CRMs or jump to an app directly by clicking its name.

Link to the original article: https://zapier.com/blog/best-crm-app/


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Good Drinks, Good Food, Good Night

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J.R. Atkins reviews Hotel Indigo Waco“I wish we had something like this in Gatesville, I’d hang out here all the time.” These were the first words I spoke to my wife as we entered the Hotel Indigo in Waco.

I like the open air lobby as it has a sense of a “community room” to it. The check-in desk is small and off to the left of the room rather than the standard front and center. Off to the right is an informal sitting area and meeting rooms, in the center is the lounge and restaurant area; very inviting.

We took a seat in comfortable chairs at the low bar and were greeted by a wonderful bartender mixing superb drinks. The wine offering is a step up from your typical hotel wine selection offering unique Texas wines and other good choices.
We were then greeted by the hotel manager and given the grand tour. I found the “Huaco” meeting room to be ideal for large gatherings with its upgraded audio visual system suitable to simulcast events like TED talks, game viewing and corporate presentations. While the “Judge Waco” meeting room is ideal for smaller board style meetings and presentations.

The guest rooms are very contemporary with bamboo flooring, luxury showers, designer bedding and the best pillow top beds in town. Oh yeah, fJ,R, Atkins Selfieree internet too.

The pool area is very nice for a little rest and relaxation with a portion of the pool indoors for inclement weather, hot tub included. There is also enough patio room to host your poolside reception.

Our biggest surprise of the night was the menu and taste of the food. Who would have thought that a cafe sized lounge and restaurant would produce such an exquisite dining experience. We were served fresh salad, steak and vegetables, then cheese cake and coffee for dessert. It was the best steak I had had in months.Hotel Indigo Review by J.R. Atkins

 
Yes, the facilities at the Hotel Indigo Waco are very well designed and inviting, but what would a grand hotel experience be without a fine staff? From the front desk staff, to our wait staff, to the bartender, we were charmed and received excellent, personal service. This hotel could be in uptown Dallas, on Westheimer in Houston or on 6th Street in Austin and do very well. It’s a touch of elegance and class in the heart of Texas.

Disclaimer: Our dinner and drinks were provided by the Hotel Indigo Waco.

Hotel Indigo Review

J.R. Atkins reviews dinner at Hotel Indigo   Review of Hotel Indigo desert by J.R. Atkins


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Elements of a Good Facebook Graphic

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I have been recommending Info-Graphics and Professional Graphics to my clients and this one from “The Bean Cast” is a great example.Bob Norpp

  • Note the “interesting graphic” with color and images that “pop” and get your attention.
  • See the company logo
  • The picture of Bob Norpp the Bean Cast Host
  • The easy to read name “Bean Cast”
  • The Brand explained “marketing podcast.

These are all components of a good graphic you might post on social media.

 

Let me know if you are using graphic images to attract more attention on your social media sites.


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How Our Beliefs Affect Our Business

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J.R. Atkins writes on beliefs and businessRelating to June’s newsletter/blog topic of Continuing Education, I have been considering how we form our beliefs and how our beliefs affect our business. For example, have you ever run across someone that operates from the belief of “I’ll screw you before you screw me?” Or, how about someone who has an abundance mentality of “win-win” or “there is enough here for all of us?” Let’s look at the ways we develop our beliefs.

One – Our Home: Think of the times when you have heard your parent’s words rolling off your tongue. This is just one easy example of the profound affect our upbringing has on us. This is also why getting away from home and family can help us develop whether it is time in college, the military, or traveling abroad. When we step out of our home environment, we get to examine our beliefs, habits and culture.J.R. Atkins advocates education and training

Two – Education and Training: As we listen, read, discuss and write about new beliefs, information and culture, we tend to expand our own beliefs. We gain a new perspective. Have you ever heard someone say “I never thought of it that way?” That’s exactly the idea. When we receive training on new tools, exercises, theories, techniques … we alter and expand our beliefs. Education can include church, clubs, professional associations, and athletics.

People influence our beliefsThree – Experience: As time goes on, we collect experiences that are converted to beliefs, habits and mental patterns. Abraham Maslow studied reactions in dogs to see if he changed the stimulus, would the response change. We too are much like the dogs in his research. Yet, unlike the dogs, we have the capacity and ability to choose to change. Humans are more than the accumulation of their life experiences. Yet, our life experiences are a major influence on our beliefs. If every time we have asked for a raise, we have been told no, then we might quit asking.

Another strong influence on experience are the people around us: family, friends, bar tenders, doctors, teachers, pastors, work associates, club members… all affect how we see ourselves and our beliefs. When we change the people around us, we change. It’s funny how that works.

In closing I challenge you to think about how your beliefs have been formed and how they are contributing to your life and business success. How are your personal beliefs contributing to the culture of your organization? If you could make a change in the culture of your workplace what would it be? Can you trace it back to a specific belief or set of beliefs?

Good luck in growing your business. I hope that this article has encouraged you in some way. Please let me know your thoughts by responding by email, social media, or to this article on my blog.

Events worth considering (updated)

donate to the academy for spiritual formation07/21/14 – Academy for Spiritual Formation, San Antonio, TX
07/24/14 – Pharmacy on a Bicycle, Dallas, TX
07/30/14 – CBA Ribbon Cutting, Belton, TX

08/06/14 – Film Screening – Wadjda, Plano, TX
08/07/14 – Walking with Palestinian Christians, Tipp City, OH
08/12/14 – The Culture Map … International Business, Dallas, TX
08/14/14 – How to Systemize Your Biz, Webinar
08/19/14 – SDC Ribbon Cutting at Harker Heights Chamber, Harker Heights, TX
08/19/14 – Selling in the Digital Age, Temple College, Temple, TX
08/22/14 – Using Facebook & Video to Grow your Biz, Temple, TX
08/23/14 – Sailing Class: Basic Keel Boat, Lake Belton Yacht Club, TX
08/26/14 – Big 5+1 of Social Media, Harker Heights, TX
08/28/14 – Film Screening: Dancing in Jaffa, Belton, TX

09/02/14 – Small Biz Selling in the Digital Age, Temple College, TX
09/05/14 – The Governors Small Biz Forum, Belton, TX
09/13/14 – Spurfest, Gatesville, TX
09/16/14 – Facebook for Holiday Results, Harker Heights, TX
09/18/14 – Growing Your Biz with Facebook, Framers Branch, TX
09/24/14 – Leadership Institute, Leawood, KS

10/07/14 – Social Media for Business Growth, Temple College, Temple TX
10/16/14 – Building LinkedIn for Biz, Farmers Branch, TX
10/21/14 –Managing your Social Media, Harker Heights, TX

11/04/14 – Small Biz Marketing for Growth, Temple College, Temple TX
11/08/14 – Caribbean Sailing Trip, Tortola, BVI (room for 4 more)
11/20/14 – Google+ for Business, Farmers Branch, TX


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The Value of Continuing Education by J.R. Atkins

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If you consider yourself even somewhat successful in life, then you probably have an appreciation for continuing education. It does not matter if your education was attained in an artisan fashion through an apprenticeship program or if you hold a PhD from a prestigious university. Once we reach a level of skill and knowledge and begin to apply it, we find there is more to know. Some professions require CE units to continue one’s eligibility to practice their craft. For the rest of us, we are left to find our own way.

As I reflect on the past few years of growth and continuing education, I find that I receive this education in the follow ways:

  1. J.R. Atkins likes Duct Tape SellingConversations – With people with different perspectives, different backgrounds and life experiences, and often smarter than me. The DFW World Affairs Council is a good place for this.
  2. Books – Both fiction and non-fiction, especially about growing companies, new technology, and suspense thrillers. Two recent reads are Duct Tape Selling and Tribal Leadership.
  3. Workshops – Anything from a 30 minute Webinar to a full day with an expert, often about new products or businesses, such as my client, Financial Halo and their Prescriptions at Cost Program.
  4. Conferences – South by Southwest interactive (SXSWi) is one of my favorites, but I also attend world affairs related conferences such as “Walking with Palestinian Christians” in Tipp City Ohio.
  5. Structured Course Work – Self-study or guided by an expert such as the Academy for Spiritual Formation a 2 year course that meets each quarter for a week at a retreat center.

 

I also see a trend in the types and topics of continuing education:Prescription Medications at cost

  1. Industry Knowledge – skills, regulations, new developments
  2. Self-Improvement – Being vs. Doing
  3. Skill Development – WordPress, Public Speaking, Patience, Writing
  4. Spiritual Development – Prayer, Giving, Mission work
  5. Financial Development – Reducing expenses and increasing wealthJ.R Atkins needs your suppot to attend the Academy
  6. Management – New trends, Leading Projects, Online Management Tools
  7. Leadership – Beyond setting an example and motivating to help people attain their potential

 

As for frequency, I usually attend at least on big conference each year where I travel away from my local area and spend 2-5 days in a hotel thinking, learning, writing, planning and growing.

What about you? What kind of continuing education do you attend and how often? What would you say is the best source of development for you? I’d appreciate you sharing your experience and ideas on the blog so others can see, but any communication method that is good for you is good for me.

P.S. Note that I have two locations now:

North Texas Location: 8745 Gary Burns Dr # 160-210, Frisco, TX 75034J.R. & Stacey Lead a Ministry now

Central Texas Location: 1105 Bridge St, Gatesville, TX 76528

And my wife and I have started a ministry for spiritual growth called Something Different Ministries.

Events worth considering

 


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Why did the Publicis-Omnicom Merger Die?

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According to Wikipedia, here is a list of the 10 largest Ad agencies as of July 2013

  1. WPP GroupLondon $15.6 billion
  2. Omnicom GroupNew York City $14.3 billion
  3. Publicis GroupeParis $7.7 billion
  4. Interpublic GroupNew York City $6.693 billion
  5. DentsuTokyo $3.1 billion
  6. HavasSuresnes, France 1.77 billion euros
  7. Hakuhodo DY HoldingsTokyo 1.2 trillion yen
  8. MerkleLanham, Maryland, $300 million
  9. Global Experience Specialists, subsidiary of Viad, $249.3 million
  10. Epsilon, subsidiary of Alliance Data

 

What would cause the #2 and #3 to want to merge? To take on #1? What would cause them to back out of the merger? It’s been long enough since the the decision to Not merge was made that many arm chair executives are weighing in on the reasons why and why not. If you did not see the Ad Age article I have include the Link and the first part of the article below.

Ad Week Article

It started in February of last year when John Wren visited Publicis Groupe and admired the company’s stunning Champs Élysées view. Maurice Lévy, CEO of the French agency giant, was quick to say that it could belong to the Omnicom chief. That “joke,” as Lévy later called it, led to a proposal to combine advertising’s second- and third-largest players to create a $24 billion colossus to unseat leader WPP, creating unprecedented industry scale.

Nine months and nearly $100 million in professional fees later, no one’s laughing at the punch line now delivered by two of the industry’s top executives, who killed their history-making merger Thursday.

It’s not just about losing face after a highly publicized effort to reshape the advertising landscape. The ease with which the two are walking away from the deal begs the question of the very rationale supporting its initial concept. Both parties now call the transaction an “opportunity,” not a “necessity.” Nonetheless, during the process each side revealed a weakness in praising the other’s strength: for Omnicom, it was Publicis’ digital resources and for Publicis, Omnicom’s creative assets. Officially, the complexities in attaining U.K. tax domicile and regulatory approvals, and subsequent transaction closing delays, are blamed for the deal’s collapse. But insiders insist the lack of consensus about management structure and top personnel decisions are the real reason, something even Omnicom’s Wren hints at.


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What is “Duct Tape Selling” about?

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J.R. Atkins likes Duct Tape SellingSelling is changing! Or more like, Selling has changed! Once upon a time the sales person offered insight and information about products and services that could be found nowhere else. Not true anymore. Between Social Media, Websites, John Jantsch, and other online tools, the buyer has all the information of the world at their fingertips.

In his book, Duct Tape Selling, John Jantsch offers the solution to selling in today’s information overload environment. “With social networks such as LinkedIn, the sales person may have a relationship with a prospect before the prospect knows he or she has a need” says John. When sales people do a good job of using social media, the content they share positions them as a subject matter expert and a resource for the prospect. This requires a tighter integration between the Sales and Marketing teams.

The Marketing Team is usually responsible for developing content. Instead or in addition to publishing content through mass media, they can share it via the Sales Team’s social media channels for a more personal approach. This also creates the opportunity for a prospect to respond directly to the sales person via the social media channels.

According to John, “this approach to sales and marketing requires a shift in company culture and a possible change to the compensation model.” The company needs to see the sales team as an extension of the marketing department as well the source of sales. The sales person’s online reputation requires time to build and may not match up with short term sales goals based on an “old school” cold call, knocking-on-doors model. “Prospects are too sophisticated for the old approach” says John.

I hope this short article has caused you to consider how you and your company are using social media to create more sales results. Duct Tape Selling is available on Amazon and look for John Jantsch speaking in your local community.


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What the heck does Snow Fall have to do with story telling?

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18 Months after the New York Times published a story about an avalanche in Stevens Pass, in Skykomish, Washington, viewers are still raving about how this story represents the future of story telling, of eBooks, of writing in the digital world.

If you have not seen it, you need to check it out. The “news article” combines well written prose, video clips, pictures and Google Earth type imagery to immerse the reader into the story. And, it works. You feel like you are there. The credit for this great example of modern journalism goes to John Branch.

Follow this link or Google NY Times Snow Fall and you will see all the supporting articles and blogs that have been written following the release of the original article on December  20, 2012. I hope I write an article this well that gets this much exposure and acclaim some day. John won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. Well done.

J.R. Atkins recommends the NY time article snow fall


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What can we learn about Social Media from the Carwash Business?

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This article originally appeared in Professional Carwashing & Detailing where I was interviewed about Social Media. I thought you might find tips and relevant information here for your business.

Earning likes and profits

How to use social media to build customer relations and improve business

APRIL 28, 2014
Social media is one of the biggest buzz words in the business world, and it’s something that everyone says you need, but not everyone understands how to use. Professional Carwashing & Detailing interviewed three experts in the field of social media about how carwashes can best utilize it for public relations and marketing purposes. And while Facebook is still the most important social media site, there are others that you should be using to help improve your customer realations and get the word out about your carwash, according to the experts.

The 800 Pound gorilla

Facebook may have lost some of its “cool factor” with the youth, but Blane Russell, president of Social Eyes Marketing, said it’s still the most important social media website. “Make sure you’re doing Facebook in a big way, because it’s the 800 pound gorilla,” he said.

Facebook and why works to improve profits for washes

J.R. Atkins is the author of the book “Social Media 2.0,” and also a speaker and consultant on social media. He said that “Facebook is definitely the place to start, and then grow based upon your market and what you learn from Facebook.” While Facebook isn’t the only social media website you should use, Erin Sullivan, social media manager, agrees that it’s the most important resource for carwashes. “For the carwash industry Facebook is still number one.” She said that both Facebook and carwash industry appeal to a large audience, which makes them an ideal fit.

How to maximize your Facebook experience

The experts have some tips on making Facebook a good use of your time. Russell said that using Facebook to give away free carwashes is one way that his clients have gained followers. The hard cost of the wash is very low, and the number of followers it can help you get is high, he said. Facebook isn’t just about selling you to people, it’s also about entertaining them, according to Russell. “Everyone’s natural nature is to try to sell all the time, but if you want to get liked, amuse them, and they’ll like your page” he said. “Ask open ended questions, like: “Does your car have a name, and if so, why,” and you’ll start a conversation rather than turn people off with a sales pitch. He also recommends that you post regularly, at least a couple times a week, and that you have some humor and personality in your posts, so that people appreciate them. More articles on: Social media Social media is about building up loyalty and community, according to Atkins. He said it’s important to respond back to people on Facebook that contact you, and create posts that are designed around the types of things that your customer base is interested in. Facebook isn’t just about getting new customers, but keeping ones you have, according to Atkins. He said wash owners he’s worked with tell him that by “using social media, my customers keep coming back, and don’t stray.” A loyal customer is very valuable to a carwash, so keep them informed about what’s going on at you wash. By creating a Facebook account, and not using it, Sullivan says you’re doing more harm than good. “It hurts the business more than anything when they [Facebook account owners] don’t pay attention.” People recognize quickly when you aren’t engaged in your Facebook account, and not only will they not like your page, but they might think less of your business, she said. Her recommendation is to show some personality, and realize that every post you make doesn’t have to be about carwashes. “Your customers are not simply carwash customers, they have other interests as well,” she said. Another tip Sullivan has is to link your other social media accounts to Facebook when possible, to eliminate extra work, and connect across multiple platforms.

Professional connections on LinkedIn

While Facebook is still the most important social media website, there are many others that your wash can benefit from using. LinkedIn is a place that people go to discuss business, and because of that it has some advantages over other social media outlets. Atkins said that it’s “where your professional credentials live online.” He added that LinkedIn is important for wash owners who are hands on, and looking to work with other established businesses. LinkedIn is a better place to communicate professionally, according to Sullivan, who said it is definitely a supplemental tool, but can be effective for certain business situations. Russell agreed with the other experts that the major advantage about communicating on LinkedIn is that “no one will get upset or offended if you’re direct with them” about wanting to talk business. Setting up a profile, and learning how to use LinkedIn is very simple, so while you may not see a big initial return from creating an account, you will have a “virtual resume” and a place to connect with other businesses, according to the experts.

The pluses of Google+

While Google+ hasn’t taken off the way many predicted, it does have importance as a social media tool, even if it’s in a way that you might not think. “If you own a business, you need to have a presence,” said Russell. He also recommends usingGoogle Local as the place all of your reviews are put through to improve your search rankings, and get the word out about the great work your carwash does. More articles on: Multi-profit centers Google holds a lot of power as a search engine, and adding your business to Google+ gives your wash a better ability to be featured highly when a customer searches for it, according to Atkins. When you use Google’s search engine for a carwash that has a Google+ account, you will see information for its Google+ on the search page. “Google+ is definite must have now,” said Sullivan. She explained why it’s so important for business owners. “If I have a Google+ page, I now control what shows up in the Google search. When it comes up in search results, it will have the carwash name, it’s pulling the name, the description, the information … you know can dictate through your Google+ page.” She added that it’s important to get your presence on Google+ now, while it’s still an overlooked medium. It may not be the place you will go to communicate with your audience, but if you’re not on Google+ you’re missing out on improving your search engine optimization, which is one of the major ways people find out about a business.

Getting the picture with Instagram

The experts see Instagram as a supplemental tool, but an important one none the less. And the best thing about it is how simple it is to use. Grab your smartphone, take a picture, write a caption, add a few hashtags, and you’re done. “The beauty of Instagram is that people are going to promote you if they get excited about what you’re doing,” said Russell. Instagram is particularly popular with young people, and learning how to use it now can keep you ahead of the pack. Instagram is the perfect place to host pictures you’ve taken for a charity event or to showcase something unique or interesting that happened at your wash, according to Atkins. Another great thing about it is that it can be integrated with other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. For example, Atkins said you could “promote your event on Facebook, and then post pictures of the event on Instagram.” The ability to place pictures across multiple platforms makes Instagram a tool that can help you increase your Facebook and Twitter as well. “People respond to visuals more than something they read,” said Sullivan, which is a major reason why Instagram has become so popular. She sees it as an additional tool, and one any wash owner can utilize because of its simplicity. “It’s a good sort of extra … I think it’s a clear winner for how easy it is to use, and connect with other platforms.” Signing up for an account takes minutes, and you’ll be snapping pictures and posting them on Facebook and Twitter in no time. Taking pictures is fun, and Instagram is so easy to use.

How to follow Twitter

While Twitter is a platform that seems pervasive in our society, it is also the one that most people don’t understand how to use well, according to Atkins. You might not use Twitter to cultivate a following, but it is a great place to get direct feedback from your customers, he added. Read also: How to start a carwash articles Twitter is the place that you can “turn a raving lunatic into a raving fan,” according to Atkins. The way you do that is by responding to people who tweet you. For direct communication, Atkins sees Twitter as a better tool than Facebook, “it’s like texting,” he said. If someone finds you on Twitter and asks you a question, it’s easy to grab your smartphone or hop on your computer, and immediately respond back. If Facebook is the place to communicate to people, Twitter is the place for people to communicate to you. “It’s a conversation more so than other social media sites,” said Sullivan. “You need to expect to interact.” Twitter, more than Facebook, is about a two way communication between you and your audience, according Russell. Sullivan recommends how you can use Twitter as more than a way to communicate with your customers. She said you start by following some hashtags, and seeing what successful carwashes and other businesses do when they’re tweeting. It’s also important to think of the phrases that your customers would be searching for, and post on those hashtags. Russell said one way to effectively use Twitter is to find the important people within your community, and tweet them. Twitter is a conversation, so just like talking to people, there’s ettiquette, and things you can do to make follow and unfollow you. Once you figure out how to have a conversation on Twitter it can be a great tool. Even if you don’t want to utilize it for communicating to your audience, you should have an account so they can communicate to you.

Taking it all in and having fun with it

Facebook is still the most important tool you have at your disposal, but there are many other sites that offer their niche that can help improve your profits. If you need to connect with a local business, there’s LinkedIn. If you want more people to find you on Internet searches, use Google+. Want to speak directly with your customers, tweet them on Twitter. Need somewhere to showcase all those great pictures from the charity even you did? Well put them on Instagram. Social media doesn’t have to be hard work; in fact our experts recommend that you make it fun. Come up with a contest, and hype it up on Facebook, respond back to your customers on Twitter, and use Instagram to show pictures of the event. There continues to be those who don’t think social media is a viable resource. However, as Atkins joked, “If you can overturn the government of Egypt [with social media], I think we can increase sales 10 percent.”


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Irfan Ahmad on “How to Promote Your Blog Content to Get 1,000 Social Media Shares”

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If you generate content to share, this Infographic will be interesting to you. Thank you Irfan for sharing.

Do you want to know how to promote your blog post so it’s shared over 1,000 times on various social media channels?

There are some tricks, tools and techie stuff you need to be aware of if you want to make that happen.  However, you have to have great quality content as a starting point; without this, you are wasting your time!

In the following infographic, we show you a whole range of tools and techniques that will help you achieve 1,000 shares and possibly even many multiples of this.

This infographic was designed by our friends in Canva.

J.R. Atkins suggest how to promote your blog


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