E-Commerce Day in California Will Help You Start Selling Online

If you are looking to launch, buy or grow an E-Commerce business, E-Commerce Day is for you.

The event has tracks specifically designed to teach you what you need to learn based on where you are in your E-Commerce journey. This includes startup, growth and agency.

Each track will cover sales and marketing, operations and financial with industry leaders using breakouts and presentations in the PechaKucha format.

In addition to real-world examples from entrepreneurs, you will also learn from the head of Google’s E-Commerce and the manager of Shopify’s education program. They will be two of the more than 30 experts from Brex, Privy, Postscript and other companies.

Some of the tracks include Marketing Your E-Commerce Business and Start Selling with Shopify.

Considering E-Commerce is replacing how most people do their shopping, this event is a must for business owners who want to learn the in and out of digital commerce.

E-Commerce Day is going to be held on February 4, 2020 in Marina del Rey, California.

Click the red button and reserve your free spot before it is taken.

Register Now



Events, Contests and Awards

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contests and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.

Image: E-Commerce Day

This article, "E-Commerce Day in California Will Help You Start Selling Online" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

E-Commerce Day in California Will Help You Start Selling Online

If you are looking to launch, buy or grow an E-Commerce business, E-Commerce Day is for you.

The event has tracks specifically designed to teach you what you need to learn based on where you are in your E-Commerce journey. This includes startup, growth and agency.

Each track will cover sales and marketing, operations and financial with industry leaders using breakouts and presentations in the PechaKucha format.

In addition to real-world examples from entrepreneurs, you will also learn from the head of Google’s E-Commerce and the manager of Shopify’s education program. They will be two of the more than 30 experts from Brex, Privy, Postscript and other companies.

Some of the tracks include Marketing Your E-Commerce Business and Start Selling with Shopify.

Considering E-Commerce is replacing how most people do their shopping, this event is a must for business owners who want to learn the in and out of digital commerce.

E-Commerce Day is going to be held on February 4, 2020 in Marina del Rey, California.

Click the red button and reserve your free spot before it is taken.

Register Now



Events, Contests and Awards

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contests and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.

Image: E-Commerce Day

This article, "E-Commerce Day in California Will Help You Start Selling Online" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Avoid Distractions and Improve Your Marketing with These 10 Tips

You promote and market a business online in so many different ways. It’s easy to get distracted with tactics that aren’t completely in line with your business. You’re struggling with these distractions. Or you want to avoid this problem before it starts. Learn from these insights shared by members of the online small business community.

Find Where Social Media Fits into the Customer Journey

Social media can be a very important part of your marketing strategy. But if you’re not thinking about it in terms of the actual customer journey, you could be really missing out on some of its potential. To optimize your messaging to the needs of your customers throughout their buying journey, read this Duct Tape Marketing post by John Jantsch.

Don’t Let Digital Distractions Destroy Your Well Being

There are so many different tools and platforms available online that sometimes they can become more of a distraction than an asset for your business. If you’re worried about digital distractions destroying your small business, check out this Smallbiztechnology.com post by Renee Johnson to see if it may be time to scale back.

Unplug from Technology to Become More Productive

You use a lot of tech to run your business. Unplugging for awhile could actually help you gain some focus and get more done. Jennifer Hanford discusses the benefits in this Strella Social Media post. And members of the BizSugar community commented on the idea further here.

Boost Sales with Web Accessibility

You can share tons of effective messages online. But if you’re not accessible to your customers, you could be missing out on the real benefits of all that hard work. In this DIY Marketers post, Joydeep Bhattacharya goes over some of the benefits of web accessibility that you should be aware of.

Create an SEO Strategy for Website Redesign and Migration

Don’t get distracted with all the design elements and shiny toys. They go along with getting a new website. But SEO remains one of the most important aspects that can impact your business. This Search Engine Watch post by Jacqueline Dooley details how you can create a strategy for the next time you redesign or migrate your website.

Prepare Your Small Business for the Busy Holiday Season

The holidays are a busy time for many small businesses. There are tons of exciting possibilities for promoting or calling attention to your business during this time of year. But it’s also important to make sure your business is prepared for the holiday rush. Learn more in this SmallBizDaily post by Jay Reeder.

Stand Out in the Crowd of Content

Content marketing is one strategy you can use to stand out from the crowd. But many businesses end up simply creating posts that mirror one another. In this Content Marketing Institute post, Dennis Shiao outlines one of the most important things you can do to make sure your content actually stands out.

Consider Facebook Alternatives

For the last couple years, it seemed like Snapchat might surpass Facebook in certain circles when it comes to social media use. And while some other social networks might be worth checking out, it’s important to not get distracted by focusing on those that won’t be around for the long haul. Christian Zilles elaborates in this Social Media HQ post.

Optimize Your Business for Local Searches

Focusing on local customers is an important part of the marketing plan for any retail or service area business. To really optimize your marketing for your local community, read the tips in this Philips.com post by Philip Verghese. Then see what BizSugar members are saying about the post here.

Use the Psychology of Liking to Grow Your Business

Lots of businesses get distracted by focusing on likes or other interactions online. But if you’re not focusing on what those likes mean to the psychology of your customers, then you’re probably not really moving the needle for your business. Ashlee Brayfield dives deeper into this concept in this Crowdspring post.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Avoid Distractions and Improve Your Marketing with These 10 Tips" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Avoid Distractions and Improve Your Marketing with These 10 Tips

You promote and market a business online in so many different ways. It’s easy to get distracted with tactics that aren’t completely in line with your business. You’re struggling with these distractions. Or you want to avoid this problem before it starts. Learn from these insights shared by members of the online small business community.

Find Where Social Media Fits into the Customer Journey

Social media can be a very important part of your marketing strategy. But if you’re not thinking about it in terms of the actual customer journey, you could be really missing out on some of its potential. To optimize your messaging to the needs of your customers throughout their buying journey, read this Duct Tape Marketing post by John Jantsch.

Don’t Let Digital Distractions Destroy Your Well Being

There are so many different tools and platforms available online that sometimes they can become more of a distraction than an asset for your business. If you’re worried about digital distractions destroying your small business, check out this Smallbiztechnology.com post by Renee Johnson to see if it may be time to scale back.

Unplug from Technology to Become More Productive

You use a lot of tech to run your business. Unplugging for awhile could actually help you gain some focus and get more done. Jennifer Hanford discusses the benefits in this Strella Social Media post. And members of the BizSugar community commented on the idea further here.

Boost Sales with Web Accessibility

You can share tons of effective messages online. But if you’re not accessible to your customers, you could be missing out on the real benefits of all that hard work. In this DIY Marketers post, Joydeep Bhattacharya goes over some of the benefits of web accessibility that you should be aware of.

Create an SEO Strategy for Website Redesign and Migration

Don’t get distracted with all the design elements and shiny toys. They go along with getting a new website. But SEO remains one of the most important aspects that can impact your business. This Search Engine Watch post by Jacqueline Dooley details how you can create a strategy for the next time you redesign or migrate your website.

Prepare Your Small Business for the Busy Holiday Season

The holidays are a busy time for many small businesses. There are tons of exciting possibilities for promoting or calling attention to your business during this time of year. But it’s also important to make sure your business is prepared for the holiday rush. Learn more in this SmallBizDaily post by Jay Reeder.

Stand Out in the Crowd of Content

Content marketing is one strategy you can use to stand out from the crowd. But many businesses end up simply creating posts that mirror one another. In this Content Marketing Institute post, Dennis Shiao outlines one of the most important things you can do to make sure your content actually stands out.

Consider Facebook Alternatives

For the last couple years, it seemed like Snapchat might surpass Facebook in certain circles when it comes to social media use. And while some other social networks might be worth checking out, it’s important to not get distracted by focusing on those that won’t be around for the long haul. Christian Zilles elaborates in this Social Media HQ post.

Optimize Your Business for Local Searches

Focusing on local customers is an important part of the marketing plan for any retail or service area business. To really optimize your marketing for your local community, read the tips in this Philips.com post by Philip Verghese. Then see what BizSugar members are saying about the post here.

Use the Psychology of Liking to Grow Your Business

Lots of businesses get distracted by focusing on likes or other interactions online. But if you’re not focusing on what those likes mean to the psychology of your customers, then you’re probably not really moving the needle for your business. Ashlee Brayfield dives deeper into this concept in this Crowdspring post.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Avoid Distractions and Improve Your Marketing with These 10 Tips" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

41% of Businesses Don’t Train HR Staff on Employee Data Security

41% of Companies Do Not Train HR Staff on Employee Data Security

Protecting customer data has become a priority for companies of all sizes; but what about the data of their employees? A recent survey and report from GetApp reveal 41% of companies don’t train their human resources (HR) staff on data security.

Even more alarming, 55% of HR professionals don’t see employee data security as a serious issue. Considering HR departments have some highly sensitive personal information, it should be a top priority and taken seriously.

According to Harshit Srivastava, Content Analyst at GetApp, businesses are sitting on a ticking time bomb if they don’t secure employee records.

In the report Srivastava goes on to say, businesses still have a long way to go to ensure this information is protected. Adding, “We were surprised by how few businesses actually have a policy in place, and the attitudes of HR professionals toward data security.”

A breach can cost your company fines by regulators, lawsuits, as well as damage to your reputation affecting customers, employees and future applicants to your company. No matter whose data you are in possession of, it should be protected with the same resolve.

Srivastava says creating a proper framework to protect sensitive HR data is how you can ensure the information is safe.

Employee Data Security

In the report, Srivastava says there are three mistakes that are common which lead to employee data breaches. They are the failure to recognize employee data security as a real threat, inadequate training on data security, and blind trust in HR software vendors.

With 55% of HR professionals not identifying employee data security as a serious issue and another 41% not training their HR, there is a serious problem. Besides these issues, 46% of businesses blindly trust HR vendors. This means they are not screening for data security features when they buy HR software.

Why is this so important? Because HR software vendors have access to sensitive data including, but not limited to social security numbers and payroll records. If you don’t scrutinize their security protocol for protecting this data, all that information is at risk.

In order to help you protect this information and avoid employee data breaches, GetApp has created a 5-step framework.

The Framework

The first step of the framework is to create a security awareness program. The more aware your entire workforce is about cybersecurity, the more they will take the issue seriously. After all, their information is also part of the data which is in danger.

As it applies to HR, GetApp suggests for all stakeholders to communicate and stay on the same page about the consequences of data security breaches. This includes conducting meetings with all team members along with the serious repercussions for negligence in handling employee data.

The second step is to create a formal policy for data protection. With a strong policy, stakeholders will know about the do’s and don’ts of handling employee data. This will instill a sense of responsibility for compliance because they are going to be accountable.

The third step is to continue training your employees. This is especially important because the cybersecurity threat landscape is always evolving. You can’t just train your staff once and expect them to know about all subsequent threats.

For the fourth step, the goal is to screen HR software vendors thoroughly for data security compliance. According to GetApp, you have to study all the HR data regulations that apply to your business. Knowing what the regulations are lets you know if your vendor is abiding by those regulations.

And once you make up your mind about the vendor, go through service-level agreements (SLAs) and terms and conditions. The SLA will spell out the security measures the vendor is taking to protect your data.

The fifth step is to audit the third-party service providers you use. Beyond your HR vendor, you should also audit all other suppliers to make sure they are abiding by all regulatory compliance issues.

Long-Term Goals

After you implement this framework, you have to include long-term goals as part of your data security policy.

GetApp recommends revising your data security policy quarterly, conducting frequent training, and include data security training in employee onboarding.

The key is to not get complacent because cybercriminals aren’t.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "41% of Businesses Don’t Train HR Staff on Employee Data Security" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

41% of Businesses Don’t Train HR Staff on Employee Data Security

41% of Companies Do Not Train HR Staff on Employee Data Security

Protecting customer data has become a priority for companies of all sizes; but what about the data of their employees? A recent survey and report from GetApp reveal 41% of companies don’t train their human resources (HR) staff on data security.

Even more alarming, 55% of HR professionals don’t see employee data security as a serious issue. Considering HR departments have some highly sensitive personal information, it should be a top priority and taken seriously.

According to Harshit Srivastava, Content Analyst at GetApp, businesses are sitting on a ticking time bomb if they don’t secure employee records.

In the report Srivastava goes on to say, businesses still have a long way to go to ensure this information is protected. Adding, “We were surprised by how few businesses actually have a policy in place, and the attitudes of HR professionals toward data security.”

A breach can cost your company fines by regulators, lawsuits, as well as damage to your reputation affecting customers, employees and future applicants to your company. No matter whose data you are in possession of, it should be protected with the same resolve.

Srivastava says creating a proper framework to protect sensitive HR data is how you can ensure the information is safe.

Employee Data Security

In the report, Srivastava says there are three mistakes that are common which lead to employee data breaches. They are the failure to recognize employee data security as a real threat, inadequate training on data security, and blind trust in HR software vendors.

With 55% of HR professionals not identifying employee data security as a serious issue and another 41% not training their HR, there is a serious problem. Besides these issues, 46% of businesses blindly trust HR vendors. This means they are not screening for data security features when they buy HR software.

Why is this so important? Because HR software vendors have access to sensitive data including, but not limited to social security numbers and payroll records. If you don’t scrutinize their security protocol for protecting this data, all that information is at risk.

In order to help you protect this information and avoid employee data breaches, GetApp has created a 5-step framework.

The Framework

The first step of the framework is to create a security awareness program. The more aware your entire workforce is about cybersecurity, the more they will take the issue seriously. After all, their information is also part of the data which is in danger.

As it applies to HR, GetApp suggests for all stakeholders to communicate and stay on the same page about the consequences of data security breaches. This includes conducting meetings with all team members along with the serious repercussions for negligence in handling employee data.

The second step is to create a formal policy for data protection. With a strong policy, stakeholders will know about the do’s and don’ts of handling employee data. This will instill a sense of responsibility for compliance because they are going to be accountable.

The third step is to continue training your employees. This is especially important because the cybersecurity threat landscape is always evolving. You can’t just train your staff once and expect them to know about all subsequent threats.

For the fourth step, the goal is to screen HR software vendors thoroughly for data security compliance. According to GetApp, you have to study all the HR data regulations that apply to your business. Knowing what the regulations are lets you know if your vendor is abiding by those regulations.

And once you make up your mind about the vendor, go through service-level agreements (SLAs) and terms and conditions. The SLA will spell out the security measures the vendor is taking to protect your data.

The fifth step is to audit the third-party service providers you use. Beyond your HR vendor, you should also audit all other suppliers to make sure they are abiding by all regulatory compliance issues.

Long-Term Goals

After you implement this framework, you have to include long-term goals as part of your data security policy.

GetApp recommends revising your data security policy quarterly, conducting frequent training, and include data security training in employee onboarding.

The key is to not get complacent because cybercriminals aren’t.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "41% of Businesses Don’t Train HR Staff on Employee Data Security" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

In The News: This May Be the Most Important Time for Your Small Business All Year

With only one month left in 2019, this may be the most important time for your small business all year.

There are still a few hours left for Black Friday and we’ve collected some great deals below your small business may want to consider. Then tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, a day set specifically aside for small businesses. Don’t miss the opportunity to generate some extra sales.

Today’s roundup also looks at management and how you should choose and train a store manager for your small business. After all, they are going to be running your operation whether you are there or not. The right manager will greatly determine how your business does moving forward.

Another management technique is the Getting Things Done (GTD) method. And in this piece, we look at getting ready for the new year while keeping stress levels low and productivity high.

There are also a wide range of other topics. So take a look at the stories below as well as all of the other content on Small Business Trends.

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

Black Friday Business Deals You Can’t Miss

Remember: Black Friday isn’t over yet! Many Black Friday deals may seem focused on consumers only. But a lot of sales this weekend may be perfect for the small business looking to upgrade some technology or try a new product or service too. We’ve put together a list of some of the best Black Friday business deals we could find.

Small Business Saturday’s 10th Anniversary Happens This Weekend

There are four special days in the US  right after Thanksgiving. Three focus on retail commerce. The four days are Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. For both Small Business Saturday and Black Friday, foot traffic is vital.

Management

25 Christmas Gifts for Coworkers

Whether you’re involved in an organized gift swap or just like exchanging small gifts with each person in your office, there’s a good chance that you may need to purchase some Christmas gifts for coworkers this season. Buying Christmas gifts for coworkers can be tricky. However, there are some safe bets you can turn to in order to give them something fun and useful.

How to Choose and Train a Store Manager

Your retail business is growing, and you can’t (or don’t want to) man the store 24/7. It’s time to look for a retail store manager. How do you choose the right store manager and when you found the perfect hire, how do you train them? Here’s what you need to know. Hiring from within is always a smart move.

Use the GTD Methodology to Boost Productivity in your Small Business

Another upcoming new year means another new year’s resolution. As a result, perhaps this year’s resolution should remain as simple as getting more things done.  Adopt and embrace the GTD methodology. It becomes one simple and brilliant way to make this new year’s resolution something that actually sticks. Imagine the first Monday morning of many in the new year.

Marketing Tips

12 Retail Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Overlook

Excellent retail marketing strategies make a big difference to small businesses. According to Statista, retail American ecommerce will grow steadily through to 2023. Getting retail marketing right is important. Here are 12 retail marketing strategies you might not have heard of.

25 Holiday Gift Basket Ideas for Businesses

Holiday gift baskets offer the perfect way to show clients, partners, or team members how much they mean to your business. As a result, you’ll find tons of different options available. So you can easily find gifts that are personal to each person on your list. For example, baskets with meats, cheeses, wines and more are all available.

Product Lists

12 Shopify Dropshipping Partners and Apps

Dropshippers allow businesses and individuals to sell items without having to worry about logistics. For example, you don’t need to worry about shipping, warehousing and processing. Small businesses can cut costs by using dropshippers to handle sales. As a result, Shopify’s dropshipping partners and apps can create an omni-channel experience with very little overhead.

Retail Trends

How to Start Your Dropshipping Business

If you are looking to break into the eCommerce scene, perhaps you should consider dropshipping.  Dropshipping can be one of the easiest ways to break into eCommerce. Simply put, dropshipping is a business model in which you as a retailer do not keep goods in stock.

Does Your eCommerce Site Accept Mobile Payments?

It wasn’t that long ago when mobile payments were considered a novelty. That’s quickly changed when you consider that by 2020 mobile payment transactions will exceed $314 billion.

Small Biz Spotlight

In the Spotlight: Hablamos Today Translates Spanish Into the Perfect Business

Language learning programs like Rosetta Stone and Duolingo have helped a lot of people learn the basics of Spanish in recent years. But there’s one thing those programs lack — actual conversations with native speakers through Spanish immersion online. That’s where Hablamos Today comes in. The business doesn’t compete with those programs. Instead, it is meant to complement them.

Small Business Operations

Holiday Tipping Guide: Who to Tip – and How Much

Holiday tipping is a great way to show your appreciation. But who do you tip at the holidays? This holiday tipping guide will help you figure that out. You probably send and receive a lot of mail and packages over the holiday season, and perhaps throughout the rest of the year as well.

Startup

10 Awesome Tips to Help Your Small Business Earn More Money

Want to make more money in your small business? There are plenty of tactics you can try, from monetizing apps to improving productivity so you can spend time on the tasks that bring in the most money. To achieve these goals, here are tips from members of the online small business community.

Technology Trends

Master the Art of Using Chatbots to Grow Your Email List

Today, I’m going to show you how to automatically grow your email list using your MobileMonkey chatbot in two steps. I got an email the other day asking about this: It’s a great question. Using a website form to collect emails usually results in a conversion rate between 1% and 10%, and the average website conversion rate is 4%.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "In The News: This May Be the Most Important Time for Your Small Business All Year" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

In The News: This May Be the Most Important Time for Your Small Business All Year

With only one month left in 2019, this may be the most important time for your small business all year.

There are still a few hours left for Black Friday and we’ve collected some great deals below your small business may want to consider. Then tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, a day set specifically aside for small businesses. Don’t miss the opportunity to generate some extra sales.

Today’s roundup also looks at management and how you should choose and train a store manager for your small business. After all, they are going to be running your operation whether you are there or not. The right manager will greatly determine how your business does moving forward.

Another management technique is the Getting Things Done (GTD) method. And in this piece, we look at getting ready for the new year while keeping stress levels low and productivity high.

There are also a wide range of other topics. So take a look at the stories below as well as all of the other content on Small Business Trends.

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

Black Friday Business Deals You Can’t Miss

Remember: Black Friday isn’t over yet! Many Black Friday deals may seem focused on consumers only. But a lot of sales this weekend may be perfect for the small business looking to upgrade some technology or try a new product or service too. We’ve put together a list of some of the best Black Friday business deals we could find.

Small Business Saturday’s 10th Anniversary Happens This Weekend

There are four special days in the US  right after Thanksgiving. Three focus on retail commerce. The four days are Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. For both Small Business Saturday and Black Friday, foot traffic is vital.

Management

25 Christmas Gifts for Coworkers

Whether you’re involved in an organized gift swap or just like exchanging small gifts with each person in your office, there’s a good chance that you may need to purchase some Christmas gifts for coworkers this season. Buying Christmas gifts for coworkers can be tricky. However, there are some safe bets you can turn to in order to give them something fun and useful.

How to Choose and Train a Store Manager

Your retail business is growing, and you can’t (or don’t want to) man the store 24/7. It’s time to look for a retail store manager. How do you choose the right store manager and when you found the perfect hire, how do you train them? Here’s what you need to know. Hiring from within is always a smart move.

Use the GTD Methodology to Boost Productivity in your Small Business

Another upcoming new year means another new year’s resolution. As a result, perhaps this year’s resolution should remain as simple as getting more things done.  Adopt and embrace the GTD methodology. It becomes one simple and brilliant way to make this new year’s resolution something that actually sticks. Imagine the first Monday morning of many in the new year.

Marketing Tips

12 Retail Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Overlook

Excellent retail marketing strategies make a big difference to small businesses. According to Statista, retail American ecommerce will grow steadily through to 2023. Getting retail marketing right is important. Here are 12 retail marketing strategies you might not have heard of.

25 Holiday Gift Basket Ideas for Businesses

Holiday gift baskets offer the perfect way to show clients, partners, or team members how much they mean to your business. As a result, you’ll find tons of different options available. So you can easily find gifts that are personal to each person on your list. For example, baskets with meats, cheeses, wines and more are all available.

Product Lists

12 Shopify Dropshipping Partners and Apps

Dropshippers allow businesses and individuals to sell items without having to worry about logistics. For example, you don’t need to worry about shipping, warehousing and processing. Small businesses can cut costs by using dropshippers to handle sales. As a result, Shopify’s dropshipping partners and apps can create an omni-channel experience with very little overhead.

Retail Trends

How to Start Your Dropshipping Business

If you are looking to break into the eCommerce scene, perhaps you should consider dropshipping.  Dropshipping can be one of the easiest ways to break into eCommerce. Simply put, dropshipping is a business model in which you as a retailer do not keep goods in stock.

Does Your eCommerce Site Accept Mobile Payments?

It wasn’t that long ago when mobile payments were considered a novelty. That’s quickly changed when you consider that by 2020 mobile payment transactions will exceed $314 billion.

Small Biz Spotlight

In the Spotlight: Hablamos Today Translates Spanish Into the Perfect Business

Language learning programs like Rosetta Stone and Duolingo have helped a lot of people learn the basics of Spanish in recent years. But there’s one thing those programs lack — actual conversations with native speakers through Spanish immersion online. That’s where Hablamos Today comes in. The business doesn’t compete with those programs. Instead, it is meant to complement them.

Small Business Operations

Holiday Tipping Guide: Who to Tip – and How Much

Holiday tipping is a great way to show your appreciation. But who do you tip at the holidays? This holiday tipping guide will help you figure that out. You probably send and receive a lot of mail and packages over the holiday season, and perhaps throughout the rest of the year as well.

Startup

10 Awesome Tips to Help Your Small Business Earn More Money

Want to make more money in your small business? There are plenty of tactics you can try, from monetizing apps to improving productivity so you can spend time on the tasks that bring in the most money. To achieve these goals, here are tips from members of the online small business community.

Technology Trends

Master the Art of Using Chatbots to Grow Your Email List

Today, I’m going to show you how to automatically grow your email list using your MobileMonkey chatbot in two steps. I got an email the other day asking about this: It’s a great question. Using a website form to collect emails usually results in a conversion rate between 1% and 10%, and the average website conversion rate is 4%.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "In The News: This May Be the Most Important Time for Your Small Business All Year" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Michael Machado of Salesforce: Voice is the Future of CRM

I just hit the 5 year anniversary with my first Amazon Echo device, and since then I’ve kinda had a thing for voice assistants and devices I can talk to. So one of the things I was really interested in learning more about at last week’s Dreamforce event was seeing how Salesforce’s voice technology – Einstein Voice – was coming along.  It was announced at last year’s Dreamforce and I wanted to see how prominent it would be this time around. Let’s just say they are very high on the impact voice will have on CRM. I’m putting a few thoughts that will go pretty deep into what I saw for my Voices Carry column very soon – so stay tuned.

But while I was there I was able to chat for a few minutes with Michael Machado, Salesforce’s Senior Director of Product for Einstein Voice and Deep Learning.  Michael got me up to speed with what’s new with Einstein Voice, what the feedback from customers has been so far, how voice technology will help people understand AI more, and what impact he sees voice technology will have on CRM adoption once people get their hands on it – or should I say get their voices on it.  

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.  To see the full conversation watch the video or click on the embedded SoundCloud player below.

A Closer Look at Voice CRM

Michael Machado of Salesforce: Voice CRM is the FutureSmall Business Trends: I wanted to catch up with you and just talk about what’s been the last year like when it comes to Einstein Voice? What’s going? What’s the kind of where have we come since that last year?

Michael Machado:  We’ve come a humongous way. 171,000 people tuned in in-person, 10 million online, just to actually hear what we are doing, what we’re envisioning for the future of CRM. And that’s where I actually think Voice is. We’ve learned a lot over the past year. We’ve been running a pilot directly with customers, traveling around the United States, traveling the globe, actually, talking to customers what they want out of Voice because it’s a broad term. Right?

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  And it means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but we all have these smart devices all around us, whether it’s our phone, a smart speaker in our kitchen, our living room, in the office. Now, we’re starting to see a proliferation of smart devices. And Voice is really your ability to engage in those devices and transform your user experience for the business world.

Voice CRM Expectations

Small Business Trends: What are they telling you? What are their expectations for Voice? What are they looking to do with Voice?

Michael Machado:  I think about the value propositions it brings. Voice is going to change the way you interact. It’s going to make almost like an invisible CRM for your end users, and when they start to get that benefit, you see a huge boost in productivity. And then you look at other profiles and other personas that leverage Salesforce and leverage the sales, service and marketing, commerce; they’re starting to think of Voice and starting to think, “Okay, wow, I want voice to guide me.”

We’ve been learning about how to make reps more productive in the field using their mobile device, and now we’re seeing any device; we’ve created admin setup, admin configuration tools to build voice-enabled applications. So everyone now can have Voice in Einstein as a guiding tool for them across their Salesforce apps.

Small Business Trends: Talk about some of the partnerships around this effort, what you guys are doing with some of the names that people probably know. 

Michael Machado:  Well, we’re a deep partnership company. Right? Yeah. We announced a ton last year, this year actually, and then we’ve been working a lot with Amazon. Amazon, I think, has sold over a hundred million devices worldwide. And that footprint that they have, we want to be able to leverage that and use that, let our customers, essentially, bring their own device when they’re engaging with Salesforce. And I think we’ve seen this with just the transformation that goes with mobile, and now we’re seeing that transformation with smart devices, whether that be UI or no UI.

How Developers are Changing This Technology

Small Business Trends: What about from a developer or a skills-building perspective? What’s going on there?

Michael Machado:  I think that was our big announcement this year. Last year was sort of you have a mobile application that’s voice-enabled, and you can make your reps more productive. Now, we’ve voice-enabled every application you have in Salesforce. And we do that through our Einstein Voice Skills, and it allows any admin to take 20 years of configuration they’d been building into Salesforce, and through a drag and drop, clicks, not code, be able to actually build voice-enabled applications. And it’s extremely powerful because we don’t want you to rip and replace what you’ve already built. We want to leverage that framework and build Voice right into the platform of Salesforce, and that’s what we’ve done.

Small Business Trends: What are we going to be talking about in 2020 through Einstein in Voice?

Michael Machado:  I think right now we’ve built a ton of tools in an application layer across all of Salesforce that lets people get voice-enabled, and I think we’re going to just going to see that adoption increase, go through the roof. We wanted to learn a lot from our customers over the past year, and now it’s really about letting Voice open into the wild for businesses.

Where Does AI Fit In?

Small Business Trends: There’s still a lot of folks who really aren’t sure about AI, generally speaking. Or they don’t feel like they know enough about it, or if it’s even for them. They don’t even know that they’re using it in some aspects.

Michael Machado:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends: Do you think Voice will actually impact the way people view AI?

Michael Machado:  It makes the accessibility of AI seems so much more transparent. You’re talking about conversationally talking to an artificial intelligent assistant. You’re getting guidance, and it doesn’t really feel like that’s AI anymore. In fact, that’s usually how it works. When it becomes natural, when it becomes fluent for any user, AI’s at your fingertips, AI is guiding you through your day. Marc [Benioff] talked about it yesterday. AI has a seat at the table for every Marc meeting, and that’s Einstein having that seat at the table.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  But whatever your AI provider is, I think we’re going to start to see that people are welcoming AI because it’s not taking your jobs or anything. It’s making you more effective. And those without it, your competitors or your fellow employees that don’t leverage AI, they’re going to get left out because it’s that much about productivity boost.

Small Business Trends: So you think B2B will start catching up to B2C in that regard?

Michael Machado:  100%. I mean, all of these trends tend to go that way, right, even the Cloud. We were all leveraging Google Services, and then all of a sudden Salesforce came out with Cloud front-end business applications.

Small Business Trends: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Machado:  And we’re seeing that now with artificial intelligence. We’re now seeing that with Voice.

How Users are Adapting

Small Business Trends: I think Voice, like conversational CRM or just being able to talk to your CRM, I think that’s actually going to make people want to use CRM more, CRM-related technologies, more because there’s nothing easier than talking and being able to … If you’re able to tell your application to do things as opposed to type and click, I think you’re going to just do it more often.

Michael Machado: It’s the evolution of user experience, and I talk about it as you’re going to be leveraging CRM. You don’t even really need to know that you’re leveraging CRM. You’re actually looking to Salesforce and saying, “Guide me on the way I need to run my business. Guide me on what I need to do to perform better to make my customers happier.” And whether or not that Salesforce’s providing that information to you is really you don’t care. You just want to go about and form your duties as an employee and making customers happier.

Small Business Trends: And even the things around Customer 360 and being able to bring in data sources from outside of Salesforces that might be another enterprise apps that you’re dependent on, all of that intelligence makes it, I think, more likely that you’ll use the Voice interface to be able to get at all that stuff.

Michael Machado:  It’s the sizzle on the steak, as I like to call it. Customer 360 is bringing that unified view, that single source of truth to your customers, and good data in means good data out.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  And that’s our goal. Right? We want to make sure that data has truth. It’s important that you can actually leverage that for insights.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  And so that is why that steak’s so important because we can’t deliver the sizzle without it.

A Little More About Einstein

Small Business Trends: One last thing, I love the Einstein [Alexa type device]. 

Michael Machado:  I was waiting for it.

Small Business Trends: Tell us a little more about that. How did that come about? Did you have a role in the Einstein Alexa device there?

Michael Machado:  Yeah, I ventured into the hardware space for the first time in my career, and I got to say I loved it. It’s been an adventure. We’ve been working. As we said, we partnered with Alexa to start to make this available to our customers.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  But if you weren’t there to the keynote, I recommend you tune in and see our beautiful Einstein device because that actually was for us internally to think about how can we kind of dog food this technology and actually have Einstein really have a seat at the table. And we put him in his physical form factor, and it’s great. It’s fun, and it energizes everyone when you start to use it, but all that technology is wrapped up for any smart speaker provider that we can actually push our Einstein Voice skills across these smart devices.

This article, "Michael Machado of Salesforce: Voice is the Future of CRM" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Michael Machado of Salesforce: Voice is the Future of CRM

I just hit the 5 year anniversary with my first Amazon Echo device, and since then I’ve kinda had a thing for voice assistants and devices I can talk to. So one of the things I was really interested in learning more about at last week’s Dreamforce event was seeing how Salesforce’s voice technology – Einstein Voice – was coming along.  It was announced at last year’s Dreamforce and I wanted to see how prominent it would be this time around. Let’s just say they are very high on the impact voice will have on CRM. I’m putting a few thoughts that will go pretty deep into what I saw for my Voices Carry column very soon – so stay tuned.

But while I was there I was able to chat for a few minutes with Michael Machado, Salesforce’s Senior Director of Product for Einstein Voice and Deep Learning.  Michael got me up to speed with what’s new with Einstein Voice, what the feedback from customers has been so far, how voice technology will help people understand AI more, and what impact he sees voice technology will have on CRM adoption once people get their hands on it – or should I say get their voices on it.  

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.  To see the full conversation watch the video or click on the embedded SoundCloud player below.

A Closer Look at Voice CRM

Michael Machado of Salesforce: Voice CRM is the FutureSmall Business Trends: I wanted to catch up with you and just talk about what’s been the last year like when it comes to Einstein Voice? What’s going? What’s the kind of where have we come since that last year?

Michael Machado:  We’ve come a humongous way. 171,000 people tuned in in-person, 10 million online, just to actually hear what we are doing, what we’re envisioning for the future of CRM. And that’s where I actually think Voice is. We’ve learned a lot over the past year. We’ve been running a pilot directly with customers, traveling around the United States, traveling the globe, actually, talking to customers what they want out of Voice because it’s a broad term. Right?

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  And it means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but we all have these smart devices all around us, whether it’s our phone, a smart speaker in our kitchen, our living room, in the office. Now, we’re starting to see a proliferation of smart devices. And Voice is really your ability to engage in those devices and transform your user experience for the business world.

Voice CRM Expectations

Small Business Trends: What are they telling you? What are their expectations for Voice? What are they looking to do with Voice?

Michael Machado:  I think about the value propositions it brings. Voice is going to change the way you interact. It’s going to make almost like an invisible CRM for your end users, and when they start to get that benefit, you see a huge boost in productivity. And then you look at other profiles and other personas that leverage Salesforce and leverage the sales, service and marketing, commerce; they’re starting to think of Voice and starting to think, “Okay, wow, I want voice to guide me.”

We’ve been learning about how to make reps more productive in the field using their mobile device, and now we’re seeing any device; we’ve created admin setup, admin configuration tools to build voice-enabled applications. So everyone now can have Voice in Einstein as a guiding tool for them across their Salesforce apps.

Small Business Trends: Talk about some of the partnerships around this effort, what you guys are doing with some of the names that people probably know. 

Michael Machado:  Well, we’re a deep partnership company. Right? Yeah. We announced a ton last year, this year actually, and then we’ve been working a lot with Amazon. Amazon, I think, has sold over a hundred million devices worldwide. And that footprint that they have, we want to be able to leverage that and use that, let our customers, essentially, bring their own device when they’re engaging with Salesforce. And I think we’ve seen this with just the transformation that goes with mobile, and now we’re seeing that transformation with smart devices, whether that be UI or no UI.

How Developers are Changing This Technology

Small Business Trends: What about from a developer or a skills-building perspective? What’s going on there?

Michael Machado:  I think that was our big announcement this year. Last year was sort of you have a mobile application that’s voice-enabled, and you can make your reps more productive. Now, we’ve voice-enabled every application you have in Salesforce. And we do that through our Einstein Voice Skills, and it allows any admin to take 20 years of configuration they’d been building into Salesforce, and through a drag and drop, clicks, not code, be able to actually build voice-enabled applications. And it’s extremely powerful because we don’t want you to rip and replace what you’ve already built. We want to leverage that framework and build Voice right into the platform of Salesforce, and that’s what we’ve done.

Small Business Trends: What are we going to be talking about in 2020 through Einstein in Voice?

Michael Machado:  I think right now we’ve built a ton of tools in an application layer across all of Salesforce that lets people get voice-enabled, and I think we’re going to just going to see that adoption increase, go through the roof. We wanted to learn a lot from our customers over the past year, and now it’s really about letting Voice open into the wild for businesses.

Where Does AI Fit In?

Small Business Trends: There’s still a lot of folks who really aren’t sure about AI, generally speaking. Or they don’t feel like they know enough about it, or if it’s even for them. They don’t even know that they’re using it in some aspects.

Michael Machado:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends: Do you think Voice will actually impact the way people view AI?

Michael Machado:  It makes the accessibility of AI seems so much more transparent. You’re talking about conversationally talking to an artificial intelligent assistant. You’re getting guidance, and it doesn’t really feel like that’s AI anymore. In fact, that’s usually how it works. When it becomes natural, when it becomes fluent for any user, AI’s at your fingertips, AI is guiding you through your day. Marc [Benioff] talked about it yesterday. AI has a seat at the table for every Marc meeting, and that’s Einstein having that seat at the table.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  But whatever your AI provider is, I think we’re going to start to see that people are welcoming AI because it’s not taking your jobs or anything. It’s making you more effective. And those without it, your competitors or your fellow employees that don’t leverage AI, they’re going to get left out because it’s that much about productivity boost.

Small Business Trends: So you think B2B will start catching up to B2C in that regard?

Michael Machado:  100%. I mean, all of these trends tend to go that way, right, even the Cloud. We were all leveraging Google Services, and then all of a sudden Salesforce came out with Cloud front-end business applications.

Small Business Trends: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Machado:  And we’re seeing that now with artificial intelligence. We’re now seeing that with Voice.

How Users are Adapting

Small Business Trends: I think Voice, like conversational CRM or just being able to talk to your CRM, I think that’s actually going to make people want to use CRM more, CRM-related technologies, more because there’s nothing easier than talking and being able to … If you’re able to tell your application to do things as opposed to type and click, I think you’re going to just do it more often.

Michael Machado: It’s the evolution of user experience, and I talk about it as you’re going to be leveraging CRM. You don’t even really need to know that you’re leveraging CRM. You’re actually looking to Salesforce and saying, “Guide me on the way I need to run my business. Guide me on what I need to do to perform better to make my customers happier.” And whether or not that Salesforce’s providing that information to you is really you don’t care. You just want to go about and form your duties as an employee and making customers happier.

Small Business Trends: And even the things around Customer 360 and being able to bring in data sources from outside of Salesforces that might be another enterprise apps that you’re dependent on, all of that intelligence makes it, I think, more likely that you’ll use the Voice interface to be able to get at all that stuff.

Michael Machado:  It’s the sizzle on the steak, as I like to call it. Customer 360 is bringing that unified view, that single source of truth to your customers, and good data in means good data out.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  And that’s our goal. Right? We want to make sure that data has truth. It’s important that you can actually leverage that for insights.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  And so that is why that steak’s so important because we can’t deliver the sizzle without it.

A Little More About Einstein

Small Business Trends: One last thing, I love the Einstein [Alexa type device]. 

Michael Machado:  I was waiting for it.

Small Business Trends: Tell us a little more about that. How did that come about? Did you have a role in the Einstein Alexa device there?

Michael Machado:  Yeah, I ventured into the hardware space for the first time in my career, and I got to say I loved it. It’s been an adventure. We’ve been working. As we said, we partnered with Alexa to start to make this available to our customers.

Small Business Trends: Right.

Michael Machado:  But if you weren’t there to the keynote, I recommend you tune in and see our beautiful Einstein device because that actually was for us internally to think about how can we kind of dog food this technology and actually have Einstein really have a seat at the table. And we put him in his physical form factor, and it’s great. It’s fun, and it energizes everyone when you start to use it, but all that technology is wrapped up for any smart speaker provider that we can actually push our Einstein Voice skills across these smart devices.

This article, "Michael Machado of Salesforce: Voice is the Future of CRM" was first published on Small Business Trends



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