The New ABC of Sales: Always Be Chatting

Arabella Moretti (Arby to her friends) is finally on her flight home to San Francisco after being stuck in Munich Airport for hours due to a raging storm.  A full week of negotiations with a global brand based in Munich, and her proposal still needs approval from their SVP.  And he’s concerned about Arby’s digital agency being too small to handle their service needs. “How many people do you have in account management, and what percentage work European hours?” was the last question that Phil van Troppe, the SVP, asked Arby. Arby’s agency was small, no doubt, yet their ability to work long and hard for their clients was high. “We need to demonstrate this, decisively,” mused Arby. 

Always Be Chatting

As the plane climbs over the storm to 35,000 feet and the clink of champagne flutes fills the first class cabin, Arby settles into her seat and connects to the in-flight Wi-Fi. There is a “water drop” sound on her smartphone, indicating a chat on her agency website, and the person chatting has a question: “If I had an escalation right now, at 3 a.m. your time—how quickly would your agency handle it?”

Arby gets notified on chats from prospects because she has elected to be on the chat list. The old sales adage “ABC: Always Be Closing” should now be “ABC: Always Be Chatting”, as more leads come to a site and use chat as a way to begin the prospect conversation. Arby, having spent her teen years with the latest smartphones her parents could buy, is used to texting, but more importantly, more and more of their clients are, as well.

app-chat-origami-site

Arby looks at the chat and thinks “Nobody is online at 3 a.m. in San Francisco; maybe I should respond.” In a split second, an automated response pings out from her agency’s web site—it’s the DossierBot saying “Hi, we’re finding someone to respond! What’s your name?” Whew, at least the visitor wasn’t kept waiting—if responses aren’t delivered in the blink of an eye, web site visitors leave the site, never to return.

The Intelligent DossierBot Syncs with Salesforce

The DossierBot intelligently asks the chatter for his name and email (“in case we get disconnected!” says the DossierBot).  A few seconds later, the person chatting has entered his email: philc@globalbrands.com. The DossierBot instantly connects to the company’s Salesforce CRM, looks up Phil’s email, finds the company he works for, looks for all account managers, checks who’s online to chat, and immediately identifies the chatter. It’s Phil van Troppe, the SVP from Global Brands, and whose approval Arby needs! As Arby is online and is one of the account managers for Global Brands, DossierBot makes her automatically visible to Phil in the chat. She quickly taps out a reply: “Good morning, Phil, this is Arby Moretti, the agency’s account manager for Global Brands. Thank you for contacting us, and I assure you that we’re always available to help our customers.”

In the background, the engines cut back to a smooth purr as the jet steadies at 35,000 ft. Phil taps his response, “I’m impressed. I expected to speak to a chat agent, if I could at all, since it is 3 a.m. your time. Where are you?”

Arby laughs to herself, and taps out “Actually, I’m on the flight to San Francisco. It was great to meet you and the team. I did want to say that there are other people who can help you right now. This chat window shows you who your account team is, and who’s online. And if we’re not, your request immediately gets sent to the relevant person via email and also logged in our task management system as an open task.”

Phil writes back: “This is great service, and I like the responsiveness already.  Can you send me the contract right now, so I can review the terms again?”

DossierBot Syncs with Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive

“Of course , Phil, here you go!” And with a click of a button on her phone, Arby connects to her Google Drive storage, attaches the Global Brands contract to the chat, and sends it to Phil.  Phil takes a screen shot of the clause he wants to have edited, marks it up, sends it back to Arby in the chat, and ends with “Let’s get this signed.”

While the chat has been happening, every message in the conversation and the file attachments has been getting transferred to an intelligent workspace in the Dossier dashboard named after the account, “Global Brands.” All files sent or received on this chat are also saved in Arby’s Google Drive folder of the same name.

app-google-drive

DossierBot Converts Chats to Asana Tasks

Arby converts the chat message to a task and assigns it to their Legal Counsel for review of the contract.  The Legal Counsel, she knows, is dealing with many email requests, and so he has instructed her team to put every request from sales into Asana, a popular task management tool. Arby gets a response from Dossier: “Request transferred to project “Deal Desk at Legal” in Asana”.  When the Legal Counsel connects to his Asana app, he will see this task in his Asana inbox.

James McCaulay, the Legal Counsel, happens to be traveling himself, and he is in his hotel in London, checking messages in Asana. He sees the Asana task for Global Brands with the contract file attachment.  He opens it, accepts the change, and Docusigns it, sending a copy to Global Brands and Arby.

app-asana-workspace-tags

Back in Munich, Phil also Docusigns the contract and sends it back online. Arby taps out a new message to Phil and marks it to be delivered when he’s next online on their web site. Phil goes to Arby’s agency’s web site to learn more about their services.  As he scans a page, a friendly message from Arby pings out from the web site as a chat message. “Welcome, Global Brands. We’re so happy to work with you.  Arby.”

Phil is pleased.  He thinks “I’m going to enjoy working with this agency. They may be small, but they think smart and act fast. Getting work done is what they’re about.”

At 35,000 ft., the Deal Is Closed

As the flight attendant reaches her seat with the champagne bottle, Arby smiles and says “I’m ready for the champagne. I just closed our biggest deal in-flight.”

The flight attendant smiles. The well-dressed man seated next to her says, “Sorry, I couldn’t help overhear…on your phone? How did you do that? Not on email?” Arby pulls out her iPhone and shows him the chat with Phil and points out:

“Dossier—conversations with customers, no matter where I am or my customers are,” Arby laughs. “And that’s my secret weapon.”

The gentleman next to her remarks, “Hey, I’d like to take a look at that app!’  Arby smiles, “Try it for free if you like—that’s what I did,” goes to www.dossier.work, and shows him the web site. Arby pops her phone back into her purse, and leans back into her seat.  She takes a sip of champagne and settles into the long flight home.

Then she hears the water drop sound again. And she smiles.

How Dossier Chat Works

Customers converse with a business on your web site, on email, or using messaging apps. Adding chat to your web site makes it easy to for them to ask you a question. You can add chat to your site effortlessly in minutes!

Your business is very likely to be one that doesn’t have employees tethered to desks. Employees work at coffee shops while on their phones, or they are in conference rooms away from their desks. Or they are on the go, overseeing warehouse orders, or traveling from Munich on a plane…and a chat comes in and a potential customer wants to talk.

With Dossier, your team can respond to web site chats on your smartphone. Because it has two-way integration with Gmail for Work and Outlook 365, replying to a chat is as simple as replying in email. There’s no need to have a dedicated customer service staff to respond to web site chats. Any employee can respond to incoming chats simply by using their email app—Gmail for Work or Outlook 365.

Dossier also:

  • Identifies the visitor by name and company.
  • Pages the visitor’s salesperson if it’s an important account.
  • Adds the salesperson to the chat instantly so the best person can respond.
  • Lets the salesperson know the customer has returned to the site, where he is on the website, and what he is doing.

Add Dossier Chat to Your Web Site


About Su Piercy

Su joined Dossier to stay ahead on the exciting technology speedway that is the world of SaaS apps. Working out of her home office in Colorado Springs, CO, Su uses Dossier to get new customers up to speed with Dossier.  She’s amazed at the recursiveness of it all.

Dossier is an app for organizing customer conversations, no matter where it happens, with zero disruption to the ways you already communicate. Based in San Francisco, Dossier is helping business owners, business professionals and teams around the globe intelligently sync their customer communication channels and organize documents, tasks and more. Welcome to a new way to build better customer relationships and a better business. Sign up for a free account today at http://www.dossier.work.

It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s Super CRM Heroine!

Remember reading Supergirl, Wonder Woman or Batgirl comics and marveling at the amazing ability of superheroes to see through walls, or hear a whisper a continent away? Today’s customer-centric leaders can look to modern CRM and Big Data technology to give them superhuman skills. Imagine that you, a business owner or manager, could, with the click of a button, listen in on or even participate in any customer conversation that your employees were engaged in?

The team at Dossier, previously from companies like Oracle and Keynote, wished we had this amazing ability, without having to check in with far-flung employees to find out what was the latest with a deal, or stalk them on Slack, Gmail or Hipchat. Most CEOs have a list of top 10 deals and top 10 customers on their mind at all times. Yet, they often ask their head of sales: “what’s happening with ______?” The best that the sales head can do is to quickly tap out a message to his or her regional directors or account managers, and ask what’s going on with ______. Information then filters up in unpredictable ways, sometimes on email, sometimes being paraphrased, but the source of truth is too far away. Often that leads to an inaccurate picture of what’s happening at a client, and critical sales information is hidden, inadvertently or deliberately.

A team of CRM and Big Data experts got together to figure out how to make lead and customer conversations transparent, fast, and make our teams super responsive. That’s why we built the new Join feature in Dossier by Dossier, an app which transforms email, chat and messaging into a customer response app. Here are some examples of how business owners and managers use this feature:

meg-circle-profile Laura Macintosh is CEO of a marketing and design agency. She has been worrying over timely customer communications, because email conversations her team and contractors have with customers are sometimes invisible to her. So she’s asked to be cc’d on every email, and now her inbox is overflowing. None of them can keep up with emails to see which customers need followup, and what actions are assigned to their contract designers and copywriters.
ken-circle-profile Marcus Price, VP of Customer Success at a B2B software company, EasyBillings, is finding it more and more difficult to obtain continuous visibility into top clients’ interactions. Fortune 500 customers have recently started using EasyBillings, and Marcus is not always cc’d in those emails; yet he wants to know immediately when requests come in from those clients. Sometimes the request is very time-sensitive and he is not made aware of it until it’s late.
lamar-circle-profile Jonathan  Abrams, the new Chief Revenue Officer at Global Technologies, is raring to go. For 30 days since he was brought on, the board of directors asked for more accuracy on this quarter’s forecast. He has been waiting to get deeper insights into the sales pipeline with his account team. Instead of calling each of the sales directors every Monday, he signs up for Dossier, an app for organizing customer communications that can help him gain that precious insight into any conversation between his reps and top leads or clients.

Have you ever found yourself in any of the situations above? Wouldn’t it be nice and highly productive for you and your team to immediately jump in to timely conversations with customers, vendors, or contractors? Without being cc’d or emailed ad nauseam? 

Enter Dossier.

Dossier is a state-of-the-art app that speeds up conversations with customers, leads, and team members, giving you and your team members the ability to join current email, chat and messaging conversations with one click. No more rifling through your overflowing inbox looking for the latest emails from team members to your customers and vice versa. No more leaving voicemails and waiting for responses from your client facing team. You can respond immediately, and Dossier shows you which customers are online so that you can Skype or message them instantly. And now this feature is available to all customers.

How to Join Any Customer Conversation in Dossier

  1. Sign in to Dossier at https://www.dossier.work.
  2. Dossier magically identifies customers and finds all conversations.
  3. Invite any number of your team members to Dossier for free.
  4. When your team members sign in to Dossier, they immediately see all the conversations in which they can participate simply by clicking Join.
  5. As your team begins conversations with customers you previously didn’t have access to, you are able to view and join these conversations.

Join conversations with customers

JOIN Gives You Immediate Visibility into Customer Conversations

Millions of Customer Records Collected Daily

At your company, whether you are small or large, hundreds to tens of thousands of customer conversations happen every day. These conversations are, increasingly, tracked in your CRM, such as Salesforce or Hubspot, since these are your systems of record. However, saving conversations that are happening in real-time in the CRM is like looking in the rear-view mirror as you pass your customer stranded on the highway – it’s impossible to turn back time and address the situation immediately. What we need is a system of real-time customer engagement – with an application that needs to intimately aware of the collective intelligence in lead and customer conversations. Transforming all channels of communications – thousands of email inboxes, web site chats, in-app chats, helpdesk tickets, and assigned tasks – into a customer response system calls for real-time CRM and Big Data expertise. The Dossier team’s engineers worked at Oracle (the biggest system of record in the world), Keynote (an analytics company whose systems collected close to 1 billion rows in an Oracle database every single day), and other team members from Salesforce and Pegasystems (an enterprise CRM company). The intelligent routing technology designed by the Dossier team analyzes these conversations and enables us to analyze millions of customer records every day.


About Su Piercy

Su joined Dossier to stay ahead on the exciting technology speedway that is the world of SaaS apps. Working out of her home office in Colorado Springs, CO, Su uses Dossier to get new customers up to speed with Dossier. She’s amazed at the recursiveness of it all.

Dossier is an app for organizing customer conversations, no matter where it happens, with zero disruption to the ways you already communicate. Based in San Francisco, Dossier is helping business owners, business professionals and teams around the globe intelligently sync their customer communication channels and organize documents, tasks and more. Welcome to a new way to build better customer relationships and a better business. Sign up for a free account today at https://www.dossier.work.

Dropbox drops Mailbox. Or, How Foresight is 20-20.

There’s a saying in mergers & acquisitions circles: companies are bought, not sold. This could not be more apparent in the case of much ballyhooed mobile email startup Mailbox. It was only a few months old, funded by Marc Andreessen from blue-clip VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, when it was wooed by and sold to Dropbox for, reportedly, over $50 million in cash, and with stock options, potentially valued at $100 million. With the Dropbox IPO looking uncertain, especially since Box is valued in the public market at $1.66 billion, much less than the $10 billion Dropbox was reportedly last privately valued at, much of this valuation was on paper. Yet, $50 million in cash is some heckuva lot of cash.

Dropbox announced today that they have shut down Mailbox. And the reason is “As we’ve increased our focus on collaboration, we realized there’s only so much an email app can do to fundamentally improve email. We’ve come to believe that the best way for us to improve people’s productivity going forward is to streamline the workflows that generate so much email in the first place.” Here’s the email that I received from Dropbox an hour ago:

There are of course reasons by Mailbox didn’t work; but that doesn’t mean that Dropbox was wrong in its instincts. They were just so early in their thinking about collaboration that they didn’t make the right choice. But it learnt a lot along the way, and is now poised to address the problem again. Note they said:

                …to streamline the workflows that generate so much email in the first place.

To understand why Dropbox faltered with the acquisition, understand what product guys know for a fact:

The world rarely needs another new product. One reason new products fail is that they try to change the behavior of the buyer. Remember the Segway – the self-propelled human driving machine? Or the Roomba, the self-propelled vacuum cleaner? There are plenty of early adopter buyers for these machines – I own a Roomba and it is collecting dust in my house (no, it is not cleaning up the dust, it is sitting in the corner collecting dust). The reason is – these machines required an unnatural change in behavior. I couldn’t just turn on the Roomba and leave the house and expect that it would do its job properly. I knew from experience that it would get caught in wires, or get stuck under the couch, or go round and round in circles. I ended up changing my behavior to use it – I would have to turn on the Roomba, then babysit it as it went around the home. I ended up doing much less physical work than vacuuming the house myself, but a lot more mental work watching the machine. In the end, I stopped using it and now use it only rarely.

The business world rarely needs another new application. This is at the heart of our company, Dossier. Our product helps businesses talk to their customers faster than anything they could do themselves. But when we built it, we wanted to make sure that Dossier worked beautifully with all applications that were already in use by sales, marketing and customer success teams. So if you use any of these products at your company – Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce, Zendesk, and even your own web site, or your own custom app like a sales quoting application, or a packaged application like Netsuite – you don’t have to learn how to use Dossier. You get trained on how to set it up and refine it, and then, you just use email to talk to your customers, Salesforce to manage the system of record, Zendesk to handle customer service requests. Dossier acts like the marshall, sending information from one group of people to others, helping customers talk to your employees, employees talk to each other, application users talk to IT teams, and so on. We make IT click.

integrations

 

In my previous life, I made 17 acquisitions for a public company, and our last deal was to sell our company for $400 million. Many of these acquisitions did not pan out the way that we expected. So the Dropbox team didn’t really make a mistake that was different than many mistakes that all companies make. Hindsight is 20-20, as they say.

What is important is foresight. As entrepreneurs around the world build the next great mousetrap, they should think hard, as we had to do – whether we’re making it really easy for the product to be adopted in today’s business environment. And that environment requires that whatever you build fits into the hearts and hands of the people that will use the product every day. Build with foresight, and your hindsight will be 20-20. Build without it, and the myopia will have far-reaching consequences. For Dropbox/Mailbox, some people have with $50 million more and the others, less. At least Dropbox understood what makes enterprise users tick and made the right decision. And now it really has their work cut out for them. Companies like Slack are streamlining the workflows that cause employees to generate email. Companies like Dossier are streamlining the workflows that cause customers to generate email. Email is dozens of years old, but it won’t just go away. Reimagine the problem that customers, partners and employees face in collaborating with each other.

Build with foresight, and your hindsight will be 20-20.

Fast and Natural Communications Make Customers Happy

Today’s consumers expect a natural way to ask for help and obtain quick resolutions for issues or requests for information. The days of making a phone call and being routed to the right person have long dissipated and been replaced by faster internet communication methods, such as video calls, twitter, or chat. A new breed of products are replacing phone and email with new communication platforms that makes internet communication easier, faster, and customer-centered for sales, customer success and customer service centers. Which makes us at Dossier very happy to announce that we have a new capability for sales, marketing and customer success teams to connect their personal and corporate emails to shared team communication tools like Dossier, Asana and Zendesk.

A quick note on Dossier—it gives real-time visibility to sales and support staff for immediate responses to customer questions, issues, and concerns. Sales and support organizations tend to gravitate toward tools that they use already—Dossier integrates with other business apps to give your customers a seamless customer service experience while your employees continue using information management tools like Salesforce, Asana, Zendesk, Skype, and more.

In a typical day at any business, your customer sends an email message—to someone in sales, customer success, customer service, or to a group such as info@company.com. Your email—Google Gmail or Outlook 365— is integrated with Dossier; this immediately recognizes customer issues (while leaving internal and vendor emails alone) and publishes the customer’s message to a Salesforce account, an Asana project task or a Zendesk support ticket and assigns it to the appropriate person using those tools.

With emails synced in real time to your internal collaboration tools such as Asana, Zendesk or Salesforce, three things vital to the success of a customer center happen:

– The right person in your organization is immediately in touch with the customer.
– The customer is in touch with the right person and feels supported.
– Your organization’s responses are quick, immediate, and solution-oriented.

Using Dossier for your customer contact center results in customer success stories about your organization’s promptness and quality of service and support.

So if you use Google Gmail or Outlook 365 for your business, visit www.dossier.work and sign up for free! Not a trial—use it for free.

Separation of Church (Web Site) and State (Email)

STOP using Gmail. I don’t mean, literally. But definitely stop using @gmail.com email addresses for your business. I mean, really. It’s like a grown man wearing shorts, you know, all the time. Ok, since most of you read this because I blasted this to all 618 Facebook friends and 3528 LinkedIn contacts (I hope that proves to you, ex-boss, that I spend way more time at work than fun), you’re probably already tech savvy and asking if it’s necessary for me to… gasp… write a blog about how to get your own custom email domain, like, LeaveMeAlone@Extroverts.com.

I’d rather be smelling flowers like the guy above than have to go through the ordeal of working with custom email addresses, Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 again.

Truth is, if you’re a tech startup, you get that you need to have your own email address, i.e. an address like vik@dossier.work. However, many (non-technology company) small business owners start with – and stay with – emails like MolokaiStaycations@gmail.com. My dad is a good example – he owns the best known Indian restaurant in the Baltics (to get there, start in Helsinki, Finland, take the ferry over to Tallinn, Estonia, where Skype was started, then drive what feels like hundreds of miles of flat terrain to Riga, Latvia, and then Vilnius, Lithuania). In fact, Nik Zennstrom and his Skype team would often eat at his Tallinn restaurant, and if only my dad had taken shares instead of Estonian kroons. The business is Sue’s Indian Raja, and has a website, but check out the email address – it’s a Gmail email. As it turns out, dad’s visiting us this week, and we’re going want him to change his email to raj@suesindianraja.com.

So that should be pretty easy, right? Wrong. It’s pretty difficult to do for your average business owner, or even her fledgling IT staff, which usually happens to be a high-school student recruited to keep things running for the tech-challenged owners. Getting a professional email setup is similar to setting up a business phone system – you could buy a home phone from Best Buy and put it in your office, but soon you will run up against its limitations and wish you had gotten a business phone. Need to have call forwarding when you travel outside the office? Send voicemail messages as email? You can’t do that with a home answering machine. Similarly, with email, you need to do it right to establish credibility with your customers and efficiency in your team.

So here’s how we did it at Dossier, our startup that’s on Day 21 today. We wanted our web site and our email to be hosted by two different service providers. Our website https://www.dossier.work is hosted at Linode. Our email is hosted by Microsoft Office 365. I’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how you can do the same thing, so that you can send and receive email at a custom email address.

The next step for us was to separate church and state – our web site would be hosted by Linode, and our email would be hosted by Microsoft Office 365.

Set Up Web Hosting on Linode

This may be obvious, but if you haven’t already, you must register a domain name, e.g., onboardify.com. GoDaddy makes it really easy, so I recommend getting started here. Then, you should sign up for a trial account with Google Apps for Business, or Microsoft Office 365. Next, you want to setup your web site to point to your web hosting provider. The web hosting provider can be GoDaddy, and that’s the easiest thing to do if you are non-technical. Since we’re techies, we decided to setup our web site on Linode, which I do not recommend for anyone who wants their next three evenings free. To tell GoDaddy to translate the address http://www.onboardify.com to fetch the content from Linode’s servers, we need to configure DNS name servers in GoDaddy.

  • Go to Godaddy and click on Log In on the right hand side of the page.Godaddy1
  • Right where it says “Hi, <your name>”, click on the down arrow.
  • Click on the Visit My Account button.
  • Click on the Launch button on the right hand side of Domains.
  • Click on your domain name and scroll down to the Name Servers section.
  • Click on Manage, and then enter Custom values as shown below.

linode

Set Up Email on Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 can manage your entire web site including email, but we didn’t try that. We explicitly wanted our web site hosting and our email hosting companies to be separate. For one, we didn’t want our web site to be hosted on Microsoft technologies like Sharepoint, preferring to use our own – this makes our technology choices more flexible. For example, if we decide to scale the ability of our web site to handle traffic, we could use cloud services like Amazon Web Services. Keeping our web and email hosting providers separate made sense for us, at this stage.

  • Log in to Microsoft Office 365.
  • Click on Admin and then on Domains.
  • Add a domain name, such as onboardify.com.

Next, login to your web site hosting provider, Linode in our case, and go to the DNS Manager for your domain. Create MX, TXT and SRV records exactly as you see it in the examples below, except where it says “onboardify” replace it with your domain – e.g., if your web site is http://www.mysite.com, then the domain would be “mysite”.

MX records

cname

Once you make these changes, wait about 15 minutes or so. Sometimes, the process of DNS changes takes a little longer. If you have set up email addresses such as myname@mysite.com, test that emails sent from/to it are received/sent. With any luck, your brand new, custom, email domain should be working fine in Microsoft Office 365.

Microsoft Office 365 email addresses cost $6/mo, and a little less if you sign up for an annual subscription. One of the advantages of Microsoft Office 365 over Google Apps for Business is that with Microsoft, you can create shared mailboxes such as support@onboardify.com and admin@onboardify.com, and you are not charged $6/mo extra for such mailboxes. These are extremely handy when you want your customers to email you at these corporate email addresses, but you want the mail to be received by a number of people.

If you are interested in having a similar set of instructions for setting up custom email in Google Apps for Business, let me know, and I would be happy to rustle up some instructions.

About Vik Chaudhary

Vik Chaudhary is the CEO of Dossier (http://www.dossier.work) in San Francisco. To business professionals and teams, Dossier is an app for organizing communications with customers. In his spare time, Vik runs all site operations for Dossier, and recommends that startup founders don’t hire an IT Ops guy until Year 3.

Dossier is an app for organizing customer conversations, no matter where it happens, with zero disruption to the ways you already communicate. Based in San Francisco, Dossier is helping business owners, business professionals and teams around the globe intelligently sync their customer communication channels and organize documents, tasks and more. Welcome to a new way to build better customer relationships and a better business. Sign up for a free account today at https://www.dossier.work.