Stumped by most questions that you are asked in an interview? We’ve created a short interview preparation list for you of the most common questions and the best answers to impress interviewers.
The coronavirus pandemic has rained trouble down on small businesses from every angle. The business landscape is uncertain, and every sector has had to adapt. Whether business is reduced, or it is temporarily booming, we can help you get through this time. Our secret is leveraging and managing a remote workforce.
Chat, Email, and Call Center Support
Just like most businesses today, your business may be spread thin; perhaps employees are staying at home, availing PTO. Or perhaps you could not afford their services, but cannot handle all the work they were taking care of. If so, it might be time to look into hiring and managing a remote workforce.
Hiring a remote workforce during this time to take care of customer emails, calls and chat requests is the best way to ensure that your customers or clients feel well taken care of. While clients will understand that you are working with a reduced staff, they will appreciate your company much more and will not put services on hold if you are proactive in getting their work done.
A remote workforce is often much less expensive than local services. Not only will that drive costs down when margins are thin, managing a remote workforce through IdeasUnlimited will ensure that you know exactly what it’s doing any time it is on the clock. As industries have shifted almost entirely to telework, employers have been worried about paying their employees for work that doesn’t get done due to all the distractions at home. IdeasUnlimited remote oversight services guarantee that your employees are working on their job duties wherever they are in the world.
Chat support, email support, and call support can be customized to any business. If your emails are piling up, or clients are concerned about never being able to reach you, you can hire IdeasUnlimited services on an hourly basis today.
Boom in Business?
If you’re experiencing a boom in business during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to capitalize on this and handle it correctly with your customers. Responding to clients promptly and making sure that they do not experience any hassle in getting their order or service requests through, is paramount. This will pay dividends in happy, returning customers. Hiring a customer care center that is experienced in support services will ensure that you hit the ground running and do not need to waste time interviewing contractors. With top remote teams providing 24/7/365 support, fast scalability and flexibility, omnichannel support, and cost-effective packages, IdeasUnlimited will be the ideal partner to help you during this crisis. IdeasUnlimited will take most of the work of managing a remote workforce off your hands.
Healthcare Call Center Support
Hiring a remote workforce for a call center during the coronavirus crisis will provide the ideal infrastructure for handling all your client calls and queries. A healthcare service inundated with calls and questions during COVID 19 will have to scale up quickly, without any degradation in customer service. With most doctors switching to telehealth appointments amidst the crisis, having a remote workforce ready to handle potential healthcare clients has become even more important. Through IdeasUnlimited’s healthcare call center staff, you can hire remote call center workers to take care of both frontend and backend services. Frontend agents can set up appointments, handle prescription refills, check eligibility and benefits etc. The backend agents, who are also certified in all major EMR platforms, can enter patient demographics, claim scrubbing and submission, billing, etc.
Business relief plans offered through governments the world over do not cover contractor pay. Thus, you should look into hiring overseas contractors who will ease the financial burden on your business, since you will get the same work done for much cheaper. IU services such as marketing support, virtual assistant support, and call center support can help you keep your business going, but at a lower cost than usual.
Outsourcing invoice generation and collection, bookkeeping, and payroll will not only cut your employee costs down, it will allow you to focus on core business responsibilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, your primary focus should be on adapting your core business model to the changing conditions and appealing to existing customers. Support services can be outsourced at a cheaper rate than in-house employees or contractors.
Marketing and Ecommerce Support
With most brick and mortar stores being forced to close their doors, or having to adhere to strict restrictions regarding footprints, online shopping and deliveries have boomed. Your business needs to set up or enhance its ecommerce platform as soon as possible, because that’s where the bulk of your customers will be contacting you. IdeasUnlimited can help you with website development and have your website up and running as soon as possible. However; you need to market the website once it is published. Providing a good customer experience on the website is also imperative. IdeasUnlimited offers a full ecommerce support package, including technical support, logistics support, marketing support, backend support, product research, and brand management. We can also help you with managing a remote workforce for website development and maintenance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, your business should give clients a larger window of time to fulfill invoices; however, you should not be giving work away for free. It is necessary for cash flow that you track client work and bill them on time and accurately. You should try to stay on top of this; however, if you can’t, hiring a remote worker to take care of this for you may be the best option. IdeasUnlimited can provide you billing support at flexible hours per week, to make sure that your business does not lose money it should not be missing out on during this pandemic.
Contact us today to get a custom quote for your business at email@example.com.
The quality and efficiency of your delivery operations are a significant contributor to your business’ overall value proposition. You should be able to supply customers as quickly as possible, using an efficient inbound customer service center, without driving up your delivery cost or compromising on the product or packaging.
Learn How to Optimize Your Delivery Services to Deal with COVID-19
Here are 8 ways of optimizing your delivery services to ensure the best results:
Better Communication Tools
Get better worker collaboration and communication tools so you can get in touch with your workers from anywhere, at any time during business hours. An efficient communication system that allows all your workers to get in touch with each other, from the warehouse workers to delivery workers, factory workers, managers, etc. would make decision-making faster and more accurate. This is crucial all across the business but more so on the delivery side, since fast and reliable communication is especially important there.
Efficient Project Management Tools
Even if all your employees work from one central location and meet each other every day, using a project management tool to manage operations is the best strategy. This will give you a better understanding of deadlines, a visualization of current progress, tasks remaining, and achievement of milestones with a bird’s eye view so things do not get overwhelming or overlooked. You can assign tasks with deadlines to different team members and each person can do their part to complete the task. We have vetted some of the most popular project management tools for you here. Most of them have free trials, so use them with your team and see which interface and features suit your business best.
Simplify Internal Processes
Simply your internal processes for a fast and smooth transition of a task from one employee to another. Different team members and departments should not use several software applications to complete one task since you would be losing too much time in the transfer of tasks alone. For instance, your warehouse and delivery teams should be on the same wavelength and use the same software.
Effective Inventory Management
Your business must have an effective logistics team that ensures your inventory records are up to date and your customer support and sales team get quick responses from the warehouses. Your whole operations hinge on good inventory management since you can only make sales when you know how much product you have available to sell.
Flexibility and Easy Scalability
Your business will survive and even bloom through economic booms and recessions if your business model lends itself to easy scalability and quick adjustments. In times of excess demand, if you can easily expand operations, you would be in a better position to capitalize quickly. If your business can swiftly adjust to match supply to demand, you will surpass your competitors.
Introduce New Business Models
Focus more on your website and mobile app since the typical customer is moving away from in-store purchases. Create a secure online payment system and ensure good website traffic management, so your online store is capable of handling traffic surges. Your online payment system should not be limited to only bank transfers and credit cards, rather any money transfer and online payment methods should be compatible.
Introduce different delivery options, ranging from same-day or next-day delivery to slower but cheaper options. You will have to rework your delivery operations a bit, but this will attract all those customers willing to pay a bit more for convenience. It can be a valuable USP as well.
Stronger Customer Relations
Providing a unique product or service is not sufficient in itself for building a loyal, expanding customer base. You need an excellent inbound customer service center to foster better relations, highlight customers’ pain points before they become issues, and resolve them in a timely manner. The most crucial part of delivery services is providing a robust tracking mechanism to customers, so they know where their package is at all times. Customers are understanding of delays in delivery, provided they are apprised of the reasons for these delays as soon as possible.
You also need fast responsiveness to customer inquiries as well as top-quality troubleshooting of any order and delivery problems they are facing. The human touch is invaluable, and you don’t even need to set up an inbound customer service center in-house to achieve this goal. Get call center support that seamlessly meshes with your business practices and acts as an extension of your business. Chat bots can only do so much, and they can definitely not calm down irate customers, so you need the human touch.
Your inbound customer service center can easily be virtually managed. Similarly, partnering with a good 24 hour call center or after-hours call center to provide technical support for your website, app, or product itself would garner manifold rewards over time. This center can also handle public relations and manage your online brand image.
Geographic Dispersion of Supply Chain
Collaboration and project management tools would be especially necessary if you disperse your vendors across the world to make your supply chain more robust and sustainable. Diversification of your supply chain would mean that any disruptions due to atypical or natural causes in one geographic region would not cripple your entire operations. You can easily switch over that segment of your operations to a substitute raw material, another factory, warehouse, or distribution center. This would not only optimize your delivery services but make them sustainable.
Creating a good product is not enough, you must be able to deliver it in a timely manner to the right customers to give them an excellent overall experience. Don’t wait any longer! See which of these 8 tips you can implement this quarter to swiftly improve the quality and efficiency of your delivery services.
A New Era and the Use of Project Management Software and Tools
Ever wondered how technology has encompassed every field of life today? For businesses, small or big, technology has enhanced the way teams are created and the way they work. Projects can now be delivered by a remote team spread across the globe, an in-house team, or a combination of both.
How is that convenient, you ask? Are you also wondering if such work arrangements will be productive?
The global remote workforce has been growing over the last few years because collaborative and interactive technologies have dissolved all geographical barriers to create efficient virtual workspaces. Reports on remote work show that 35% companies have currently employed a remote workforce, while 89% respondents are involved in fulltime or part time remote or virtual work. Moreover, a remote team shows 10-43% higher productivity as compared to an in-house team.
Benefits of Project Management Software and Tools for a Remote Workforce
Are project management tools effective for virtual teams?
Project management is difficult with an in-house team, and with virtual teams it becomes even more overwhelming. But technology provides the ideal solution. An ideal project management software helps a remote team in project planning, time management, resource allocation, and change management. As virtual workspaces are here to stay, effective project management is a must to build a remote workforce that is competitive, responsive, and successful. A good project management software serves to overcome the time-consuming communication issues and aids in efficiently streamlining processes and tasks.
Project management software and tools serve as a classic solution for keeping things organized and meeting deadlines—leading to greater profitability. Just like for an on-site team, the benefits of using project management software and tools for a remote workforce are innumerable:
Better planning, execution, and monitoring
Maintaining work schedules
Better and clearer delegation of tasks
Efficient problem solving
Faster delivery of projects
Better evaluation of performance
To give you a head start, we have compiled a list of the best project management software and tools for managing a team, especially a remote workforce. These have been handpicked based on ease of use, agility and advanced features, free trials, and quality of customer support.
Proofhub allows you to easily plan, collaborate, organize, and deliver projects—big or small—on time. This project planning software is based on Kanban boards where you can create custom workflows using tasks, assign user roles, choose a project manager, use Gantt charts, and do much more.
Create unlimited projects and add unlimited users, by paying a simple flat fee. Their free trial allows you to try it with your team and since there is a negligible learning curve, you can start using it for your business right away.
Loved by over 85,000 teams and businesses around the world, including Google, Netflix, and NASA, this work management system ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. You can even bring on your clients, show them the progress made, and get real-time feedback and approvals from them. There is no need for lengthy email exchanges any longer. All you need to do is set up your client on Proofhub, give them the access they need, and make your life easy.
They promise to make work a “rewarding experience”, so go ahead and give it a try today.
Wrike is a cloud-based leading project management solution for team collaboration that serves well for both in-house and remote workers. It has won the Best Project Management Software award in 2018 and has 99% positive user reviews. It has a user-friendly, convenient interface, easy set up, and it works just as well on mobile devices. Wrike provides tutorials, documents, and live webinars for training.
It works well for prioritization, visualizing workflows, and analyzing results. Wrike’s features such as Gantt Charts, templates, built-in time tracking tool, scalability, and workload view are equally popular among project members and project managers.
It also offers cost-to-completion tracking for better budget management. Therefore, it has a dual functionality as a resource management cum project management tool. Wrike is a comprehensive software which comes with flexibility and customization to suit each team’s needs. Furthermore, it gives you the flexibility to easily integrate with various tools.
It is particularly beneficial for a virtual workspace because of its many data management and collaborative features. It helps in creating a remote team that is self-sufficient and productive.
Teams up to 5 members can reap its benefits for free. Bigger teams or enterprises can try it and then opt for a professional plan. However, reviews show it works best for marketing and design teams with 20+ members. It comes with a 24/7 support through a live customer service representative, which most definitely is a big plus!
Previously known as Dapulse, Monday.com has revived its image and has emerged as a fun, visually appealing, intuitively easy to use, and organized project management resource.
It offers collaboration and communication tools and provides integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack.
It is popular for remote workforce management because it is easily customizable, provides in-built tracking and monitoring, and can seamlessly become part of any established software system.
With a common dashboard, centralized communication and data management, the entire team stays in the loop. Different bright colors for each project stage, easy to add to-do lists, and member-designated tasks help the teams efficiently plan their timeline and use resources.
Its strongest feature is a URL mirrored Mobile Application. This is invaluable for those who are always on the move—as is the case for most remote workers. Monday.com offers the same interface on mobile as on PC/laptop, edging Monday.com over its competitors because of the easy integration and connectivity with the team.
It is most popular with creative agencies but is equally convenient for all other industries. It does offer a free trial and has different plans depending upon the features required and number of team members. Users find Monday.com intuitive but in case you have any difficulties, its robust customer service is always available to respond to queries. This excellent and reachable customer service sets them apart from many other viable options.
This is one of the cloud-based software from Zoho with a focus of providing all basic features of project management. It has a simple pricing plan for both the web and mobile applications.
With clear user design, its best feature is its strong integration with other services from Zoho as well as Google and Microsoft. Moreover, the in-built chat option saves the user the hassle of opening external tools and keeps things simpler and timely.
It helps a remote team become organized through its time tracking, problem resolution, and document management tools. Progress tracking is also easy and quick due to easy-to-access Gantt charts, reports and analyses, and individual workflows.
It has a multiple view option and the members can choose their own style, depending on their preference for tasks lists. Impressively, Zoho Projects has shown continuous improvements, giving its users a better interface with many stable, customizable, and advanced features.
Along with tutorial videos and webinars, it also provides in-person trainings for the optimum use of the software. It has a free version for unlimited users, but the features remain restricted. For paid plans, you can enjoy a 10-day free trial to see if the plan suits your specifications or needs any revision. All their plans are flat rate and are very cost effective for larger teams.
Do you often find yourself scrambling at the last minute while trying to manage routine tasks and organizing work schedules for your remote team?
Asana might be a solution to your needs. It is another popular cloud-based project management suite that effectively helps you track the progress of your remote team and meet targets. It offers a simple layout, where all project and task details can be added for easy view.
The easy, flexible layout and mapped-out details for each task benefit the team in staying organized, identifying and rectifying any loopholes or errors, and adjusting schedules instantaneously. Thus, a remote team not only collaborates through Asana but efficiently completes a project by setting priorities, adjusting work structure, and assigning tasks—eliminating overlaps and delays. For routine tasks, a process timeline can be used and
shared as a template for all similar future tasks.
Asana can tie it all together for you with more than a hundred tools for integration, be it email, file sharing, data security, anything you can think of! It has gained popularity among small as well as large businesses and has 96% user satisfaction reports. It also acts as a resource management and collaboration software. Moreover, the mobile application helps with real-time updates and tracking.
It has a basic free version, while the premium and enterprise plans—with advanced and collaborative features—are billed yearly. For a larger team, the premium plan can come cheaply, and it offers exclusive projects, unlimited guests, unlimited dashboards, data export, central administration and other advanced features. Enterprise plans provide agile tools and customer support. Other than higher security and backup options, this plan also guarantees a dedicated customer success manager and instant customer support throughout the year.
Basecamp is most popular in creative agencies and it is very similar to a personal assistant who takes care of everything from assigning tasks and tracking the progress, marking them as done and then moving onto the next stage of the project. It is equally popular among entrepreneurs, contractors, small and medium businesses, and departments of larger organizations.
It has an easy, efficient system that helps in long-term planning and resource management as well. It gels conveniently for multi-customer and multiple projects firms.
It has all the features for collaborating on a project such as to-do lists, message boards, schedules, documents and file storage, and group chat. Since a decade Basecamp has been helping teams to organize, delegate, and monitor tasks.
It has a good file management system and integrative tools that helps virtual teams easily access what they require and finish tasks uninterruptedly. Team members can store, link, tag, share, and comment on project documents and files. The built-in real-time chat room is great for sharing ideas, proposals and discussions, and keeping the entire team on the same page. Therefore, Basecamp is your go-to tool when groups need to efficiently monitor their projects and achieve targets in a timely manner.
Basecamp gives you the freedom to set a date range, prioritize and rearrange tasks according to your needs. By the end of each operation, an automated report can be generated to analyze the progress and save time.
Use your google account to log in and you can enjoy a 60-day free trial of this software. The paid subscription is a fixed annual payment and depends upon the type of use.
For paid plans, the best part is that basecamp comes with all updates and IT issues are taken care of by 24/7 technical assistance. Users can also join a live Q&A base for instant solutions to their queries.
Here is another camp for you to join and enjoy some campfire with your team members!
Freedcamp is a cost effective, user-friendly software that has excellent features for seamless and convenient collaboration of remote teams. It is easily used through iOS and android applications too.
It is a project management solution that is not heavy on the pocket. It is used by a diverse clientele from many industries, ranging from retail, marketing, architecture, interior design to IT services, manufacturing, construction and many more.
Freedcamp features and tools facilitate project management through project scheduling, document and issue management, task management, reporting and time tracking. It has an in-built calendar for scheduling, reminders, tasks and monitoring events. It also has invoicing and billing and project templating tools. Similarly, Wall is the interactive feature which allows instant communication between all parties. The settings can be used to adjust who sees what. This plethora of add-ons make up for the lack of a vibrant interface for Freedcamp.
It has a comprehensive and responsive customer service. Freedcamp has a general free plan for unlimited users and projects. Moreover, the company offers advance plans to non-profits, teachers and students without any costs.
You will love Trello whether you have just switched over to remote work or have had a remote global team for a while. All the features you need are completely free.
It is a Kanban-style project management app that helps you visually organize tasks, deadlines, and files. You can collaborate with and give updates to a team as well. Organized by cards, boards, and lists, it is a perfect tool for brainstorming a new idea or managing an ongoing project.
Best of all, use their amazing Power-Ups to sync your Google Calendar with the Trello boards, introduce agile elements to your workflow, connect to Dropbox, and do much more. You get one Power-Up free with each free account or you can upgrade to use unlimited Power-Ups. Trello even offers you the possibility of creating one for your own team, with custom functionality.
Using the right set of tools is necessary to reap maximum benefits of a remote team and its potential talent. At IdeasUnlimited, we have honed our remote workforce optimization strategy over the last 8 years to ensure the best quality of work from a geographically dispersed team. Our workers have a wide range of experience of using the above project management tool in several industries—be it real estate, sales, IT etc.
We would love to hear from you! If you have tried any other tool for virtual collaboration that has worked wonders for you, then please share your experience in the comments below.
Shahzad Yaqoob (aka Nick) is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a family man, and a human being with a strong resolve. He is an avid reader, a keen sports fan, and loves to spend time with his kids.
He has travelled across the oceans and built a remote career for himself, which no one except his brother believed could work out. He has been successful in establishing an award-winning company that not only offers a professional and flexible work environment but is productive and rewarding for all those involved—the IdeasUnlimited Family.
He is the founder and CEO of IdeasUnlimited, a business support services providing firm that is headquartered in Houston.
Self-discipline and a strong drive can help you overcome any situation and Shahzad proved that in quite short time. He has become an inspiration for all those who know him in a professional capacity.
A chat with him revealed much more about his struggles and relentless efforts to gain a reputable position for himself and help others see the light at the tunnel’s end.
Social Anxiety and Remote Work
Like me, most of you must have heard of and may have met people dealing with some kind of psychological struggle. But it is hard to fathom the agony they must be going through in order to meet day to day expectations as a family member and a worker. Typically, our society does not consider them fit to be a part of normal life.
Social anxiety impacts a worker’s life as soon as the day starts. A worker starts worrying about commuting to work, meeting people, deadlines, and the office environment. These worries also have spillover effects in their personal life.
It is usually advised to work on your anxiety disorders and then re-enter the workplace. However, it is neither financially nor professionally feasible. There are many different types of anxiety conditions but the proven key to success despite anxiety issues is to find an outlet and not let anxiety control your life.
Remote work has been a blessing in disguise for many of us facing geographical, health, and social constraints.
Shahzad had been struggling with acute social anxiety since his teenage years but in 2010 it worsened as a never-ending turbulence for his social existence. He was so perturbed that he could not contemplate any other solution other than ending everything, including his life.
As he left his regular job, he got called in for a part time remote job as an outbound caller. Halfheartedly, he accepted it and soon realized the opportunities that remote work could offer.
It gave me hope and that was a big thing… remote work can give you time to settle. You can explore the possibility of making likeminded friends or exploring other avenues of tackling social anxiety, or any other psychological or physical limitation you might have.
IdeasUnlimited’s existence shows me the importance of a support system in your life. It might be just one person. But someone to support and understand you, someone to show trust in your strengths and help you overcome your weaknesses, can take you a long way in life. For our CEO, this constant support has been from his brother. Today Shahzad considers all his colleagues as his support system, but it is primarily his brother, Shahid Yaqoob, who recognized Shahzad’s potential and guided him well at every step.
My brother has been the most positive influence in my life and career, my strongest support…I must thank my brother who helped transition everything without a hassle. I still look up to him for business advice…
IdeasUnlimited Making Lives Better
I had a chance to talk with Shahzad recently and it made me realize that everyone has their own battles and you never get a level field to achieve your ambitions. It is important to fall and then learn to stand tall. I realized that every company was once just an individual struggle, and every CEO-ship was once just a start…
In 2010, Shahzad took his brother’s advice and registered his company in USA. He worked day and night and built his credibility in the remote work industry and continued to build his team. Despite all hurdles, he stayed consistent and expanded his business to hundreds of workers from Pakistan, Philippines, India, USA, South America, and Europe.
I have been running this business remotely for nine years now! I manage call center locations myself in Karachi (Pakistan) and in Houston (USA), and then have partners run several call center locations in the Philippines.
Shahzad initially faced the common issues of remote team members. However, after sporadic work and trials and errors, IdeasUnlimited developed a very effective recruitment and monitoring process that facilitates competent workers in achieving the results expected by the clients. There is no discrimination and IdeasUnlimited promotes an inclusive workplace for anyone who is willing to unleash their potential and achieve results.
Now we have highly professional and trained HR and Administration teams, along with precisely tested processes to assure top productivity and efficiency, and a workforce that possess the required skills, attitude, and intent to do well.
Over time Shahzad has trained himself to stay calm and not let anxious thoughts take over his decision-making ability. He did not let initial failures deter his perseverance to achieve his dream. Interestingly, his dream has never been to succeed alone, it has always been about allowing people suffering in any way find HOPE for their future. And quitting was never an option.
This [quitting] never crossed my mind even when we went down to only one major project in 2013 for three to four months. We had a major downfall for no discernable reason, but quitting was just not an option.
The beauty of a struggle is that it helps you relate to those who are in the same boat. But the beauty of success comes when you work to let others be a part of the new possibilities too. It is when you build collaboratively to help others benefit from it as well. Shahzad proves how honest struggle creates empathy and the desire to improve the lot of others like you.
Knowing and having gone through such feelings [anxiety] and then finding remote work, which helped me gain my confidence back in life, has convinced me to show this path to others as well.
IdeasUnlimited in the Future
Shahzad often talks about mutual growth and giving back to society. He frequently initiates discussions about global social and economic concerns on the company’s platforms and I find him very ambitious towards finding solutions to major world problems. He envisions an inclusive company that provides opportunities for those with talent and one that sponsors education for orphans and the less fortunate all over the world.
He sees the remote work industry expanding in terms of innovation, coverage, and workforce. But he is looking forward to this industry getting globally regulated and judicated to meet new challenges of fraud and digital deception.
Shahzad values his workers and strictly believes in mutual growth. He always mentions each one of the senior members of his team in connection to IdeasUnlimited’s consistent upward track record.
With the same regard and passion, he wants to take the company forward in a way that it is rewarding for all those involved.
IdeasUnlimited is aspiring to become a company that meets the expectations of its clients at competitive pricing while the workers grow professionally, without being restricted by any personal circumstances.
IdeasUnlimited gives me hope for all the conditioned workers in the labor force today—they too can work with a vibrant, growing company and build their remote careers. I will always be proud to have worked in an organization that values and builds its success with people, without discriminating or benching someone for something beyond their control.
It is a company that is future forward. It has the potency to help millennials choose their lifestyle as well as workstyle.
Shahzad Yaqoob has been successful in creating an organization that has commendable work ethics and quality of service while focusing on agility and technical standards required by their fast-paced, modern clients.
Shahzad has learnt the art of balancing life and work and not taking anything for granted. He is helping others strive for this balance too by believing in their strengths and conquering the odds set against them.
If you are interested in Shahzad’s complete narrative, you will find here a detailed question and answer session I had with the CEO of IdeasUnlimited. It is a story of his perseverance and personal struggles that have led to the success of many.
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Sales is tricky and difficult; and when you throw in a whole board of stakeholders and a hefty analysis for ROI, it becomes a lot more complicated, expensive, and strategic on both ends. B2B sales are a marathon of researching, connecting, marketing and selling, and certainly not a sprint.
B2B sales involve selling the idea of your product/service up the line towards the CEO or across the line towards the manager, depending on the size of your prospective client’s business. Despite the direction, your pitch has to go across many individuals and has to be convincing for all of them to be closed successfully.
It is more difficult in the B2B sales environment to plan your pitch and offer value to your clients. Generally, a B2B sales pitch is presented to a group of 6-10 stakeholders. Here your sales agent does not face an individual but a board or committee of different individuals who have diverse personalities, perspectives, and stakes regarding your offer. As an individual consumer has changed over time, business as a buyer has also evolved. B2B interactions have become more refined and are not linear anymore.
There are some general techniques that are followed by almost all sales teams to pace the first miles of their B2B marathon. The following checklist can help you warm up and build your momentum:
Shorten response time for the buyer query
Undertake detailed research about the buyer
Understand your buyer’s preferences and resources
Research your competitors
Prepare your sales team
Take the marketing team onboard
As the marathon crosses to the last few laps, the competition gets tougher. That is when your prospective client has gathered the information they were looking for and has shortlisted the options for their purchase decision. It is this time when losers and winners will be distinguished on the basis of their agility and technique!
These are 5 very important basics that you must know for winning your B2B sales Marathon:
Easy, High Quality Information
Key Lesson: Make sure you provide the right information in the right way and at the right time, to earn trust, leverage consensus, and win sales.
As a basic step, look thoroughly at all of your company’s media and mediums to ensure that they dispense high quality information about your products and services. This can also include information about your company, completed projects, and old or existing clients.
Moreover, this information should be easily accessible by your clients. Your potential client should not have to flip page upon page to find the information they require.
Research proves that the easy availability of high-quality information for the business buyers can help make their purchasing experience less complex and difficult. 77% of businesses report their purchasing process as tiresome and complicated. Also, each member of the buying group searches a few sources and then cumulates the information together to understand the pros and cons. 95% buying groups reported that they often need to reconsider their decisions because they chance upon some new information due to inconsistencies.
Therefore, it is not only important to have valuable information for your clients but also to detangle it and provide it to them in a consolidated, easy, and presentable form to save their time and efforts. This builds the supplier firm’s credibility as well.
Key Lesson: For winning more B2B sales deals, look into ways of providing prescriptive tools and immediate practical support for each critical buying step of their entire buying process.
The concept of Buyer Enablement refers to facilitating potential clients in undertaking buying tasks. It shifts the responsibility to the seller’s side to provide relevant and useful information to the clients and create processes that favor their client and not their salesmen.
This has become a competitive edge, a differentiating factor for B2B sales. With so many alternatives and options available, it is crucial for a vendor to quickly respond to the buyers and not let them suffer through a tedious and poor experience to get information about hows or whats.
Business buying is a complete process that is divided into several tasks and jobs. In order to win big in today’s B2B sales environment, supplier organizations should facilitate the clients in their buying processes. It goes beyond provision of consistent quality information.
This may include augmenting their research and information by providing on-site tools for:
- Simple data analysis
- Basic diagnostics for assessing performance
- Basic diagnostics for analyzing alternatives
- Connecting to other stakeholders
- Data for comparisons
- Simulation: how the solution will help the client’s specific needs
Look at it this way, as a supplier you study and anticipate the needs of your modern buyer groups. Resultantly, you are curating a set of interactive and analytical tools for your clients to use on the spot. This is in addition to easy-to-navigate and relevant information that is provided for them to be able to make appropriate decisions faster and without difficulty of moving back and forth.
Since you are aiming for many closed deals and increasing positive leads in the pipeline, give priority to your digital presence as well. Ensure the credibility, trust, and authenticity that is generated through your online channels.
This is a part of buyer enablement: you help them find the insights that will enable them to better understand the features and relevancy of your offer. Millennial buyers will not trust your sales representative as much as they will trust the reviews on
your social accounts. 15% of a buying process time is spent on gathering information and discerning the truth. Therefore, it is imperative that you work on generating authentic reviews and materials such as relatable case studies and case reviews for your clients to read.
Let a specialist take care of social media accounts and website creation and maintenance. It is never a one-time cost to keep your online presence relevant and updated. Therefore, to stay focused on clients’ preferences and to avoid the added burden of keeping up with the social media trends, it is better to consider contracting options. This will ensure continuous sales, digital and omnichannel support for your business.
No one shoe fits all
Key Lesson: Let clients be the choosers. Offer them communication options and solutions and let them select.
Another important factor is how you communicate and build different channels of communication for your clients. Your organization as well as sales team should be able to offer several ways for communicating with the prospective buyer.
Rapport building is a must for sales, right? However, in order to facilitate the buyer and to keep the information crisp and precise, let your client have his own time for gathering and processing information. Let them choose their preferred way of communication, be it on call, email, or chat. Some people might prefer a one-on-one meeting each time to gain confidence in you.
Similarly, it should be only a click away to get a response, solution, or an explanation from your sales team. This means instead of leaving a form to be filled, which will receive a response in 3-5 days or may be even later, give them a direct link or call option that will be catered to right away by the right people at your organization. For example, giving choices, something like this, to the buyer to connect with your organization according to their needs and convenience puts them at ease and lets them choose what suits their buying job (and schedule) best.
The idea is to not try and fix every buyer group with same options. Customize your way of dealing and solutions as per the client’s requirements.
Train the Sales Team to Listen and Help
Key Lesson: Never undermine the importance of a competent sales team in a B2B sales environment. Invest in continuous training or contracting a reliable service provider to build a talented and professional workforce.
Here comes the most important part. It is all-encompassing and all-inclusive. All the relevant and easily available information will be, in fact, counterproductive if your sales personnel are not able to demonstrate authentic customer success.
Your sales representatives should be able to anticipate the needs and navigate through the buyer’s purchase cycle. They must be able to communicate effectively and understand the demands of your clients and how they view themselves and their challenges. Listening to them will enable the sales team to work on the clients’ success and show them how your products or services can elevate their operations. 69% buyers say that the only way to convince them is by listening to them.
Working through a purchase cycle and listening to the clients may not actually lead to sales. But it is crucial when you consider long term growth of your company, positive word of mouth, and professionalism.
To meet the expectations of your contemporary clients, build or hire a team that is competent, able to multitask, can converse in multiple languages, shows curtesy and understanding, and professionally handles queries and clients.
Moreover, depending upon the size and type of your operations, your sales team needs to be equipped with a set of analytical and virtual tools to help them become more productive, collaborative and results oriented. For quality leads in the pipeline and to score more sales, investing in your teams’ skills is crucial. It requires training them to satisfy multiple concerns effectively and in a timely manner. It also involves focus on training and mentoring your sales operators and sales teams to create a pleasant experience for your potential clients, which may or may not convert into closed sales.
As B2B sales is becoming digital and more complex, work on the strengths of your organization and portray them in the best light to your prospective clients. Collaborating with a support services provider takes away the worries of specialized tasks that can be expensive and an added burden if handled in-house. Investing in your website and social media management, sales team support, multilingual support and data entry, and analytical backup can take you a long way in achieving growth and an enviable market standing.
Originally posted as an answer on Quora for If you have multiple virtual assistants across multiple businesses, how can you be sure that they are not slacking off?
Answer by Shakira, Operations Manager – Project and Growth, IdeasUnlimited
Hiring a virtual assistant to provide administrative support, marketing support, technical support, or any other kind of support services required by your business requires a strong trust-based relationship, more so than hiring an in-house worker. Hiring multiple virtual assistants across multiple businesses compounds the need for a mechanism for building and maintaining this trust in the remote workforce.
Is the virtual assistant supposed to set aside designated hours for your project or business? Go for this type of virtual assistant if you need assistance with a high volume of meticulous work in certain hours of the day or if a project is time sensitive.
Do you want the virtual assistant to complete the set tasks by a certain deadline but work any hours that suit him/her? Most design and web development projects lend towards this type of virtual assistant as do multilingual transcription services and translation of audio files. For such a virtual assistant, your criterion for judging performance and, hence, whether he/she is slacking off will be the quality of work delivered.
Does the virtual assistant work for you in set hours shared with other projects? Shared hours would be perfect for you if you need virtual PA services or other support services to cover certain hours.
Tips for ensuring your virtual assistants do not slack off
- Communicate Objectives, Expectations, and Deadlines Clearly: A good virtual assistant needs clear communication of goals, responsibilities, and timelines to deliver results. Once you communicate all three at the beginning of the project, both of you will know how the work is supposed to be carried out. This ensures the virtual assistants do not slack off since they are aware of what results they need to deliver by a particular date.
- Use a Time Tracker and Productivity Management Software:This creates a transparent process wherein you can see activity levels, app and URL usage, attendance, etc. It will also motivate the virtual assistant to give their 100% to the task since screenshots and the reports generated ensure productivity levels stay high.
- Set Up a Project Management Mechanism:Take some time out of your schedule or hire a project manager to keep an eye on the project’s progress. This will keep you in the loop, ensure that objectives are being met, and proactively identify any problem areas that can be corrected before they derail the project. This will be the most important tool for managing flexible virtual assistants.
- Hire Proficient Virtual Assistants from a Professional Support Services Provider: Since you would be hiring from a firm that professionally recruits and places virtual assistants, you’ll be assured of a wider range of highly qualified and reliable candidates who can assist you in a wide range of tasks and businesses. In addition, to build client loyalty, the firm will handle project management as well as the administrative aspect such as payroll processing, and will also monitor the remote team for you. You can simply focus on growing your business by assigning tasks to them. The firm will even take care of initial and ongoing training of the virtual assistants for you. This also reduces the risk of hiring a stranger to assist you in your business since the support services provider will be responsible for finding and retaining virtual assistants, freeing you from that hassle.
- Give Incentives to Improve Productivity:Like any other workers, virtual assistants will also perform better when offered the correct incentives. Setting up a reward or bonus scheme for performance par excellence will encourage the virtual assistants to complete their tasks on time and to the best of their abilities. This will be most apt for a dedicated virtual assistant since you need to keep their motivation levels high for regular stretches of time and they provide the greatest range of support services.
Use these simple tips to ensure your virtual assistants do not slack off and you get quality work on time. Please comment down below if you have any questions or suggestions.
Ikea. Delicious meatballs. ABBA. Sweden has provided the world with some legendary gifts. So maybe it is time for the world to give back. We could do this by helping expand business presence in Sweden. IdeasUnlimited wants to take that sunny Swedish disposition and put it on display with our Swedish customer service par excellence. With friendliness and multilingual support skills, our Swedish customer support from home can take your customer services to the next level. And IdeasUnlimited is the vehicle to connect the Swedish talent to the world, with our superior support services and remote workforce management.
How easy is it to expand into Sweden to do business?
Simple enough “that it now ranks number one on the Forbes’ annual list of the Best Countries for Business. Compare that to economic powerhouse the US, which is in 23rd place”. Sweden also boasts a high employment rate as well as having relative gender equality in its workforce. The labor market is not suffering from decline or chaos, so it is stable footing for any new business to increase its global presence. New satellite sites or franchises can be established, or an expat could potentially move to Sweden and open an entirely unique business model. There is a lot of room for flexibility here. And best of all, you don’t need to do everything on your own. You can work with experienced support services providers to get assistance with everything from operational support to Swedish customer service and other multilingual support.
So what makes the Swedes an exceptional group of people?
They are highly skilled and educated. Sweden publicly invests in its education, so there is no reason to not go and become as highly trained (academically or practically) as possible. The Nordic European lifestyle is highly supportive of literary advancement, which has built some of the greatest graduate programs in the world.
The close proximity of the Nordic/Baltic countries creates an atmosphere where individuals are introduced to a variety of languages at a young age. Many members of the workforce travel between multiple countries during the course of their projects or engage with representatives from other countries. The service industry in Sweden only highlights this diversity. ContactCenterWorld, a call center focused website, states: “Sweden is the largest labor pool in Scandinavia with multilingual Nordic capacity – Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Danish. In the service agencies, 45 percent use the Scandinavian languages daily”. So not only are the Swedish a large portion of the service industry as a whole, but they also have the language skills to cover a variety of markets. They can switch between languages to reach multiple countries as opposed to being capable of only fulfilling one country’s needs. At IdeasUnlimited, our Swedish customer support from home is provided by agents well-versed in several Nordic languages who can provide multilingual support for sales, customer relationship management, vendor management, administrative work, and much more. So start with Swedish customer service and with the same agents, expand to nearby markets with no additional overhead costs.
Even with its growth, Sweden is a small nation that does require outside companies to bolster its revenue and support economic structuring. Trying to find native Swedish customer support from home for your local business? Contact IdeasUnlimited for handpicked candidates, relieving you of the hassle of advertising, shortlisting, and running background checks on your Swedish workers.
With the latest call center programs, virtual assistance, and 8-year experience, the options at IdeasUnlimited are endless! Contact us today to see how our Swedish customer support from home service and multilingual call center services can benefit your business.
Helpful. Valuable. Friendly remote workers. By the time you finish this article, when you see these adjectives, you will think of IU’s very own Hannah S. She is a fantastic representation of the premier quality found in our US remote team. As the Account Manager/Head Admin (Finance), Hannah ‘adds up’ to what makes IdeasUnlimited such a wonderful place to work for and she really is what defines IU’s differences from the competition.
I was grateful to be able to interview Hannah, and get a refreshing take on just what makes IU’s US remote workers such a transformative force: both for our clients and in our workers’ lives.
Just from our initial interaction, it was easy to see why there was a rush to hire her. In her words: “I found IU through Indeed.com and was almost immediately contacted for an interview!” Her friendly demeanor drew me in. I could tell that she was someone you would want on your team. I asked her what she believed truly makes her stand out, what she thinks makes her a continual asset in both the company, and as an example for why clients should reach for our US remote workers.
She says: “I am very dependable and thorough. I make sure my work is top-quality.” Her résumé must have delivered on her promise since every management and employee testimonial agreed with that assessment.
I asked Hannah to take the readers through her day. No two days are the exact same, but there is a thread of consistency with what her job description entails, and how that manifests:
“Every day is a bit different for me, and several projects pass through my hands. On a typical day, I will check my emails first and create a checklist of tasks that need to be completed either throughout the day or during the week. I follow the list as closely as possible, but of course, several other tasks and mini projects will arise throughout the day. I will get as many tasks done as possible before logging out for the day. On occasion a task/project may be ongoing for several weeks or even months.”
Hannah is able meet our goals of providing business support services globally by keeping the machine oiled, so to speak. Her awareness of finance and project funding serves as a gatekeeper for how much progress can be forged ahead. Projects can be on the micro or macro level, but they all shape a client/company’s vision for the near future. Her strategic action for tackling her day as efficiently as possible is a prominent quality that I’ve seen through multiple IU remote workers, as it is an organizational priority and theme we hold in great esteem. Being a self-starter and having an ability to gauge value are clearly a personal purpose for her, as she “focuses all her energy throughout the day on the tasks placed before me and prioritize urgent requests. I go out of my way daily by pushing personal events to the side to focus on only working. Many times, I work into the evening on pressing projects”. Hannah gets things done: fast and right the first time!
Her quality contributions have certainly not gone unnoticed by our clients. At IU, we all work hard as a team to help each other get the most out of our respective positions and to minimize obstacles that could create stress. One of the ways we do this (that I love) is by practicing great communication. Our US financial maven agrees by sharing that: “I love that, no matter what, I am always able to get in contact with Nick or the company admin. Communication is important in any job and with IU communication is very easy and open!”
It can be very easy for remote programs to let communication fall to the wayside, and to have their remote workers become lonely islands unto themselves. But at IdeasUnlimited, our clients have a continual point of contact to get their needs met—our project management department. Our remote workforce optimization strategy entails three-tier management so not only will you be covered in terms of project management and administration, we take care of monitoring too.
We also want to highlight and commend our remote workers for their exceptional jobs. So again, thank you Hannah for your wonderful work as part of our team!
And to potential clients: what are you waiting for? Go ahead and hire your Hannah today!
For as long as I can remember, I was ‘different’: from my family, my friend group, from even my small Christian college campus. ‘Different’ was not always bad though. My mom called me unique, but I grew up with the belief that unique just meant to be funny or a great writer. I had a small group of close friends and I put my brains to good use on the Speech Team as a debater. But with all of those strengths, I found myself frustrated at my inability to succeed at math, the difficulty I faced in learning how to drive, or how initiating friendships was a struggle. I came into adulthood accepting these flaws, yet I still wanted answers. After a visit with a health
professional, what were stereotypical behaviors that girls are raised to believe they are not going to excel in turned out to be something else: Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, a spectrum disorder.
I am an individual with high functioning autism.
It took time to accept the label, but it didn’t change who I was. It just led to an awareness of my deficits and how to work on them, which has become a gift. Many non-diagnosed individuals struggle with their own setbacks but lack the impetus to fix them. That peek into who I am deep down has saved me from personal pain but has also been an asset in the workplace since it objectively sets boundaries and highlights the areas where I really shine. Marcie Ciampri, an autism expert, has argued that companies “should look into bringing on an autistic as a community manager (or similar job title), to serve as an autism expert during company-wide meetings, managerial sessions, and/or monthly newsletters” (ERE Media, 2018).
IdeasUnlimited has empowered me to take my experiences and develop full-fledged company-wide projects aimed at recruiting individuals with other mental and developmental health concerns. I have been able to lend immediate diversity within my work environment and dramatically alter the conversation since “hiring a neurodiverse workforce involves not just understanding commonly known aspects about autism but knowing the possible reasons behind the facts” (ERE Media). My methods may be misunderstood, but they are also innovative. Within IdeasUnlimited, I have developed a sense of purpose without having to sacrifice who I am.
IdeasUnlimited is a progressive company that is not only having a conversation on mental health, but we are living it through actions. By educating our staff on disabilities and placing a priority on recruiting individuals with disabilities, we are following HR Management best practices and investing in the global community. I have personally seen an investment in my own life as I have been tasked with the responsibility to lead over numerous projects. Many autistic individuals get pigeonholed as the ‘techie’ in the workplace, but “they are as unique in their skills and aptitudes as any other human being” (ERE Media). I love administrative-type duties, and to utilize my creative writing skills and I get to do that every day. I get paid to play, and not everyone is blessed to say that. We work hard every day at IdeasUnlimited to create an inclusive, adaptive environment where our expectations/values are clear so that any candidate could jump right in.