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SAP Business One HANA – Think Faster. Grow Faster.

What do tens of thousands of growing businesses from 150 countries around the world have in common? They all count on SAP Business One to run their key business processes – so that they can focus on growing faster and more profitably.

And now with SAP Business One, powered by the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform, you have the opportunity to move your business forward even faster. Its unprecedented power will make an immediate difference to the way everyone in your company works – enabling you to unlock new opportunities and react more quickly to unexpected events.

SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA, is an affordable way to:

  • Give everyone on your team nearly instantaneous access to the insights they need to make smarter, faster decisions
  • Provide your customers with a better experience through proactive and personalized service
  • Streamline your IT landscape by consolidating your transactional and analytical workloads onto a single, real-time database

And to help you get the most value from your investment, SAP Business One scales as your business grows. So, as your workforce expands and demand on the application increases, you’ll always get the performance you need.  Watch the video below for more insights into how SAP Business One HANA works to enable your business to run faster.

 


Connections With Ashley: What We Learned About Marketing From The LA Clippers

Ashley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

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(The above image is currently displayed on the Los Angeles Clippers Homepage)

We Are One.

That’s the tagline that the Los Angeles Clippers are displaying in the wake of owner Donald Sterling’s racists comments and subsequent ban from the NBA. The image was displayed on the Clipper’s website as well as their social media channels. No other media blurbs or explanation accompany the image. Portrayed as white writing against a black background – the wording is simple, yet direct.

The Clippers team has been projected into the national spotlight with the recent controversy surrounding owner Sterling. But their reactive marketing has been spot on and has helped build up the team rather than let the current situation tear them down. The team teaches several important lessons in modern marketing.

Focus in on team as a collective and on fan experience. “We Are One” conveys the unity and solidarity of the team – which could also be identified as the brand in this situation. The tagline creates a sense of emotional attachment between the team as well as the fans to the brand. Fans identify as part of the collective ‘one’ – strengthening their loyalty to the brand and at the same time redirecting attention away from the controversy.

Keep it simple. And cohesive. Both excellent lessons to learn in branding and marketing. The Clippers didn’t go overboard with PR or player comments on the day that Sterling was handed his punishment. By doing so, they were able keep focus on the positives of the brand instead of the negativity of the situation.   Often times a simple, easily consumed marketing outreach is the best way make your point and reach your target market. Keeping it simple and appealing to emotions is a current trend in marketing that is proving to have extremely successful outcomes.

All on board. From marketing, to the players, to the front office – everyone on the Clipper team has banded together and maintained the brand voice. Any statements released by members of the team have been in consensus with the “We Are One” sentiments. Having your entire team on board to reiterate the main values of your business is an integral part to building up and strengthening brand awareness and loyalty.

 

 


Connections with Ashley: Mobility Strategy for SME – Mobile Apps

 

 

mobility-apps

Ashley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

Mobile applications can enhance business processes across the board – from sales and operations to interactions with customers and vendors. The above graphic details mobile app examples in each category. From having all of your current inventory accessible for customers via an app to a mobile loyalty program – the result is a better connected customer base to your brand. Starbucks, the infamous coffee shop, does an excellent job with their mobile consumer app. From the app, customers can not only link to their loyalty program – earning stars for every purchase that will add up to a free beverage, but it also allows costumers to pay for their lattes or cappuccinos through the app as well. The app builds brand loyalty and creates an engaging experience with consumers. If you are a vendor or supplier – developing a mobile solution that you and your customers can access might be worthwhile. Let clients stay up to date on POs, current inventory levels, and project timetables. And of course, mobile apps are great solution when it comes to employee engagement and productivity in your own business. From apps like the SAP Business One mobile solution – where business processes such as sales and shipping can be accessed wherever you or your employees are, to apps developed to assist your sales team – by giving your employees access to the necessary tools to succeed you’ll boost their engagement as well as productivity.

When mapping out a mobile solution for your company, decide first which of this aspects is more important. Is employee engagement at the top of your list? The mobile management of your business? Connecting better with your customer base? After you map out your priorities, it’ll be easy to decide which apps to include in your business’ mobility solution.

Want to learn more about developing and incorporating mobile apps into your business? Feel free to contact the Zerion360 team to find out more.


Connections with Ashley: Mobility – The Next Frontier in Business

 

Car Speeding along Busy Bridge

Mobile Access to Business Applications Will Drive the Next Wave of User Adoption Increasing Customer Engagement, Satisfaction, and Loyalty with Mobility

According to a recent report by Forrester Research, only one-third of businesses have a clearly defined mobile strategy. However, the research also showed that 70% of firms will increase their mobile budget, with one in four companies doubling or tripling their mobile budget. Firms said they see mobility as a way to increase customer engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty – not as a way to generate direct revenues. Over half (52% of firms) see increasing customer engagement as their number one mobile goal.  So what is going to drive the adoption of mobile solutions in 2014 and beyond?

Research suggests that giving users access to business applications and business processes is the key area that will drive adoption of mobile devices in small and medium-size businesses – this is really where the next wave of adoption will be seen. Mobile e-mail and calendaring are currently the main uses of mobile devices, but once end users have access to their line of business applications, such as those from SAP, businesses will really begin to see a return on investment from equipping their people with Apple iPads and iPhones as well as other mobile devices from vendors such as Microsoft and RIM. Already users of the SAP® Business One application, the SAP application for small and midsize businesses, can have access to these solutions: SAP offers the mobile application for SAP Business One as a free download from the Apple App Store for professional users of SAP Business One. Access to workflow approvals, customer data, and inventory information, as well as rich graphical reporting from the SAP Crystal Reports® family of offerings, are all features of the new mobile application. When small and midsize organizations combine this access with the use of  mobile business intelligence tools from the SAP BusinessObjects™ portfolio, they can really begin to profit from these devices.

For more information about SAP Business One and the mobile application, please contact Ashley Harvey at Zerion360 | ashley.harvey@zerion360.com.


Connections with Ashley: How Technology is Changing Customer Service

Ashley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

Technology has been making business processes across the board better connected and more efficient – customer service is no different. Tech trends have enabled businesses to become better connected to their employees, their products, and their customers. Better connectivity means better communication – which is vital in customer service.

Tech Influence #1: Speed and Ease of Accessibility to Information Your Team Needs: Customer service reps are now better equipped than ever to problem solve. With business management systems, cloud hosting, and a variety of other services – customer service reps are now able to have the information they need all stored in a central database. This allows them to easily search for any issues a customer might have, and also find the necessary information not only about the problem but also the correct steps to fix it. Having this information recorded and accessible also means you’ll more easily see customer service patterns that arise and be able to make necessary changes before there’s ever an issue to resolve.

Tech Influence #2: Better Connected to Your Customers: We’ve already discussed how social media has changed the customer service landscape in our previous blog, but that’s just one of the ways tech has us better connected to our customers. Live chats on websites, utilizing SMS and more are all viable customer service channels. The way consumers are using technology has changed and businesses should reflect these trends. Mobility is a big game changer – especially in customer service. Giving clients the ability to access mobile friendly sites or having an SMS service in place that allows them to fire of a text quickly to get in touch with your team are great ways to incorporate this into your customer service model. The point is technology has enabled our customers to feel better connected to us – if there’s a problem they can get in contact with someone quickly and via the most convenient channel to them.

Tech Influence #3: Customer Input: Tech has evolved the traditional roles of customer interaction. Companies are now harnessing co-creating with customers. This allows customers to be a part of the overall business process –  being able to provide feedback on products and services, sometimes even before they hit the market. Some companies are even creating online communities that allow customers and clients to directly participate with the decisions and success of products. Take for example product invention and design company, Quirky. They use web based social communities to create an environment where consumers can be actively a part of choosing products that will go into production and having a say about product aesthetics. Customer input doesn’t have to be this expansive – but creating a way for your customers to provide feedback and feel like they are a part of your brand community is a big part of customer service.

Technology has enabled us to meet our customer where they are, build better customer communities, and have better access to data and analytics. Like all interactions with our customers – technology has made it easier but we need to remember to make it human. At the heart of the tech revolution in customer service and the changing business landscape is still human interaction. Being genuine and a quick problem solver are and will remain key components to excellent customer service.


Connections with Ashley: Customer Service and Social Media

social-media-connectAshley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

Social media and customer service go together like peanut butter and jelly. Social media enables you to meet your customer and their needs right where they are. And as more and more people take to the internet to voice opinions, leave reviews, and ask questions – it only makes sense that customer service should meet them there.  Social media is an excellent channel for small and mid-size businesses to grow their brand presence. The engagement value that social media offers comes with the need for employees managing social pages to also be trained in customer service.

Quickness in Responsiveness – American Airlines has a team of 17 individuals dedicated to social customer service: responding to tweets, Facebook posts and more in real time. During the Polar Vortex that gripped parts of the United States and canceled thousands of flights – American Airlines had an average response rate of 12 minutes on social media. Travelers complaining about missed flights, wondering when they would be able to get to their destinations took to Twitter and other channels – and American Airlines responded in record speed. Quick responses are important whether you’re dealing with negative feedback, inquiries, general questions, or positive comments. The speed in which you reply lets the customer know that you are actively listening and engaged with what is being said.

Personalized Responses – Generic, already prepared responses to customer feedback is about as personal as dialing a company up and spending the first 2 minutes speaking to a robot. Take the time to respond the the question, comment, or issue at hand in a specific manner. If a customer takes to social media with a question – take the time to answer completely and point them in the right direction if they have any further questions. Someone left some praise on your page? Respond not just with a ‘Thanks!’ – but a ‘Thanks – we’re so glad we could help you with xyz, please don’t hesitate to see us again!’ or something of the like. Personalized engagement is important in all social media interactions and should be a top priority for customer service.

Every Complaint is a Chance to Excel – Here’s where your customer service really gets to shine – by making the effort to turn every complaint into a moment to showcase your commitment to your customers. As previously discussed, when handling negative feedback – respond promptly and personally. Make sure the customer feels that his or her comment has been heard, apologize for the inconvenience and then offer a solution. Follow through on all aspects and make sure your response is genuine.

What’s your take on customer service and social media? Leave a comment in the field below and let us know!

 

 


Connections with Ashley: Customer Service Takes Center Stage

Ashley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

How impor2013-272435_lowtant is customer service to your business? Based on a recent poll by American Express – it should be a top priority. 66% of customers are willing to spend more with companies who provide superior customer service. And when it comes to a negative experience – 55% of  customers have bailed on a transaction due to bad service.

Customer service isn’t an important factor for just retailers – it is an important aspect for every type of business. Great customer service is key in setting your business apart and not only attracting new business but retaining current clients. Potential customers are coming to you better equipped than ever. With quick access to information on the internet – potential clients are able to conduct their own research without any interaction with sales teams. This change in the sales and leads model means your business needs to find alternate ways to stand out. Great customer service is key – it shouldn’t be left up to a friendly receptionist or separate department either. It should be integrated throughout the entire enterprise. Every employee, every interaction with customers should exude the fact that your company holds customer service in high esteem.

Bottom line is great or bad customer service both make lasting impressions on clients – great customer service however will turn lasting impressions into sales, good reviews and referrals, and better business relationships. With the swiftly changing world of business – can you afford not to incorporate superior customer service?

How is your company stepping up its’ customer service game?

First in a four part series examining how small businesses can incorporate better customer service. 


Lessons from the Co-CEO: McDermott Addresses Chief Executives in Boston

by Lucy Swedberg

February 7, 2014

 I’ve seen Bill McDermott, SAP’s co-chief executive officer, take the stage at many a SAPPHIRE keynote, press conference, and analyst briefing. He always delivers, presenting SAP’s vision with conviction, passion, and polish. This week, I had the pleasure of listening to McDermott deliver the keynote address at a Boston College Chief Executives’ Club of Boston luncheon. In this forum, I saw a different side of the co-CEO — a softer side, perhaps, but an equally passionate one. McDermott spoke to fellow executives — his peers — about management topics that mean a lot to him: talent development, team building, entrepreneurship, customer focus, leadership, and innovation.

Here are three key takeaways from McDermott’s talk.

Engage millennials. Those born between 1980 and 1995 will continue to have a huge impact on companies, how they run, what they produce, and how those products are perceived in the market. McDermott is committed to engaging millennials, listening to their ideas, and elevating their viewpoints throughout the organization. He noted that “to make Bill happy,” senior leaders at SAP will need to have a millennial running a big part of their team, ensuring that fresh thinking and innovative ideas remain core to the company.

Collapse complexity. McDermott asked executives to take a long, hard look at the complexity that’s likely running rampant through their companies and figure out a way to collapse it. He espoused the value of technology here, noting how it should “simplify everything so executives can do anything.”

Rethink how you win. With a constant, laser focus on your customers, and inspired thinking around how to elevate their experience, companies will beat out their competitors, McDermott noted. Here, he used professional sports as an example of what’s possible. Imagine real-time feedback and performance analysis on individual athletes, thanks to sensors, biometrics, and high-speed analytics. Imagine stadiums that can personalize offers to fans in their seats based on how long they’ve held season tickets. Imagine smart technology that could alert you when the line for the restroom has died down, so you won’t miss out on any highlight-worthy plays. Your customers deserve a transformed experience, McDermott noted, and you have to figure out how to deliver it.

The esteemed audience applauded McDermott’s advice.

Bill McDermott becomes SAP’s sole CEO on May 1, 2014. McDermott addressed over 250 chairmen, presidents, and managing partners at Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston luncheon on Thursday, February 6, 2014, at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The event was hosted by Joe Tucci, Chairman and CEO of EMC Corp. 

(The above post originally appeared on www.sapinsider.com)


Connections with Ashley: What the Super Bowl Commercials Taught Us

Ashley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

Lessons in marketing and branding learned from Super Bowl ads aren’t just applicable to the large companies who can actually afford the price of a 30 second spot during the big game – they carry important market trend elements that are relevant to small businesses as well. We can learn something from both the commercials that received the highest praise and best responses as well as those that didn’t fare as well.

What a Feeling

Playing to the audience’s emotions continued to be a big time trend for Super Bowl Ads. Some of the best done ads of the game based their entire message on creating an emotionally connected experience for the viewer. Budweiser did this perfectly in their two ads: “Puppy Adoption” and “Heroic“. Microsoft also conveyed technology in a human way in their 2014 Super Bowl ad. By putting the emphasis on experience and emotion, ad makers are portraying the companies as being trustworthy, having strong values, and easy to relate to. They’re drawing on common human plights to make audiences feel connected – and in doing so they make the audience feel connected with them. Marketing and branding that appeal to emotion and experience are the big players in the game right now. Small businesses who harness this marketing trend find it easier to make personal connections with existing and potential clients.

Say What You Need to Say

Not all Super Bowl commercials hit the mark. Those that fell short seemed to do so for many of the same reasons. They lacked a clear message or story-line, what they were trying to communicate got washed out, or they simply did not communicate their advantages. A couple to learn from include ad spots by Hyundai and Squarespace. Hyundai over inundated us with an ever changing story-line and special effects. The commercial was hard to follow and the main message was lost in translation. A concise message is always the best starting point. Being able to make a point about your company and your services without an overabundance of superlatives and other ‘fluff’ make you more appealing to the people you’re trying to reach. While Squarespace ended with a more zeroed in message – they failed in not explaining their services and what differentiates them from similar companies. Being able to set yourself a part so that your target audience can separate you from your competition is an essential goal of marketing.

While Super Bowl ads certainly are an entertainment hallmark of the big game every year – they also provide valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing.

What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial this year? Let us know in the comments below:


Connections With Ashley: Marketing Best Practices for the New Year

Ashley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

One of the reasons I personally love the field of marketing is that it is ever changing. Especially for small business. Marketing in 2014 will continue to shift in response to big data, technology, and how consumers respond to content and branding. I’ve compiled a list of the key elements that I believe are going to be big players for marketing in the new year.

Content: Content marketing has moved into center stage over the last few years. The focus here is on producing relevant and enticing content to drive traffic and sales. When it comes to shopping for services or products – clients are doing most of the research themselves. Which means that the majority of the buying decision is already completed before most potential customers even speak to someone in sales. Producing engaging content that not only gives potential clients information, but also builds a conversation is key.

Big data:  Another buzzword in marketing – big data is shaping the way marketers target their audience. Utilizing big data allows companies to specifically target customers as well as improve the overall customer experience. Big data analytics are already worked into many programs from Google, Facebook, and more. Even your own sales transactions can be converted into usable data. Being able to gain insights into your target market, and being able to specifically reach out to them is a marketing game changer.

Focus on customer: Customer experience is everything. Really. In this digital age of being able to communicate without actually verbally speaking to anyone – consumers actually value the experience. In B2B marketing – more and more consumers place a high amount of weight on the trustworthiness and service aspect of a company. You want to make sure your marketing department is focused on building your brand in such a way that it tells stories and evokes certain feelings. What story is your brand telling right now? If you want to refocus your brand and make it more customer oriented, here are some tips: Ask people for their first impressions in regards to your brand and what it conveys to them. Stay away from overused jargon and superlatives – they make you appear superfluous and altogether not very stand-up. Focus on developing relationship and not just sales.

Don’t market to a wall: Your team can come up with creative and awesome marketing strategies – but they won’t work if no one is listening. You first need to define your target market. Get specific. Who are they, what do they do, what sector do they work in, what are their needs. Then define where they are – what events and conferences are they attending, what information and help are they seeking, what mediums are they reading (i.e. Business Journal). When you have a specific idea of who you are targeting, reaching out to them will get a whole lot easier. Making sure your marketing voice gets heard also applies to the network you already have in place. Marketing initiatives often will prove cumbersome unless you already have a network in place to stand on. You can be developing interesting and relevant content on your blog – but if you’re not getting readers or feedback, your blog is not adequately doing what it should be doing. Look at those closest in your network – invite them to join in on the conversation or see if they would be willing to share blog posts that they find interesting. Invite others via social media or when at events to join in the conversation as well.

 

There’s are some of my marketing best practices for 2014 – what marketing tactics will your company focus on this year?


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