How Old Do You Look?

We came across on Twitter via the hashtag #HowOldRobot this morning. The site is an insult-triggering website that was recently built by Microsoft to guess people’s age and gender based on an uploaded image and is definitely begging for trouble.

Microsoft never thought that this website would be so popular as it is today. In fact, it was planning on having only 50 visitors to test it. Instead, the website has garnered interests of over 35,000 people and is one of the most trending topics on Twitter today. It appears that if you publish a game or an Internet parlor trick like this, there is no end to the information people will give out for free.

Pranksters and people with a sense of humour, who are in search of a lunch break distraction, have been uploading photos of themselves, their dolls, celebrities and other images to the platform to see how uproariously funny it is if the tool is out by a year or two.

The tool is not always accurate. In fact, it suggested that Pamela Wallin was 87 when she is actually 62. It was almost on the dot with Toronto Mayor John Tory who they suggested was 56 when he is 60. And as for President Barack Obama, well the Microsoft reader predicted that he was 58, when he’s only 54.

It’s an oddity, but it demonstrates how Microsoft is forward thinking about data, facial recognition, and all kinds of other out-of-this-world technologies. It’s a little taste of things to come in the future.

It’s coincidentally #FridayFunday on social media and on the World Wide Web. This is a great way to end off a long, tiresome week with a few laughs and awes.

I wonder if Microsoft will integrate this app with Windows 10 when it goes live in a few months.

Have a similar idea that you would like to market to your customers? Try InfoFlo CRM Software for free for 30 days.


Email Contact Management- Why Every Business Needs It

Approximately 50% of new small businesses in North America close within five years, and most of those that survive these statistics are just barely making it by. They’re making just enough money to stay in business, but never manage to generate enough capital for upgrades and expansions that would allow them to grow.

There are, of course,  new small businesses that seem to be super-charged. They may begin with one or two people working, but the next thing you know they have over a dozen or even hundreds of people and their offices or products are everywhere in the world. Two perfect examples are WhatsApp (purchased by Facebook) and Twitch (purchased by Google).

What makes those businesses different? Why do some small businesses take off while others close? This is obviously a broad question and there are business experts who make a great deal of money selling their input. But there is one part of the answer that is simple and clear: in order to succeed, a small business must have an effective contact management system. 

supercharged employees

There are many contact management software solutions on the market today but few are good at both managing contacts and emails. Take Microsoft Outlook, the most well-known contact management software on the market, is good at managing your contacts but lacks on the email management side.

To properly manage your emails in Outlook you need to set rules and filters so that the email automatically links to the contact. Most users of Outlook however do not know how to set this up and tend to create folders and drag and drop each email to the folder manually. A typical inbox today has 10,000 plus emails so one can only imagine all the time you can save not having to do this task.

With InfoFlo’s contact manager software you get auto email linking built right into the core $99 package. It’s simple all the user is required to do is either add a new contact or import your contacts from Outlook, Gmail, CSV etc. Once this is done then all your emails will be automatically linked for you.

Another great email management feature built into the $99 InfoFlo core package is the spam filter. When an email comes into the system it will display it as known or unknown. A known email is one that is linked to a contact in your contact list and the unknown is an email address not added to your contact database. This spam filter is a great feature because now users do not need to go through one long list of emails and spend their valuable time sifting through spam something they normally do in Outlook. For information please visit


4 Secrets to a Stellar Business Presentation

One of the best ways to succeed at owning a business is to acquire top-notch presentation skills.  Use these tips to get your next stellar presentation well underway.

1. Creatively Transfer Enthusiasm

It goes without saying, the boring presentations are often the ones that convey the least enthusiasm. Presenting a monotone, or overly wordy Power Point can leave an audience feeling their valuable time has been wasted. If you’re thrilled about your business strategy or product, find creative ways to transfer that enthusiasm to your audience, so that they can be, too.

2. Use Impact Stories and Anecdotes

Of course, this doesn’t mean spewing lengthy historical run-downs or sharing company quips that really only make sense to employees and co-workers. What it does mean is submitting relevant background that makes powerful impact and succeeds at bringing presentation points home.  These will serve to illustrate your position in a practical and down-to-earth way.

3. Bring in Meaningful Props or Statistics

That perfect photo or even a product prototype never hurts to spruce up an otherwise mediocre business presentation. Props give presenters a chance to be creative and to give their presentation personality. They also help visual learners in the audience identify quickly with the subject matter. Plus, they lend a degree of variance to what the audience eye beholds, keeping things interesting and on-point.

4. Use Natural Delivery Techniques

Relaxed body language and simple diction convey a sense of everyday charm to audiences – even in business.  The corporate world is full of formal stiffness and robotic sound-bites. Make a difference and stand out with a delivery style that’s both natural and professional. By rehearsing several times before the presentation, this style can easily be mastered in no time.



What Are the Long Term Benefits of a CRM?

Since the latter part of the 1990s, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has become a buzz term especially among business practitioners and enterpreneurs. Companies, both big and small, have invested or are hoping to invest huge amounts to implement CRM strategies, tools and infrastructure in order to win the battle in the increasingly competitive economy. However, many executives are struggling to determine how their organization will balance the business value of CRM against its costs to determine CRM return on investment.

Many businesses in search of solutions and opportunities for increased sales and productivity may also be wondering, what are the long term effects of CRM.  CRM software can have a number of positive long-term effects worth exploring. In the short term, business relationships improve as a result of better behind- the-scenes organization and progress tracking, but even later down the line, CRM can prove to be a great return on initial investment.

For starters, companies can expect to see long-term improvement in sales. Due to the increase in valuable productivity time, sales teams spend less time manually compiling business relationship data and integrating complex information with other lines of communication. This means more freedom and flexibility for compiling evaluative reports such as sales forecasts and tracking progress over time – key ways to get ahead in today’s competitive markets.

Lasting cost-savings is also one of the long-term effects of CRM software.  Of course this benefit depends on making the very best selection possible when it comes to choosing the right solution for your company. If you decide to to get a hosted package be prepared to pay a set monthly cost for as long as you are own the software. On the other hand purchasing an on-premise package can save a company a lot of money in the long term since there is only a one-time cost. Be careful though some companies force you to pay yearly maintenance packages or charge you for upgrades so be sure to do your homework before making a choice.

Effective CRM software provides users with the tools to conveniently oversee business relationships from start to sale and even continuing on to regular follow-up. Without CRM, the task of tracking customers and their expectations can become enormously difficult.  With the right CRM software in place, companies can ensure clients and customers stay with them even beyond the critical first sale for lasting success even in the long-term.


5 Ways to Enhance Email Marketing Campaigns

Is email marketing a thing of the past? NO! Not only is it alive and kicking, but it remains one of the most effective and profitable ways to reach out to prospective customers.

To many C-level executives and marketing coordinators, email marketing strikes them as something old-fashioned. More advanced venues, such as social media and SEO get all the attention, and seem more powerful than email marketing. Unfortunately, reality is not on their side. Email marketing is still powerful because it moves the conversation about your business to a more personal environment – the inbox.

Follow these 5 Quick Tips to cut the fat from your emails and become the purple cow in the inbox rough.

Permission Marketing


1. Permission Marketing:

Take a few minutes to watch Seth Godin’s TEDTALKS video on Permission Marketing. The premise of this theory is that marketing emails should only be sent to recipients who have provided their consent to receive such information. Organizations that have not obtained consent from the recipients prior to the sending of the email are sending out spam. Businesses that spam recipients’ inboxes are defeating the purpose of meaningful email blasts. It is equally important to honour an individual’s request to be removed from the email blast’s list.


2. Clear Purpose:

Every email marketing communication that is sent out through a contact management system should clearly identify the sender of the email. The subject line and body text in the communication should also clearly reflect the content, origin and purpose of the communication. The reader should not have to read between the lines to understand the purpose of the email blast.


3. Clear Call to Action:

Whether it is ‘Call Now’ or ‘Buy Now’, the single call-to-action emails should channel the customer to the intended destination without any distractions. It’s equally important to make sure that the customer/prospect has sufficient time to take action that is offered in the message.


4. Focus on the 3Ps:

Focusing on the three “p’s” is a smart place to begin writing your email message. Conveying an idiosyncratic personality via copy, images and design is one way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the emails sitting in your recipient’s inbox. Also, your emails should clearly stipulate your value proposition and positioning.    When writing the message, think of Seth Godin’s purple cow analogy. Ask yourself: am I the ordinary black and white cow or the purple cow that stands out?


5. Mobile Friendly:

Smart Phone usage is increasing exponentially, and with it, so is the number of people that are reading email on mobile devices. According to a recent study, 43% of emails are now opened on a mobile device. That number is up 138% from 2010, and it’s pretty safe to say that it’s going to continue to increase. That’s why it’s important to have emails in both html and plain text – allowing people to read the email if it doesnot display correctly on their mobile devices.


About CarmelVision:

InfoFlo lets you create professional email marketing campaigns in a quick and efficient manner. Don’t pay for a 3rd party email marketing tool, we’ve got you covered.  Click Here to start your free trial today.


5 Signs It’s Time To Upgrade Your CRM Software

Many businesses face the issue of outdated CRM software. They invest in one software solution and want to keep it no matter how costly it is. When you bought it, your software almost certainly worked without any problems, enhancing your team performance and productivity. Like anything else to do with technology, however, software can become outdated and archaic over time. Not only can outdated software slow you down, but it can harm your reputation. Here are five important things to look for that may indicate it’s time for you to find a new software solution.




Costly Outages:

Software crashes are a fact of life. When that software is outdated, however, crashes tend to happen much more frequently. When the system is down, it can have a significant impact on your ability to offer customer service as well as your employees’ productivity levels. Think about it – the ultimate purpose of having software in the first place is to streamline operations to make everything run in the most effective and productive way possible. When you’re dealing with frequent outages, the exact opposite happens.


Inadequate Support:

It happens to the best of us. The representative to your old software provider is practically attached to your hip….that is, until you paid him his commission. Then, just as quickly as they swooped in to buy your time and win you over, they seem like a distant memory. If you’re dealing with this lack of support, it’s probably time to upgrade to a newer Customer Relationship Management solution. More importantly, it’s time to choose a solution that offers unyielding, professional after-sales support.


Sharp Learning Curve:

One of the advantages to a newer software solution is that it is designed to be easy to implement and use. This would mean that it would be simpler to train on and faster to deploy. Older, obsolete software tend to be clunky and complicated, making it challenging to train new staff who join the team. The result is a tremendous waste of time and resources that could be better spent on other, more important things like business development and customer service.


Inaccessible Information:

If you wanted to know the email addresses you sent an email blast to last month, how long would it take you to find out that information? If you asked your employees how many calls they made today, how long will it take them to tabulate that information? For companies that rely on old contact management systems and spreadsheets that need to be constantly updated and reconciled manually, it could be a long wait. The pace of business is faster than ever before, which means employees across your company need immediate access to key data. Why not take advantage of this?


Redundant Tasks:

Outdated software often involves manual labour and redundant tasks that can simply be eliminated with the right automated tool. With the more up-to-date and sophisticated CRM software, you can automate almost any task, which means you can utilize your existing resources more efficiently. When you let technology do the heavy lifting, you free up your team to do more important business tasks, providing the opportunity to grow without the need to pay more employees. Not to mention, you eliminate the risk of human error which ultimately saves you and your company money over time. Voila!


Calculating your Total Cost of Ownership for Software

Cloud computing is becoming more and more popular in enterprise software. As a result, more buyers are comparing Cloud-based systems against traditional on-premise ones. One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on a deployment model, among many others, is cost. However, on-premise vs. software as a service (SaaS) comparisons can be a difficult a time-consuming task.

Many buyers already know the major difference between the licenses: on-premise licenses are purchased with a large, upfront investment; Cloud-based systems are licensed for a relatively lower subscription price. But often, buyers do not consider other key factors beyond licensing, and thus do not have full understanding of what their total cost of ownership (TCO) will be for a software investment. For instance, the need to customize your software and integrate it with existing applications can have a significant impact on the total cost of your software.

When broken down even further, we can see that comparing costs of on-premise and Cloud software is a complex process that must consider a multitude of elements.

Derek Singleton of Software Advice recently worked on finding a way to help buyers calculate their TCO of their software investment–and to take a little bit of the hassle and confusion out of it. So, he put together an interactive TCO calculator for software buyers to use as a tool to compare SaaS and on-premise costs for a 10-year ownership period.

The calculator is pre-populated with the data for an example situation, but users’ inputs will override those values and show how each change alters the outcome of the total cost, and a graph at the top of the page updates to reflect that. With this tool, users can insert the cost data provided by software vendors and find out where the TCO of a Cloud-based system will that of an on-premise system, which is modeled on a yearly and cummulative basis.

While there are many individualized, specific possible factors that the calculator does not account for (e.g. the cost of employing an internal IT team), the “Other” category allows users to calculate any additional considerations they may have. Of course, the calculator cannot produce an exact figure for any particular business, but it helps give users a ballpark estimate of what their costs would be. Check it out here:


What is Contact Management Software?

When owners need a supportive and user-friendly business tool capable of handling day-to-day administrative tasks and streamlining customer relations, contact management software is often the wisest investment.  Given the high demand for this versatile software, it helps to know exactly what it is and how it works.

Let’s start with a good definition:

Contact management software organizes company information and details, including contacts, emails, documents invoices and more, according to built-in or customizable parameters, and may also automate several routine business tasks such as reports and analytics.

Note that the basic function of all contact management software is organization of company contacts, but most systems strive to go above and beyond the basics.  The best contact management systems offer a wide variety of features in addition to primary contact management.

Some systems organize internal business functions by automating emails or social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook – enabling quick customer responses and up-todate information for a community of consumers. Other systems seek to improve customer relations by placing detailed customer information across several transactions at the fingertips of each customer service representative.

One of the biggest benefits of contact management software is its ability to relate data across many different categories. For instance, when you enter the contact you met last night at the latest business convention into the system, all the information associated with that contact, including past invoices, emails and even internal related documents are displayed on one screen, fully accessible and available.

Knowing the basics is a great way to start your well-informed pursuit of the best contact management software for your business. For an extremely user-friendly and well-organized contact management software system that includes all the basics and benefits noted here and so much more, try Carmelvision’s Infoflo – a system specifically designed for small businesses starting at just $99, with free upgrades for life.


Can Your Small Business Afford A Great CRM Software?

Decisions, Decisions

Small business owners are often on a budget when purchasing software. Yet, few of them would tolerate a cheap system that only covers the basics. Business owners need to know that investing in CRM software doesn’t have to break the bank. It also doesn’t necessarily mean a sacrifice in quality.

The most compelling reason for selecting a good piece of contact management software is to find the perfect system – one that offers above average features and flexibility without being so expensive that it’s practically out of reach.

The Web CRM Conundrum

When it comes to affordability web-based CRM can be extremely enticing. Companies often offer monthly payment packages with up to 30 days free?  Here’s a few things to consider for buying in to the web CRM bandwagon:

1. What happens when problems with the Internet render your business data completely inaccessible?

2. What happens when a hacker or other privacy issue causes your business data to become compromised?

3. Can you really ever be sure that another company’s server is secure enough and capable enough of housing your business’ most sensitive and crucial data?

These are costly considerations concerning well-known risks of using web CRM. If the trade-off between price and risk factors can be justified, then sure, web CRM may be the best thing for your company. However, many companies may find it difficult to chase after a purely affordable solution when so much of the lifeblood of their companies is at stake.

What To Do?

Clearly, the solution is to find a lucrative system well-known for its ability to balance cost-effectiveness with superior quality. However, even with this brilliant goal in mind, it may still be hard to choose the right one.

A wise recommendation is Carmelvision’s Infoflo system. At only $99/year (about $8.25/month) with free upgrades for the life of the subscription, this price breaks the mold even on the most inexpensive web CRM available, and it’s definitely among the most affordable stand-alone CRM systems. The best thing about it is it’s 24 core features are top-notch, giving users the ability to go above and beyond in managing contacts, emails, documents, reports and even collaboration.

It may be hard to balance the two most important factors, affordability and quality, when choosing where to invest in business technology. With systems like Infoflo on the market, however, the hardest part will only be how fast can you find the site and make the purchase. It’s easy, simply click here.



Three Important Features of CRM Software

Contact Management software should be at the top of any successful company’s list of tools that significantly improve and streamline the way business is done. Yet few companies are adequately informed about the top features that make these systems so valuable to today’s business world.

The following is a brief disclosure of the best contact management software system features and a short description of what makes each so essential and unique.

1. Email-to-Contacts Links

Part of almost every contact management system basic package these days, email-to-contacts links is a foundational feature worth seeking out. It works by specifically and automatically connecting every email ever received or sent through the system to contact names and information. This means that every click on a contact name returns not just the name, phone number and addresses of your most important clients and customers, but also a complete email history as well. This handy feature is extremely important for keeping customer relations personal, up-to-date and well-organized.

2.  Document Management with Version Control

One of the best things about document management integrated directly into a contact management software system is that it allows for joint editing, but one of the major drawbacks is that it can potentially complicate the creative process by leaving behind confusing multiple versions. When selecting software systems with is feature, be sure to ensure that version control is included. Version control will ensure that documents stay clear and concise throughout editing without the need to create new versions each time a change is made – whether there are 2 editors or 10.

3. Project Management for Collaborators

Collaboration is key in today’s business world. Those whose department are organized to promote as much teamwork as possible are usually the companies that tend to outshine the competition. That said, many companies are looking for software that facilitates collaboration in unique and exciting ways. Contact management software with project management is not necessarily a new arrival on the market, but systems that include project management add-ons specifically geared toward collaboration take things above and beyond the basics.  Before selecting this feature, make sure that it’s enhanced or at least customizable for quality collaboration tailored to your specific business needs.

For a contact management system with all the best features noted here and much more, consider Carmelvision’s Infoflo – a versatile, yet easy-to-use and affordable software system with everything you need to manage company contacts and beyond.