5 Ways To Automate Business Processes

When routinely speaking with businesses I find that many are still not fully taking advantage of the features of their CRM Software.

CRM Software is not just an address book and those businesses that use it to just store contacts are scratching the surface in terms of meaningful functionality. The biggest opportunity many organizations miss out on is automation. One of the main functions of CRM Software is to make life easier through automation.

It’s important to remember that sales are all about people, communication and interactions and there are some things that automation cannot assist you with. For example, automation may help you remember special dates and birthdays, but it will not be able to automate information that a death in the family has occurred and it’s not the right time to make a call. Remember: mix humans and computers, but don’t remove the human aspect out of CRM.

That being said, here are 5 tips to follow when automating processes using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.


Business Automation



1. Encourage All Staff to Embrace Automation

This tip applies for businesses of all sizes. Front line staff is often reluctant to automate processes because they’re concerned that their jobs will be on the line. That’s not necessarily true because in most businesses the highest performers tend to automate the most and automate themselves from their current job into the next. When introducing automation, talk about the benefits and how it will help your staff grow into higher-level positions.


2. Automate the Easy Stuff First

The most important automation tool at your disposal is the task manager and task scheduler. Choose rote tasks that require little or no human input. Automating the easy stuff will also help you walk the talk and build a culture that is not reluctant to embrace automation.


3. Document Everything

A good Customer Relationship Management tool will help you document everything you do with each customer: where you began, what you’ve spent, what the results are and what the next goals should be. Organizations that don’t properly document their projects often take how far they’ve come for granted and become tempted to pull the trigger on projects that may yield large ROIs later on.


4. Batch Processing

One way to make your business run efficiently is to batch processing. Batch processing can be defined as the grouping of activities and doing them all at once instead of spreading them out throughout the day. Examples of processes that can be batched include paying bills, social media posting, emailing, and ordering supplies.


5. Monitor & Adjust

In order to evaluate how the process of automation impacts the company, it is necessary to define the performance indicators that you hope to improve with the initiative, comparing the results of the current scenario with the ones after the change. Choose the most important metrics for your business, which will show the performance of the company towards the strategic objectives. This will allow for more accurate testing and greater control of the processes.


5 Ways To Motivate Employees

It’s Friday morning. I am looking forward to the weekend, but know I have a busy day ahead of me. I have to produce a blog for our company’s blog page, make some follow up calls and create a marketing plan for the month of March. I always work a month ahead and then monitor and adjust when necessary.

Whilst completing my tasks, I wonder what motivates me to complete those tasks and what role does my company’s resources and managers play in my satisfaction. My curiosity is now the topic of this blog post.

Every organization and its managers knows that the best way to attract and retain the best talents is to ensure employee satisfaction. Unfortunately, offering raises to employees may not be enough to make your best workers stick around. Here are 5 things, other than money, that I believe keeps employees happy.


1. Offer Comprehensive Training

Mentorship and training sessions lead to better engagement among staff. Commitment to training and mentorships show employees that you value their skills and contributions. As well, it shows that you put more emphasis on progress rather the end product – both in achievements as well as in the careers of its people.


2. Smile

I believe that a smile can go a long way in diffusing tensions in the office. I remember the first time I was told that the company I was working for was hoping to automate their process by investing in a CRM software tool. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that my job was on the line. My manager simply smiled and said that our jobs are safe and the company is simply looking to be more productive and expand their portfolios using the resources they have.


3. Give workers balance in life

This may be a challenge for some companies, but it presents an opportunity for you to keep your employees happy. Today, the top employers are the ones who create an environment where staff feel connected to the organization and have a positive work experience that’s part of a rich, fulfilling life. As well, a new study done by American Psychological Association shows that 67% of employees will stay with a company long term if they know that there is a balance between work and life.


4. Give Ownership

No one enjoys being micromanaged? People work best — and are happiest — when they have ownership of their tasks, when they can solve problems their way and express their individuality.


5. Invest in Technology

According to Dell.com study, 25% of employees around the world say that they are influenced by the technology provided to them at work and would consider taking a new position if provided better technology that helps them be more creative and dynamic. One such tool is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.


About InfoFlo CRM Tool

Carmel Vision, a Toronto based CRM software development company, is focused on delivering a powerful management infrastructure that is designed to collect, search, and archive all content, contact and communication activities that take place in a typical office. We understand and listen to all of our customers’ needs and strive to give excellent quality at affordable prices.

Our flagship product, InfoFlo – is a central management system specifically designed to combat one of the biggest technical challenges facing any professional organization, how to efficiently organize, archive, filter and search the vital information that bombards our desktops on a daily basis. Our infrastructure allows all office activities to coexist together under one umbrella, making all critical information readily available at your fingertips.


How To Be An Opportunity Maker

In the video, Kare Anderson helps her listeners think about the ways we collaborate and connect with others both in our personal lives and in the business world. Collaborations, she argues, can come from the most unexpected places! Sometimes it pays to think outside the box…

Anderson’s idea of reimagining the world is one where all human beings become greater opportunity-makers with and for others. She strongly believes that there’s no greater opportunity than to become opportunity-makers, to use the best talents together for the greater good and to accomplish things we couldn’t have done alone. She urges her listeners to not stop after the first opportunity comes knocking. For her, it’s after you’ve had that first experience and you trust each. It’s the unexpected things that you devise together and never could have predicted that matter most in life. And she’s right!



I can easily relate to Anderson, as I grew up with a stuttering problem. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend one of her conferences and my life changed for the better. I hope yours does to. Enjoy!

InfoFlo is a CRM Software tool that empowers organizations to help their employees make use of their talents for the greater good and accomplish things they couldn’t have done alone. For just $99, InfoFlo is a feature-packed Contact Management System with over 20 built-in components and includes free upgrades for life. Download free trial here.


12 Ways To Increase Productivity

I was rebranding my Pinterest page this weekend when I received a notification from the social network that I could upgrade my account to Pinterest for Business. I came across this very interesting infographic titled “12 Ways to Increase Productivity”. As a content marketer, I was immediately inclined to share it with my readers:

productivity infographic


(c) successfulgroupsystem.com

Browsing through the methods for increasing productivity, number seven was the first one to stand out from the crowd. I am a proponent of the Pomodoro Technique and this technique is at the heart of my strategy for staying productive at work everyday.


What is Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique that assists users, like me, with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less interruptions and little exhaustion.

The process is simple. For every project throughout the day, you allot your time into short intervals and take breaks in between. Essentially, you work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, Italian for tomato. After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a break (15-20 min). The technique encourages its users to use a timer to ensure maximum productivity.

Every time you finish an interval, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had a tendency or push to switch gears to work on  to another task. Your goal is to eliminate  or reduce those tendencies as time goes by.

Try it for yourself or perhaps you want to know more about InfoFlo’s Task Management feature?

InfoFlo’s Task Manager allows you to create and manage your tasks or ‘pomodoros’ as the Italians like to call them.  Users can easily attach files, set email and pop up reminders, share tasks, set priority levels, tag by type or status, and more. Check out our video for more information on task management.


About Carmel Vision

Carmel Vision, a Toronto based CRM software development company, is focused on delivering a powerful management infrastructure that is designed to collect, search, and archive all content, contact and communication activities that take place in a typical office. We understand and listen to all of our customers’ needs and strive to give excellent quality at affordable prices.

Our flagship product, InfoFlo – is a central management system specifically designed to combat one of the biggest technical challenges facing any professional organization, how to efficiently organize, archive, filter and search the vital information that bombards our desktops on a daily basis. Our infrastructure allows all office activities to coexist together under one umbrella, making all critical information readily available at your fingertips.


Document Scanning Cuts Clutter and Improves Productivity

If you have a small office, improving efficiency in the way you manage your files is not as difficult as you may think. You would just have to be more organized and systematic. Do a weekly review of your paper files. Clean up, throw out, prioritize, and plan. Then categorize new tasks needed to be complete. Locate papers that have to be filed and file them, separating them from papers to recycle. Managing your documents this way can reduce clutter and give you a clear picture of what you should do the week ahead.

The right solution to managing your voluminous documentation would be to invest in document scanning and conversion into digital formats that can be conveniently stored on a computer. Let’s examine why.

Increased Productivity with Data Scanning Services

Documents are the starting point for many business processes and any delay in timely access would affect the overall productivity any firm. Overload of files, disorganization, and information mismanagement are some of the common obstacles that firms relying on paper-based documentation face. According to the studies conducted by National Association of Professional Organizers, paper clutter is the foremost issue faced by many businesses. Clutter stands in the way of productivity and profitability.

By opting for professional document scanning services, businesses get all their paper-based documents converted to digital format. InfoFlo is a solution that can assist any business, big or small, with proper document management system. The scanned documents are saved to a database which employees and managers could use. The All folders are also labeled appropriately, arranged in chronological order and the files alphabetized.

Many Business Benefits

Here are the many business benefits that could come your way with thee implementation of a professional document scanning and conversion solutions:

  • Time savings in managing day-to-day workload
  • More time for core legal tasks
  • Easy access to files with everything stored in an organized manner on the office computers
  • Speedier workflow with ease of data access
  • Easy inputting of new data and document
  • Better collaboration among employees with access to shared data
  • Reduced costs of handling, storing and copying paper documents
  • Elimination of data redundancy
  • Need for less physical storage space
  • Improved customer service with more efficient document management
  • Overall cost savings of 30-40%

Businesses that can manage their cloud-based documents are better positioned to meet the challenges of competition. So make a plan to get organized, cut clutter, and see your productivity and efficiency soar.


5 Tips For Writing An Effective Product Review

What does it mean to be a savvy consumer? A savvy consumer is someone who puts more weight in their friends’ opinions and independent product reviews. Before we buy a new gadget or try a new restaurant, most of us look at the reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Google+ to make sure we’re not wasting our money on something that is useless.

Unfortunately, not all reviews are reliable. Some are useless and anger some, while others are so glowing that they are too good to be true. The best reviews are the ones that walk in between. Regardless of the consumer experience, they offer up the type of information that’s invaluable to those making an informed decision.

This article offers tips on how to write an effective review that will resonate with all readers:

product reviews

1. Leave out names

One of the biggest criticisms of online reviews is that too many of them are malicious and targeted at specific employees of the company, instead of addressing the actual issue. If the sales rep is there only temporarily, or if the manager quits a year later, your review is already useless and outdated. Instead, discuss the experience you had with the company and how the products and/or services met your needs.

2. Create content that has substance

When writing a good review, it’s important to avoid frills and convoluted sentences. Get to the point as soon as possible. After all, this is why the reader is reading the review in the first place. Think about what you would want to know if you were looking for reviews on that product.

3. Weigh the pros and cons fairly

Avoid generic phrases that praise or criticize the product or service. Write about what is provided by the company and what the product does or does not do. Don’t brag about the pros or criticize the product too much. Have a balance of pros and cons in your review and maintain a decent word length for each.

4. Compare with other products

Compare the product with other products on the market, and tell your readers why the current product is much more or less effective and worth or not worth every penny. Use concrete examples, such as differences in features, to explicate your argument.

5. Re-read the review

Re-reading the review before hitting the publish button will help you clear some of the repetition you had when you first wrote it. You can also get a fresh perspective when you return to the writing piece after a small breather or break.

Writing a review is a big responsibility, especially when your opinion matters to someone reading it. Believe in what you promote and stick with only the facts when criticizing it.


Is The Chair Your Worst Enemy?

The evidence is in — your chair is your worst enemy. Many office employees sit in a chair for more than 12 hours each day. They get up in the morning, drive to work, sit all day long at their desks, drive home, eat dinner, watch TV and surf the Internet before going to sleep in their comfortable beds. This degree of excess sitting is not what our bodies need. Studies in agricultural communities, where people move naturally, argue that our bodies are made to move all day and only use a chair for a well-deserved rest. People were never designed to be crammed into chairs: sitting all day long is lethal.

Lethal sitting is associated with many chronic disease and conditions — diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease,cancer, and depression, to name only a few. Here are 4 tips for escaping your chair bondage:

1. Know what makes you more likely to sit, and plan an alternative.

Where sitting stimuli are likely to appear, make alternative arrangement easily accessible and preferable. That means informing your colleagues and managers that from now on, your Monday morning meetings will be “walk and talk.” It also means putting a sticky note reminder on your phone to notify you that every time you get texts or a call, you will get up and out of your chair. As well, bring the treadmill from the basement and put it in front of the TV.


2. Keep track of your progress.

One of the more useful ways to reverse an addiction is to self-monitor. There are a number of devices and apps to assist you with it. Activity tracking apps are free. Unfortunately, Many people get bored with self-monitoring once they see improvement. Our tech specialists suggest that use your self-tracker app or device for a few weeks at time to make sure that you’re on the right path and that you are progressing rather than regressing.


3. Train your thought patterns to stop being so hard on yourself.
I have heard this from clients who are overweight, “I feel so bad when I go out,” or, “I feel ugly.” The reality is that this is ALL said by your internal voice. You must stop putting yourself down. If you don’t love yourself, why should anyone else love you? Stick a pitchfork in that negative voice and toss it away. Get up, look at yourself in the mirror (yes, do it), smile and get out there and live life — vibrantly.

4. Get social support.
Social support is the final weapon to beating this addiction. I cannot count the number of times by family, friends, colleagues or even strangers have lifted me up. If you are having trouble getting up, look for a friend to help you. If you see someone struggling to get up, help them.


Why Consumer Spending Dropped During Black Friday

Consumers spending dropped during Black Friday weekend sales in comparison to the numbers that we saw last year. According to the National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving weekend spending survey 55.1% of holiday shoppers were expected to visit stores or go online to make their purchases, down from 58.7% last year.

The decline can be attributed to an improving economy as well as changing shopping habits. Consumers are no longer relying on deep discounts and early promotions and are instead to make their much needed purchases online. This blog post examines the 4 main reason why Black Friday sales are dropping in detail:

1. Loss of Magic

Officially, Black Friday does not start until after Thanksgiving Day. This year, many retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy started to unveil deep discounts as early as Halloween weekend. This gave shoppers almost a month to shop around and make informed decisions without having to shop on the whim on the official day(s).

2. Loss of Urgency

Since many retailers started early this year, there was no sense of urgency to be the first in line. There were still lines, but the frenzied anticipation of the best deals was not there. And even if consumers did not get what they wanted, they still have between now and January to redeem their gift cards and make their purchases.

3. Shopper Fatigue

Many businesses would beg to disagree on that. The moment that the new iPhone or new iPad comes out, people stand in line for days to get their hands on it. Unfortunately with holiday deals and sales, consumers aren’t noticing any big must-have products that they want like with Apple products. And with the improving economy, most people opt to pay more rather than stand in line in the cold for hours.

4. Online Shopping Boom

The shift from brick and mortar to online shopping increased this year. Target reported that its website saw a 40% increase in sales on Thanksgiving, making its biggest online sales day ever. Wal-Mart said Thanksgiving was its second-highest online day ever, only surpassed by Cyber Monday last year.


Tim Hortons To Increase Coffee and Breakfast Sandwich Prices

Tim Hortons coffee and breakfast sandwiches are about to get a little more expensive as the North American coffee chain prepares to raise its prices next Wednesday. The price for coffee will jump up by an average of 10 cents. Breakfast sandwich prices will also jump up by 10 cents in all provinces but Ontario to $2.99.

Tim Hortons isn’t the only brand raising its prices due to the coffee Arabica coffee bean price hike last October. Keurig, makers of “k-cup” coffee pods, raised their prices earlier this month by 9% and Starbucks raised the cost of their coffee products over the summer as well.




Why The Price Increase

Brazil is the largest producer of coffee beans in the world and this summer’s drought is wreaking particular havoc on Brazilian coffee growers and as a result world prices as well.


How Demographics Affect Pricing

Tim Hortons’ flagship product is coffee. Not only does Tim Hortons own 62% of Canada’s coffee market, but it also has more outlets in Canada than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. Naturally, a brand with wider market appeal will be less expensive than a brand with less market appeal. Tim Hortons positions itself as the brand for small towns, sports fans, and the working-class Canadians. It is not a brand for middle-class families and business professionals; that market is reserved for Starbucks. It’s also a type of brand that is less likely to pay a premium to boost its image and the consumer experience.


How Geography Affects Pricing

Tim Hortons’ first store opened in Ontario and is more dominant in central and eastern Canada. McCafe also entered Canada through Ontario, but has a better foothold in British Columbia and Quebec. Tim Hortons, on the other hand, didn’t enter Quebec until the 1970s. Appealing to Quebec was more of an after-thought. Out West, Starbucks dominates the market with its appeal to the laid-back west-coast culture. So if you’re wondering why the price of Tim Hortons coffee is higher in Quebec and British Columbia than it is in Ontario, geography and market dominance have a lot to do with it. 


The price of your Cup of Joe is increasing, but the cost of owning a CRM Software is stay put. Customers are drawn to InfoFlo because they are tired of spending time and money trying to “figure out” the complexities of traditional CRM products. Traditionally customers are stuck deciding between an overpriced, feature rich CRM or a cost conscious CRM with very limited functionality. With InfoFlo you can have the best of both worlds and get a feature rich CRM at price point that is fair and also includes free upgrades for life.  Click here to download your free trial now.



Facebook Reportedly Working On Website For Office Use

Facebook is coming out with an office version of its social media platform for employee-to-employee communication at work. The pilot project is still in the test stages of development and will not be out for another few months. By taking on this project, it is taking on entrenched rivals, such as Microsoft, Google, Skype and a number of other smaller companies aiming their sights at the ever-evolving landscape.

It’s referred to as “Facebook at Work,” and the look and feel will be just like the current social media website. The only differences are that it’s meant for communicating with colleagues and management and collaborating on office projects.

This would not be the first idea or change Facebook proposed or made this year.  In April of this year it officially launched Business Manager, a tool that lets marketers and agencies manage multiple campaigns via one interface. Just three weeks ago it also made changes to its privacy policy and shortened it by 75%.

Social Media scholars regard this as a wise move. Given that Facebook already has 1.35 billion users who access the social media network on a monthly basis, it’s well poised to bring it into an office environment as well. Facebook employees and their managers are already using the social network to collaborate internally, but nothing officially.

Facebook at Work

What does this mean for business professionals?

If Facebook can get companies to adopt their idea, it could open up new and exciting opportunities. For instance, it will allow employees to make their professional profiles “public,” which would turn Facebook into a professional social network that could compete against LinkedIn directly.

Facebook has declined to make a statement about this new development. The news was reported by Financial Times on November 16, 2014. Carmel Vision will update you as soon as more information becomes available.