iSales 100 by xkzero now supports iOS 10

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xkzero is pleased to announce the compatibility of iSales 100 with iOS 10 – the latest mobile operating system by Apple. No action is required on your part. There is also no imperative for you to upgrade to iOS 10 as your current operating system will continue to function as well.

For those of you who do plan to upgrade to iOS we recommend that you back up the device first. Backing up the device is not required for iSales 100, but it is always a good idea when updating an operating system. Information on how to back up your device is available from Apple here. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203977

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Is now the time for mobile sales in your manufacturing business?

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Process improvement – process improvement – process improvement

process

As a manufacturing company process improvement is your credo. Process improvement is your mantra. Your DNA. It’s what you preach to your supervisors. It’s what you ingrain in the minds of your new hires. Process improvement informs everything you do in your work – and in manufacturing companies, process improvement informs everything from research and development to quality control to production planning, to packaging, shipping, receiving, and so on.  But what about mobile sales in your manufacturing business?  That could be a process worth re-evaluating.

Technology has given shape to most of the great process improvements in manufacturing business over the last 30 years. The great desktop PC era has revolutionized the way we work in business in almost every conceivable way all across your business from purchasing to materials planning to warehouse management, customer service and accounting. Paper-based and manual processes have been identified and targeted for replacement. Replaced by technology tools such as keyboards, monitors, printers, and scanners – to drive information and communication faster across your enterprise. The reason you’ve done so? To create a better experience for the user, to save time (aka labor cost), to accelerate your supply chain, and to improve overall communications. Quite simply – you made these changes in order to make your business better.

Yet, perhaps ironically, there is one group of workers inside most manufacturing companies whose jobs have not been impacted much at all by technology and process improvement over the last 30 years, and that is the outside sales rep. How can that be? The group of people most responsible for generating revenue growth, and most able to convey directly to your customers the experience of doing business with you – yes, that group – is by and large stuck using the same tools and following the same processes for the last 30 years.

A great many sales processes are built around:

  • Printed product catalogs
  • Price books
  • Spec sheets
  • Order forms
  • Phone calls back to the office
  • Email

These sales reps have little or no visibility to customer status, product pricing, ability to promise, cross sell suggestions. Whether the sales rep is onsite with the customer or prospect, at a special event, staffing a tradeshow, or roaming a showroom floor, the chances are they have a smart phone in their pocket – but the chances are almost as great that the smart phone will NOT have intelligence to help them close business or otherwise assist the customer. Smart phone and tablet technology is available now that can provide sales reps with far more meaningful interactions with customers.

Sales apps that are connected with your Sage ERP and CRM systems abound. The key is finding the right level of enablement for you and your sales team. As a manufacturing company this should be easily enough done because it’s all about making the selling process – the experience your customer has doing business with you – a faster, better informed and more complete experience. And that is exactly what you should expect to accomplish for your sales team.

xkzero specializes in Sage ERP integrated mobile sales, route sales, and direct store delivery automation for small and midsized manufacturers and wholesale distribution companies.

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Sales Essentials for 2016: Sage Summit and Beyond

Sales essentials for growing businesses

Thousands of businesses will converge on Chicago for Sage Summit 2016 to learn and share stories of challenge, innovation and change.

We hope you’ll visit us at Sage Summit 2016 in Chicago—our hometown! At xkzero we help companies grow sales and increase profits by providing high performance, flexible mobile apps engineered to integrate with Sage 100 and Sage X3. This year alone, clients will transact about $1 billion in new business using xkzero mobile sales and delivery apps for smartphones and tablets. As far as who is using our apps, there are no bounds to the range of industries that view mobile as a sales essential for success.

Learn how leading companies across North America are using Sage and xkzero solutions to stand out and win against the competition. Especially if you rely on route selling or direct store delivery to serve customers and close new business, have outside sales reps, sell at trade shows, attend special events, or have a showroom floor or parts counter, we hope you’ll stop by our booth.

Want a preview of the xkzero mobile sales and delivery solutions for Sage 100 and Sage X3 that you’ll see at Summit? Register now for our free webinar – Sales Essentials for 2016: The Power of Mobile.  

NEW DATE AND TIME: June 29, 2016, 12 pm EST

All Sage business partners and Sage 100 and Sage X3 end user customers are all welcome!

The Plight of the Modern Customer Service Manager

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Mobile help for customer service!

Mobile help for customer service!

Your hands are full

This is probably not news to you, but as a modern customer service manager you have your hands full! And that is mainly because your customers are now literally all over the place.

They are all over the place in terms of what they expect from you as a seller of goods and services. They are all over the place in terms of how they expect to interact with you. In terms of how they expect to place orders. In terms of how they inquire about their orders, or about the availability of product in your warehouse. Your customers are all over the place in terms of how they expect to pay you. All over the place in terms of the availability of intelligence for you to gather and discern. All over the place in terms of what it takes for you to earn their loyalty.

Yes, that is a lot to lay on you, as if managing customer service was not already challenging enough.

Because customer needs rule

But here is the good news—all of this customer expectation spells opportunity for you. That is because the winners in your industry today are the ones ready, willing and able to meet, greet and serve the customer wherever they are and whenever they’re ready to interact with you.

Your day is obviously filled with activities focused on what makes your most valuable to your company—building relationships, identifying customer needs, gathering intelligence, resolving issues, and representing your company These are all critical activities to the overall success of the business and building and maintaining brand loyalty.

However, what the customer expects from you, and when, has changed dramatically. Today’s customer wants and needs to interact with you on THEIR terms, not yours. Are you ready to meet them where they are? One way to get a sense of readiness is to take an inventory of your sales processes, technology and tools.

What your sales tools say about your business

What is the experience of doing business with you like today? Are you about to accommodate the wide range of buying expectations?

What possible ways can your customer interact with you when it comes to things like requesting a quote, placing an order, checking on inventory or shipment status? What means do they have to place an order with you?

  • Fax machine?
  • Telephone?
  • Customer service counter?
  • E-commerce website?
  • Customer portal?
  • Mobile app?

Our experience tells us that many of you reading this are still offering a sales channel built around the first three on the list—fax, phone and personal visit. While that may seem sufficient for you today, you may ask yourself about what your industry, and your place in it, will look like 2, 3 or 5 years from now. If competitors enter your space, do you think those new Millennial businesses will ask their customers to fax in orders? I don’t think so.

The smartphone is a profit machine

Have you noticed the communication tendencies of the new generation of workers? Their use of the telephone is a fraction of that compared to earlier generations. The modern workforce is far more inclined to interact with you online, often via an app on their smartphone or tablet.

I mentioned in an earlier paragraph that all of this is good news. And I believe it is good news. If you explore the marketplace you’ll see multiple options to connect E-commerce sites, customer portals and mobile sales apps with your back office ERP/accounting system.

Obviously you want to offer your customers access to you in ways that help you win more business and even more loyalty. So make sure your communication choices are reliable, dependable and supportable for you and your business. You just might find that you can do without that fax machine.

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xkzero specializes in mobile sales, route sales and direct store delivery automation for small and mid-sized manufacturers and wholesale distribution companies. xkzero is also a certified developer for Sage X3, Sage 100 and Sage 500, creating integrated and embedded mobile solutions into some of North America’s most popular and powerful ERP and accounting systems for the mid-market.

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Mobile B2B Sales: A Practical Guide for Sales Reps

Mobile automation is the new standard for B2B sales

Mobile automation is the new standard for B2B sales

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The mobile sales app for B2B represents the new standard for growing small and mid-sized businesses. It may be the greatest thing to happen for manufacturing and wholesale distribution sales reps since the invention of the printing press. Few technologies for business have the far-reaching impact on the quality of your work and your company’s bottom line of a mobile sales app.

If your company has outside sales reps, or sells at trade shows, on a showroom floor, from special events or on-site with a customer, for you, the era of the printed product catalog, the paper order form, and the fax machine is over. The integrated smart phone and tablet era is now. xkzero has summarized some important considerations for you here.

Salespeople

The impact of having everything you need in your pocket

Off you go to your prospect meeting. Off you go to the trade show. Off you go for another day on the showroom floor. Off you go, back to your hotel room. Off you go, equipped with a product catalog printed 9 months ago, a price list printed 6 weeks ago. Hoping the fax machine doesn’t get jammed when you send in your order. Hoping that a customer service rep is ready when you call to find out the status of the inventory you’d like to sell.

The new standard for B2B selling is the smart phone. It’s replaced the fax, the printed materials, and antiquated processes that hold back a business today.

How you will benefit from a mobile sales app as a salesperson:

  • You’ll be better prepared with fingertip access to up-to-the-moment customer and inventory data.
  • Customers and prospects will sense your increased confidence.
  • You’ll have the chance to close larger deals.
  • You’ll be able to complete high transaction volume sales more quickly.
  • You might not ever be late for a meeting again.

The price of not doing anything

Over 90 percent of the mobile sales automation projects xkzero has implemented over the past several years have been for companies that previously relied on the tools and processes of yesterday—printed product catalogs, paper order forms, and fax machines. For many of these businesses, sales reps had to call customer service for the status of anything customer or inventory related. Representing the entire spectrum of manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries, they have one thing in common. Once they switch from paper and manual processes to an automated mobile solution—they don’t change back.

More practical guides – Mobile B2B Sales: A Practical Guide for Executives

Ready to talk about charting a mobile sales strategy for your business? Contact us at info@xkzero.com or call 847-416-2009.  Visit the xkzero website to learn more about our winning solutions.

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Mobile B2B Sales: A Practical Guide for Executives

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Mobile sales apps for B2B represent the new standard for growing small and mid-sized businesses. In fact, mobile B2B sales may be the greatest thing to happen for manufacturing and wholesale distributor sales reps since the invention of the printing press. There are very few technologies you can add to your business today that will have as far reaching effect on the quality of your work, and the bottom line of your business as a mobile sales app.

The new standard for B2B sales is mobile

The new standard for B2B sales is mobile

If your company has outside sales reps, or sells at trade shows, on a showroom floor, from special events or on-site with a customer –for you, the era of the printed product catalog, the paper order form, and the fax machine – is over.

The integrated smart phone and tablet era is now. xkzero has summarized some important considerations for you here.

All stakeholders in your company—Executives, Salespeople, Operations Managers, Accounting and Finance and IT professionals—look at your business from a different angle. The great news is mobile can and will benefit all of them. But you need to avoid several pitfalls that can cost you money and headache.

If you have not yet mobilized your sales team, here are some important things for executives to consider.

Executives

From sales enablement to new revenue streams

Making or producing a great product is never enough to ensure business success, and relying on antiquated methods of selling can leave you vulnerable to new competitors that enter your market, hoping to disrupt.

More practical guides – Mobile B2B Sales: A Practical Guide for Sales Reps | Mobile B2B Sales: A Practical Guide for Operations Managers

 

A mobile sales app can do more than simply replace the fax machine with a smart phone as a means to get orders in your system. (Think about that for a minute.) It can turn you into a disruptor yourself.

How your team will benefit:

  • Increased revenue
  • New revenue streams
  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Better served customers
  • New and improved customer intelligence
  • Attraction of a new generation of sales reps and customers
  • More profits

Risk factors to consider:

  • Choice between a packaged solution and a solution that is custom designed specifically for your business
  • Adaptation by your team and overall usability
  • Ability to integrate with your existing systems
  • Achieving a justifiable ROI

The Cost of Inaction

Over 90 percent of the mobile sales automation projects xkzero has implemented over the past several years have been for companies previously relying on the tools and processes of yesterday – printed product catalogs, paper order forms, phone calls to customer service for the status of anything customer or inventory related.  Fax machines…

These companies represent the entire spectrum of manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries.

One thing all of the companies have in common is that once they switch from paper and manual processes to an automated mobile solution, they don’t change back.

Ready to talk about charting a mobile sales strategy for your business?  Contact us at info@xkzero.com or call 847-416-2009.

Visit the xkzero website to learn more about our winning solutions.

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Why Creating a Great User Experience Matters Most

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Take a guess at the #1 criteria for having a great mobile sales app for your business? If you guessed creating a great experience for the user then you are correct.

The reason is simple. It’s because most (if not all) of your business goals for mobile are linked to user adaptation.

When you invest in a mobile sales app, naturally, you expect certain measurable results, such as these:

  1. Larger orders
  2. New revenue streams
  3. Higher close rates
  4. Reduced admin costs
  5. Better equipped and informed sales reps
  6. New intelligence

When you invest in a mobile app—whether you build one customized for your company’s needs, or choose an out-of-the-box option directly from an app storeit should improve the experience of doing business with you. This should be true all up and down the supply chain, but especially for the user of the app.

What, then, does it mean to create a great user experience?

Your new mobile sales app should be intuitive. If it seems like there may be a lot of training involved, keep shopping. It should be dependable. The app can’t be crashing on you every other time you use it.

Your mobile app needs to introduce something new—something memorable. Your app should reward the user and keep them coming back to the app again and again. Think maps to customer locations. Think item images, spec sheets or even instructional videos to improve the understanding of your products. Think geo-awareness, signature capture and other measures that improve accountability. Think alerts and push notifications. Think photos. Think new intelligence gathering and a means to understand customer behavior in ways you never imagined.

Creating a Great User Experience Matters.

Focus on creating a great user experience for everyone involved, and your mobile sales app initiative will be on a sure track to success.

Taking photos at the customer location, whether it be a display case - or even a proof of delivery, enhances your understanding of your customer and helps to create a great user experience

Taking photos at the customer location, whether it be a display case – or even a proof of delivery, enhances your understanding of your customer and helps to create a great user experience

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How to Download a Free Trial of iSales 100

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Ready to kick the printed catalog / order form / fax machine habit?  xkzero is here to help - you can download a free trial of iSales 100 directly from your iPhone or iPad and try it for yourself.

It’s true. And in less than 3 minutes you can download iSales 100 to evaluate the features and benefits of one of the most flexible and adaptable mobile sales apps you’ll find for B2B wholesale distribution.

Here’s a less than 2-minute video showing you the steps to download your free trial of iSales 100 for Sage 100.  

 

How to Download a Free Trial of iSales 100:

Step 1: Search for iSales 100 on the Apple App store and launch the app

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Step 2 – Login (User ID – xkzero Password – easy)

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Step 3: Synchronize the data (tap on the circular button on the bottom and choose ‘Sync All’)

IMG_2843

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Step 5: Start Using the Free Demo of iSales 100!

The best way to learn how iSales 100 can benefit your business is to contact us for a personalized demonstration, including a demonstration of how iSales 100 can be personalized to meet your needs.

Contact us at info@xkzero.com or call 847-416-2009.

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Finding Your Perfect Match

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Did you end up getting married to the first person you ever dated?

Not very likely. Most of us married folk dated lots of people before we found that just-right person with whom to settle down and make a life. Why do we do this? Because finding out what we really want first requires life experience to give ourselves the chance to discover what we really value.

Can this selection process also apply when choosing business technology? To find the answer, ask yourself this question: Has my business been running the same ERP/accounting system since its inception? Likely not. Most companies start with a low-cost system like Quickbooks or Sage 50. The reason is smart leaders don’t wish to make too big of a commitment until there is evidence that the business is likely to endure.

In the early years, businesses go through a process of self-discovery. Most start-up businesses are primarily focused on creating new revenue streams, serving customers and attracting talent. Once they start to mature, and the full potential of the business starts to become evident, that’s when finding the perfect ERP system starts to make sense. At that point, businesses invest in a more hearty solution like Sage 100 or Sage X3.

Like decision makers at companies in almost every industry, you have another question to ask yourself. Given your particular growth stage, how can you take advantage of mobile technology? What mobile tools should you introduce to your work force–especially your sales team?

When choosing a mobile sales app–especially for companies with B2B wholesale distribution needs–here are some factors to consider:

  1. Understand the processes you wish to automate.
  2. Choose an app that provides a great user experience for everyone.
  3. Determine the level of ERP or CRM integration you desire.
  4. Select the operating system and hardware platform that is right for your company.
  5. Evaluate custom-tailored versus packaged systems.

Now, if the list above makes you feel squeamish (like the butterflies you used to get when dating), that’s okay. It means you should probably take it slow. You might not find your ideal match with your first mobile app. And that’s okay, too. By all means, though, do not let your nervousness get in the way of introducing mobile into your business.

If you’re a novice to mobile–if you don’t feel like you have a great handle on what mobile can do for your sales team–fear not. Just like you didn’t get married to the first person you ever dated–you don’t have to make a huge and long-term commitment to the first mobile software you meet, either.

There are low cost, low risk steps that you can take:

  • Find out if your ERP or CRM provider offers a mobile extension for your current system. These are often web-based apps that will provide your team access to customers, orders, opportunities, and perhaps inventory. These apps may be free or available at a low cost.
  • Try before you buy. Explore 3rd party ISV solutions and determine if they have free downloads in the app stores. If so, engage your sales personnel and elicit their feedback.
  • Consider a limited rollout of mobile built around one or a small number of sales people. Use this trial to evaluate behavior changes and tangible sales results in a more limited setting.
  • Talk with your Sage business partner, or key technology and other advisors to your business to discover stories and case studies of how similar businesses may be benefiting from mobile.

When it comes to mobile business technology systems, a match made in heaven is definitely out there. You might not find it on the first go around, but by taking action now you will gain valuable insight to set you on the path of–dare I say-mobile bliss.

perfect match

Paul Ziliak, the happily married co-founder of xkzero, did not marry the first person he ever dated, but was fortunate enough to eventually find his perfect match.  He now helps mid-sized and growing businesses mobilize sales and delivery processes.  @PaulZiliak @ERP_apps www.xkzero.com

 

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Apollo Oil Selects xkzero for New Direct Store Delivery Mobile Software

Apollo Oil

xkzero is pleased to announce that major automotive lubricant distributor, Apollo Oil, has selected xkzero Mobile Commerce software to automate its distribution processes for Direct Store Delivery and Route Sales.

Click here for full press release

Apollo Oil, headquartered in Henderson, Kentucky, sells and distributes major brands such as Valvoline, Shell and Castorl throughout the Ohio Valley to car dealerships, quick lubes and automotive service centers.  From their fleet of over 30 trucks, and from multiple warehouses, they also sell and service municipalities, trucking facilities and farming operations, as well as to industrial manufacturers.

In tandem with this project, Apollo is also implementing Sage X3, purchased from leading Sage North American business partner, WAC Consulting.

“Together with Apollo we began evaluating xkzero at Sage Summit 2015 in New Orleans, as an initiative to replace the existing custom built mobile solution”, said Steve Schaefer, Partner of WAC. “XMC will be relied upon to satisfy mission critical processes such as truck loading for both bulk and packaged orders, route selling and direct store delivery automation. Apollo also expects to create improved workflow and accounting for inventory control, route planning and payment handling.”

“Apollo was searching for a system to allow anytime, anywhere processing to better serve our customers with each and every interaction”, said Ed Dotson, Chief Financial Officer of Apollo Oil. “We discovered xkzero at Sage Summit 2015 in New Orleans and their combination of modern mobile technology along with their expertise as Sage X3 developers gives us a very high level of confidence for this project.”

For more information about xkzero Mobile Commerce and direct store delivery and route sales automation, please visit our website or contact us at info@xkzero.com or 847-416-2009.

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