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ActivityHub 8.2/3.2

Mobile CRM is Evolving, and ActivityHub is the Future

By Daniel | Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

The earliest version of ActivityHub actually ran on Salesforce1, which gave us a stable development platform with the marketing muscle of Salesforce behind it. It was comfortable, accepted in the market and low risk.

While it was the safe approach at the time, it unfortunately wasn’t the long term approach for NEXMachine on its quest to change how people work. A variety of issues drove us to develop a native application which is the current incarnation of ActivityHub.

We learned from our users that they needed something which enabled them to manage their day easily while capturing the details in Salesforce. A calendar app made a ton of sense because of familiarity, ease of use and general comfort among our user base.

The choice was to pivot away from the safe confines of a mobile platform like Salesforce1, and to take a risk on building our own mobile app.

This turned out to be the right move in late 2014. The app took off. People downloaded and adopted it. In the turbulent and ever-evolving mobile market, trends take hold and things change overnight… dramatically.

Since we released the first version of ActivityHub in January 2015, messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp managed to garner billions of users globally, Slack has tripled its user base in less than a year and Trello is on its way to 100M users.

The way salespeople work while mobile is becoming more about messaging and collaboration while relying on a few mainstay apps like Contacts. Now, we are faced with the dilemma again of making the decision to abandon the comfortable world of apps in order to meet our customers where they are in the world of mobile productivity.

As the NEXMachine team ventures into the next generation of mobile CRM – not another app – our focus is on workflow that leverages messaging and collaboration using the traditional apps and connecting them with enterprise systems.

This is an exciting moment in time for us as we prepare to show the world how the mobile salesperson can work they way he or she wants. Sure, there are other software companies who feel that more mobile CRM apps are the solution. In fact, if this is the approach they want to take, they should feel free to copy what we’ve built. Who knows, they may already have.

The bottom line is that we are preparing to show you the future. We’re creating the reality where salespeople are enabled to use the apps they have already chosen to use – Facebook Messenger, SMS, WhatsApp, Slack,Trello and Contacts – while staying connected to their enterprise systems. This is what they’re asking for, not another  mobile app that will most likely come on the scene in a flurry of marketing activity, gain some modest adoption and then end up on the discard pile in the land of misfit CRM apps.

We don’t need to perpetuate the challenges salespeople face when they are mobile. It’s time for a real solution built on input and demand from salespeople, rather than on a perceived notion of what the next big app might be.




The ActivityHub Journey

By Daniel | Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

When I was at Salesforce, a common phrase bandied about was that we didn’t have users of our software, we had addicts.  There are supposedly three phases of adoption users would go through in their journey to Salesforce addiction:  compliance, adoption, and, finally, that habitual state of app stickiness nirvana… addiction.  It was my job to make sure users became addicted to the software.

In the Customers for Life organization, I worked closely with businesses to ensure that their use of Salesforce was strategically aligned with their business objectives and implemented to ensure that users (including salespeople, customer service and others) adopted the software.

The reality is that low CRM adoption plagues the entire industry.  Next year, companies will spend $36B+ on CRM and, stunningly, it seems like as many implementations fail as are successful.  While a successful implementation seems illusive, the biggest impact is on the business cases that never get realized that were used to justify the projects in the first place.

The users who are the most resistant to adopting CRM are field salespeople.  Their work is nonlinear and unstructured, particularly when they are mobile.  What salespeople do when they are in the field is very different than when they are in the office.  As a result, it’s really hard to design software to meet their needs.

While most business cases to implement CRM are based productivity gains for fields sales, increased revenue, and improved visibility to the pipeline, adoption by this key constituency is time and time again the bane achieving the ROI.  

For me, helping organizations implement a plan to improve utilization of CRM oftentimes meant getting into the specific details of what people do on a daily basis, identifying their pains and helping to think through approaches that would eliminate work for end users and make their lives easier.

What I learned from this experience is that, while we can identify tactics and steps to improve adoption incrementally, the real opportunity is to eliminate the problem of adoption in the first place.  Poor adoption of CRM isn’t the result of salespeople not doing their jobs.  Poor adoption of CRM is the result of salespeople adopting other tools in their quest to hit their number.

This is a critical point for software makers to understand.  When salespeople use CRM vendors’ software – either because they choose to or their employers force them to – they have to give something else up.  There is NO NEW CONSUMPTION, especially in the world of mobile apps.  

Salespeople have chosen the mobile apps they will use on a day-to-day basis:

  • Native Contacts on their phone and LinkedIn for contact management
  • SMS (texting), Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for communications with their customers
  • Slack, Trello and others for collaborating with colleagues, partners and customers

I recognized this when I learned why salespeople hire ActivityHub.  This was a stunning revelation.  So, early in 2016, the vision began to crystalize for ActivityHub based a new approach to turn the apps that salespeople have already chosen into their interface into enterprise systems, like CRM and enterprise calendaring.  

The app market today is winner take most.  The most innovative CRM software companies struggle to get their users to adopt their apps and creating more mobile apps clearly is not the solution.  

The bottom line is that salespeople are already addicted to the apps they are going to be using for a very long time.  Companies will come to realize with the future of ActivityHub that the path of least resistance–allowing salespeople to continue to use the apps they have already chosen–makes it possible to avoid failed implementations and helps them achieve the ROI used to justify their ambitious projects.

Over the next several weeks, I will be revealing more details about the future of ActivityHub.  This is an exciting journey for NEXMachine’s app.  What it will become and how we got here is the result of the last 2 years of development and learning from our users as to why they would use it.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks.




The Whole is Greater That the Parts

By Dan Kauppi | Saturday, June 4th, 2016

CirrusWebinarI want to say a big “Thanks!” to all of you who ruined the perfect word to describe the combined effect of Cirrus Insight and ActivityHub.  The word–syngery!    In the mid-2000s, synergy became popular among young ladder-climbers wanting to demonstrate their business acumen by being buzzword compliant.  The end of this useful term came when they turned a perfectly good noun into a verb… synergize.

Now, I have to avoid using this groan-evoking word in my post about the impact ActivityHub and Cirrus Insight can have on mobile salespeople’s productivity and adoption of CRM.  Even though this word perfectly describes the combination of these two apps, I can’t use it out of fear of people casting aspersions upon me.  

The onslaught of ridicule would no doubt be relentless from my peers, my team, even the summer intern.  “Hey Dan, are we going to have a meeting to synergize?!?”  Better yet, “Let’s go synergize some cool cloud ideas with our customers.”  

So, how can I describe the compounding effect of these two apps together.  Mobile salespeople struggle to keep the details of their activities up-to-date while they are on the road.  They work differently on the road than they do when they are in the office–a point I shared in a previous post.  

The speed and cadence at which salespeople work while on the road is very different than when they are in the office.  Having apps and tools that allow them to communicate with their customers, manage their schedule, even call an Uber to get to the next meeting while capturing the details in CRM is a powerful thing.  The idea of reducing and even eliminating data entry for salespeople is a game-changer.

Using ActivityHub and Cirrus Insight together not only gives salespeople their time back and keeps them in front of customers, they are able to focus on deals by avoiding the snack work that distracts them from their primary mission… selling stuff.

Rather than use buzzwords to describe the force multiplier effect of these two apps together, you need to see it for yourself.  This Tuesday, June 7th, I am going to participate in Cirrus Insight’s webinar to demonstrate the power of the two.  Click here to be a part of this great event.




Time to Redefine the Term Mobile First CRM

By Dan Kauppi | Monday, May 23rd, 2016

mobile-firstWhat’s funny is that mobile CRM apps are designed to do exactly the same stuff that is done in the browser. As if people do the exact same things from their phone, work the same way as they do when in front of their computer and in the same conditions.

The reality is that mobile salespeople work very differently from their phone than they do in front of their computer. But, CRM vendors have designed their applications so that the mobile experience is identical to the experience in the browser. So, this raises the question, “is CRM vendors’ mobile first strategy flawed?” Do field salespeople need a different approach when they are mobile?

The short answer is “YES!” They need tools that act and look like the apps they already use on their phone, not apps that act and look like apps they use on their computer, albeit optimized for their phone.

ActivityHub is optimized for the things you do when you are on the road while you are running from one meeting to another. The aim of ActivityHub is to make CRM invisible to the mobile user. All of that stuff that salespeople must enter in CRM from the time they create the opportunity until it is closed are captured with one or two taps of the thumb when using ActivityHub.

Mobile first CRM apps are designed to capture details with twenty or thirty thumbs taps. This is where this CRM strategy begins to fall apart. It’s time to redefine mobile first from being centered around technology to being focused on the needs of the mobile salesperson. To put it more plainly, ActivityHub is mobile first because it puts the needs of the person in the field first.




The New ActivityHub Experience

By Michael Rebello | Friday, May 6th, 2016

As an application, ActivityHub does three things really well. First, it reduces and even eliminates the data entry in CRM that sales management wants you to do. Second, it reduces the complexity of managing your day. Lastly, it automates your workflow, and – most importantly – saves you precious time. We’ve done this by making the app smarter with each update in our rapid release cycle. Adding features such as event attendee matching and opportunity suggestions has reduced the number of taps necessary to get your job done quickly and efficiently.

I’m excited to announce the release of ActivityHub 8 for iOS, and 2.0 for Android. In these updates, we focused on re-thinking your experience in the app. There’s no menu icon anymore – simply swipe to see your events on the new unified timeline or the revamped week Android 2view. Need to find an event? Tap to search. Want to drag your Google contacts onto your calendar from your iPad? Now you can. Trying to perform an action from the month view? Just swipe left on an event or task.

Accelerating your workflow is one thing, but changing your experience is another entirely. We all hate having to use an app that “gets the job done” but is a nightmare to use. In fact, some people would almost prefer to have an app that does most of the job but is a pleasure to use. In order to be your go-to productivity app, ActivityHub needed to be both enjoyable and utilitarian. Today’s releases are a big step in that direction, and we hope you enjoy your new ActivityHub experience.




The New ActivityHub Experience

By Michael Rebello | Thursday, April 14th, 2016

As an application, ActivityHub does three things really well. First, it reduces and even eliminates the data entry in CRM that sales management wants you to do. Second, it reduces the complexity of managing your day. Lastly, it automates your workflow, and – most importantly – saves you precious time. We’ve done this by making the app smarter with each update in our rapid release cycle. Adding features such as event attendee matching and opportunity suggestions has reduced the number of taps necessary to get your job done quickly and efficiently.

Today, we’re excited to announce the release of ActivityHub 8.0 for iOS, and 2.0 for Android. In these updates, we focused on re-thinking your experience in the app. There’s no menu icon anymore – simply swipe to see your events on the new unified timeline or the revamped week Android 2view. Need to find an event? Tap to search. Want to drag your Google contacts onto your calendar from your iPad? Now you can. Trying to perform an action from the month view? Just swipe left on an event or task.

Accelerating your workflow is one thing, but changing your experience is another entirely. We all hate having to use an app that “gets the job done” but is a nightmare to use. In fact, some people would almost prefer to have an app that does most of the job but is a pleasure to use. In order to be your go-to productivity app, ActivityHub needed to be both enjoyable and utilitarian. Today’s releases are a big step in that direction, and we hope you enjoy your new ActivityHub experience.

 




For the Field Salesperson, There are Now Fewer Apps for That

By Dan Kauppi | Monday, April 11th, 2016

There-is-an-App-for-That

Apple’s “There’s an app for that” campaign introduced the world to the concept of apps for your phone back in 2008. Since then, there have been over 100 billion apps downloaded.

With so many apps, the natural question is, “have we reached app saturation?” All it takes is one look at your iPhone to get your answer.

In a recent survey, more than half of ActivityHub users told us that that they use 4-6 apps on a daily basis to do their job. Another 20% said they use 7-10 apps.

App proliferation is a particularly challenging issue for field salespeople who have tremendous demands on their time to document everything they do in CRM. For them, more apps is not the solution. Fewer apps is. In fact, fewer apps that eliminate or reduce the need for other apps is even better.

The number of apps ActivityHub user respondents said they use on a daily basis

The number of apps ActivityHub user respondents said they use on a daily basis

This is what ActivityHub does. Not only is it easier for salespeople to perform modestly complex tasks far more easily on ActivityHub than in CRM on their computer, but ActivityHub also automates the mundane and routine tasks that distract them from their primary job.

At a time when sales management needs more visibility to sales activities, the best way to get it is to provide simpler apps that automate the process and reduce the burden on their sales team.

ActivityHub will not only get field sales to adopt CRM, but it will also reduce and eliminate the need for other apps.  In the end, ActivityHub will increase the engagement of field salespeople because the distracting snackwork will be eliminated.  




Help Us Continue on This Remarkable Journey

By Daniel | Friday, April 1st, 2016

market analysis concept with financial report, close up

In the world of customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the gold standard.  Companies like USAA, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Chick-fil-A and Apple have the highest NPS scores across all industries ranging from 60% to 70%.  These are the percentage of survey respondents who would either recommend them or already have.

What is stunning is that ActivityHub has an even greater NPS score of 80%, with half of the respondents indicating that they already have recommended the app to their colleagues.

This success  is because you have helped us shape the application and continue to identify those features that you need to make your life easier.  The success of ActivityHub is because of you.

But, as I mentioned in my blog post earlier this week, the ActivityHub team is at that moment in time where we need to charge for the app in order to continue to deliver innovations at the rapid pace we have for the last 9 months.

As an early adopter of ActivityHub, we are offering you special pricing of $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year.  If you buy ActivityHub now, we will give you two months for the price of one.  

There is no other app on the market that addresses the needs of the mobile salesperson better than ActivityHub.  And, it’s only going to get better with the features on the roadmap in the coming weeks and months.

By click on this link from your mobile phone, you will be able to purchase either a month or year subscription of ActivityHub.

The benefits are only going to increase as you use ActivityHub and send us your ideas.

The first step to stop wasting time is to purchase ActivityHub.  Each hour of your time that is saved each week more than pays for the cost of ActivityHub.  More important, it allows you to focus on your customers and closing business.  




ActivityHub Subscription Announcement

By Dan Kauppi | Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Swiss-Army-Knives

ActivityHub is quickly becoming THE app for the mobile sales rep. When we set out to create ActivityHub, our hypothesis was that you need an app that would make your day simpler and eliminate the snack work that distracts you from getting big things done.

The rapid growth of ActivityHub is a validation that this hypothesis is absolutely correct. While other mobile app creators are focusing on putting all of the complexities of CRM into your phone, that’s not what you’ve told us you need.  You want to reduce data entry from your phone, use fewer apps and simplify your day.

In the last year, we delivered what you told us you needed across 50+ production and beta releases.  To continue to deliver at this rapid pace in our mission to make things easier for you to hit your number, we need to start charging for ActivityHub. On June 1, 2016, users can purchase ActivityHub on a monthly or annual basis after a 30-day trial.

If you’re an early adopter who has signed up for ActivityHub before June 1, 2016, we’ll be making you a special offer. This is our way to say, “thank you!”  Your ongoing support has been invaluable, and you have made the app better.

On April 2nd, we will publish the  price for both the monthly and annual subscriptions. At this same time, I will notify you of the special pricing that we are making available to you.  Your price will be significantly less.

The reason you should buy ActivityHub is because it makes your job easier. Many of our customers are telling us that they are saving  2 hours per week and oftentimes more using ActivityHub.

Frankly, we’ve only just begun.  I look forward to having you as our customer.




No Matter How Cool You App Is, Customer Service Still Matters

By Dan Kauppi | Sunday, March 27th, 2016

how-can-i-help-1I was between meetings and my phone buzzed notifying me that it was my turn to handle a customer inquiry. In our company, EVERYONE supports customers, including the president.

After some quick back-and-forth with the new customer, I suggested we have a quick call. Within 10 minutes of downloading ActivityHub, the new user reached out for help within the app, got a response, and was invited to call. By the way, the entire interaction was managed from my phone.

The new customer’s immediate reaction was astonishment that he was interacting with a human who wanted to talk to him!

While there is a tremendous amount of hype around apps that incorporate machine learning and big data, THE number one feature that will drive engagement, loyalty and delight is customer service. What’s astonishing is that when I look at our competitors, few, if any, actually provide any kind of meaningful customer service.

The accepted practice among software companies is that you only get to talk to someone if you want to buy something!

Customers want to be heard. And we want to collaborate with them so we can include those features that they want in order to change how they work. Asking for help, brainstorming ideas, and suggesting new features is just two thumb taps away in ActivityHub. Just tap on the gear in the upper left corner, then touch the grey bar at the top of the page.

I think I love this feature more than our customers do. This is my direct line to have a personal conversation with each and every ActivityHub user. While I want to know about everything that doesn’t work as it should (yes, occasionally we break things), in-app support is primarily used to discuss potential enhancements, big ideas and successful practices with ActivityHub.

The one feature that seems to get lost in the buzz of what’s hot is customer service. ActivityHub is loved by our customers because they can do only the things that are really important more easily using our app than in any other app. That includes asking a simple question, notifying me of a problem or suggesting an enhancement.

While many companies are developing a mobile apps in which you could perform any CRM action you could ever imagine, they are missing the point – at their own peril. Salespeople want only those features that make their lives easier, particularly when they are on the road. That includes easily asking questions.

While we have the absolute best and most creative developers building ActivityHub, we have only 5-star ratings on the App Store because of our service.  Click here for the support productivity hack video.




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