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Posts Tagged ‘best-practices’

IfPeople made it to the SJF Summit on the New Economy in Durham, NC this September and found it

to be a truly inspiring conference. It was a strong showcase of how diverse and robust the new economy is. There were really incredible solutions in every area of clean tech from energy and waste water treatment, to irrigation and air filtration.  Counter to many misconceptions about green solutions, these businesses were showing the energy and water savings from these solutions is so great that the payback is often less than a year! 

Stop Leaving Money on the Table!
Companies that are using traditional means of addressing this issues are literally leaving money on the table. If installing a green air filtration system costs you a $100,000 investment up front, with a 1 year payback, your future savings after that first year are $100,000 a year before calculating in inevitable rises in energy costs.

So why aren’t these solutions already the norm?
Systems change is always on our mind…and our work is about giving companies that are bringing breakthrough solutions with a solid business model the sales and marketing tools and processes to succeed. So we hate to see good opportunities for going green go to waste! Here’s some of the barriers we see to that:

1. Resistance to change
We are resistant to change even when the dollars and cents add up. Take, for instance, a new approach to maintaining good air quality. Air quality in most factories is maintained by constantly turning over the air inside a building. Forcing air from inside a building to outside requires a tremendous amount of  energy. Not only that, but the air brought into the building must be climate controlled which also uses up energy.  A company we met at the conference has a different approach. Instead of moving air in and out of the building, they focus on changing existing air into something breathable and environmentally friendly.  They attract indoor pollutants into a bio-digester, which breaks down the compounds into inert particles.  It’s a completely different approach that doesn’t just require a cost-benefit analysis, but calls for a paradigm shift. 

People are resistant to such shifts. If we are going to meet the challenges of climate change, peak oil and water and other challenges, we will need to be ready to embrace the new paradigms required to make these shifts a reality.

2.  Poor sales process
Even if there’s a great opportunity to save money with a product, if the sales force behind that product is not effective in selling, there won’t be product uptake. People make decisions for different reasons depending on their role in the company, their interests, and their priorities. It’s important to understand what is relevant to the various parties in a sales pipeline and to make sure your company can systematically engage decision makers until they make the sale. Having strong systems for automating your marketing processes can make a huge difference in how many prospects you convert to customers. Without these processes it is even more challenging for innovative companies to bring their constituents along and help the masses embrace the changes you are bringing to market.

3.  Poor Key Messages
Different decision makers have different concerns that must be met before they invest.  The person concerned with compliance wants to know that your air purification system is going to work, and meet all regulations and standards.  The CFO wants to know that your ROI numbers are real and reliable.  And the maintenance staff who took care of the old system wants to be secure that they are not being put out of a job. Make sure that the messaging is right at the right time based on where you are in the sales process and who you are working with!

Alright green product and service companies…we hope that’s helpful insight from our takeaways from the SJF Conference. Hopefully we’ll see you there next year! And in the meantime, contact us for help on marketing and sales for your green products!

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A post on the Force.com blog has alerted me to Action Plans, a new, free add-on for Salesforce.com.  Action Plans allows you to create reusable “task templates” for Salesforce.  What exactly is a task template?  Let’s say that, for every new lead that comes into Salesforce, you have more than one task that needs to be completed for that lead.  You might have multiple tasks that are requires for each new lead.  Different people might be responsible for those tasks and some of those tasks might be dependent on the completion of other tasks.  That’s where task templates come in.  They allow you to set up multiple tasks for a lead (or other Salesforce objects) which can be assigned to different users and can be set to activate at specific times or when other dependent tasks are completed.  In this way, Action Plans can promote best practices.

Here’s a video that shows how Action Plans works.

The product is free, so go check it out in the App Exchange.

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For nonprofits, conferences represent terrific opportunities to network with other organizations, learn about new resources, and get insight from renowned experts. But with the economy in the dumps, it’s difficult for budget-tight orgs to foot the bill for travel expenses and registration fees.

Thankfully, the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) has come up with a solution (to the travel problem, at least). The organization is hosting a 2-day event entirely online on September 16 to September 17. Called NTEN: Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission, the conference is based on the NTEN book of the same name, teaching nonprofit leaders strategic approaches to navigating the often overwhelming world np tech.

What makes this conference especially interesting is that NTEN has taken pains to make sure that attendees get the same networking opportunities they would at an in-person event. NTEN plans to create an online community around the conference, allowing attendees to ask speakers questions and network in an interactive learning environment. NTEN will also record and archive all sessions, giving attendees the ability to re-watch their favorite speakers.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty good deal. We’re attending, so if you can’t make it, we’ll let you know what happens.

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The NTEN Nonprofit Tech Conference, held in San Francisco, Apr 26-28, was fertile ground for launching new reports for the sector. Here’s an overview of reports you should be aware of:

  • Nonprofit use of social media: The Nonprofit Social Network Survey report compiles the experiences of ~!,000 organizations in social media. The report shows that the sector’s uptake of these tools is growing quickly and receiving real resources, though it is a new process and relatively little revenue is being generated this way.Get report here.
  • Nonprofit websites: The 2009 NonProfit Website Study: Building Donations and Loyalty Through the Web Channel was the first study of constituent satisfaction with nonprofit websites by Foresee Results. According to the report, the nonprofit sector is lagging other industries in site visitor satisfaction. And that’s important because if you make your site visitor happy, it greatly increases their chances of donating, volunteering, returning, etc. The most important things to make them happy? Functionality and how your organization’s image are represented (we’ve got a fair bit of experience in handling both those at ifPeople – check out some case studies). Check out the report here.
  • Donor management software: The folks at Idealware released yet another great report! This one, A Consumer’s Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Software,  is on affordable donor management systems (everything under $4k for the first year). They evaluated systems on 127 criteria and provide guidance on choosing systems for different types of organizations and helping you understand what these tools do. Get the report here and find the full analysis here.

I think there’s actually one, if not two, more reports (incluing one from a session I attended), but I’m still trying to match up paper notes with info I can link you to online. More soon…

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