Latest from the Capsule team
The team at zferral have integrated their solution with Capsule. Simply put, zferral lets you create and manage an affiliate program to promote your products or services through your existing customers or other networks. This can be a very effective sales tool, particularly if you’ve got customers who are fans and can introduce you to new customers.
For more information on how affiliate marketing could help your business, check out zferrals’s website which explains the service and their integration with Capsule in more detail.
With so many businesses now using social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn, we've been looking for ways to include the information from these social network profiles inside Capsule. With our latest update to Capsule, pictures from these profiles can be pulled into contacts in Capsule. When you add a social profile such as a twitter account, LinkedIn or Facebook profile to a contact, Capsule will check to see if the profile has a picture, and if so automatically display it when viewing the contact. Capsule also checks for a gravatar which is a picture associated with an email address, so in many cases Capsule can grab a picture for a contact using just the email address.
To see it in action, add a social network profile to one of your contacts. Here's an example for Phillip, my co-founder here at Zestia.
And here's the resulting mugshot in Capsule:
We've also taken the opportunity to revamp the contact panel a little which you can see in the screenshot above. Rather than displaying the URL for a social network profile we show an icon which you can hover over to see the URL/account or click through to see the full profile.
Finally, we noticed a lot of users weren't aware that Capsule integrated with Twitter to show recent tweets (and now profile pictures) right inside a contact's page in Capsule. To make this more intuitive we updated the add new contact page to default the twitter input field. You can leave it blank or change it to another network, but hopefully this makes it clearer that you can add a twitter profile amongst other social network profiles to your Capsule contacts.
We greatly value suggestions from our users in making Capsule the best CRM around for small businesses. Some of the more popular suggestions on our uservoice forum have been to add a calendar view of your tasks in Capsule. A related suggestion has been to show your Capsule tasks in your favourite calendaring apps such as iCal on the Mac, Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar.
Over the weekend we rolled out the new calendar view and the iCal feed. You can see how the screen looks below. We also introduced task categories so that when you add a task to Capsule you can give it additional context such as it’s a Meeting or a Milestone or you need to Follow-up. We think this is a useful productivity improvement to the tasks functionality in Capsule.
We’ve added a default set of categories to all Capsule accounts which you’re welcome to edit and extend.
A decade or so ago when Microsoft was in its heyday, we bought software and installed it in our homes and offices because that’s the way it was. Fast-forward to 2009 and we know that consumers are embracing software and services that operate online. The recent announcement from Microsoft that they are discontinuing MS Money provides a good example of the way it was then and the way it is now.
Microsoft in their own words have admitted the market has changed
“With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed. After suspending annual updates of Money Plus in 2008, Microsoft is announcing today that we will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase after June 30, 2009.”
In the same way MS Encarta was made obsolete by Wikipedia, MS Money hasn’t kept up with our expectations for tracking personal finances. Online services like Mint, Wesabe and Quicken offer not only an easier way to get started, but also a whole new way of presenting and using your financial information. For example Mint can compare your spending with other users and highlight areas where you are paying over the odds. Because Mint is hooked up to your bank, it also keeps track of your transactions as they happen and alerts you to events such as your account running out of money. Neat stuff and much more useful than MS Money ever was stuck in the constraints of your PC.
Part of the reason Microsoft have discontinued Money is due to a cost cutting exercise. Fact is the cost of distributing and supporting installed software is expensive. With an online service there is only one installation to support, not millions. This results in lower costs or even free services for consumers.
While individuals have been busy trying out these new services, businesses have been slower to change. After all, which is easier - trying out Mint for your own use, or convincing your boss to use a new online accounting system to run the business? Small tech savy businesses are leading the way by mashing up their pick of online service such as twitter, CRM, accounting, wikis and email marketing. You can see an example of this in my post showing Javelin CRM integrated seamlessly with Xero and KashFlow. In the same way that personal apps like Mint have made MS Money obsolete, the writing is on the wall for traditional business apps stuck in PC’s such as Act!, Sage and even MS Word.
Javelin is days away from an upgrade where we are moving into a significantly new world for our Javelin users. We have integrated Javelin with two online accounting systems.
Why have we done this? One of the criticisms of CRM’s is the difficulty of maintaining accurate data. If you are not actively updating the information, no matter the quality of the CRM solution, it will fall into disrepair. Rubbish in, rubbish out.
I know this from personal experience. I am in a part-time buy-to-let partnership and we use an accounting package, a landlord system, and a bunch of excel spreadsheets. We have to key the bank details into the accounting system, we have to duplicate the contacts, and we have stopped using the landlord system for anything other than letters and the core contact details – even though the system offers much more.
The good news is that we have integrated the best CRM, Javelin, with the best accounting packages so you manage your data more easily. What a transformation from when these systems were disconnected. Accounting information is on the same page as all the other information about the customer – at a glance you can see the invoice status on the customer record, along with last contact dates, history of contacts and any pipeline business. So if you are chasing an outstanding invoice you can see the value of new business alongside the outstanding invoice before making the call to the customer. There are also some cool features like moving between systems being as simple as a click-of-a-button.
Personally, I hope other service providers will understand this need and start providing integrated solutions for their users. It is time for small business to get the benefits of SaaS well beyond discussions around a lower cost threshold and much reduced IT support. I am proud that we are leading the way in providing a service that is truly beneficial to you.
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Capsule is a service of Zestia Ltd which is a company registered in England with company number 06418281. © 2008-2013 Zestia Ltd. All Rights Reserved.