How to track your actions with IBM Verse

Ever wanted a smarter inbox? An inbox that acted as if it was your mother – taking care of all your nitty gritty stuff? Well, your mother does not work at your office, so why not settle for a smart personal assistant. An assistant that keep track of anything for you without any complaint on the salary or the working hours.

I would settle for IBM Verse if I were You. Here is one of the reasons why:

Social CRM drives the sales to closing!

Pipeliner CRM is on a mission to build a sales tool that seamlessly guides salespeople and gives them all the insights they need to make Opportunities out of Leads and Closed Deals out of Opportunities – which is why I’ve partnered with them!

Pipeliner-CRM-Elements-TeaserMy company, Brainworker AS, is an authorized Pipeliner CRM Strategic Consulting Partner for Scandinavia. That means we promote, sell, implement the solution and also train and coach their sales people.

Pipeliner recently announced Elements, a groundbreaking release from Pipeliner CRM, which features a radical new UI design, corporate logo and a one-of-a-kind feature that is the first to map real sales processes – called The Buying Center.

In my early days at IBM I had to join their eminent sales school which was more or less bootcamps where we trained 24/7. And I learned a lot of methods; Social Selling, Solution Selling, Selling Forensics, Provocative Selling, you name it – I was trained on it.

But one of the most important things I learned was how to build a Pain Chain and draw a map of who is who and who is influencing your proposal positively or negatively – and who is the real decison maker.

The Pain Chain is a map of how a problem somewhere in the company is the cause for another problem at another place in the company. Tracking this and make a map of it helped me get around in the company and each time a little higher in the decision chain.

And here is the clue with Pipeliner CRM’s Buying Centre – it freally helps you make that map and vizualise it for yourself and your sales reps.

Another great thing with this solution that I use in my prospecting and find extremely helpful – Pipeliner CRM tracks whatever happens around the customer in social media. Be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. – at all times you are updated on the news on every prospect or customer you have – and always has something to talk about with the customer. Rule number one in all sales: Know your customer!

Want to check out Pipeliner CRM for free with four of you sales reps for 30 days? Register here and I’ll give you one hour online free demo or assistance to get up and running!

Dreaming of success in sales? You need a New Way To Work! And here it is – Pipeliner CRM!

Since I stopped working for IBM and started my own consulting business, I have broadened my product portfolio. I now sell two different solutions that both fits into the New Way To Work principles: IBM Connections Cloud and Pipeliner CRM.

Both are super solutions to improve the way we work, increase our productivity and help us get more skills, communicate openly, collaborate efficiently, make us focus on our targets and consentrate on activities that brings every sales opportunity to a faster closing.

Most of you readers know IBM Connections Cloud. Not so many knows Pipeliner CRM. You really should acquaint yourself with Pipeliner CRM. It simply is the best and most modern CRM-solution I have ever seen – and I have seen many.

I came across this great solution when I was looking for a CRM-solution for my own consulting company. I downloaded a free 30 day full version to test it out and it was love at first sight.

Pipeliner CRM turns traditional CRM, as we know it, totally upside down! Pipeliner is not a contact register or an adress book (even if it is also that). Pipeliner is not a list of prospects and leads (even if it is also that). Pipeliner is not a traditional pipeline management tool (even if it is also that).

Pipeliner CRM is so much more! It is, no doubt, the worlds most visual and simple to use sales tool. Sales Managers will especially love its way to empower the sales reps and the way it helps them move the cases forward to a closing. You may structure Pipeliner CRM to fit your special sales method and sales process, step by step. It improves the quality of the sales process and documents every step simply by drag & drop functionality.

These days there is a new version calles Pipeliner CRM Arithmetica which simply is mind-blowing by how it simplifies reporting and analyzes the numbers, the prognoses and the activities measured sales rep by sales rep, region by region, product by product – and it does it all with beautiful graphs and easy to understand visual views.

Your really have to see it by yourself. Go to this link and download a free 30 days full version for four users. Only by downloading from this link you will get one -1- free online help from me personally to get going!

There are lots of videos on YouTube showing how to use the solution. Check them out! Here is a short teaser video:

Kill email before email kills you!

This is a personal and true story from my own life. It is a story about how working in an old fashioned way made me crash “into the brick wall” – burnt out without any energy left. A sad story. But also with a happy ending. A story about how I changed my attitude and got myself a totally «New Way To Work».

Years ago I worked for a company where my department used email as its main production line. All communication was taking place through the inbox. Even if they sat a few meters from each others they sent email to be sure to document everything they did. All their dialogues was through email.

It burned me out after a short time being locked into this email jail. I never got on top of my tasks and soon I met the wall with a bang. My body was in pain, my feelings was in pain. I had to leave meetings abruptly to go to the mens room to vomit or get some air to calm down and stop shivering.

My medical doctor was deadly honest: – You are overworked and you have only two options – fight or flight! But I don’t think you should fight any more, because your energy level is as low as it can get. You have to flight and move away from the situation, rebuild your energy, take long walks, clean out your stress and find a new way to handle all your tasks at work.

So, he told me to stay away from work for three months, he medicated me and sent me to a coach.

Three moths later, after a really tough time, I was back in business, with new energy, with a smile on my face, and whistling on a happy tune on my way to work – with a plan!

The turnaround!
I had decided to change the way I work. I had to get out of my inbox and get a new load balance by clustering with my colleagues. I had to share my tasks, my knowledge, my dialogues, my documents, my thoughts and my idéas with my colleagues. I had finally understood that working together is easier than working alone. Alone I can lift kilos. Together we can lift tons!

So I stopped my email abuse. And started work socially, using the social intranet for internal interaction, using the external social network for external interaction. I became an email extremist!

Are you one of those who have hundreds of emails waiting to be dealt with when coming home from vacation? I guess the answer is yes, unless you are one of those who read your work mail also when having time off. Time off?

Some of us use the out-of-office function in our mail client from time to time, saying things like “I am out of office until x-date and will not be able to deal with your email until I am back”.

This automated message tells the sender that nothing will happen until you are back. Or maybe your automated reply should also give a message that told the sender who to connect with while you are away – or maybe all email should be re-routed to a colleague who is on duty? Then things are taken care of when you are away.

Anyhow – there are lots of emails to deal with when you get back. If you are brave enough you could formulate an automated answer like Joana Breidenbach of charity fundraisers Betterplace. Send a mail to her when she is on a vacation and you’ll get an automated answer like this:

” Many thanks for your mail. Unfortunately I won’t be able to read it, as I am taking my annual email sabbatical. From August 1-29 all my emails will be automatically deleted. See you in September, Yours Joana.”

Wow, what a brave woman! Wish I dared to do that! Instead I keep all the incoming mail in my inbox and return an automated message saying something like ” I am out of office from x-date to y-date and will not be able to answer any mail. If urgent please call my colleague XYZ on X-phone number. If not I will deal with your email when I am back”.

The Solution!
The clue is then to sort your inbox when you are back again and only deal with the important ones. First thing I do is clicking on the button «Show only new email». Then I sort the emails using the “Blueberries” (a nice sorting function in IBM Notes, to my knowledge there are no other email systems offering the same or similar function). “Blueberries”, as I call them, are small blue dots marking each email whether the email is for me only, for me and four more people or for lots and lots of people. If you are not aware of this function look for it in the mail preferences.

All the emails with an open dot (not filled with blue color) I instantly delete without even opening them. Those mails are mostly for information to a whole range of people and are usually of no interest to me, nor have a content that is imperative for my tasks and goals.

All the emails with a half full dot are directly meant for me and four others. This is typical for mail that concerns a small group of people, especially people working close together on a team or on a project. These mails I do not delete, but set on hold until I have dealt with those mails that are addressed to me only, which is indicated with a full blue dot.

These are the emails I work through first and decide there and then what to do with them. Are there any action I have to do? Usually you find your tasks in the bottom of the mail. If so, could I do it in two minutes before I open the next mail? If so – I do it there and then without delay! Done is done! Next email!

If there are mails that do not expect any action from me, but have important information I should read later, then I flag the mail for later action – which to me means no more than 24 hours!

Me – the email extremist!
My personal mail regime is that there should be maximum 5 mails in my inbox at the end of office hours. All those five mails should be flagged and have to be dealt with before I do any new tasks the next work day!

I do not use folders in my mailbox. Folders and archives are where documents and emails go to die. Folders and archives are – in my mind – the graveyard of knowledge. Only documents and email on travel, in action, has a real value.

Think of it: If you have a marriage contract with your spouse on how things (economy, house and other stuff) should be split between you if, by any chance, you should get divorced (50 % of all marriages in my country ends with divorces) – what value does that contract/agreement have while there are only happy days? None, whatsoever! The document is stored in the safe and has no value until it gets activated when the war is firing up! Then it has a value and become what former military professionals (as myself) calls «Rules of War».

Don’t store – share!
Many of us download a lot of stuff from internet. It might be good to have this information some day. We become information hoarders.

So what do I do with email I have to store? Well, I do not store them – I share them with my team in communities, activities, in project rooms or in customer communities. Because those creates dialogue around the documents and the mails. Because more people than myself can learn from those emails and documents and we all learn more together from the dialogues we share.

Documents have no value!
In my mind a dialogue around a document has more value than the document itself. Because a document is created by one brain only, but dialogues happens between a number of brains. And a number of brains have more creativity, more knowledge and more processor power than just one.

I call this “The Clustering of Brains”. Those of you who know how we cluster data servers to balance the workload, to secure information and to speed up processing performance, will know what I mean. It is the same with brain clusters.

So I bring my information, my mail, my documents out in the open. Today, in my own company Brainworker, I use IBM Connections Cloud, both internally and externally. For email, for sharing documents, for sharing discussions, wikis, files, adresses, editing documents, spreadsheets, presentations web meetings, chat – almost everything! It reduces my inbox, improve my productivity, improve my skills and provides a better load balance (the balance between my work life, private life and my private values).

And I use this great solution both on my Mac’s and my handhelds. It is simply a total new way to work that helps me stay on top of everything. It helps me get a balanced life.

So maybe my new out-of-office message should be something like this:

” Thank you for sending me email. If I am only one of hundreds of receivers (BCC:) I will probably not find your email important and focused enough to read and therefore I will delete it, unread. If yourr email is meant only for me or a group of five I will read it during work hours and take action within 24 hours. Be aware that I never read email attachments. Please share them in a community where all stakeholders may share dialogues around the document and share ideas – to make us all more productive and knowledgable. For short messages please call me on phone or ping me on Sametime. Have a nice and productive day!”

Or something like that…

Kill email before email kills you! Get a social life!

PS! Some of the email handling methods I describe above are based on my earlier IBM Notes email client. Now I use IBM Verse which is an intelligent email reader/handler and acts more or less like a personal assistant. IBM Verse is part of my social intra/extranet that I use to collaborate both internally and externally with business partners and customers.

Do I really need a laptop now? Just installed IBM Connections Editor on my iPad…

Wow! I just updated my IBM Connections Cloud app and installed the IBM Connections Editor app on my old iPad Mini. Opened a new document, wrote, edited and saved it. Put away my iPad and there it was – the very same document in my files repository in my IBM Connections Cloud account. As easy as chewing a peanut!

So now I am wondering – do I really need my laptop anymore? With IBM Connections Cloud I can more or less do most of my work on my litte iPad combined with my small iPad Keyboard from Logitech. It looks like I can do 70 – 80 % of my tasks using the iPad which saves me quite a bit of weight in my shoulder bag. I could do with a small purse!

Well, for some tasks, like live demo’s of some software solutions, I would need a laptop (I use an old MacBook Air which do not connect to Apple TV). But more or less everything else I can do on my handhelds.

What about You? How do you see the trend in your case? Is the standard laptop a dying breed? What do you use your handhelds for workwize?

Feel free to comment!

If you feel email is boring – have a look at this!

– I hate email! The more email I get the more I hate it. It kills my personal productivity. It is so boring and old fashioned!

Is this what you feel about good old email? I used to feel that myself wether it was Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail or any other ordinary email client. Even IBM Notes was a little boring although it was the best I had tried so far.

But then IBM Verse came along. Not only doing the email stuff, but working as my personal assistant as well. In my new company everything is based on cloud. Email (IBM Verse), Intranet/Extranet/Files/Archiving/Web-meetings/Projects/Chat etc. (IBM Connections Cloud), and e-conomy (bookkeeping and invoicing). For personal use I have Evernote (web clipping and personal notes) and Omnifocus (to-do’s and personal projects).

IBM Verse has totally changed the way I work with email and is totally integrated with all the other functions in IBM Connections. Actually that is all I need to run my business. The combination of IBM Verse and IBM Connections Cloud is the perfect tool for a startup like my company Brainworker. It has everything I need – even office productivity tools.

Now, have a look at the video below and I am sure you will be convinced it is worth the monthly prize per user (one pint of beer a month – norwegian prices). Cheers!

How To Use Email To Transform How We Work

hand touching touch pad, social media conceptToday we use too much time working in our mail boxes searching for information. Some analysts says that we use more or less 28 hours a week working with email. That is in fact nearly three full workdays. So we simply must find a new way to work!

Social tools, and mobile and cloud technologies have significantly changed the expectations of consumers about mail, social interaction and other collaboration tools. We bring these expectations to the workplace. While at work, many of us experience significant information overload from disconnected applications built for an earlier era. When it comes to the technology we use, we want our work experiences to mirror the slick experiences we have in our personal lives, while our organizations want tools with company-wide security and scalability.

Carolyn Pampino, IBM, has published and article about his in Forbes. It is a must read! Here is the link!