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This CRM taps AI to improve your client relationships

(MARKETING) Conduit is a CRM that does more than CRM, it analyzes your networking data to help you see how to improve your relationships.

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Networking is one of those unspoken irritants in which anyone in business must participate. Like eating healthily or stopping at red lights, networking feels much more like an obligation than a desirable activity. If you’re a networking dissenter, however, you’ll be happy to know that a CRM option which automates your entire process exists.

Conduit, a networking analytics AI suite, provides all of the information you could possibly want to know about your network. From a basic timeline regarding your relationship with a specific connection to global insights on how best to continue reaching your ongoing networks, this AI presents an opportunity to view and make the most of the data surrounding the social side of your work environment.

While Conduit isn’t necessarily here to help you make friends, its uses begin once you’ve initiated a connection.

By reviewing your relationship’s timespan, activities, mutual aspects, and more, Conduit can generate a list of topics, questions, interests, and potential additions to the network based on your other connections.

Any AI which can recommend a trusted friend for your new friend is okay in our book, and Conduit fulfills this goal as part of its basic operation.

The AI ships with a myriad of different features, including email and calendar support. One irritating aspect of many “productivity” services is that they don’t include native productivity suites, so this is a refreshing take. Conduit can also interface with your existing workflows—Google-, Outlook-, and LinkedIn-based data are all supported, according to their website—making it simple to integrate your existing networking information with Conduit’s productivity tools.

One particularly handy aspect of Conduit’s productivity integration is its ability to match your existing LinkedIn contacts with calendar events for which they may be suited. This allows you to review your event lists with potentially revised attendance parameters without having to give yourself an aneurism trying to remember who you’ve left out; similarly, seeing your events through Conduit gives you the most efficient path to making sure you’re including the correct people.

Networking isn’t easy, and the process of making a new connection is nothing compared to the effort of maintaining it. If you’re looking for a way to ease your networking load while simultaneously improving those connections, Conduit’s CRM is worth checking out.

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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Real Estate Marketing

How to avoid the trainwreck of hiring social media influencers

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Watching The Profit’s season six episode nine, Feat Socks, is almost like watching a real live train wreck. Two millennial entrepreneurs and social media influencers, Taylor and Parker, are picked up by angel investor Marcus Lemonis for help with their struggling small business, Feat Socks.

They are also included in a business group called Community, created by known faces in the Lemonis empire. In almost no time at all, Taylor and Parker manage to completely alienate all the other business owners.

After having experienced a little (but short) taste of success with Feat Socks, Taylor and Parker suddenly think they are invincible and can do anything after selling some overpriced socks. Not only does their attitude make them annoying, but it makes me want to see them knocked down to their knees and forced to swallow a humble sandwich. Whole.

There are some real lessons to be learned here when hiring social media influencers.

1. A positive, encouraging attitude is everything.

If your attitude is bad, you will fail in business. Period. Parker and Taylor prove that with their struggles when dealing with others. Their arrogance isn’t doing them any favors either. Keeping a positive and encouraging attitude will attract far more opportunities and the right people.

2. They need to know your product.

You need to know your product inside and out, but so do your social media influencers. They should be able to explain it to others in a way that makes sense and makes them excited. This is more rare than you’ll ever know.

3. Don’t be awful to others.

It doesn’t matter what your role is or how successful you are or think you are, being a douchebag to others will burn you every time and cost you opportunities. It may even cost you friends and potential partners. Being a know-it-all is sure to hurt your prospects as well.

4. Be humble.

Being humble is something that will always serve you well in business. It doesn’t matter if you’ve made $10 or $10 million, if you’re an arrogant jerk, no one will want to be around you, making it very lonely at the top. Or at the perceived top.

5. Be a team player.

If you’re a business owner, then you’re part of a team, even if it’s a small one. If you’re a social media influencer, you’re also an important part of a team. Act like it and show courtesy to your team members.

6. A business is more than just numbers.

A profit and loss statement only tell one part of the story. A business is run by people, supported by people, and successful because of people. Without people to direct it, a product doesn’t sell itself. So be good to people in your business, whether it’s staff, customers, vendors, or anyone else you meet.

Watch the full trainwreck here:

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Real Estate Marketing

Open Design – rarely used in real estate, but boosts earnings

(OPERATIONS) Innovation is what keeps the industry alive, and Open Design improves the process, boosting the bottom line.

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As you begin executing your business goals set at the beginning of this year, it isn’t too late to considering embracing an emerging trend to help accelerate your innovations – Open Design. This refers to the practice of being transparent about the process of building products and services (without giving way too much of the final product).

It’s similar to the practice of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in higher education—sharing information and problems about your expertise, for free, with an interested community.

In many ways, Open Design aims to break down siloed industries and workers. By sharing information about how and why your business does what it does, Open Design actually reduces the amount of work your employees may have to re-do. The open access of the design system allows them to work beyond the traditional confines of their roles.

As creative and often specialized fields like design become increasingly open, the amount of “tedious” work that used to require attention is lessening.

Some of these mechanical tasks are becoming automated as a result of collaborative efforts in Open Design across industries and other times it is the result of interdepartmental collaboration within individual corporations.

open design

This evolution makes sense: if your web team gets feedback from your sales team that a certain process isn’t intuitive and that difficulty creates a bottleneck—they’d act on that feedback and eliminate the blockage.

Abstract reports that companies that focus on the streamlining of their design systems have revenues 32 percent higher than those that adhere to conventional methods.

Taking advantage of Open Design systems would allow your entire team to focus efforts on higher level problems rather than recreating the wheel with mechanical (and often easily programmable tasks) each time they need to begin a project. These cumulative, increasingly efficient efforts, can help your business scale.

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Real Estate Marketing

This app keeps people on your website and engaged

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If you’ve dealt with user onboarding, activation, or retention for your website, odds are you may have heard of or used the software Appcues. Typically Appcues specializes in user welcome tours, new feature announcements, or those oh-so-annoying yet oh-so-useful NPS surveys. (If you don’t know what a Net Promoter Score is yet, here you go. You’re welcome.)

Instead of the typical onboarding tours, Appcues is taking it a step further with the new Onboarding Checklists feature that has us impressed. As a veteran UX designer in SaaS, I’m usually leery of any new product that claims to do wonders for user onboarding/retention.

As we’ve looked through the inner workings of the onboarding checklists, our skepticism has turned into delight. And we’re not alone — this was recently the #3 “Product of the Day” on Product Hunt.

Rather than obnoxious pop-ups on your website, this gives the user the responsibility to complete the onboarding tasks at hand. Even though there are varying onboarding checklist tools out there, this is currently our favorite.

Here’s why:

1. The steps are backed by behavioral science.

This is the best part. The tool is built to encourage positive behaviors (activation) through a bias to completion, reward, and consistency.

2. It’s unobtrusive and unannoying.

Users don’t like to think they’re being manipulated into a new feature. (Looking at you, Facebook stories.) By allowing users to complete the onboarding process on their own time through a simple, unobtrusive UX, user loyalty is maximized while user frustration is minimized. Win-win.

3. You can segment checklists with different user bases.

By allowing to segment different types onboarding checklists, you’re allowed to make informed, data-driven decisions on the demographics of users more likely to complete certain portions of the checklist and alter as needed *swoon*.

Even though the new onboarding checklist feature is legit, you still need to do your homework in applying best practices to ensure it’s effective.

Make sure to know your user personas to segment properly, conduct user research, understand the most important steps, and make the checklist clear, concise, and rewarding. Need help with some UX best practices? This blog might help.

To test the user onboarding checklist, go to this site to register for a trial Appcues account. Starter accounts begin at $159/mo and up. #notanad

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