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Interviews 2013 - 2016

How Marketers Stay Productive: Didi Zheleva of InTouch CRM

January 8, 2015

This week we feature Didi Zheleva, Content and Digital Marketing Executive at InTouch CRM. InTouch is an integrated CRM and communications system designed for SME’s — store customer contacts and then communicate through HTML email, SMS or Survey to bring those customers back to you!

In this interview, you can read more about her work at InTouch CRM, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as her advice for budding marketers.

Your location: Based in Somerset but nothing beats being out and about talking to customers

Your favorite gadget: Samsung Galaxy Gear Watch.

didiz

You start your day with: Cup of Glengettie tea and an hour of spinning.

Your favorite time-saving trick: Getting up an hour earlier.

Your top 3 blogs you read daily: entrepreneur.com, Business2Community , MOZ blog, ZDNet.

“We are lucky to have customers who are very different and their businesses are from a variety of industries which is sometimes challenging but more than that, I find it inspiring, motivating and energizing.”

Describe an average day at InTouch CRM?

Most mornings call for an early start and an hour of vigorous exercise. Whether it’s a morning spinning session or a trip to the gym, exercising first thing in the morning gives me a boost of energy for the day.

Once in the office, a like to spend some time reviewing the numbers of the previous day and catching up with our customer success team if there are any outstanding issues. Most of the day after that is filled with meetings, planning future releases, partnerships and creating content to help our customers grow.

I always try to speak to at least one customer a day. This gives me a direct line to our clients, what they need and want. Not only can I hear what they have to say, but I can also learn from what they don’t say. I try to gain insights from their behaviour, like what they search for on our site or what features they use the most.

An average work day is 14 hours long, but I don’t mind, because I love my job. No day is ever a typical day really. We are lucky to have customers who are very different and their businesses are from a variety of industries which is sometimes challenging but more than that, I find it inspiring, motivating and energizing.

As a marketer, what is your favorite productivity hack?

I always look for ways to be more productive and make the most of my time and efforts, so that I get more done and still have time for my family and friends. For one, I am big fan of wearable tech. My Samsung Galaxy Gear is a great gadget which is useful and I can’t wait to see the new range of devices which will come out in 2015!

I also love using my own tools to plan my day. InTouch is great for scheduling tasks and setting up reminders, automating emails, keeping track of deals we are about to close etc. I also use Buffer daily for social media updates, Google alerts to keep up-to- date with industry news, and I think Trello is amazing for managing team projects especially when some of our team members are spread all over the country.

Another hack that I’ve discovered over the years that helps me be more productive is to do the least interesting task of the day first, so I get it out the way. Don’t procrastinate over tedious and time-consuming tasks. Get through them and deal with them first, they are never as bad as they seem.

I also like the 2 minute rule. Whenever a new task comes up, if it only takes 2 minutes to complete (like a quick phone call or answering an email) I do it straight away. But also (and this one is really important) make a few hours each day for ‘important but not urgent tasks’. They sometimes get left behind but they are ESSENTIAL for continued business success! For me these could be thinking of potential future updates for our system or looking for new partners. Dedicating a few hours a day on things that will help your business grow in the long-term is essential for any business.

As a person who is well-versed with online marketing/ inbound, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 3 tools you use?

Firstly, I may sound biased, but I swear by InTouch for automation. It helps me send out scheduled emails, text messages, automatic reminders and a lot more.

I also use Buffer to automate social media posts and keep track of the results, and an editorial widget on WordPress to schedule content.

The whole team uses Google Drive to share and synchronize documents. It really helps us when creating, saving, editing, sharing and collaborating on projects.

When it comes to SEO, I am a huge fan of SEM Rush and its analytical capabilities. I mainly use it for keyword research and PPC analysis.

Your company has a growing community of users. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?

Here at InTouch, we are driven by our customers. Everything we do really does revolve around our clients and helping them grow their businesses. From how we develop our app, what content we provide and how we target prospects, everything is driven by customer insight.

We regularly ask for feedback and update InTouch to match the customers’ requirements. We develop around what customers need and what their businesses demand in order to grow.

What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?

The two essential ingredients for success are great content and excellent support.These are the keys to success when it comes to customer acquisition and retention.

We carefully craft content (webinars, blog posts, tutorials, infographics) that aims to answer all questions potential and existing customers may have. The internet has made buyers much more autonomous and self-sufficient when making purchasing decisions. That is why, it is a high-priority task for us to produce top-quality content that is educational, informative, relevant to the readers and their businesses.

We top that up with AMAZING customer support. I truly believe it is a key differentiator in our market and our goal is to understand our customers and then help them achieve their goals. Happy, satisfied customers will not only stay with us but tell others about the good experiences that they had when dealing with us and this is how we have grown.

As I mentioned, we have clients spread out all over the world and so we have just beefed up our Customer Success team and extended our telephone support hours so that we are available to help customers 18 hours per day! Small businesses don’t work standard 9–5 hours and so why should we! I started the business with a passion to help great small businesses grow and that passion is still what drives me on today. My view is that if we are honest, supportive, helpful and understanding in everything we do then that is the route to our customers winning so meaning we win!

Is there any advice you’d like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?

Interestingly, I am just finishing off my book which will be published soon that looks into that. In it I speak about my own personal experiences as a start-up and small business owner. It is called 15 Mistakes of a Reasonably Successful Small Business Owner. The books is about how I started, what I’ve learned on the way to success, what I would have done differently and what I hope to achieve in the future. You read the first chapter exclusively here.

Another great advice for up-and-coming startup marketers and entrepreneurs is to network. Connect with as many like minded and inspirational people as possible.These connections are worth their weight in gold! If you wish to get in touch with me, you can find me on Twitter (@jijwhite) and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jijwhite)

A big thanks to Didi for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check out InTouch CRM.

The ‘How Marketers Stay Productive’ series asks marketers their tips & strategies for staying productive. Every month we’ll feature a new guest and the tricks that keep them working smart. Know someone you’d love to see featured? Email Us.

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