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Why ERP Packages Have Gotten Even Better Lately

Posted Wed, September 24, 2014 by Julie Short

While ERP packages that help manufacturers get better information at every step in the design and production process aren't new, their capabilities have grown significantly in recent years. In fact, any manufacturer that isn't using a strong ERP in 2013 is facing a serious competitive disadvantage.

There are a number of reasons that statement is true, but one change has significantly affected the way that ERP platforms operate: cloud computing.

Why is cloud computing such an important addition to ERP development? It allows for true, real-time communication and collaboration not just between departments, but even between vendors and entire companies. Because any part of an order can be updated instantaneously, different groups can adapt to one another seamlessly. And they can do it without long meetings, telephone calls, reports, and other bottlenecks.

What kinds of information might you want real-time? Here are just a few of the best examples:

  • The number (and contents) of current estimates and proposals that could be accepted at any time
  • Raw material prices for key inputs into your products, including quotes from suppliers
  • Delivery schedules for secondary components that you need to receive for product delivery
  • Transportation and logistical schedules and updates from trucking companies
  • Employee availability and current labor costs per-project

The list could go on and on, but the point is that you want to keep tabs on every factor that could affect the delivery scheduler bottom-line, and you want to know what's happening now, without having to make phone calls or bring managers into your office for continual updates. That's especially true if you're facing a situation where needs and priorities are changing quickly.

Real-time information – combined with industrial-grade efficiency – is always going to give a manufacturer an important competitive advantage. The more you know about your business, changing customer needs, supplier activities and timelines, current material costs and estimates, etc., the easier it is to maximize your profitability in any situation. That's why the ERP/cloud computing combination is one that can literally transform the way manufacturing companies operate.

Want to learn more about ERP solutions and how they offer real-time insight into your business? Contact us today and ask for a free demonstration so you can see the possibilities for yourself.

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : erp


How to Find and Approach New Clients on LinkedIn

Posted Wed, September 17, 2014 by Julie Short

When it comes to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, most of us revert back to being like grade school children – first we seek out people we know, and then let things branch out naturally to make new friends and contacts. When it comes to LinkedIn, however, things can be a little tougher. 

For one thing, the site has a professional focus, which makes it feel more like a professional networking event than a cocktail party. And for another, the stakes can be higher. Although a lot of CEOs, executives, and other VIPs don't have time to use other social sites, most of them are on LinkedIn and involved in company or industry-related discussions.

So, how do you find and approach new prospects on LinkedIn? Here are a handful of steps to help you get started:

Begin with the familiar. As with most parts of social media, and your business life in general, it's a good idea to begin by thinking about who you already know that's on LinkedIn, and who they might know in return. In other words, see if you have contacts who can make introductions on your behalf.

Be visible in the right places. Your LinkedIn profile is important, but industry-related discussion groups can be your greatest sources of information. That's because you won't just be able to see who is posting and getting involved, but also what kinds of topics are on their minds.

Ask, listen, and learn. The more you ask questions and pay attention to others, the easier it will be to grow your network. Try not to dominate every discussion, or give endless sales pitches at every opportunity – others on LinkedIn will tune you out, or ban you from their groups altogether.

Introduce yourself carefully. When the time is right (which means you know who you want to approach, what company they are with, and how you can help them), try to add them to your connections and send a simple, benefit-centered note. Explain why you want to add them, and then what you hope to do for them or their company.

Take the next logical step. This could be a phone call, an online presentation, a face-to-face meeting, or something else altogether. The point is to take the relationship beyond LinkedIn if possible, so you can turn the contact into a genuine sales opportunity.

Networking and finding new prospects through LinkedIn isn't an instant process, but it's one that can be very important to you as a salesperson, executive, or business owner. Learn to make smart connections through the site and you just might be able to open accounts and create relationships that you wouldn't have been able to build anywhere else.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : linkedin


Is Your Oil and Gas Operation as Efficient as it Could be

Posted Wed, September 10, 2014 by Julie Short

In today's ultra-competitive energy market, success in the oil and gas industry often comes down to efficiency. You don't just need to have the right team, the best locations, and a good plan, but to execute each step in a timely and effective way.

At the same time, though, cost controls and an unpredictable economy have driven a lot of oil and gas operators to put off important technology investments – leading to a "forest for the trees" situation in which efficiency is being sacrificed for small, short-term savings.

In other words, if you don't have the right technology team on your side, your oil and gas operations could be suffering. In fact, you might be "leaking" small amounts of money in virtually every part of your business.

We help our clients to avoid these issues by assisting them in a number of key areas, including:

Oil and gas web design. Obviously, having a strong website is important for marketing your business to other companies and investors. But, with the right web presence, you could use your site as a hub for project management, a tool for recruiting, and even a source of industry information.

Inventory and workflow management. These are the types of issues that fall under the broad umbrella of "logistics," and that can make or break the profitability of your oil and gas operation. Knowing what you have to work on – and then scheduling and managing those projects and locations – is critical to your success. Each of those tasks is a lot easier when you have the right technology on your side.

CRM and contact management. When you have customers, vendors, suppliers, and distributors to manage, keeping track of contacts, responsibilities, and personal details can become a daunting challenge. With effective CRM solutions in place, you can be sure that nothing slips through the cracks, especially your most important sales opportunities.

Could these kinds of systems help your business to be more profitable? There is an easy way to find out. Call or email WebRevelation today and let us give you a free, no-obligation consultation. After a quick technology review, we'll show you whether there are any parts of your business that can be improved in a cost-effective way using better hardware, software, or systems.

You've got nothing to lose, so why not get in touch with WebRevelation now and see why we are San Antonio's oil and gas technology experts?

Posted in : Business Strategy | 
Tags : Oil and gas


Are Old Ideas Holding You Back From a New Level of Efficiency?

Posted Wed, September 3, 2014 by Julie Short

Despite the fact that we live in a so-called "digital age," there are a surprising number of companies holding on to very old ideas and ways of doing things. In fact, some are even using newer technologies without truly taking advantage of them – something akin to using your laptop computer as a paperweight.

Obviously, we're exaggerating just a little bit, but it isn't unusual for otherwise successful businesses to be using backward processes, especially in the field of manufacturing, where many of our best clients do their work. Instead of embracing tools like CRM software, inventory control packages, logistics platforms, and custom mobile apps, they are clinging to spreadsheets, telephone calls, and other similarly outdated processes.

Why is it that they are fighting change, when they could be enjoying benefits like bigger sales, lower costs, and faster delivery times?

Although many companies would say they aren't ready to make changes, the answers often lie in the psychology of an organization, or the mindset of its executive team, rather than any true limitations of the hardware or software they could be using. That's understandable, but it's also something that's easy to fix. 

Here are a few of the common issues we help companies with, along with a couple quick thoughts on each:

Clinging to old habits. When it comes down to it, a lot of people don't like learning to do new things, or dealing with change at all. What usually happens, though, once we show them how much time and money can be saved by doing things a smarter way, is that our clients can't remember how they ever got along without the new tools and ideas.

A general resistance to change. This involves the same kind of thinking, but in an organizational sense. If things have always been relatively successful working a certain way, why change? The answer is that doing something successfully doesn't mean you can't do it better, or with less time, expense, and stress.

Personnel bottlenecks. Occasionally, we have clients who would like to try to do things differently, but can't get permission from a key executive or decision-maker. Again, the reasons for putting off change are usually valid, but a thoughtful proposal and demonstration are usually enough to let them give our way a try.

The blame game. Conversely, change is sometimes slowed by the worry that, if the new methods don't work out, the person responsible for bringing the idea up (or making the final decision) are going to be blamed. But, that ignores the reality that they can also receive credit for taking the initiative, and could receive even more blame later if they didn't take advantage of an opportunity to help the organization.

If your company isn’t getting enough from technology, right now is the perfect time to decide to change things, become more efficient, and move forward. Call or email the WebRevelation team today and let us show you how a few simple cost-effective shifts in the way you do business can make all the difference.

Posted in : Business Strategy | 
Tags : business strategy


Logo Design: Don’t Underestimate Your Visual Identity

Posted Wed, August 27, 2014 by Julie Short

Any college student that's been through Marketing 101 can tell you that logos are massively important to branding and marketing. And yet, we regularly meet with new clients who either don't have a great logo, or have been putting off the process of updating the one they have had for years.

Why is that? Certainly these men and women know how much logos mean, so why don't they invest in one?

The short answer, in most cases, is that they simply haven't gotten around to it, don't realize just how much the logo affects their marketing, or don't know where to turn for help. Despite the specific reason, it almost always comes down to a matter of momentum.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes, here are a handful of things you should know about logo design with WebRevelation:

Logos are powerful. In half a second or less, your logo tells a potential customer (or vendor/employee) what your company does, what its "personality" is like, and how you want them to feel about your business. And, because they're seen again and again, that impression is likely to be reinforced hundreds or thousands of times.

Sometimes it’s best to start over. If you have a terrible or outdated logo, the best strategy is sometimes to start over from scratch as part of a bigger marketing or branding push. Beginning again with something new is better than trying to polish an idea that just doesn't work.

Logos don’t have to be complicated. Most of the very best logos are simple. They convey a message and tone without over complicating it, and make themselves more memorable at the same time.

Logo design doesn’t have to be a long (or expensive) process. By working with the right creative team, you can get a fantastic logo in just a couple of weeks. And, updating your visual identity will probably cost you a lot less than you might think.

Choosing the right logo design team is important. Because of the power your logo could have, and the missed opportunities that arise when it doesn't, it's important to choose the right design team. But then again, you probably already knew that if you found your way to this blog.

When it comes down to it, a good logo works a lot harder – and is worth a lot more – and a lot of marketers realize this. Is it time you got a visual identity that makes the right impression on your buyers?

WebRevelation is a leader in web design, logo creation, and Internet marketing; with locations in Oklahoma City, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Call us now at 817-283-3324 or 405-607-0349, request a quote, or see what we can do to help your business grow.

Posted in : Websites , Tips and Tricks , Business Strategy | 
Tags : logo design


One Thing That Never Changes in Online Marketing

Posted Wed, August 20, 2014 by Julie Short

The rate of change in Internet marketing has always been extremely quick, and the process only seems to be accelerating. For instance, a lot of tactics that would have been considered "best practices" search engine optimization just a couple of years ago can actually harm your search engine positioning now. The same is true for a lot of notions we only recently held about web design, e-mail, and social media.

All of that continuous change can make things difficult for business owners and executives. Amidst all of this turmoil, however, it's important to remember that one thing about online marketing never changes; it's still just a form of marketing. Marketing by its very nature tends to be uncomplicated – you just meet new people and tell them about your company or products. The rest, as they say, is window dressing.

When you keep that perspective in mind, it's easier to roll and adapt with the changes as they come. Because your goal is consistent, it's only the specific tools and activities that have to be shifted from time to time. To help you understand why that principle is so important, here are a few good pieces of advice to follow in your online marketing… regardless of what the current trends or fads might be:

Know your market. Before you can meet your most important prospects and customers, you have to know who they are and what they want. Luckily, this is getting to be easier than ever with social media. Just get in touch with a few of your most important buyers and see what they have in common. Then, you can use that information to find others like them.

Have a great website and bring people to it. In this context, a "great website" doesn't necessarily mean any particular programming platform or layout feature – it just means that your website is easy to read, use, and understand. Clarity is a vastly underrated marketing skill.

Don’t be generic. Even before the Internet you had competitors all around you; the web has just brought them closer. The key isn't to run from all the other businesses who want to steal your customers, but to distinguish yourself from them. In other words, don't be generic in your marketing. Embrace your business’s personality and set yourself apart from the crowd.

Keep trying new things. As we hope you understand by now, marketing principles are fairly constant while tactics are changing all the time. Keep in mind what it is you want to accomplish, but don't be afraid to experiment with different methods. You never know when you'll stumble on something new and exciting.

Be the best. It's almost cliché, but the most reliable way to market your business is to be the best at what you do. When you're at the top of your game, others will seek you out and give you referrals. Aim for the leadership role in your industry or market and the process of finding customers always gets easier.

Marketing might not be easy, but it isn't rocket science, either. The more things change in our industry, the more you realize that reaching out in getting to know buyers is all about understanding what they want and giving it to them. Keep that idea front and center and you're always likely to do well, regardless of which specific marketing tools you use.

Looking for top-tier Internet marketing help in Oklahoma City? Call WebRevelation now at 405-607-0349 and ask for a free consultation.


Posted in : Email Marketing , SEO/SMO/SMM , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : internet marketing


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