Zero BS CRM: Product Update #6 – Oct 2017

Zero BS CRM wrote this on October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween everyone ?? it’s time for another Product Update, and #6 covers what’s been happening in October with Zero BS CRM.

These updates cover things we’ve been working on in the core CRM, things we’ve been working on the “main site” as well as other spooky CRM news that’s taken place in October. As always you can read the previous updates here.

We’re constantly developing Zero BS CRM, and we love sharing monthly updates. If you’re not already on Team ZBS, join us now!

Zero BS CRM Core

While it may seem like it’s been quiet with any “big new feature” releases, we’ve still be active in working on the core. There’s a huge underbelly of updates to the core this month. Here’s the main things we’ve updated and added.

Quick Filters

Previously, you could filter by “Customer” or by “Lead” which was inflexible and didn’t cover situations where your contact statuses were different than those.

Now you can add additional filters, and the available choices will match what you’ve got set in your contact statuses in the CRM settings.

Clicking either of the above filters will filter your contact list by that status, however you can now add additional filters (matching any other statuses you’ve defined) by clicking the settings icon and dragging in (or out) the filters you need.

Client Portal

We’ve added a settings page to this, as well as allowing you to customise the emails which go out to client portal users. We didn’t stop there though, we’ve also added an option which auto-generates portal access for each new contact you add (and it’ll even send them an email too)

Quote Notifications

We’ve also added the options to modify the emails which are sent when a new quote is created for your clients or contacts (as well as customising the quote accepted notification email).

Other improvements and fixes

There’s a lot more in the cookie jar that we’ve refined this month. Including the main points:

  • PDF Invoice has been tidied up and formatting tweaked
  • Reduced what the CRM outputs to the debug log (if debugging is turned on) [Performance+]
  • Added messages to direct users to custom fields and field sorts (the ability to customise the contact details page was often overlooked)
  • Added “Type Ahead” to the New / Edit Invoices [Performance+]
  • Added the ability to choose whether to bill the contact, or the company (in the Invoice builder)
  • Fixed a bug which was saving abandoned draft invoices in the “Manage Invoices” list
  • Added support for even more languages (Spanish, Australian, Brazilian Portuguese, and German)

 

Extensions

We’ve continued to work on our upcoming extensions, Automations and Mail Campaigns v2.0. These are complex extensions to develop (but easy to use) and we’ll be releasing beta versions of these in the next few weeks to our existing customers (starting with Automations).

We’ve added in code to allow you to “Round Robin” distribute leads to a specific role based on criteria (e.g assign all news leads to your Customer Managers on a round robin basis) so that they get equal workloads when managing contacts.

In October we’ve added in the ability to edit your automations and are working through testing all the various triggers and actions. Here’s the current list of triggers:

  • New Contact
  • New Transaction
  • New Quote
  • New Invoice

The conditions cover:

  • Has status (customer / lead etc based on your statuses)
  • Has a tag
  • Field contains (i.e Country contains the word India)
  • Transaction contains (for actions based on specific purchases (e.g. transaction contains “Entrepreneur”)
  • Plus more coming soon

The actions cover (examples, but not limited to):

  • Send email to the Contact, to site Admin, the Contact Owner or a specific email address
  • Assign to (a specific user)
  • Distribute to (a specific role) on a round robin basis
  • Convert Kit Tag (add a Convert Kit Tag)
  • Plus more coming soon

We’ll be releasing the automations v1.0 extension in our Entrepreneur’s Bundle so keep an eye out for that in the next couple of weeks. Any existing bundle customers will also receive the extension (available to download from their account).

Other CRM Extensions

We’ve also got a handful of smaller extensions which are nearing completion and in the pipeline for a November / December time release

  • Twilio Messenger (send SMS’s to your contacts using Twilio)
  • Membermouse integration
  • Ninja Forms Connect (connect Ninja Forms + Zero BS CRM)

Rebrander / White-Label

We’ve moved our re-brander / white label v2.0 to a closed beta test. This helped us pick out a number of bugs which would have impacted the wider roll out. This service will be rolled out to people wanting to white-label the CRM (and our Resellers) in late November / early December.  It’ll be worth the wait.

If you want the epic effectiveness of Zero BS CRM, but you can’t use it because of the name, this covers you.

Main Site Updates

What you won’t notice as users of our CRM is what we battle with daily when it comes to our own systems. In October Woody and I had a meet up over 3 days to sit and focus on the longer term strategy of Zero BS CRM (we are in this for the long run) as well as look at some of the tools we are using to help serve our customers in a no-nonsense way.

Importantly, any time we take battling with these problems is time taken away from us working on, and continuing to improve, the product.

A glaring weakness here is our reliance on plugins for our checkout (and how they’re slow, or even useless) at updating certain areas for best practices. Here’s a few things which were really difficult using our current system (of WooCommerce & WordPress).

Upgrading to a Bundle

  • We have customers who purchase a single extension from us (e.g. Mail Campaigns)
  • …they then decide they’d like to upgrade to our bundle (woo hoo, good choice)
  • …BUT there’s no easy way to do this! (Not cool.) and we need to manually refund WooSync, ask for a re-purchase etc.

Adding Licenses

  • Currently there is no way for users to add additional licenses for updates + support to their purchase (and they’d have to repurchase another bundle). This is clunky, and to a degree, BS.

Product Bolt ons

  • It’s hard in our current system to give you access to specific CRM “parts” of Reseller (e.g. the rebrander / white-label part).
  • Adding a new product is a pain-in-the-butt in the current system.

Overheads

  • Our current system is WooCommerce and has a lot of overheads (e.g. they release a new version which could easily break a site, just for “product gallery zoom” functionality). We don’t want to be impacted by a heavy plugin which could break (or another plugin interfere).
  • All these plugins and all these ****s. EVERYthing adds to the load time the customer experiences, and frankly, we want to give that time back. Life’s to short for slow websites.

Legalities

  • PCI compliance – WooCommerce subscriptions and WooCommerce itself can break the terms of PCI law, (depending on your setup)

So, to keep hardline to our rule of Zero BullSh*t, we made the decision to build a brand new account management system for our customers.  Not only will this streamline the checkout it’ll make it easier to download your products, see your invoices and manage your subscriptions. It’ll also be easier for you to “bolt on” extras to your subscriptions (such as upgrades, licenses and bolt-on products like the re-brander) and it’ll load in hot-smoking-milliseconds.

It’s taken a truckload of my time (Mike) and a good few wheelbarrows of Woody time to really make this an effective addition to our service. While it’s not brand new features to the CRM, it’ll save us a lot of time, you a lot of time, and with all the buckets of extra time we’ll all have, we will have plenty of energy to continue to focus on building the most effective CRM going. (While knowing our customers are better looked after by our new system.)

WordPress.org

We’ve generally been rolling out an update each week, but what you don’t see is the “prep” that happens when it’s time to roll out an update. This generally takes half a day to a day’s time every time we do the update from our working branch.

This is because we test thoroughly. This is because we’re no-nonsense. If we rolled out imperfect versions to save us time, we’d end up costing all our users time. That’s not okay. Also, our working branch contains operational comments and various tools (e.g. scss folders, our .git folders etc), which helps us develop, but which aren’t for inclusion in the version to be released.

So we’ve written an automation system which gives us the ability to do a “1-click” test, and “1-click” deploy, (which takes 5 cold automated minutes). While this won’t impact you directly, it does mean less stress for us (and happier developers = happier products).

Fresh Paint…

We hinted last month at a fresh lick of paint and improvements to performance. These are ongoing and we’re taking our time to get these right.  Want to know when they’re here? Don’t forget to keep up to date.


Posted October 31, 2017

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