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How Real Estate Investor CRM Can Help Streamline Investor Communication


How Real Estate Investor CRM Can Help Streamline Investor Communication


Effective communication is key to success in the fast-paced world of real estate investment. Real estate investor Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems offer a sophisticated solution for managing investor relations, streamlining communication processes, and ensuring investors are always in the loop. This article will explore how CRMs can be a game-changer for real estate investors.

Centralized Information Management

Centralized information management in real estate investor CRMs leads to unprecedented efficiency. All crucial data in one place allows investors to quickly access information about market trends, property details, investor profiles, and more. This centralized database is not just a repository of information; it’s a tool that makes data retrieval simple and immediate.

The immediacy is particularly crucial when dealing with time-sensitive decisions, ensuring investors have all the necessary information at their fingertips. In addition, centralized information management in a real estate investor CRM also helps with the following features:

Risk Reduction and Data Integrity

A unified system greatly minimizes the chances of misplacing documents or losing critical information. Furthermore, real estate investor CRM systems maintain high data integrity standards, ensuring that the information is not only secure but also accurate and up-to-date. This reliability builds a strong foundation of trust between investors and their clients, as all parties can be confident in the data provided.

Enhancing Communication and Engagement

Customer Relationship Management systems also allow for a highly personalized investor experience. By leveraging data analytics, these systems can tailor communications based on individual investor preferences and histories.

This level of personalization means investors can receive updates and information directly relevant to their interests and investments. Such a customized approach to communication significantly enhances investor satisfaction and loyalty, as it demonstrates a deep understanding and consideration of their specific needs.

Building Long-Term Relationships

In addition to personalized communication, CRMs facilitate the nurturing of long-term relationships with investors. Investors feel valued and understood when relevant and timely information is provided and their queries are promptly responded to.

This ongoing engagement is crucial for retaining investors over the long term, especially in a market with plentiful options and fierce competition. CRMs provide the tools to maintain these relationships effortlessly, ensuring investors feel connected and informed.

Analytics, Customization, and Security

CRMs provide valuable insights into investor behavior, preferences, and engagement levels. Investors can refine their communication strategies by analyzing this data for better results. In addition to improving external communications, CRMs facilitate better internal coordination. Team members can access the same information, ensuring everyone is on the same page. This internal harmony is crucial for presenting a unified front to investors and stakeholders.

The customization options available in most CRMs are another significant advantage. Investors can tailor the system to match their specific needs, whether it’s customizing communication templates or setting up unique workflow processes. Security is a paramount concern in real estate investment, and CRMs offer robust security features to protect sensitive investor data. This security fosters trust and reassures investors that their information is safe.

Streamlining Workflow and Maximizing Efficiency

By automating routine tasks such as data entry, follow-ups, and report generation, CRMs save a substantial amount of time. This time efficiency allows investors to focus on more strategic tasks like market analysis and relationship building. Automated workflows ensure that critical processes are not only faster but also more accurate, reducing the likelihood of human error.

Enhanced Collaboration and Team Productivity

With shared access to information and communication tools, teams can work more cohesively and respond to investor needs more swiftly. This collaborative environment boosts overall productivity, as team members can easily delegate tasks, share insights, and track progress on joint projects. Effective collaboration, facilitated by CRMs, is a cornerstone of successful real estate investment firms.

Customizable Workflows for Diverse Needs

The adaptability of CRM systems to different business models is another significant advantage. Each real estate investment firm has unique processes and client management strategies. CRMs offer customizable workflows, allowing firms to tailor the software to their specific operational needs. This customization ensures that the CRM complements existing processes, enhancing rather than disrupting the workflow.

Integration with Other Tools and Platforms

Modern CRMs integrate seamlessly with various other tools and platforms, such as financial software, marketing tools, and property management systems. This integration creates a cohesive ecosystem, streamlining the management of all aspects of real estate investment. With a centralized system that communicates with other tools, investors can make more informed decisions, track their portfolio’s performance more accurately, and maintain a holistic view of their business operations.

Proactive Management and Future Planning

With features like predictive analytics and trend monitoring, investors can anticipate market changes and adjust their strategies accordingly. This forward-thinking approach is vital in a market known for its volatility and rapid shifts. By leveraging the data and insights CRMs provide, investors can plan for the future by identifying potential investment opportunities and risks before they become apparent.


Real estate investor CRMs are more than just a tool; they’re a strategic asset that can significantly enhance investor communication. By streamlining processes, providing valuable insights, and ensuring effective communication, CRMs enable building stronger, more productive relationships with clients. As the real estate market continues to evolve, adopting such technology will become increasingly important for staying ahead in a very competitive landscape.


How Are Retail Companies Using Compartment Planning To Improve Customer Experience?

As the number of orders placed grows exponentially, enterprises must find solutions to streamline their delivery operations. The use of a delivery management software has been a major focus in the retail industry. Businesses that usually had warehouses on the city outskirts have started to place dark stores across cities to help with faster delivery. If you have a business that helps deliver goods, customer experience is of paramount importance. 

For example, if you order burgers, fries, and cold drinks from a fast food chain. On delivery, you would want the burgers and fries to remain hot while the cold drink remains chilled. This will ensure the best customer experience. Here, compartment planning becomes a crucial aspect of delivery management. The use of an intelligent delivery management software to handle multi-compartment configured vehicles will ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction.

What is Compartment Planning?

Compartment planning is the process of arranging delivery items in the vehicle based on size, weight, fragility, and temperature requirements. This helps businesses to maximize space available, minimize trips for delivery, assure easy unloading, and enhance customer experience.

For example, John (end-consumer) places an order consisting of milk, cold drinks, ice cream, chips, and grocery items from an app. Retail businesses without compartment planning might need 2 to 3 trips to complete the order. With compartment planning, the business can get the order delivered in a single trip. Thus enhancing John’s delivery experience and reducing the fleet’s operational cost.

How is Compartment Planning Transforming Retail Delivery Operations?

As retail businesses move towards the use of compartment-configured vehicles for their delivery operations, the two key focus areas to enhance fleet operations include-

Reducing Transportation Costs:

Optimizing vehicle capacity- The use of compartment planning for delivery will ensure the vehicle space is efficiently utilized. The delivery management software helps assign orders to compartment-configured vehicles, minimizing space wastage, and helping with more order delivery. Since the vehicles are smartly filled, it lowers the number of fleets utilized and maintenance costs.

Reducing delivery trips- Since compartment configuration helps the operations team to strategically place the goods inside trucks, it reduces the number of trips for delivery. The use of route planning and optimization in the delivery management software will reduce the time and distance to get the order delivered.

Easy loading/unloading- One of the major pain points for the delivery team is loading and unloading the goods. With compartment planning, the ordered items can be ensured they are placed in the right order for faster turnaround.

Preventing returns- When transporting fragile and perishable items, the operations team have to ensure no damage or item getting spoiled. The delivery management software will ensure the proper placement of items based on temperature, fragility, crates, etc. This significantly reduces damage and wastage, which helps improve brand reputation and reduce the loss on order returns. 

Improving Customer Experience:

Easy inventory management- When shopping online, or at the store, what’s the worst customer experience? The item they wanted to order or purchase is out of stock! To help businesses restock their inventory and enable accurate forecasting and replenishment strategies, compartment planning can play an important role. This helps avoid running out of stock, timely replenishment, and improving customer experience.

Timely delivery- Compartment planning combined with route planning helps with timely delivery. With the help of compartment-configured vehicles, delivery of goods having different categories can be delivered in a single trip. All these factors are for a great customer experience.

In today’s competitive retail market, the operational team should find the best delivery management software to enhance operational efficiency while reducing costs. By optimizing retail delivery trips and maximizing vehicle capacity businesses can thrive in this demanding marketplace. This helps them save thousands of dollars for delivery operations. Make use of compartment configuration to truly unlock the true potential of your retail delivery operations.

Are you finding it difficult to segregate items to help with single-trip order delivery for goods that need a controlled environment during delivery? You can choose LogiNext’s delivery management software to help assign orders to your compartment-configured vehicles. This will prevent orders from getting assigned to multiple vehicles, overloading vehicles, and ensuring maximum customer satisfaction.


This article discusses how compartment planning in delivery management will enhance the customer experience. The use of an intelligent delivery management software will ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction.

Author Bio

Matt Murdock works for a leading SAAS-based platform called LogiNext Solutions.

Where he helps businesses optimize their logistics operations and improve their delivery

performance. With a passion for innovation and technology, Matt is always looking for new ways

to streamline logistics processes and enhance customer experiences. In his free time, he enjoys

writing blogs based on his experience in the logistics industry. Happy reading!



Customer Effort Score: What it is and How to Use it

Broadly speaking, a customer effort score measures how easy or difficult it is for a customer to resolve a given issue with a company’s customer service team.

Have you ever waited your turn to speak to a customer service representative, only to be transferred to another agent? Have you ever waited on hold so long you that you hung up? Have you ever yelled “Agent” at a voice automation system until you were hoarse? You’re not alone.

Poor customer experiences like that are much more common than you might realize. In fact, bad customer interactions are putting over $4.7 trillion in sales at risk every single year.

The good news is there are simple strategies to improve how you interact with your customers. By calculating your Customer Effort Score (CES), you can assess how easy (or difficult) you’re making it for your customers and work toward improving your customer experience.

What is a Customer Effort Score?

HubSpot defines Customer Effort Score as a single-item service metric that measures how much work it takes for someone to get what they want from a business. In other words, it’s a reflection of how much effort a customer has to expend when interacting with your company.

The idea is simple: The more effort required to reach a certain outcome (such as making a purchase or resolving an issue), the more frustrating the customer experience. By contrast, a low-effort interaction makes for a better, smoother experience that casts your brand in a positive light.

Researchers from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) first introduced the concept of a Customer Effort Score in 2010. According to their study, reducing effort is far more effective at increasing customer loyalty than trying to wow consumers with over-the-top service: “All customers really want is a simple, quick solution to their problem.” 

The only issue? Many times, customer service does the exact opposite. Whether it be because of long wait times, having to repeat oneself, or jumping through hoops, customers are four times more likely to leave a service interaction disloyal than loyal. 

That’s where CES comes into play. Tracking CES allows you to identify pain points in the customer experience, isolate troublesome channels, and make immediate and long-term improvements. 

Better yet, Gartner says that reducing customer effort also allows you to:

  • Increase repurchase rates
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Lower service costs
  • Reduce employee turnover

Creating a CES survey

The first step in measuring your Customer Effort Score is designing a CES survey—a short questionnaire that asks current customers to rate the amount of effort involved in a recent interaction. Questions normally ask respondents to choose a rating on a scale that best represents their experience.

 Here are some examples of questions you might include on a survey:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how easy was it for you to resolve your issue?
  2. How much effort did you have to put in to find an answer to your question?
  3. How easy was it to navigate our website and obtain the information you were looking for?

Typically, businesses send CES surveys at particular moments in the customer journey. These moments almost always come after the customer has taken a certain action, such as:

  • A customer support interaction like a phone call, chat, or email thread.
  • A transaction such as a completed purchase, downloaded white paper, or subscription sign up.
  • A website or mobile app interaction (this one is especially useful, as it helps you measure your interface’s ease of use and functionality).

Recency is important when it comes to gathering feedback. It’s best to immediately follow up an interaction with a questionnaire on the channel where it took place. This makes it easy for customers to fill out the survey without having to jump through additional hoops.

Calculating your score

Once your respondents have completed the survey, it’s time to analyze the results and calculate your company’s average Customer Effort Score. Don’t worry—you don’t have to be a math whiz to figure it out. 

Here’s the basic formula: Sum of all CES scores ÷ the total number of responses = average CES.

So, what does a good CES look like? It depends. Your survey’s parameters will influence how that score is weighted, but generally speaking, the higher the number, the better. 

Let’s say you’ve asked 100 respondents to rate interactions on a scale of 1-10, and the sum of all scores is 880. That’d give you an average CES of 8.8.Not too shabby!

How to use (and improve) your CES

Keep in mind that there’s no industry standard you have to live up to—only your own scores matter. 

If you find that your CES is teetering on the lower end of the spectrum, that just means you have work to do. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve CES and reduce customer effort. Let’s take a look at two of the most impactful methods:

1. Automate tasks with customer self-service 

Customer self-service options are growing in popularity, especially among younger demographics. In fact,  66% of Millennials prefer self-service options for completing simple requests. People are using these alternative solutions more frequently today than just three years ago , so it’s increasingly important to offer these functionalities to your consumers.

Take AI-powered chatbots, for example. Often, chatbots can answer common support questions and handle basic requests faster and more efficiently than human agents. This frees up your contact center agents to focus on more complex issues, reduces wait times, and eliminates unnecessary effort.

2. Deliver an omnichannel experience

Taking an omnichannel approach to customer service means offering consumers a seamless, cohesive, and uniform experience across all possible touchpoints. 

Today’s customers want to transition from one channel to another without skipping a beat or having to repeat themselves. With a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution, you can meet these expectations and offer a truly connected customer journey. As one comprehensive tool for customer experience management, a CCaaS platform enables agents to interact with consumers from any channel, all in one easy-to-use desktop view.

Enabling a low-effort customer experience

 Establishing low-effort customer experiences helps simplify the buyer’s journey. By offering new, existing, and prospective customers a path of least resistance for issue resolution, business leaders can significantly minimize effort, foster loyalty, and deliver more positive interactions. 

Of course, calculating CES is only half the battle. To truly understand and reap the benefits of a low-effort experience, organizations will need to get creative with how they optimize their customer experience strategy. Whether it be through self-service tools or omnichannel contact center solutions, technology is undoubtedly at the center of the equation.

Reilly Nolan, Content Marketing Manager, Webex by Cisco, a leader in cloud calling, collaboration, and customer experience solutions.



The Great 8 of Manufacturing and Why You Need Them

Today’s manufacturing customers expect fast turnaround times, competitive pricing, and on-time delivery of quality parts with every job. Achieving these outcomes requires a variety of capabilities called the “Great 8 of Manufacturing.” These consist of the ability to:

1. Move parts through the shop job quickly and efficiently
2. Schedule and deliver on time
3. Know your costs
4. Maintain accurate inventory
5. Control your labor costs
6. Get quality right
7. Serve your customers the way you want
8. Grow sales


Falling short in even one of these areas can impact your ability to deliver what customers want. Problems in several areas make it extremely difficult to compete against manufacturers that achieve all of them on a consistent basis. These Great 8 elements are inextricably linked to each other, and low performance in one area negatively impacts all the others.

If you consistently struggle with scheduling, on-time delivery rates suffer. When you can’t accurately determine costs, incorrect quoting can cause you to lose jobs. When shop floor personnel can’t count on having the correct inventory on hand, jobs get delayed, costs go up, and promised due dates are missed. All of which reduces your ability to go head to head with leaner, more efficient competitors.

Failure to attain the Great 8 of Manufacturing often results from using outdated manual data collection to manage the shop floor. If you’re still filling out hand-written time cards, using manual spreadsheets to schedule jobs, and tracking inventory by hand, don’t expect a high degree of accuracy in these areas. If you regularly have to schedule overtime or extra shifts to meet customer deadlines, labor costs will spiral out of control. If sales reps frequently walk down to the shop floor to hand-count parts in inventory before confirming a job, you won’t be able to serve customers the way you want.

Perhaps the worst outcome is the atmosphere and culture that pervade the shop when key elements of the Great 8 are missing. When the same problems occur over and over again, frustration increases, tempers can rise, and a culture of blame rather than accountability takes over. Is it any wonder that productivity, performance, and profitability take a nosedive in such an environment?

Quote to Cash in One Complete ERP System

Making the Great 8 a way of life in your manufacturing business starts with Global Shop Solutions ERP software. Designed for small to medium size manufacturers, this powerful business management tool digitally tracks, measures and organizes performance data in every area of your shop floor. You can instantly see what’s happening throughout the shop floor in real-time and access the data needed to make smart decisions for your business.

A comprehensive ERP solution, Global Shop Solutions touches all critical aspects of the shop floor so that everything gets better. Automating manual processes enables all employees to work more efficiently and become more productive. Costs and waste decline while sales, margins and product quality go up. You can promise due dates to customers with confidence. Everything comes together in one integrated system so that you really can deliver a quality part on time every time.

Global Shop Solutions delivers these outcomes through a complete package of over 25 software applications. Some of the most used applications include:

• Planning & Scheduling
• Inventory
• Job Costing Accounting
• Quality Control
• Shop Floor Data Collection
• Sales
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

Global Shop Solutions is constantly adding new features that enable manufacturers to keep up with the increasingly interconnected Internet of Things (IoT). Some of the most recent IoT enhancements include Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), CAD Interface, and Nesting Interfacebsoftware. These offer phenomenal time savings and cost reductions by digitally importing job and customer information that would otherwise require time-consuming manual data entry.

To explore all that Global Shop Solutions has to offer, browse our complete list of software modules.

How the Great 8 Transforms Your Manufacturing From Good to Great

A manufacturing shop floor is like a jigsaw puzzle. All the different pieces have to come together at the right place at the right time to get the job done. The more complex the job, the more pieces you have to contend with. Each element of the Great 8 represents a key piece in the manufacturing puzzle. If even one is missing, you end up with a big hole in the puzzle. Here’s how they work.

1. Move parts through the shop quickly and efficiently.

Having access to real-time production data facilitates fast, efficient movement of jobs through the shop floor. When you can schedule based on your true capacity, jobs get started and completed on time. Machinists know which jobs to work on now and next, and no longer waste time hunting down routers, BOMs, inventory lists or other job information in order to get started.

Having the right inventory on hand avoids the delays that can occur when waiting for parts to arrive. Electronically importing CAD/CAM, nesting, and customer data eliminates time-consuming double data entry. When bottlenecks occur, the data tells you why it’s happening, allowing managers to take prompt action to resolve them. When you know the up-to-the-minute status of all jobs in production, they get done on time with the quality your customers expect.

2. Schedule and deliver on time.

Accurate scheduling and on-time delivery go hand in hand. Global
Shop Solutions’ Advanced Planning  & Scheduling (APS) module puts you in control with fully automated scheduling. Enter the job and machine data into the router and other modules, and the system automatically schedules the job for you in minutes, transforming one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks into a model of lean efficiency.

With APS, you can finitely or infinitely schedule, balance your workcenter loads, and engage in advanced labor scheduling. When customer changes require last-minute adjustments, you can forward, backward and global reschedule with ease. APS also displays how moving a job around will impact the entire schedule.

When multiple jobs get stacked on top of each other due to limited capacity, APS reduces or eliminates these bottlenecks by scheduling the right job on the right machine at the right time. Instead of “safe” due dates, you can tell customers when their jobs will be complete and know you can deliver on time.

3. Know your costs.

Accurate job costing is one of the most important activities in a manufacturing business, affecting everything from estimating and quoting to cash flow and profit margins. It’s also one of
the toughest to get right – unless you track and manage your costs with ERP software.

Global Shop Solutions automatically assigns the correct cost to all labor, parts and materials that go into a job so you know the exact costs as soon as it is complete. Our innovative FLOOOM product determines individual costing components by measuring freight, labor, overhead, outside services, other and material. With this data, you know exactly how much labor and materials went into a part or job.

Knowing your costs improves estimating and quoting accuracy and lets you generate sales and work orders in minutes rather than hours. It helps determine your most profitable products and gives your business a competitive edge over those that can only approximate their true costs.

4. Maintain accurate inventory.

Delays in production often result from disorganized inventory management. Global Shop Solutions provides real-time inventory data from one point of entry for precise management of materials needed for production.

Knowing exactly what you have in inventory and where eliminates the need to hunt for parts to get a job started. Lot bin tracking enables complete traceability of parts. Physical inventory counts are fast and accurate, and often not needed. Paying expedited shipping charges for incoming materials becomes the rare exception rather than a common occurrence. Automatic reorder points ensure materials get ordered before stock runs out, and jobs are never late due to lack of raw materials.

With ERP, you’ll never miss another order for materials needed to keep your production line moving.

5. Control your labor costs.
ERP software provides complete visibility of one of the biggest line item costs in your business – direct labor. Workers electronically log on to each job and the system precisely measures estimated versus actual labor by job or part. When variation occurs, you can determine whether the problem lies with the machine, the machinist, or other factors. Daily productivity reports
help identify problem areas and trend variances so you can take corrective action before they become major problems.

Accurate scheduling reduces overtime costs because jobs get completed on time. Downtime costs decline because shop floor personnel always know which job they should be working on. Separately tracking indirect labor categories helps control those with the highest costs. Whether direct or indirect, Global Shop
Solutions provides a detailed picture of what employees are doing on and off the job so you can allocate your labor dollars appropriately.

6. Get quality right.
You can’t improve quality unless you can track, measure and analyze the sources of quality problems. Global Shop Solutions’ customizable reporting and statistical analysis tools allow you to track and measure quality information in real-time. Nonconforming alerts help identify failure trends as they occur on the shop floor, making it possible to identify and correct bad parts before they go out the door rather than after.

The Document Control™ module makes it simple to manage quality documentation by consolidating all internal and external documents into one central area. Simply scan each document, assign it a location, and you’re good to go. You can also link technical drawings
and job spec sheets to routers, attach inspection and gauge calibration documents to work orders, and attach imported CAD/CAM .pdf files to specific part numbers. No matter what type
of quality documents or level of traceability you need, ERP provides an effective solution for managing all your quality information.

7. Serve your customers the way you want.
In today’s mobile manufacturing environment, fast, responsive customer service creates a real competitive advantage. CRM lets you provide the level of service and transparency needed to build profitable long-term relationships with today’s demanding customers by managing and servicing them with accurate, real-time data.

Instantly check the status of work orders and open quotes with a complete job, part and customer data from one screen. Easily create
quotes, generate work orders, and make changes to existing work orders in minutes. Provide answers to customer inquiries in one
phone call instead of spending hours chasing down information. Available in the palm of your hand, Mobile CRM helps you deliver superior customer service from the office or on the go.

8. Grow sales.
ERP software provides a complete business management system
designed to grow sales. When you schedule jobs more efficiently, it
lowers setup and labor costs, improves throughput, maximizes capacity, and increases on-time delivery. These outcomes improve estimating and quoting so you can give customers the best possible price. Efficient scheduling also reduces the time spent putting out fires on the shop floor, allowing more time to focus on generating new business and increasing sales.

As a manufacturing business, the ability to deliver on your promises is your biggest selling point. When you give customers a due date and follow through every time, it builds trust. When you deliver quality parts on time every time, sales go up. If you’re struggling to grow sales, let ERP run your shop floor so you can focus on
developing new ideas, new products, and new customer relationships.

Wondering How Your Business Is Doing Overall?

Take the Manufacturing Health Test to identify how Global Shop
Solutions can help make the Great 8 a way of life for your business.


Mike Melzer serves as VP of Operations for Global Shop Solutions and is a 20-year veteran of the company. As a graduate from The Colorado School of Mines, Melzer is an unparalleled leader, coaching the industry’s top talent to ensure the continued success of Global Shop Solutions customers.

If you’re ready to gain the Great 8, call Global Shop Solutions at 1.800.364.5958 or set up a demo online.


How to Take the Risk Out of International Container Logistics

Who is reliable enough to trust with my assets? This was the main question of people after my keynote about “How to take the risk out of container logistics” at Intermodal Europe in Hamburg. Trust is basically the most important ingredient when doing business with a partner: Will they return my containers on time? Do I have to follow up on my invoices? Can I easily reach my partner when I have questions? Without a certain level of trust, you would probably not make deals with a company, even though the offered price seems cheap.

Over the last decade we have built long-lasting relationships with partners where trust was not an issue, but now two things have changed: (1) Digital technologies allow us to collaborate with basically the entire world in no time and (2) stakeholders are increasingly asking for transparency e.g. to better understand where the products they purchase come from. To adapt to these changes, we have to redefine “trust” and find answers for how to make time-efficient and risk-free deals with partners you have never worked with before. 

Trust is an everyday problem in logistics 

The lack of trust is an everyday problem for most container owners and users with a high impact on the decisions they make. Let me give you a few examples: Imagine a container lessee returns your equipment too late or in bad condition. Of course, you might receive per diem fees to compensate you and the DPP (Damage protection plan) covers damages but how do you explain that to your next customer who is waiting for these boxes? How much time does it cost you to follow up, arrange container inspections and send emails back and forth?

Imagine if you bought a used car and the condition was completely different from what the seller had told you before, you would probably not work with the same seller again in the future (and I bet you would also advise your friends against buying his/ her cars). What happens is that operational costs increase due to the lack of trust, Maersk, for example, announced random container inspections because of misdeclaration of cargo. Increasing costs and high risk ultimately leads to something everyone probably has already said at least once: We only work with people we know.

What is currently being done to mitigate risk?

Most of the time decisions are made based on gut feeling or anecdotal evidence from your network, the press, Google or sometimes just a random Linkedin post about a specific company. In addition to that, personal meetings and extensive travel are still the standards for vetting a potential new partner before setting up bank guarantees, credits assessments and “triple-checked” watertight contracts by expensive layers. It’s not only incredibly difficult, time-consuming and expensive to collaborate with new partners but also not real-time, non-scalable and error-prone. Such partner vetting processes lead to fewer partnerships, less market transparency and slower speed- which makes no sense in times of real-time communication, cost pressure and the increasing need for market transparency.

In today’s digital age, there must be a better way. Why? Because you won’t have the time to initiate your traditional vetting process when a potential customer is reaching out. If you want to get new deals, you have to be the first one with a quotation.

Other industries rely on platforms as neutral data layers

To create trust, we can learn from how other industries have increased trust through platforms as neutral data layers, data standards as the common language, user-generated content and financial credit scoring models. May it be Amazon or Alibaba for buying and selling products online, Trustedshops for e-commerce or Delivery Hero for ordering food online – Other industries rely on platforms as neutral data layers. Take Alibaba as an example: Would you buy from a small, random company that you have never heard of just because the price is cheap? Most likely you would not. On Alibaba you do so because you trust their platform, the Alibaba insurance and their vetting process.

Moreover, you trust your peers and you look at how other partners have rated that company in past transactions on Alibaba. That’s why most online platforms have introduced performance reviews & ratings. You would probably rather buy from a seller on Amazon with thousands of 5-star reviews instead of someone with barely any ratings.

With Container xChange, we can see the same happening in container logistics. Since we introduced peer-to-peer reviews and ratings we have seen an increase in transactions by 17% for top-rated companies (>4 stars on average) and overall it has led to faster replies, release documents and a greater level of trust because members now have a bigger incentive to be a reliable partner. Another great example of how platforms in other industries leverage technology are payment and loan providers such as Klarna or even retailers like Ikea with next level credit scoring models. Instead of gut feeling, they can now, for example, even include signals from social media with their algorithms to forecast creditworthiness – which speeds up vetting processes and decreases human-made errors significantly.

May it be reviews, credit checks or vetting – I think we can do the same in logistics. Platforms like Freightos (for freight forwarders and shippers), Xeneta (freight rates) or Container xChange (asset-sharing in container logistics) already exist, but in the end, it comes down to your behaviour. Make credit checks for your partners as easy as possible, be reliable and stick to what you agreed on. Becoming a trustworthy partner yourself is the first step to a greater level of trust in logistics.

What Is Your Definition Of Success? 5 Tips To Find It.

While building and maintaining a thriving business may not be easy, experts in entrepreneurial endeavors say that building a personal brand first is key. In fact, some studies show that today’s consumers trust big brands less and prefer buying from a person they view as authentic and relatable. But before building a personal brand, it’s important for an entrepreneur to define what constitutes their own brand of success, says Ngan Nguyen (, an intuitive strategist and author of Self-Defined Success: You Have Everything It Takes.

“Fulfillment and extraordinary results only come when you strive to achieve your authentic success,” Nguyen says. “The key is figuring out what that is and navigating that path. The good news is that we each already have everything it takes to navigate that path. It is essential, because we each have unique gifts, passions, and talents that can create amazing impact in the world and differentiate ourselves and our businesses.”

Nguyen offers five ways to define your own brand of success that can lead to running a successful business:

Get unstuck by unleashing your inner self. “We feel stuck when there is a lack of clarity and the path in front of us is not aligned with our authenticity,” Nguyen says. “Stagnancy and negative happenings force us to look inside ourselves at who we really are and what we really want. Detail those things, and now you’ll have the blueprint to create change and growth. Getting clear on this enables us to lead ourselves and our business to forge ahead on a new path.”

Act on your new authenticity. “Our full potential comes out when we are fully committed to creating a result that fully expresses who we are and what we love,” Nguyen says. “Without that clarity and without acting upon our newly discovered authentic selves, there will always be a bit of reservation. And with that reservation comes lackluster results that are not a reflection of our true potential.”

Keep the vision in mind. Nguyen says much of our untapped potential lies in unused intelligence. “Leaders who leverage their vision can effectively navigate a path to success in a competitive marketplace,” Nguyen says. “Any vision that we can imagine, this infinite intelligence knows how to bring about. The question is how we go about influencing our subconscious in the right way so that it serves us. We do this by holding and keeping an image of a life we desire, and feeding it through repetition long enough that our mind goes to work to aid us in creating it.”

Make your passion your fuel. “The power to create extraordinary results requires this critical ingredient,” Nguyen says. “Passion is contagious, ignites the heart, and motivates the team. It energizes and sparks the pull forward through all barriers, uncertainty, and challenges.”

Have the will to make decisions that move toward your dream. Nguyen says the difference between those who make their dreams happen and those who don’t isn’t always a matter of intelligence but often is a matter of consistent will in decision-making.

“You must have the intention to keep moving forward,” Nguyen says. “There is an energy shift that is experienced in the decision-making process, where a desire goes from wanting to being because you’ve concluded that the dream must come true no matter what.”


Ngan Nguyen ( is the author of Self-Defined Success: You Have Everything It Takes, and the founder/CEO of Cintamani Group, an executive coaching and consulting firm. Nguyen coaches on leadership and empowers entrepreneurs as an intuitive strategist. With over a decade of business strategy experience as an advisor to Fortune 100 companies, Nguyen is also a certified master-level intelligent leadership executive coach with John Mattone and was an analyst for McKinsey & Company. Nguyen graduated with a double honors degree in biochemistry-biophysics and bioengineering from Oregon State University and completed a research fellowship at MIT in nanotechnology.


5 Tips for Launching New App Features

Plan the release. 

While you’re still in the planning phase for a new feature, it’s a good idea to also think about how you will release it. This is something often done within the design process.

Things you should incorporate into this include: 

-Who will see this feature first? (Are there internal or external beta groups?)

-What is success for this feature?

-Who will see the feature once it’s in a steady state? (Is this for VIP customers or everyone?)

-Is there important timing tied to this release, such as an event or special time of the calendar year?

Tools that will help you with this include product delivery and tracking tools

Build awareness.

Awareness around a release is important for both internal and external groups. Within your organization, do teams have the support they need to be successful? Think about what your sales, marketing, customer success, or any other team will need in terms of understanding the feature being released, and how to answer any questions they might face. Externally, awareness should be tied back to how you will measure success. 

Tools that will help you accomplish this include go-to-market plans, centralized information repositories, and any other tools that will help your teams (and customers!) stay connected, informed, and collaborative. 

Measure your release.

After the release has happened, how will you know if it was successful? Because you already thought about success metrics in the planning stage, you should be ready to measure whether or not it was successful. 

Tools that will help with this include those that surface sales and ops metrics. Also, it’s important to consider these together—look at performance and monitoring metrics, support requests by volume, and qualitative feedback from customers and prospects.

Celebrate and recognize.

Take time to celebrate your wins. Shipping software is like a muscle, the more frequently you do it, the easier it is to execute. If you ship less frequently, the process begins to atrophy and the action becomes more difficult. Celebration (even for small wins) provides motivation to continue practicing the act of shipping, and results in more stable services and products.

Reflect and iterate. 

Software is never done, and neither is a process for software delivery. After the release has occurred and you’ve paused to enjoy the moment, now it’s time to reflect back on what went well and what didn’t. Reflect on both process and product.

Tie process back to culture—consider the tools that you use for process, what enabled you to do more and what was a hindrance? Use this feedback and apply what you learned from measuring success in the planning phase for the next release. Learn how you can adjust and improve upon what you shipped.


Adam Zimman, VP of Product and Platform, LaunchDarkly

Adam has over 20 years of experience working in a variety of roles from software engineering through to technical sales. He has worked in both enterprise and consumer companies such as VMware, EMC and GitHub. Adam is driven by a passion for inclusive leadership and solving problems with technology. One additional objective is to be a part of a diverse and equitable company. Not simply an organization that accepts diversity, but one that actively pursues a more diverse and inclusive team as an imperative for building better products and services. Adam is also an Advisor for a number of startups and nonprofits. His perspective on life has been shaped by a background in physics and visual art, an ongoing adventure as a husband and father and a childhood career as a fire juggler.

5 Reasons Businesses Should Bare Their Souls To Customers

We live in the information age — aptly named because we have unprecedented access to information through many platforms. Researchers estimate that between television, radio, the internet, email and social media, the average person receives the equivalent of 174 newspapers worth of data every day. That means consumers have a lot to sort through and choose from when shopping for virtually any type of product. And studies show they demand more transparency from companies to help them make an informed decision. 

“This is especially critical in digital marketing,” says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing ( “With information so abundant and readily available, companies are becoming increasingly transparent in an effort to engage the potential customer. They’re inviting potential customers into their world rather than talking at them.” Musgrave offers five ways that being transparent in digital marketing can win over customers:

Builds trust. “You deserve more than someone playing games with you and withholding information,” Musgrave says, whose digital marketing agency specializes in seminar advertising, lead generation and marketing automation for financial advisors. “The consumer expects and is entitled to know exactly what they’re signing up for. The financial advisors my firm works with, for example, tell us that they build such good rapport with their seminar attendees before the event occurs because of the way they’re featured on the event landing page. There’s a lot of ‘gotcha marketing’ going on in the world today, and no one likes to feel like they got fooled.”

Develops loyalty. Surveys show that the vast majority of consumers will be loyal to a brand that practices transparency. “Brands now have the enhanced opportunity to show their personalities and values due to the internet and social media,” Musgrave says. “So consumers expect to know more about companies than ever before. And if you give them transparency, they’re willing to pay extra for it.”

Shows authenticity. “To do digital marketing right,” Musgrave says, “companies need to take a deep dive into who they are, where they’ve been — warts and all — and show a vulnerability that potential customers can relate to. People can see themselves in what you truthfully present. The whole objective is to create a human interaction, and being authentic in this way is one of the most powerful things you can do.”

Pairs a great offer with great value. “Regardless of what you’re selling, there is some ulterior factor we’re using as an advertising carrot,” Musgrave says. “An example would be a time-share presentation; get a free cruise if you sit down and listen to them talk about some product they’re trying to sell you. But the carrot blinds you from the actual intent of the event. In order to be transparent and build good trust, the offer has to be paired with value.”

Increases efficiency. “Becoming more transparent through digital marketing can greatly improve a business’ efficiency by spending less time talking around product limitations and sidestepping customers’ concerns,” Musgrave says. “By not embellishing your results, you save time for more productive work.”

“Giving consumers access to all the information they need to know without masking your intentions is a proven way to build better relationships through digital marketing,” Musgrave says. 

Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (, which he founded in 2017. Musgrave got his start in the direct mail business, using his communication skills to craft powerful marketing messages that reached more than 1,000,000 households each month. He’s started his own wholesaling company that brought digital marketing tools to the financial advisor space for the first time in 2013 that were responsible for doubling sales for three consecutive years.

How Traditional Marketing Can Benefit From A Digital Twist

At one time, marketing meant using such tactics as buying commercial time on TV or radio stations, advertising in a newspaper or magazine, or sending your message through direct mail.

All of those remain options today, but they are joined by a plethora of digital alternatives for reaching potential customers or clients, who spend a lot of time hanging out in the digital world.

“Websites are optimized for sharing content with others, and people are getting on social media to be educated or entertained, so delivering on those ‘needs’ is super important for any business or professional who wants to remain relevant,” says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (

Yet, Musgrave says many businesses and professionals don’t always take advantage of what digital marketing offers, instead falling back on what worked in the past, either out of habit or due to a lack of understanding of the power of digital.

And that’s no way to move forward, he says. But choosing between digital or traditional approaches to marketing isn’t an either/or proposition. Musgrave offers a few examples of how the two can be married to produce great results:

-A text instead of a call. Musgrave says one of his clients, a financial professional, would buy TV time each month for a show in which he would talk about money issues. At the end of each segment, in an effort to generate leads, his firm’s telephone number would be displayed so viewers could call if they wanted more information. “I suggested that instead of a number to call, they should show a number that people could text,” Musgrave says. That change might appear insignificant on its face, but it proved to be extraordinarily consequential. The financial professional went from receiving about three responses per show to about 300.

Billboards and digital calls to action. A message on a billboard provides the same opportunity to elicit a digital response from anyone who sees it. Once again, instead of urging people to call, urge them to text. You can also include your website address in your billboard ad so those intrigued by what you have to offer can learn more there, Musgrave says.

-Work digital connections into all marketing materials. Likely, you have business cards, brochures or any number of other marketing materials that people can hold in their hands. All of those should let people know how they can find you online, whether it’s on your website or on social media channels, Musgrave says. By the same token, if you have speaking engagements, you can put that information on a display poster or include it in a PowerPoint slide. “Since people always carry their phones, if they see how to find you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or wherever, they may follow you right then and there,” he says. 

“The most dangerous thing I hear people say is that digital marketing is the future,” Musgrave says. “That’s not quite accurate because the future is already here. Advertisers globally spent more on digital advertising than any other medium in 2017, displacing TV at the top of the chart for the first time. If you keep kicking the digital can down the road, by the time you catch up to it again, your competitors will have already passed you.”  

About Jonathan Musgrave

Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (, which he founded in 2017. Musgrave got his start in the direct mail business, using his communication skills to craft powerful marketing messages that reached more than 1,000,000 households each month. He’s started his own wholesaling company that brought digital marketing tools to the financial advisor space for the first time in 2013 that were responsible for doubling sales for three consecutive years.