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How a Virtual Assistant can Help Startup Make More Sales – ReadWrite



Virtual Assistant

In this day and age, virtual assistants have become one of the staples of the increasingly digital business world. The outbreak of COVID-19 only sped up their rise to prominence. As a result, most companies around the world had to shift their operations online. In such a situation, most of the tasks that were otherwise performed by on-site staff fell into the VA’s backyard.

This rapid expansion of the VA industry inevitably gave birth to another interesting development – higher diversification amongst virtual assistants.

Now that the volume of VA footwork has rapidly increased and jacks of all trades are no longer productive enough. This has led to companies looking for trained professionals who can wrestle with specific, critical tasks. This problem becomes even more evident in the case of startups that have yet to develop their entire business infrastructure.

This article will examine one vital activity and see how trained VAs can help your company improve sales.

Contacting new leads

Keeping in touch with new leads is a task that requires a lot of attention, time, and dedication. So it falls right down the VA’s alley. There is an urgency where your business wants hot leads contacted as soon as possible. Despite the variety of present-day communication channels (E-mail, SMS, call, social media), it’s easy to see why building a productive rapport with future clients becomes increasingly tricky.

Harnessing the resources of your startup with a talented individual at the right place at the right time can make all the difference in the world.

Generating quality leads

However, closing the deals and contacting the promising leads is only a small part of the duties of specialized virtual assistants. In a recent survey, 48% of businesses stated that their leads required the so-called “long-cycles” of nurturing with many influencers involved in the process. These long cycles often include a large quantity of cold calls, with the main goal is to filler out quality leads from the bad ones.

The sheer workload involved in the process can put a lot of pressure on your sales department even if you benefit from highly motivated and productive staff. Virtual assistance can do a lot to relieve some of this burden off their shoulders.

Live chat on social media

Speaking of time-consuming activities, we have to touch upon the live chat on social media. Neglecting this communication channel could be a crippling disadvantage for a growing business. Recent research says that as much as 79% of customers prefer live chat replies since they provide instant answers. Accordingly, live chat scores the highest consumer satisfaction with a staggering rate of 92%.

Of course, live chat services are only as effective as they can provide immediate responses. However, being open to such fast-paced communication can be more than strenuous in a competitive startup environment. That is why this form of outreach is best left to the trained virtual assistants.

Moderating online meetings

Meetings are one of the sales areas that suffered the biggest hit due to the ever-growing transition to a virtual environment. In a recent survey conducted with over 1,100 top-level executives, 79% of respondents stated they use face-to-face meetings. In contrast, 81% claimed they prefer face-to-face meetings above all other communication channels.

The good news is that this digital ceiling can be broken and has been broken in the previous years.

For instance, a great example of this transition is the interior design company Miss Amara that has jumped on this bandwagon and now successfully provides virtual design services. If there is one area where you would say, personal on-site presence was needed, that would be this one.

The same experience can be emulated in the sales department, but the sales agents need to have their hands free to do their best. In this scenario, virtual assistants can do a lot of heavy lifting in organizing, scheduling, and moderating these meetings to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Virtual Assistant

Revisiting old leads

Over the last year, there has been much debate whether or not startups should go back to the offices now that the COVID-19 pandemic looks like slowing down. We had seen just how significant implications this issue can have when we discussed the importance of online meetings.

Making a follow-up on the cold leads is a different beast altogether. Startups generate a lot of leads during their lifetime, and, of course, not all of them eventually translate to clients. But, of course, with a lot of time, effort, and personal touch, it’s possible to turn over and re-engage these people eventually.

Follow up with old leads is a task tailor-made for talented and well-trained virtual assistants. After all, it allows them to work out their communication skills while cutting down the idling hours.

Performing data entry

Automation has gone a long way in building and growing startups from scratch. However, to make the best use of all these automated services, the system needs to be constantly fed with fresh chunks of data about the leads and clients.

This mundane and often tiresome job is excellent for a third-party workforce that requires far lower upkeep costs.

What do virtual assistants bring to the table in this regard? First, they have a great inside perspective on the inner workings of your startup. That allows them to contribute with comments, suggestions, and other valuable insights at all times.

Furthermore, data entry can immediately follow actions like cold calls and social media interactions. That means your company doesn’t have to lose any time or resources to delegate these tasks between various departments.

Efficient prospect research

This topic leans primarily into the direction of conversion optimization that becomes increasingly important with the competition in the virtual environment. While most of the conversion optimization focuses on technical aspects like changing the landing page’s layout, most of these design decisions have to take into account the insights gathered by virtual assistants.

Virtual assistants are constantly in touch with prospective customers and probably have more on-the-ground experience than other staff members. That allows them to contribute considerably to the optimization process by sharing their experience with the client base.

If you want to go one step further, your virtual assistants can deliberately harvest data necessary for your conversion teams.

Virtual Assistant

Assistance with sales reports

Last but not least, sales reports are invaluable for the success of one aspiring startup. Comprehensive sales reports can help shorten the sales funnel. In addition, they can aid in informed decision-making and provide excellent insight into the daily workings of one business.

To meet these critical goals, a sales report should cover all of the following topics:

  • Daily goals and quotas
  • Daily conversion rate
  • Number of prospective leads in the pipeline
  • Average time for completing the sales cycle
  • Number of sales calls, their duration, and success ratio
  • Average deal size in the pipeline
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Total number of new sales opportunities per day

All these mentions make up only some of the primary sales report requirements. The more comprehensive these documents are, your startup will attain more robust results. Due to their experience and flexible work hours, virtual assistants are valuable contributors to these documents.

Wrapping up

We hope this overview gave you some general idea about the value of virtual assistants in the sales process. Although virtual assistants are usually hired to perform mundane footwork, the present-day VA industry is becoming very specialized. Because of that, young VA professionals are quite able to step up their game. As a result, they can provide a more meaningful contribution to the development of one startup.

Keeping in mind just how competitive the contemporary business environment can be, this idea deserves further consideration.

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Marie Nieves

Marie Nieves has been a regular writer for High Style Life since 2015 and had some guest posts on other blogs in the meantime. Right now, she is taking a break from writing about lifestyle themes, and writing more about business (supported with a degree in business management). Marie is passionate about economy, HR, personal and professional development.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

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Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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