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How to Align Your Marketing and Sales Processes

By Steve Stroz on Jan 10, 2019 3:45:00 PM

Nowadays it's almost impossible -- and certainly not recommended -- to keep your marketing process and sales process separate. In this blog we'll explain why aligning your marketing and sales team is so important and outline what steps you can take. 

Just a few years ago, it was normal for marketing and sales team to be unaligned and rarely communicate with each other. It's always been better to keep them on the same page, but it was never a requirement up til now. 

The reason marketing and sales alignment is now so important is because of the role of data and analytics. Both teams should base their strategies off of sound data, and that data should be the same or at least have similar conclusions. 

This all plays a role in the customer experience. According to a recent Business 2 Community article, the better aligned marketing and sales teams are, the more consistent the customer experience is:

"Your Marketing and Sales groups need to update their internally-focused processes and focus on the needs of the Buyer throughout their online/offline/online purchasing journey. The company needs to have one, and only one, perspective of the buyer that all functions/groups (including Product Management, Customer Service and Finance) can embrace and deliver a consistent customer experience."

So if aligning your marketing and sales teams is so important, what steps can you take to make this a reality? It all starts with the data and analytics we mentioned earlier. 

Your focus should be on gathering and extracting data from dealings with clients. The more data you collect, the more insight you'll get into your target audience's behavior, preferences, and wants. 

Once you have this information, you can plan your marketing and sales strategies around it. As a result, you'll automatically align your two teams.  Using applications like ACT!, Zoho, or Hubspot can point you in the right direction in getting started. 

To talk more about your marketing process, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

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Shorten Your Customer Lifecycle with Contact Management Software

By Steve Stroz on Dec 3, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Your customer lifecycle can be a huge source of inefficiency. If you don't do anything to shorten it, then you'll be wasting an opportunity. The longer the cycle is, the less frequently customers will place orders. 

You have to take control of your customer lifecycle and engage customers. By interacting with them, you'll establish customer loyalty and encourage them to place new or recurring orders. 

An important aspect is aligning your goals with your customers'. According to a recent Globe and Mail article, this will lead to a more efficient sales process.

"A sales process where the central feature is the buyer’s objectives and the seller’s subject matter expertise can lead to a much more productive discussion, leading to shorter cycles, more wins, and greater client loyalty, because their objectives would be the continuing focus."

It's well documented that marketing to new customers is considerably more costly than marketing to returning ones. Creating customer loyalty and convincing them to choose your business every time is a huge part of your long-term success. 

When you interact with customers after they place a sale, you increase your chances of them returning to your business. The better you are at doing this, the less you'll have to invest in other marketing efforts since you'll have a strong customer base. 

Depending on how well you engage customers, shortening your customer lifecycle can become a competitive advantage. Not only will you increase your business' sales, but you'll also take some activity away from your competitors. By using contact management software (ACT!, Hubspot, Salesforce, Zoho),  you'll find out the best ways to engage customers. 

Your sales process plays an important role in your business. We recommend trying to make it more efficient so customers will return to your business at a faster rate. Investing in your sales process usually has a positive ROI since it directly impacts your bottom line. 

To talk more about contact management software, or anything else, please contact us. 

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3 Possible Sources of Sales Process Improvements

By Steve Stroz on Nov 28, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Sales process improvements can help businesses increase their sales without spending any additional resources. In this blog, we'll discuss three aspects you can focus on to improve your sales process. 

Communication

Lack of communication is often to blame for lackluster sales performance. Whether your sales representatives don't communicate with each other or your sales team is closed off from the rest of your company, this is something you need to change. 

A recent Business 2 Community article explains how you can improve your lead scoring by getting sales representatives to communicate more: 

"Nobody builds a perfect lead process on their very first try but you can strengthen it and build a great one over time if you keep the lines of communication open. If you’re trying to get the most out of lead scoring and grading, make sure you’re communicating effectively with your sales team, as well as periodically evaluating and adjusting your approach based on that communication."

Technology

Sometimes, poor performance from sales representatives isn't the root cause of disappointing sales. If your sales representatives are already meeting expectations, then you should consider technological innovations as a possible sales process improvement. 

CRM software, like ACT!, HubSpot, Salesforce, or Zoho, has a big impact on the sales process. It records, collects, and organizes sales data. With this information, sales representatives can learn more about their clients and anticipate orders ahead of time. 

Collaboration

Sales representatives aren't the only ones responsible for a company's sales. There's a lot that goes into the customer experience that sales reps have nothing to do with. 

CRM software also helps increase collaboration within a company. Since multiple teams can refer to the software, they'll find it easier to work with one another.  

Businesses can improve their sales processes by focusing on communication, technology, and collaboration. To talk more about sales process improvements, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks. 

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Should Your Business Implement Marketing Software?

By Steve Stroz on Nov 21, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Implementing marketing software is one of the best ways businesses can improve their processes in terms of efficiency. In this blog, we'll talk about three important aspects concerning marketing software

Why businesses need marketing software

Why a business or an organization needs marketing software depends on their own specific needs. As a result, there are many reasons businesses cite for needing marketing software. 

A recent Advertising Age article reports the results of a survey which asked businesses why they need marketing software. Here are the results: 

  • 27% said they need marketing software to improve lead management
  • 15% said they need marketing software because they were unhappy with their current system
  • 13% said they need marketing software for better/more features
  • 10% said they need marketing software to increase company growth
  • 9%  said they need marketing software for better integration
  • 8% said they need marketing software to automate their processes
  • 4% said they need marketing software to for an upgrade/update

Depending on your situation, one or more of these cited reasons may apply to your business. 

How marketing software improves your processes

Marketing software helps businesses to organize and improve their marketing processes. The idea is to automate certain aspects of the process and gain access to data and analytics. By using marketing software, you can identify possible areas of improvement in regard to your marketing strategy. 

Is marketing software right for your business?

First, you need to understand that any business can implement marketing software. There's no requirement in terms of size, sales, or your budget. 

The most important thing is that you analyze the aforementioned needs for marketing software and see if any of them resonate with you. If you need to improve your lead generation, automate your marketing process, or increase your company growth, then you should seriously consider marketing software. 

To talk more about marketing software, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks. 

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Make Sure Your CRM Software Data is Accurate

By Steve Stroz on Jun 29, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Data and analytics are the bread and butter of CRM software like ACT!, HubSpot, Saleslogix, and Zoho. They're what the software does best and are the reason why so many businesses now invest in CRM.

There's just one tiny problem. Some businesses don't check their CRM data for accuracy. It would be nice to assume the data is always 100% correct, but the reality is that errors can happen along the way. To stay on the safe side, you should regularly check and revise your CRM data.

A recent article by Smart Data Collective explains what happens when CRM data is inaccurate. According to the article, inaccurate CRM data starts a negative domino effect that can ruin the consumer experience.

"Without this data, the sales team cannot use the CRM to close deals. The marketing team cannot segment its data accurately. The customer is frustrated that they’re receiving multiple copies of marketing messages, complete with mis-spelled names and email addresses that should have long since been removed. The IT department is becoming irritated with the requests to fix the data it cannot change."

If employees are making the most of CRM software, they'll be using it everyday. Sales representatives won't even talk to a client before referring to the CRM data and reading the client's file.

This is great and it's what we encourage. But if you're going to base your entire company's operations off of CRM software, it makes sense to check the data for accuracy once in a while.

This isn't exclusive to CRM software, by the way. Accountants check their numbers and percentages from time to time. Engineers check their work to make sure there are no inconsistencies.

Chances are that your data is fine. But if you're reading this, don't just assume that every figure is accurate. Check them every now and again.

To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.
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How to Implement CRM Software Effectively

By Steve Stroz on Jun 27, 2018 3:00:00 PM

For CRM software to be effective, we often stress that businesses have to train their employees. At first, they may not be so eager to learn new software and change their daily routine. Managers have to get the point across that CRM software will make their job easier by automatically taking care of simple tasks.

If you've never purchased new software before, you'll be in for a surprise when you introduce CRM (ACT!, HubSpot, Saleslogix, Zoho) to your employees. There's a disconnect between the excitement managers feel and the reluctance of sales representatives to learn how to use new software.

This isn't a technological disconnect, it's a mental one. All of your employees can learn to incorporate CRM into their daily tasks. The question is if they'll be willing to do so.

A recent Business 2 Community article explains that in order for employees to use CRM software, they have to see it as a useful tool. According to the article, businesses have to invest in CRM data quality to support their employees.

"CRM software must be seen as a useful tool rather than a hindrance, but it can only be successfully implemented if data quality is prioritized too. The business simply must invest in data quality software that supports employees in their work, without creating new challenges or time drains. The use of data quality tools must be a proactive and ongoing process if it is to stem the tide of manual errors and natural decay."

We've seen both the successful and unsuccessful implementations of CRM software. More often than not, it depends on how the company introduces the software and trains their employees. CRM software will work if the entire company is on board. But if you're struggling to get employees to use it, you'll have to rethink your strategy.

To talk more about CRM software, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.
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Understanding All Costs Related to CRM Software

By Steve Stroz on Jun 25, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Before purchasing CRM Software, you should be aware of all of the potential costs. We try to be as transparent as possible when it comes to pricing, and we make sure that every client understands how much he or she will have to pay.

CRM software requires a one-time initial investment and occasionally recurring costs. The recurring costs depend on the client, the number of users, and what type of software they purchase.

A recent Tech Cocktail article mentions CRM software-related expenses. Here's a list of the potential costs of CRM:

One-time costs include customization, set-up and training.
Recurring costs include licensing per users. per month.
Potential add-on costs include data migration.
Don’t forget to estimate the projected gain from managing your database.
The overwhelming majority of the expenses comes at the very beginning. Businesses have to customize their software and train their employees. Depending on the business, it may have to train its employees from time to time to remind them how to make the most of the software.

Besides the cost, we also like to inform clients of the return on investment (ROI) of CRM software. In order to do this, however, clients need to first know how much they're paying.

It's sometimes difficult to calculate the ROI of CRM software because its impact isn't just limited to financial bottom lines. It helps align the entire company, specifically the marketing and sales teams.

Still, businesses should be able to calculate the increase in sales that comes with the implementation of CRM software. Sales representatives have more success because they have access to new data and analytics related to clients. Businesses can calculate how much sales increase and then compare it to the costs of CRM software.

To talk more about CRM software, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.
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Where to Start Improving Your Marketing Process

By Steve Stroz on May 25, 2018 3:00:00 PM

So what are the things you should focus on in your marketing plan? It's all about finding your target audience and articulating a specific need that they have. Your goal is to convince consumers that your product or service fits that specific need.

A recent Business 2 Community article walks you through the steps of planning a marketing strategy:

"Plan your marketing using a strategy-first approach to clearly identify your target market, define your positioning and create an identity. Discovering your target market or ideal customer is a foundational element of getting any business on track. Your marketing requires a positioning strategy for success. You’ve got to carve out a mental position in the mind of your target market or ideal customers."

These are just the basics, and they were established decades ago. The new factor businesses need to focus on is technology. Marketers now have more tools than ever at their disposal. What counts is how you use them and incorporate them into your marketing process.

CRM software like ACT!, HubSpot, SalesLogix, and Zoho, are popular solutions for marketers. Sales representatives use it on a daily basis, but marketers can learn from the information and data it collects. With CRM software, you can find out:
•Patterns in clients' behaviors.
•Which demographics buy which products
•How often clients return for repeat orders
•Who your loyal clients are

With this information, you can optimize your marketing process. If you find out that your target demographic is a little younger than you expected, then you can start to incorporate more social media in your marketing efforts. Whatever you find out from CRM software, you can use it to improve your marketing process.

To talk more about your marketing process, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

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Why Sales Representatives Are More Affected by CRM Software Than Anyone Else

By Steve Stroz on May 21, 2018 3:00:00 PM

 

Make no mistake about it, CRM software, like ACT!, HubSpot, Salesforce, and ZoHo, will make its biggest impact on your sales team. Your sales representatives will have to change their daily routines to incorporate the software.

And that's not a bad thing. Instead of relying on memory to prepare for a client meeting, sales representatives will be able to refer to the data collected by CRM software. So instead of thinking "I think he likes to buy X product during this time of year," they'll know that a specific client places an exact order on the third Friday of every month.

A recent Small Business Trends article talks about the impact CRM software makes on sales teams. According to the article, the software makes sales representatives more effective at closing sales:


"With CRM, your sales team will be effective at attracting prospects, closing sales, generating qualified referrals and managing existing customer relationships. Your business will grow in revenue by utilizing a CRM application that helps you track sales activity, lead generation and customer status — capitalizing on the data management power CRM delivers."

Now, we should also mention that this is only the case if the CRM software is implemented correctly. If it's not, then sales representatives won't make it a habit to refer back to the data. The software will be there, but no one will use it to its full advantage.

If you implement CRM software correctly, however, your sales representatives will be more informed and better equipped than ever. Once your sales increase, you can start to focus on the other uses of CRM software, like its role in a marketing campaign.

To talk more about CRM software, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

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CRM Software Adoption is Increasing

By Steve Stroz on Nov 27, 2012 11:46:00 PM

The investment and adoption of CRM Software solutions are ever increasing because of the benefits provided by cloud-computing. Companies are trying to strike a balance with cost-cutting initiatives and investments in technology that will increase revenue by benefiting the consumer. Enterprise Apps Today has posted this article that explains why investment in CRM software is increasing.

“Companies are giving very high priority to any investments related to customer experience, anything that has an effect on sales and topline revenue or on improving customer retention,”

A survey conducted by Computer Economics found that there was a 34 percent increase in companies that adopted CRM from 2010 to 2011. One industry that is leading the adoption is manufacturing. This is followed closely by financial services and business services. One area that is slow to the adoption of CRM is health care.

Smaller companies are driving much of the investment in CRM software that is cloud-based. However, there are many companies that are mid-sized or smaller that do not use any type of CRM system. These solutions have started to slowly be considered by small businesses because of cost savings available using the cloud. Cloud-based systems are easier for a small business to use efficiently and to maintain. If you have a company with as little as 25 employees, then you will see benefits from a CRM software solution.

You will find the return of investment for a CRM software solution is on par with other technology that is available for your business. If you have any questions about the benefits of CRM, then reach out to us for more information.    

Topics: ACT! SalesLogix
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