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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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Implement CRM Software for Data and Analytics

By Steve Stroz on Jan 7, 2019 3:30:00 PM

We've already seen how data and analytics have affected sports. It started in baseball with Billy Bean and Moneyball and trickled over to other leagues. There are now teams in the MLB, NFL, and NBA that base their entire long-term strategies on analytics. 

Nowadays, there just no excuse for not incorporating analytics. According to a recent Financial Brand article, this is true both with sports franchises and businesses:

"There are no excuses for a football coach that doesn’t look at game film or know the stats from their team. If you are a C­-level Manager at your organization, there is no excuse for ignoring or not being aware of how your CRM can be used to provide you with reports that can help your team. Making excuses for your team’s lack of use of the CRM starts and stops with the C-level executive team."

Incorporating data and analytics in your business strategy helps you improve your operations. You can find out which practices are efficient and which ones need to change. 

The only thing you need is a way to collect data. CRM software (ACT!, HubSpot, Salesforce, ZoHo) provides businesses with a heap of information about clients. This way, sales representatives can study up on their clients before meetings. Marketing teams can also use the data to learn more about their target audience before planning their next campaign. 

Data and analytics are ubiquitous now. We've seen what's happened to sports teams that don't take them into account, and the same will happen for businesses that do the same. We recommend implementing a solution like CRM software to get you started on your analytic path. 

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

Topics: ACT! CRM Zoho HubSpot
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CRM Software Isn't Just for Sales Process Improvements

By Steve Stroz on Dec 31, 2018 3:30:00 PM

An important aspect of CRM software, like ZoHo, ACT!, and HubSpot, is that it's not exclusively used for sales process improvements.  The ability of CRM software to track and manage cannot be understated. What the software is really doing is collecting and organizing data. Businesses can use this aggregated information in several ways. 

It's not just about sales, either. According to a recent Business 2 Community article, CRM can be used for customer segmentation and social media marketing: 

"CRM lets you create, track and manage marketing campaigns effectively. Whether its outbound calls, customer segmentation, email marketing, social media applications or creating customized campaign lists, CRM automates the steps and produces data-driven results to accurately measure your efforts."

So why is CRM software often discussed in the context of sales process improvements? The data organized by the software has a direct impact on sales. Your sales representatives suddenly have a way to quantify their client's behavior, preferences, and wants. They can analyze patterns in their behavior to predict and suggest new product orders. 

There's nothing wrong with that, but we just don't want CRM software to be thought of as one-dimensional. In reality it impacts several processes and aspects of your business operations. But if you go into it thinking that it will only increase your sales, then you won't use it to its full potential. 

If you've already implemented CRM software, then consider how it has affected areas of your business other than sales. See if there's anything you can do to make employees refer to it more to improve their own individual performance. 

To talk more about sales process improvements, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks. 

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Gain a Competitive Advantage with CRM Software

By Steve Stroz on Dec 20, 2018 3:30:00 PM

The problem with most business' sales cycles is that they focus more on lead generation than they do conversion. Because of this, they get tons of leads through their online marketing efforts, but they rarely convert them to sales. 

According to a recent Forbes article, some businesses research their leads so poorly that they don't even know if the people fall into their target market:

"Finally, the B2B sales cycle has not seen big advances in personalization. Of course, the sales deck the buyer sees has their company name and logo on the title slide, but that’s where the personalization typically ends. This assumes that the buyer even made it that far. Since the initial research stage results in reading generic info on a website that could be targeted at any Jane Doe."

You can avoid this situation by personalizing your sales process. To do this, you need to collect information about each person so you can target them individually. 

With CRM software, you can acquire the data and analytics about your customers that you need to personalize your sales process. Moreover, you'll be able to better define your target market based on the common characteristics of your clients. 

This information will set you apart from competitors. Since most businesses are still behind when it comes to personalizing their sales process, you'll get ahead by incorporating data and analytics in your process. With the data collected by CRM software, your sales representatives will be more informed concerning clients and your marketing team will be able to create more effective campaigns. 

To talk more about CRM software, ACT!, HubSpot, ZoHo, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

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How Contact Management Software Improves the Sales Process

By Steve Stroz on Dec 19, 2018 6:00:00 PM

The most important aspect of contact management software is the data and analytics it provides. Each time your sales representatives interact with customers, the software records the outcome. 

After a few weeks or months of recording data, you can start to identify patterns in your customers' behavior. You'll notice that certain customers place similar orders on a regular basis. Your sales representatives can then anticipate these orders to make sure they're placed with your company. 

Sales representatives aren't the only ones who can learn from the data, though. According to a recent Business 2 Community article, contact management software provides company-wide reports that all employees should refer to: 

"Beyond analyzing prospect behavior at the individual level, CRM software also provides overarching metrics on types of outreach,such as how many outbound calls your sales team has made this month, or which campaigns and offers are closing the most deals. These company-wide reports give you a look into your sales process and pipeline as a whole, plus they can identify ways to retain existing customers or upsell them on other products or services."

Your sales representatives, marketers, and customer service representatives all need to be on the same page. If they all refer to the same data, then they'll anticipate the same actions from customers. 

Compare all of this to your sales process without contact management software. Rather than basing your actions on data and statistics, you're just going off of intuition. Even if your sales representatives have strong relationships with customers, it's always better to add analytics to your sales process. 

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

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3 Steps to Increasing Sales with CRM Software

By Steve Stroz on Dec 13, 2018 3:45:00 PM

1. Research your target audience

The more data your CRM software collects, the more you'll learn about your target audience. After a few months, you'll start to see patterns in the data form. From this information, you can infer certain things about your target audience. 

2. Build your social media marketing campaign around their behavior

What you do with that data and how you interpret it will determine how effective CRM software is for your business. One way businesses use the information is to improve their social media marketing efforts. 

According to a recent Business 2 Community article, after you implement CRM software, you'll find it easier to connect with customers on various social sites: 

"CRM is a new frontier in customer-centric sales and marketing which is reinventing the customer relationship and creating a real-time landscape for enterprises of all sizes to connect with existing and future customers – leveraging Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and more."

3. Increase sales

And finally, your targeted marketing efforts will eventually lead to an increase in sales. Engaging followers on social media is important, but you really want to see it impact your bottom-line. 

In addition to improving your marketing efforts, CRM software gives your sales representatives more tools. They can study up on clients by referring to the software before meetings so they'll have a better chance at finalizing a deal. 

What makes CRM software so special is the overall impact it has on your company. You can apply the data to several aspects of your business. 

To talk more about CRM software, ACT!, HubSpot, Salesforce, ZoHo or anything else, please contact us. Thanks. 

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How Communication Makes CRM Software More Effective

By Steve Stroz on Dec 6, 2018 3:30:00 PM

Communication is key when it comes to using CRM software. Since all your departments - marketing, sales, accounting, customer service, etc. - can use it, it's important that they communicate with each other. 

The importance of cohesion is best understood with an example. A recent Biz Community article explains how your business can use CRM software to increase the value of a returning customer: 

"You have just invoiced a customer, and a predetermined query raises the flag that this customer has not been invoiced in at least 12 months. Furthermore, the value of that customer is extremely high. In simple terms, it is clear that an old customer, who is very valuable to the company, has returned. Such a flag should immediately trigger a personal "welcome back" email from a senior manager, or possibly even a phone call."

If you don't use CRM software or some type of marketing technology, then you'll have no idea the customer is returning unless you remembered his or her name. CRM software makes everything into a process so you can't miss an opportunity like this. 

Once the software sends an alert and tells you that the customer is returning, it's up to your business to make the most of it. Whether you set up a meeting with a sales representative or send a personalized email, it's important to take your relationship management to the next level. 

There are several things you can do to make your CRM software as effective as possible. We recommend improving the communication between your departments to develop cohesion around the software. 

To talk more about CRM software, ACT!, HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho, 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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