In Part 1, we reviewed the growth of the CRM and explored the latest features designed to help improve the salesperson’s (user) experience. The CRM is just one of many tools available to us that can assist our prospecting activities. Without it, we risk not giving our efforts the best chance of success; but just because we’ve invested in one, doesn’t mean that we will start closing more deals.
There’s more to sales than logging information in a CRM, and there are a range of other tools available to us that could form part of a formidable prospecting arsenal.
Sales and Marketing teams have traditionally operated in siloes – communication was minimal and co-operation almost non-existent. The conventional wisdom today is that aligning both departments can create the sort of joined-up approach that best lends itself to successful prospect management.
So let’s take a look at some of the digital marketing tools that are available to bring your sales processes into the 21st Century.
The days when we used to send poorly targeted, blanket messages to all contacts within an organisations’ CRM are forever behind us. The common image of the ‘spam’ email has no place in our hyper-connected world. Today’s tools make it easy to segment your prospect universe and send targeted messages to a small number of individuals; so why am I receiving emails that bear no relation to my job role or specific interests? Forget mass-marketing and sending material to all the recipients you have with this ‘scatter-gun’ approach. Instead, create specifically targeted material that goes out to an appropriately segmented group of individuals. Better to send 10 people something relevant and have 7 expressions of interest than send irrelevant material to 50 people.
Consumers and prospects around the world are becoming increasingly mobile-savvy. With this being the case, you should pay due attention to how mobile users will react to your content. It should not only be adaptive, but also fully engaging on a small screen. Most email marketing tools will provide the ability to preview both desktop and mobile versions; so make sure that you focus on what is increasingly becoming a ‘mobile-first’ arena.
Ultimately, what makes an email campaign successful is the combination of understanding your market, sending specific targeted content and following-up through their preferred engagement channel in order to convert them from a prospect to a customer. Using real-time analytics, you can track engagement to prioritise your follow-up activity.
You should already be tracking total amount of visitors, most popular pages and pages per visit on your website. These are basic metrics that give you an idea of website activity but don’t really give you the information from which any significant insight can be drawn.
Some of the latest innovations in website analytics now provide the ability to dig deeper into the minds of visitors and think of them less as ‘traffic’ but as individuals with different needs, focuses and preferences. Therefore, you can understand how best to target them with relevant material. Tools are available to identify a variety of key details including gender, age, job role and location. Information such as this can guide your segmentation and produce intelligent content that responds to each buying persona.
Looking at your wider marketing strategy, being able to track visitor source helps attribute return on investment to the different channels from which you are trying to capture prospects. Google gives you the ability to identify the search terms they used to find your website; with sight of the key search terms you can capitalise on the most effective activities, whilst cutting or adjusting any under-performing efforts.
Since 2010, social media has been the fastest-growing channel for lead generation. Today, a staggering 23% of internet users spend all of their online time on social networks and blogs. This presents a significant opportunity but also complications in deciding what messages to get out, and how to do so. There are several different social media channels today and some will be more fruitful than others. Having a strong understanding of your prospect universe will help you to identify some of the most effective channels to use; however to really succeed you’ll need to use more than just one. Typically, Facebook and LinkedIn will be the main players, but your customers may prefer other networks: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ to name a few.
Whether you are sending different messages through different channels, or the same across each of them, take the hassle out of it by linking your social media profiles with a centralised platform. A good social media management platform will automate parts of this process and give you the ability to not only see how your targets are interacting, but also to identify new prospects. If a new prospect interacts with your material, you can capture their information and engage with them directly. Moreover, information about these prospects can be pushed into your CRM and actively pursued.
Has your company got its own website? Well, of course it has. Is the purpose of that website to inform and ultimately engage with prospects? Yes…at least it should be! But are you actively engaging with those warm prospects at an appropriate point in their buying journey? Sure, having a ‘Contact Us’ page might seem like an obvious way for the prospect to engage with us, but why rely on them making the first move?
If you don’t already have a live chat facility on your website then it might be worth considering. This provides a contact channel on every page and provides you with a way of reaching out to prospects.
There is, however, one glaring issue with most poorly thought-out chat facilities. A generic, automated message as soon as you visit a webpage can be extremely off-putting. Popups never rank too highly on surveys about positive user experience, so make sure that you put the requisite thought into how your live chat will operate. With the analytics tools available to you there is a wealth of information about your prospects and their interests. From here you can actively engage in a real-time conversation or set up automated triggers based on specific viewing habits (think time spent on pages, frequency of visits and the type of pages they visit).
A personalised message delivered during your prospects’ research process can help to educate and build an early relationship; ultimately helping your organisation to stand out and increase the chances of successful conversion.
All of these tools are very powerful even in isolation, but like that old adage, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.
Look out for Part 3 where we will discuss how to pull these tools together with your CRM to create a fully-functioning prospecting suite. We will also explore some of the applications that we use here at Broadley Speaking.