A customer relationship management system (CRM) is a great way to keep all the information you need on a prospect or customer in one place. This will include the basics such as their name, email phone number and their address.
As your business grows and the details you collect on customers grows ever larger, it is likely that you will need somewhere to store and access them easily, this is where a customer relationship management system will help you stay organised.
‘That sounds like little more than a contacts book?’
Well, CRM systems have a few special features which help to unlock your full marketing and sales potential. Forever striving to be helpful, CRMs manage, organise, track and store all the interactions your customer has with your company and website.
It can be used for contact management, sales management, marketing and content strategies as well as boosting your productivity.
This can help you to streamline and tailor your communication strategy towards a company or customer by tracking your interactions and conversations over time. Therefore, you can deduce what their contact preferences are, i.e. time and medium, and how they respond to certain marketing strategies.
A CRM software system can then automate some of your marketing and sales tasks to improve your efficiency and the effectiveness of your customer relationship management and other campaigns you may be working on.
In time, you should begin to convert more marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads because your marketing efforts will be much more precise and well-tuned. Your customers should be much happier with your interactions and are therefore more likely to come back and buy from you again.
Essentially, a CRM allows a business to deepen, strengthen and reinforce its relationship with customers, users, partners and suppliers. According to Gartner, CRM software systems will be the single largest revenue area of spending in enterprise software by 2021.
But how exactly can each department use customer relationship management systems to help them?
By having access to a wealth of information a salesperson can use a CRM to better understand their sales funnel and at what stage their prospect is at. They can then perhaps change or tailor their sales technique based on which customer they are dealing with, increasing their chances of making a sale. Salespeople will also have much less admin to do and will therefore have a lot more time to spend on selling.
Furthermore, a sales manager can use the CRM system to keep track on how individual salespeople are performing in terms of matching their targets. It can also help them to see how products and campaigns are performing so that they can identify any areas for improvement. Read more about Inbound Selling tactics here.
One of the big benefits to marketing teams is that a CRM makes forecasting much simpler and more accurate. This is because they have clear visibility on the behaviours of every opportunity or lead and can see the whole buyer’s journey from start to finish. This makes them better informed when they are outlining their next marketing campaigns or strategies. They can even pull in activity from the prospect’s social media activity to see their likes and dislikes and even their opinion’s on certain brands and companies. Essentially, your marketing team should be much more cost effective and efficient when devising marketing campaigns as they will have a wealth of information to call upon.
Customer Service Team:
One of the benefits a good CRM can bring to your customer support team is that they can track conversations across different channels. For instance, a customer could start a query or complaint on Twitter but might want to resolve it in live chat. This makes the customer’s experience much more enjoyable as you have tailored their query to best match their needs.
Furthermore, if a customer has made a complaint, your customer service team could use the CRM to access information about their habits, like and dislikes to best tailor how they will handle their response. Ideally, this would lead to any unhappy customers turning into happy customers who feel as though your company really do care about them and their experience.
Benefits of a customer relationship management system:
Improved cross-team communication
Better contact management
Empowered sales management
More accurate sales forecasting
Better sales metrics
More efficient and precise marketing, leading to a better ROI
Improved products and services
Better customer satisfaction and retention
What’s a good customer relationship management software to use?
While there are many customer relationship management software systems out there, not all of them perform to the same level. Here at DME we would suggest HubSpot CRM as being the best as it groups together everything you could need on a customer in one place. It also allows you to manage and analyse each contact and gives you the ability to automate some of your marketing actions, saving you time that can be better spent in other areas.
However, not everyone has the same preferences and there are many out there which you could use. Salesforce, Nimble and Pipedrive are some well-known CRMs which you could use to store your customer information. But have a look around and see what works best for you.
A CRM will genuinely help your business grow and will save you a lot of time and money. Hopefully, reading this has persuaded you that they are more than just a contacts book, and you will begin to realise all the benefits a CRM can bring. However, you don’t have to take my word for it, do some further research and maybe do a trial period with a CRM software system to make sure they are right for you and your business.
By now, you’ve probably heard about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which must be kept in mind when uploading content. So, why is it important, how does it work and what are the benefits your business stands to gain when you have good search engine optimisation?
Before we start, the aim of SEO is to essentially make your content or website rank higher on a Google results page. The further up the page your piece appears, the higher the SEO. But how does Google determine your SEO score?
Well, the first major change to how Google calculates SEO came in 2013 with the introduction of the Hummingbird algorithm. Hummingbird aimed to calculate where posts would rank by placing greater emphasis on natural language queries, considering context and meaning over individual keywords; while also looking at content on individual pages of a website to best direct readers.
Following Hummingbird, the RankBrain algorithm was confirmed to be in use in October 2015. RankBrain was the first machine learning based algorithm and helped Hummingbird to make quicker and more intelligent search results by making educated guesses on what people will search based on familiar words. It is considered as the third most important algorithm behind content and links.
Shortly after in January 2016, the Panda algorithm was incorporated into Google’s core algorithms to help filter out bad content from web page results. To do this, Panda assigns a content quality score to pages and down-ranks sites with spam, thin or poor content.
When put together, the three algorithms make life much easier for customers to filter out the bad content and keep the helpful or useful stuff. Handy for them, right? However, while it is useful for those in buying positions, it makes life a bit more difficult for those who are trying to market or sell.
This is because more emphasis now needs to be placed on factors such as the quality and meaning of the content, the length (800 words are suggested) and, essentially, how ‘human’ the interactions are. While meta descriptions, featured photos and other web pages linking to your page are also important factors.
Therefore, businesses and likewise are now having to put more time and effort into their web pages and content production in order to improve their SEO.
In the world of instant information it is essential to get a good SEO ranking to make your business stand out form the rest of the crowd. We’re all guilty of clicking the top result and not properly browsing through the Google results page.
However, as previously discussed, there is good reason for doing so. Getting as far up the results page as possible is a great way to attract new customers and become a trusted source in your industry.
Remember, 74% of people tend to buy from the place that first provided them genuine value and 93% of a buyers’ journey is completed online online. Therefore, if you can couple a good inbound marketing strategy and good SEO, you are creating the perfect concoction for a successful business. Read more about the buyer’s journey.
Look at it as a snowball effect. The better your SEO, the further up the results page you are, the more customers you attract, the more reviews you get, which leads to more customers. It really is a good way to organically grow your business and maximise your selling and marketing potential.
Even if your web visitors don’t become customers instantly after visiting your site, you can view them as marketing qualified leads and get to work on trying to attract them back and moving them through the sales funnel.
However, focusing on improving your SEO, website and content creation is almost pointless if you’re not tracking how well they are performing. By doing this, you can see what is working well and helping to boost your site up the results page and where you need to pay more attention to or even stop production altogether.
Through a content management system, you can track how many visits your site receives, when you receive them and even how long people are on your site for, helping you to really channel your resources into the right area.
If you’re not sure on which customer management system you want to use for your business, then HubSpot may be worth a look. The marketing system allows you to do an array of things related to content production and SEO and really helps you to focus your efforts on what you need to do to improve your place in Google’s search results.
Tips for improving your Search Engine Optimisation score:
Make sure you have a good META description and try to include the keyword from your title
Make your blog posts at least 800 words
Create pillar pages and link your blogs to them, the more links you have the better
Make your content interactive and meaningful; remember Google values ‘human’ interactions
Include featured photos in your post
Try asking your customer’s for feedback get good reviews, this will really help boost your SEO
Unfortunately, improving your SEO score isn’t a quick and easy job. It will take time to lay the foundations and you’ll need to continuously build upon them and even change the entire structure at times. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your business be.
What is the difference between Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing ? The simple truth is that traditional outbound marketing is becoming very outdated with the message your are broadcasting designed to interrupt your prospects and force your message on them, this is a costly method and yields much lower ROI than Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing is the process of creating and sharing relevant and valuable content to prospects who are looking looking for information to solve a specific problem.
According to Forbes, the average person is exposed to around 4,000 – 10,000 ads each day which, as you can imagine, is rather annoying for both the consumer and you as the seller – the consumer doesn’t want to be inundated with useless information, while you wish to bring in new leads and generate sales, and not push potential customers further away from your brand.
With all these adverts and modern technology, it’s now easier for people to ignore and only focus on the messages they wish to engage with.
Outbound Marketing relates to the old traditional methods of marketing, these methods actually disrupt and obstruct any potential customers as messages being pushed out via businesses are intrusive and often impersonal to the customer.
HubSpot definition of outbound marketing: a traditional method of marketing seeking to obstruct potential customers. Outbound marketing includes activities such as trade shows, seminar series and cold calling. It is costly and the ROI (Return On Investment) is much lower than inbound marketing.
These methods are classes as outbound marketing as marketers using these techniques are pushing their message as far as they possibly can, hoping that it will resonate with someone, somewhere. These messages are broad and generalised so they don’t necessarily cater for an individual’s needs, and with so many options out there for us as consumers, it’s easy to simply ignore messages.
But these methods no longer work. Why?
Well, as already mentioned previously, people are inundated with thousands of messages and emails every day and it’s become far easier for us to just block them out via spam, or people can simply just opt to unsubscribe to annoying emails, unless it’s a brand or product we are actually interested in. This is also just as easy with cold calling, the use of caller ID on phones has allowed for us to identify exactly who is calling, and if it’s someone we don’t recognise, we tend to simply ignore the call. If those calls continue to obstruct and disrupt us – we can simply block numbers.
As far as consumers are concerned, it’s now also fast, easy and cheap to search for things via the internet. If a consumer has a problem or pain point, they can simply search for answers on the internet which will then present a whole world of possibilities through search engines, blogs and social media. Without even leaving their house, their answers are presented to them so quickly, and this is where you come in…
Why you and your business should adopt an Inbound Marketing mindset:
With inbound marketing, you are putting the customer at the centre of everything that you do, you are attracting customers like a magnet. Rather than pushing out your message and disrupting potential leads, you’re using your industry knowledge as a way to pull these potential customers in by attracting your best prospects who are out there looking for solutions to their problems.
How you can do this:
Your website should act like a hub for your industry, not just shouting about what you do as a business or what your products offer, but by utilising content, such as blogs, to answer any potential customer questions. That way, you are nurturing them through their buying process and by the time they get to the all-important decision stage, they are left with no questions and both yourselves and the customer will know that they are ready to make that purchase.
Why inbound marketing?
More cost effective
Make use of content such as blogs to draw customers in
Draws 3x as many leads as traditional outbound methods
Build trust between you and the customer by providing knowledge and answers to their questions/pain points
Engage and interact with your audience/customer
So now you understand the difference between inbound marketing vs outbound marketing – which are you going to master and focus on ?
Creating content that represents your brand and aligns with your buyer personas is crucial to sales enablement. Your marketing department is tasked with providing content for the top of the sales funnel as well as for your sales reps, as part of a sales enablement strategy.
At the start of the sales cycle marketing’s aim is to attract users to the website and convert them into leads. As well as making sure landing pages are SEO friendly, they use a variety of ‘lead magnets’ from downloadable whitepapers and case studies to eBooks and cheat sheets – all designed to invite new prospects to share their information.
As well as helping to generate leads, these types of content can also be used as part of a sales enablement process. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Repurpose top of the sales funnel content
Blog posts are perhaps the best known way to attract organic traffic to a website. They can also be used as the basis for late stage sales funnel conversations too. Well-written posts can be useful reference materials for sales reps when they’re nurturing prospects.
Make blog posts easily accessible to the sales team, in the cloud. Consider changing long form posts into one-page reference documents to make it easier for sales to extract the important details.
EBooks, case studies and whitepapers can also be used both in the early and later stages of the sales funnel: They often include industry statistics and educational materials that illustrate how a brand can solve a customer’s problems.
Wherever possible marketing should share this type of content with sales in a way they can make use of it e.g. in a phone script or as a one-pager. They can all go towards helping sales explain the benefit of your product or service and engage with high quality prospects in a meaningful way.
2. Internal content to support sales
Ring DNA describe sales scripts as a “prescribed set of talking points”.
In order to prepare for a sales call or meeting your sales team should be able to hit the ground running. Unfortunately without a sales enablement strategy in place this won’t happen. Too often reps are reading scripts line by line rather than using the script as the backdrop for a useful conversation.
What they need is a script that gives them all the information and points to use without requiring them to memorise the lines as if they are acting.
A product sheet is a highly useful piece of collateral for both the rep and the prospect. Or at least it should be. In order to be effective in sales enablement it should answer the following questions:
What is the function of the product?
Who is it for?
How much does it cost?
How does it help solve a problem?
With this information readily available reps will have an up to date source of key product benefits to pass onto prospective customers.
Competitor comparison content
Companies should be regularly carrying out competitor analysis to see what competitors are offering and how they’re differentiating their brand. Sales should have this information readily available in an easy-to-view format so they can use it as required in conversations with customers; the aim being to demonstrate the advantages of choosing your product or service over a competitor’s.
3. Sales converting content
Sales should be involved in the crafting of certain pieces of content. To help them stay on brand, marketing can supply them with email templates they can customise when they’re speaking to different customers. From follow-ups and check-in emails to prospecting, they should have a template of every possible type of customer or prospective customer interaction.
These provide a quick and easy way for prospects to see what the brand provides – and whether it solves their problem or not.
Sales and marketing need to collaborate to produce presentations. Both sets of input are required in order to produce a winning slide deck. Sales often lack the clarity and consistency that marketing has to offer, while marketing needs to align the messaging with feedback from sales.
4. Social messaging content
It’s important that sales reps interact with prospects via social networks so they need marketing to provide them with suggestions around tweeting and posting on LinkedIn.
The best way for companies to increase the success of their sales teams is to streamline sales and marketing processes and give them content that will help them be successful.
The aim of sales enablement is to close more deals. So the content provided by the marketing team needs to be focused on this goal.
It’s also important to note that marketing needs the help of the sales team to create content in the first place. Reps on the ground are in the perfect position to understand a prospect’s pain points and the questions they need answers to. This information should be used to inform a company’ssales enablement content strategy.
As we all know, LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for connecting with others, whether that be in your industry or further afield. As well as connecting with others, LinkedIn is also great for finding and applying to jobs – the Quick Apply function allowing you to apply for jobs at the click of a button, so simple and so easy. However, as a marketer, there is more to LinkedIn than just a job search tool, you can also generate leads on LinkedIn.
With this in mind, I want to start this blog post with 3 LinkedIn myths that people often believe:
3 LinkedIn myths:
No regular users: people only use the platform to connect with people they know and to occasionally update their CV.
LinkedIn is too small: you’re better off utilising platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to generate leads.
You can only connect with people you personally know.
LinkedIn is actually a thriving social network with regular users (over 500 million), with more than 9 million business profiles from over 200 countries.
Often most people will think of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google as the most valuable lead generation tools, however, LinkedIn is actually responsible for 80% of all B2B leads!
According to B2B News Network, around half of all users are likely to purchase from a company that they engage with on LinkedIn.
But if we really think about it, these figures make sense. The average LinkedIn user specifically uses the platform for professionally geared content, scrolling through their feed to seek out information on ways to help their business growth.
So, when you share high quality content that can help others to grow their business, that content is more likely to convert on LinkedIn than with the average Instagram or Facebook user.
LinkedIn has become the leading social media platform for B2B marketers, with Twitter being a close second.
So, how can you generate leads on LinkedIn?
Make sure your executives have a strong LinkedIn presence, posting useful, helpful and relevant content that will draw customers in. Answer customer questions and pain points while doing so. Along with sharing your own content, it’s also good practice to share other relevant content that fits in with what you do. Using the platform to build both your personal brand while also connecting with other like-minded business people while adding to conversations where necessary.
Create a powerful LinkedIn page for your business: having an active, central page for your business is crucial. LinkedIn users want to see that you’re active and, again, sharing relevant and useful content.
Use paid products to ensure your content reaches your intended audience: this can be useful so that your content doesn’t just fall upon deaf ears, you really want it to reach out to those that you’re targeting.
Ensure you have a strong sales and marketing alignment: by having a strong alignment between both sales and marketing your business is able to really focus on their growth goals, combining both together to ensure that everyone in the business is on the same page and working together to achieve those goals.
On LinkedIn you’re able to target your audience on a much deeper level – including geographic location, current company, past company, industry, profile language, non-profit interests and school. It really does make it that much easier to target your demographic, providing a much better opportunity for high conversion rates.
When being active on LinkedIn, it can be easy to share a lot of similar content so do be mindful to vary that up – share videos, infographics, blog posts and so on. Videos are often a great way to increase engagement with posts, so why not give it a try?
LinkedIn is one of the most overlooked tools for lead generation, so if you aren’t using the platform to generate leads, then you could be missing out on major opportunities to grow your brand and revenue. Read more about Inbound Selling here.
It’s important to remember that LinkedIn is not just the only platform you should and can use for lead generation, but certainly is one you should consider if you aren’t already.
According to Highspot, sales enablement adoption has grown 343% over the last few years. Now 62% of companies have a sales enablement program, function or person in place. Companies are using sales enablement to help them sell effectively in the digital age, supported by the right sales enablement software.
For these processes to happen efficiently you need to invest in technology in the form of sales enablement software.
Sales enablement software: closing the gap between sales and marketing
With the scale of content and other resources increasing rapidly, more businesses are investing in sales enablement software. Sales enablement software gives you the ability to create, share, edit and manage materials and resources with ease, from just one place.
A high quality sales enablement platform should bridge the gap between sales and marketing and boost collaboration . It’s an investment that should more than pay for itself in the long run by increasing sales and boosting revenues.
If your company hasn’t yet incorporated sales enablement technology yet you could be missing out. That’s according to Forrester who believe that
“The cost of inaction is higher than the financial investment in (sales enablement) tools”.
What makes for a great sales enablement software?
What’s right for one organisation isn’t right for another. So you’ll need to assess your unique requirements to come up with the best solution. In general however you want your sales enablement software to do the following:
Allow your sales teams to easily access the most effective materials for any given situation and buyer
Reduce friction by enabling seamless distribution and sharing of information and resources
Create a space where only approved materials that are ‘on brand’ and up-to-date are available
Automate and accelerate content lifecycle workflows – from creation to safe-keeping
Keep valuable content safely stored and only available to people with the right permissions
Allow sales to customise materials to meet the needs of specific accounts and audiences whilst keeping them ‘on brand’
Reduce the time spent finding things
Reduce incidences of duplication and workflow inefficiencies
Organise content efforts with insights into who is using certain sales materials and in which situations
Now we’ve discussed the features you should look for here are some concrete sales enablement software options to consider:
Hubspot’s CRM is free and is designed to give you a complete overview of your sales pipeline. It comes with various marketing tools and connects the sales and marketing teams to foster close collaboration. HubSpot Professional allows you to get deeper insights into your prospects and automate extra processes, helping you to close more deals more quickly.
This is a useful tool to help reps keep track of all their interactions with prospects throughout the sales cycle. It shows you which sales resources they are using and which are successfully closing deals. Zendesk is designed to be easy to use for busy sales reps and allows them to keep an eye on their highest value deals without worrying about the admin.
This software integrates with all your marketing content and sales tools to make all aspects of the sales enablement process seamless. Highspot allows reps to create customised experiences for accounts so they can serve them useful information that’s relevant to their situation.
HIghspot is feature-rich, combining content management, training, guides and actionable analytics – as well as a powerful search functionality.
Outreach amalgamates marketing, sales and successful sales efforts together so sales and marketing can share insights across teams. The software is designed to help you optimise the customer sales cycle focusing on engagement and collaboration to close deals.
Seismic takes a mobile-first approach to sales enablement so that teams can deliver content on any device and create ‘on brand’ materials while out in the field. It’s used by large corporations like IBM and American Express with data and insights capabilities that help teams understand how and when content is being used.
Sales enablement software empowers both the sales and marketing teams with the resources and tools to help them, collectively, win more business. With open lines of communication, and access to shared content these technologies can help you convert more leads into customers and brand advocates.