The customer journey has changed. In days long gone by, it used to be a linear process. A customer would find a company, conduct a little research, connect with a sales associate, and make a decision. However, the digital age has changed the way that customers complete their buying journey. There are now a multitude of choices that customers must navigate as they begin, pause, change, restart, and complete their buyer journeys.
Cold Calling. The phrase elicits the same shudder as the now infamous TPS quote from Office Space. We all got the memo. Cold calling has changed; it's no longer the same fanatical rite of passage for unpaid interns who are hoping to get the coveted slot on the paid sales team. However, for as much as cold calling has changed, it is important to note that it is not gone, nor is it demand generation.
If you're reading this post, then you might feel a little like the kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar. You've done your homework, you know that you aren't supposed to have dessert before dinner, and yet you can't help yourself ... you reached for the cookie, without realizing that if you had just done a little bit of research you could have had a cookie on top of an ice cream sundae. In other words, perhaps you have a "fake CRM" (the cookie) and have now sheepishly realized that it isn't a "real" CRM. One might say that's the way the cookie crumbles, but all food references aside, you've come to the right place if you want to a) confirm that your CRM isn't cutting it, and b) discover what you should be looking for in your CRM.
Picture this scenario
Your sales team manually inputting leads and notes into Microsoft Excel or Outlook, keeping them off the phone. Microsoft Excel excels at everything related to spreadsheets, from calculations to graphing tools. Outlook not only serves as an email communications system, but also has built-in features that help users organize tasks, meetings, and notes. So it seems like it would make sense to use these as your sales tools of choice, right?
In 2016, the use of these systems for sales-oriented tasks were more common, as 40% of salespeople reported using these means to store leads and customer data.
And now picture this scenario:
Having an automated system that tracks leads, stores customer data, creates detailed sales and marketing reports, and manages all email, phone, and meeting communications. That’s not even all of it. A system like this exists, and it’s an acronym you may have seen - CRM. CRM stands for customer relationship management and is commonly followed up with the word “system” after it. Between 2016 and now, CRM adoption by businesses has grown by 113%, with 64% of sales professionals reporting that they use CRM tools.
Thanks to social media, instant access to online communities is now easier than ever. Consumers can pull out their smartphone or computer, and engage in a live stream of worldwide events, participate in online group chats, and scroll through their newsfeed to see the must-know happenings. Businesses have a platform to deliver engaging content about their services and products, and with the right social media strategy, can make a post go from hundreds to millions of views within minutes. Even though social media didn’t take off until the early 2000s, it follows a principle that has been around much longer: sharing is caring.
Social media is a must-have for businesses of any size. However, the inherent challenge of social media is keeping up with world of ever-changing algorithms, growing demographics, and varying industry trends. With all of these challenges lurking, social media management can easily become the snowball that finds the bunny slope, and quickly becomes an out of control avalanche. In other words, don't let social media management in a fickle environment overwhelm you. Instead, the following post will help you to overcome the most common struggles of social media for businesses.
If you're in marketing and your sales team doesn't have a playbook, you should be concerned! For far too long sales and marketing teams have worked as separate entities; fortunately, with the sales playbook this outdated mentality can change. Alignment creates velocity through a consistent approach to sales. After all, if marketing teams are spending hundreds (if not thousands) of hours researching buyers and producing content that speaks to these prospective customers, then why aren't sales teams leveraging this invaluable knowledge?
The idea that CEOs must wear multiple hats has been perpetuated to the point of absurdity. Far too often small to mid sized companies find that their CEOs are trying to also wear the hat of sales manager. Unfortunately, you can't be both. You can't be a sales manager and a CEO, it is simply too hard. Trying to fill both of these roles will have you feeling like The Two-Headed Monster from Sesame Street! You can, however, be the leader and visionary needed to provide sales strategy to your sales managers.
In 2017, there were approximately 2.46 billion social media users. In 2019, the number of social media users has jumped to an estimated 2.77 billion. In other words, since their inception social media platforms have shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, their continued growth is one of the reasons that so many businesses have turned to social media as the new, more efficient way to find leads and prospects.
The term inbound marketing refers to the powerful method for creating and sharing content that turns audiences into brand ambassadors and customers. In an era where social media has helped to propel businesses to new levels of success (including creating the youngest female Billionaire to date), there is now even more proof that a consistent social presence can drive inbound leads. Leveraging the power of social media begins with an understanding that engagement is the key to attracting qualified leads and growing your following. Next you will need to overcome common misconceptions. Finally, you will need to develop a consistent approach to social media marketing.