This is the first in a two-part series focused on the ABCs of sales and marketing automation. Take a look at the introduction here.
Hopefully, you kept that list handy I mentioned in my last post, noting down manual activities related to your sales and marketing functionality which you’re finding yourself repeating on a regular basis. I want to introduce you to some simple tools which could turn these manually repeating tasks into a thing of the past.
There are thousands of automation solutions, products and services available on the market. Saying yes to every app or system will have an inverse impact on your business to a strategically considered and carefully implement automation solution.
The easiest way to feel empowered rather than overwhelmed is to work from the ground up – focusing on the big-picture sales and marketing automation tools that could make the most effective changes, and moving into the minute detail as a secondary stage.
With this in mind, your first consideration is your CRM.
A good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool can give you complete insight across every area of your business at a moment’s notice – but it’s only as strong as the data you feed into it. CRMs benefit from a clear understanding of workflow, internal and external touchpoints, and healthy data practices within your team. They can be used to manage customer relationships, track leads, progress opportunities, build sales pipelines and keep stock of inventory. Options on the market include Zoho, Salesforce, Insightly and more – it’s a competitive space with many evolving players.
Take a look at 2-3 different CRMs and identify functionality that could aid you in your day-to-day activities. Are you in need of a trustworthy customer database? Struggling to keep track of your incoming leads? Unsure where a particular sales opportunity is up to without an email-back-and-forth with a colleague? The right CRM could hold the answer.
Your CRM will benefit from another foundational application of automation – integration.
Are your emails talking to your databases? How are to-dos triggered across your team? Do incoming customer enquiries automatically open a new ticket/lead/database listing?
By combining your sales and marketing efforts and communication with a robust and healthy CRM, you’ll stand to better understand your customers. Integration can be achieved through tools such as Zapier and IFTTT.
Take a look at some of the CRM integrations offered by Zapier here. Imagine if every incoming sales enquiry was automatically delivered to your CRM and converted into a lead, or if every outgoing marketing EDM was associated with the contact base who received it for easy tracking. Integrated automation might sound like a buzz term – but in reality, it’s one of the most practical ways you can increase your business’s efficiency without increasing overheads.
In my next post we’ll look at further tools which are easily adapted to suit your needs. In the meantime, do your homework – it’s worth it.