Many of the businesses I talk to want to improve results from their sales and marketing efforts but don’t have the technology or resources to pull it off. Choosing the right strategy and system can be a big challenge. There’s a lot at stake: not getting it right can limit your ability to effectively market and sell your products and services, negatively impacting your growth goals.
If modernizing your sales and marketing system is on your priority list, a system upgrade or hiring new resources is also likely in order. It can be hard to know who to trust or how to maximize chances of success. It’s increasingly complicated stuff.
Check out the following infographic. It outlines 4 crucial decisions to make before investing in your sales and marketing system.
Decision 1: People
Any business book you read will tell you people first, then processes. My first recommendation is to start with finding a knowledgeable marketing leader you can trust, whether that’s an internal hire or outsourced expert. Leverage their expertise to help you develop the strategy, resources, and technology required to get a steady flow of customers.
The interesting thing about technology is that it goes hand-in-hand with choosing a sales and marketing partner. For example, if you’re leaning toward WordPress, you need people that know how to use it: you need the “WordPress” people. If you’re leaning toward a marketing automation tool like HubSpot, you need the “HubSpot” people. Each group has different strategies, philosophies, and processes for how to use technology to drive business growth.
The person or team you get to help should eat their own dog food. As my Dad always says, "You play like you practice!
Decision 2: Sales and Marketing Plan
Upgrading your sales and marketing system is similar to the process of buying a car: you wouldn’t opt for a Volkswagon Beetle if you have 6 kids. It wouldn’t work. When choosing technology, it’s critical to outline your goals, objectives, and tactics first. Once you know what you want to do and how you want to do it, you can narrow down the functionality you need. At Ascend Business Growth, we always start with the plan before we make any recommendations about technology.
Decision 3: Functionality
Once you have your priorities outlined, you can narrow down what types of functionality are required to get the job done. For example, if you decide that email marketing is going to be a big part of your growth strategy, you know you need something that includes email marketing functionality. If you don’t want to do email marketing, you don’t need it.
Decision 4: All-in-One System vs. Combined Applications
Now you’re getting closer to choosing a sales and marketing system. As mentioned above, if you find a person you trust, they’ll likely have their favorite tools that you’ll want to consider first. But if their tools don’t offer the functionality you need, it’s time to look around. If your chosen marketing partner isn’t down with using different technology or doesn’t know how, you may have to consider working with someone else.
Deciding whether you want to go for more of an all-in-one tool that has the majority of the functionality you need or a combination of a variety of technologies stiched together can help narrow the field. Many business owners gravitate to the inexpensive tools like WordPress and MailChimp at first, but you get what you pay for. There can be limited functionality or complex processes required to migrate data from one system to another, which adds to the cost in the long run (gotta pay someone to manage technology vs. paying someone to do marketing), so be careful.