Marketing and Sales Needs System and Process Automation
Running a business means finding and keeping customers who will buy from you. This isn’t necessarily easy, particularly with the number and variety of “impressions” people get throughout their day. It used to be that simply locating a business in the right place would generate drive-by traffic, with location being the key to generating impressions and causing people to actually stop and shop. Impressions – yes, those brief instances where your brand or service is viewed – count.
The entire lifecycle of the customer relationship starts with the first impression, so it needs to be a good one. Marketing impressions expose your business and products to prospective customers, with efforts oriented towards the generation of sales leads. A lead is a business or individual that may ultimately develop into a sales or business opportunity. Rather than attempting to engage with businesses or individuals one at a time, businesses use marketing to target large groups in hopes of earning the permission to engage group members in more focused or individualized sales activities. When the business earns the ability to communicate directly with a prospective buyer, a sales lead is generated, and the business now has a prospective customer and the potential to make a sale.
Sales leads don’t stop becoming leads just because they purchase from you. Every customer remains an ongoing opportunity to generate new business directly or indirectly via referrals or recommendations. The best case scenario for your business is when you know when and why your customer buys from you, when the customer wants more, and that they will refer their friends or business associates to you.
Part of the problem with marketing and sales is that there are often too few people and/or resources to apply to the task. Most businesses aren’t in the position of simply throwing money at a problem (which rarely actually solves the problem), so it becomes essential that you find a way to get the job done with the same or fewer people and resources. The keys to solving this problem are systems and processes (automation). Automation doesn’t always mean that there is an “automatic system” somewhere which performs all of the tasks for you. In most cases, it simply means that the process is structured, efficient, and is able to be effectively repeated without significant deviation or loss. Structured systems and processes, along with a strong commitment to capturing activity data and measuring results, is the foundation which will support growth.
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From the very first impression through the conclusion of the sale and ongoing, it is essential to capture the data which describes the activities and events around doing business with your customers. It is important to track unsuccessful efforts as well as those which are successful. By understanding what does not work, you develop valuable insight which helps refine the process and the approach, resulting in fewer wasted efforts. The accumulated data tells the story of how you earn new business and how you create a customer relationship, which helps you understand how and where you are successful in earning new business and why you are able to retain loyal customers.