This article was originally posted on tenfold.com
With well over 1,000 technology vendors trying to sell some type of marketing technology in more than 40 categories, it’s no wonder that marketing specialists often describe themselves as feeling ‘overwhelmed’. To be sure, the rate of adoption of marketing technology is astonishingly low among mid-market B2B companies—except those in the software industries: other industries are using, on average, only two highly regarded marketing technologies despite the saturation of products available.
While it’s easy to say that this is a wasted opportunity, it is important to reflect on what IT professional services and IT products are available to improve the sales and marketing funnel. Here’s a look at the six most important things that every business leader should know about IT products and services that help with sales and marketing.
Utilize Email Marketing
When the Internet was still novel, the phrase ‘You’ve Got Mail’ brought squeals of joy and excitement. After decades of unsolicited spam piling up, Nigerian prince schemes, and assurances of undeserved wealth flooding the average inbox, how effective is email marketing? Is it still an effective approach to garnering sales?
The short answer is yes. With an effective email marketing campaign, the possibilities for growth are endless.
It’s common knowledge that many customers require several touchpoints with a company before committing to a purchase. Email marketing is an easy way to ensure this happens. To be sure, the majority of customers seek out email marketing campaigns to stay informed about their favorite businesses. Global information powerhouse Nielsen reported in 2014 that 28 percent of consumers subscribe to a company email list to stay informed about business activities.
Nearly 60 percent of moms in the United States reported to Loyalty 360 that they would sign up for email marketing if rewards were offered. And companies who do choose this route are often rewarded with increased sales and improved customer loyalty. In other words, there is a definite value in staying connected via email.
With the advent of IT marketing techniques and tools, email campaigns have an advantage: they are versatile enough to integrate seamlessly with most other marketing strategies. It is also an easy technique that can be used to personalize interactions with consumers. Business leaders who utilize personalization features available through modern IT see huge profit gains.
Perhaps the most alluring of reasons to pursue email marketing stems from the fact that it is the least expensive IT solution available. For business owners on a budget, it can be a more effective and affordable option than direct mail, TV advertisements, or radio spots. While it is something many business owners struggle to find time for, hiring a marketing professional to undertake the process is also an option.
Engage in Analytics
The name alone suggests something far less attractive than other aspects of marketing and sales. However, it can save business leaders tremendous amounts of time and money. IT sales and marketing programs are readily available to track the performance of channels, ads, offers, and technologies.
Centuries ago, American merchant John Wanamaker said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Fortunately, the time of uncertainty has passed. Now, smart marketers utilize information technology to know which half is (or isn’t) working. While there are a variety of tools and techniques available, by and far the most popular one is Google Analytics.
Over 80 percent of small to mid-size websites use Google Analytics, which is completely free. Down the road, business leaders may opt for a paid service such as Adobe Analytics, but Google Analytics provides a fantastic base service. Some of the information it provides includes:
- The number of visitors to a site;
- How visitors find a site;
- Whether a mobile-friendly site would be useful;
- Ways to improve a site’s speed;
- What marketing techniques drive the most people to a site;
- What blog content is most appealing to site visitors;
- How many visitors have been converted into paying customers.
Serve Up a Dish of Artificial Intelligence
In 1983, moviegoers caught a glimpse of the potential Artificial Intelligence offers in the film “War Games.” In it, Matthew Broderick employed a software program to teach the futility of nuclear war through repeated games of Tic-Tac-Toe.
Machine learning is built on the same concept and has tremendous potential for the world of commerce. IT specialists are using it to form millions of data points regarding consumer shopping habits and preferences. With this information, businesses can offer much greater personalization to customers.
Consumers are ready and poised to respond to such sales and marketing personalization. According to Oracle Retail 2025, just under 60 percent (three out of five) of shoppers had a positive outlook about a grocer creating a suggested shopping list based on the consumer’s previous shopping habits and behaviors.
For an AI system to be effective, it must provide minimal intervention in a person’s life while maximizing the amount and quality of data provided. As customers interact with the software, more information is then gathered about their shopping habits so that even more personalization is possible.
Employ Marketing Automation & CRMs
Smart marketers understand that ad hoc advertising tools can be useful. However, an all-in-one automated marketing platform is far more beneficial. It allows companies to bring together all of their inbound and outbound marketing efforts in one place.
Additional benefits of automated marketing and CRM systems include:
Effective CRMs improve efficiency in several ways. For one, they replace inefficient systems that relied on manual input and endless paperwork trails. They can also integrate with other marketing tools so that companies can interact with customers on a far more comprehensive level than otherwise allowed.
Better customer relations
In a client-facing business world, CRMs are a necessity because they improve customer relations in all areas of sales and marketing by providing more mainstreamed organization. It offers companies immediate feedback so improvements can be made right away, thereby decreasing customer frustration and increasing loyalty.
It’s nearly inevitable that some customers will be lost to the void when companies lack the tools to manage them effectively. CRMs add a layer of accountability to the customer relationship process. Such a system allows employees to see what their roles are in the sales process. When those responsibilities aren’t met, it’s easy to see where things went wrong, who fell short, and put into place strategies to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The more information that marketers have available, the better their skills can be utilized. A successful CRM gives marketing specialists information so that they can better understand customer needs and behaviors, thereby choosing the optimum time and place to market products.
Get a Handle on Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing refers to paid search ads, such as Google AdWords, and search engine optimization that helps to garner organic search results based on website content. IT sales and marketing tools help people find a given company when searching for certain terms. With search ads, business people can experiment and optimize keywords on websites, advertisements, website forms, and any offers provided. Such data allows people to understand which words lead to the most prospects and revenue.
Wrangle Mobile Marketing
Everywhere one turns, one is likely to discover new statistics about the benefits of mobile marketing and mobile optimization. That’s because 78 percent of mobile searches for local business information result in purchases. And the vast majority (two out of three) of these users prefer a mobile website over a mobile app. Over 70 percent of shoppers have used a mobile coupon, and one-third of all eCommerce purchases were made on a mobile device in 2013.
No matter how good a company’s IT sales and marketing software is, it only performs as well as the people using it. Therefore, it’s important to train employees to properly use the techniques and tools at hand whenever something new is implemented. To improve your selling and marketing game, utilize these six IT solutions.
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