Is your sales and marketing team still using Excel spreadsheets and emails to keep track of customers and generate leads? There’s no time like the present to change that. Many organizations waste their growth team’s precious time by clinging to the old ways of attracting and retaining clients because of an imagined fear of the learning curve required to adapt to newer technologies. This means that their sales and marketing personnel spend a huge amount of time carrying out menial data entry tasks instead of doing what they’re actually meant to do.
So what roles are the sales and marketing teams supposed to fill? Many people utilize the terms interchangeably. But in a properly structured organization, marketers use emails, networking, cold calling software and so on to generate interest in the products or services in question. Salespeople manage potential client relationships and turn these leads into sales. It doesn’t matter whether your company has a two-member team managing lead generation and sales or an entire platoon of employees doing so.
Considering the wide variety of potential touchpoints, the job of customer acquisition and retention has become way too complex to be handled by simple spreadsheets.
What Kind Of Businesses Need To Use Sales & Marketing Software?
In today’s world, it is difficult to think of any business that can avoid using a good sales and marketing software platform if they want to sell products and services. Potential customers are everywhere. They are just a phone call or email or social media post away. Organizations in industries from real estate to coaching to SaaS to ecommerce to hospitality to manufacturing and so on need to generate leads and convert them into sales in order to earn revenue and grow bigger. It doesn’t matter whether they’re aiming for B2C or B2B clients.
Businesses acquire customers through in-bound (where the buyer gets in touch with the company) or out-bound sales (where the company contacts the potential buyer) processes. But in order to attract clients, the latter must be aware of the product or service in the first place and also have a need for it. Of course, the job in not done once a sale is made. After-sales services are a big part of customer retention and having repeat buyers is more profitable than spending money to keep obtaining new, one-time customers. At every stage outlined above, properly streamlined software is vital for sales and marketing teams.
Here is a list of the most basic software needed by every growth team in an organization that sells any product or service:
- Lead Generation Tools: Lead generation involves generating customer interest in a service or product with the main objective of converting their interest into a sale. It can include gathering the details of potential buyers through email marketing, web forms, cold calling, networking, online or offline events, SEM (Search Engine Marketing), social media channels, advertisements and more.
Auto-dialer software like Gong, email finder and verifier tools such as UpLead and similar lead generation utilities are extremely useful for identifying potential clients. Let’s not forget that software for event marketing and management, SEO and social media automation are also very important for lead capturing.
- Lead Conversion Software: Now that your team has acquired leads, it’s time to put your sales personnel to the task of trying to convert them into sales. Here’s where lead management software such as Pipedrive comes in. Lead conversion tools may seem to overlap with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, but they do not necessarily offer more functionality beyond turning leads into sales.
- CRM & Data Analytics System: Although CRM software is mainly intended to let businesses monitor interactions with customers intelligently, modern CRM systems ideally enable everything from finding leads to managing customer relationships to more informed after-sales support to keeping track of the sales pipeline to in-house collaboration. Some examples include Zoho and HubSpot. But such all-in-one software can get too bloated or too costly, depending on your needs and budget.
So if you’re dealing with specific software for specific processes, all of these different tools used by your sales and marketing team should be suitable for integration with the CRM and data analytics software of your choice. Having your growth team on a unified platform that allows them to effectively communicate with each other and work seamlessly on acquiring and retaining customers saves man hours and thus, money.
The CRM platform you use should be able to live sync all the available data, be easily searchable for customer information and interactions, and be able to use data analytics to automatically offer suggestions for improvements with regards to client relationships. All the set procedures a business follows when dealing with customers fall under CRM.
- Customer Service Software: People today expect companies to have multiple channels of communication open to them, from live chat to toll free numbers to email support. Potential clients, new customers as well as repeat buyers should be able to easily communicate with your company in case they have any queries, complaints or feedback to share. This is where tools like LiveAgent and Zendesk come in handy.
When wielded intelligently, sales and marketing software will not just have a positive effect on your organization’s bottom line in the short run, it will also help earn customer loyalty and pave the way towards success in the long run.