Marketing and sales efforts must be systemized in order to continually generate qualified leads and consistently close as many of those leads as possible. But systemization is virtually impossible without the strategic use of technology.
It wasn’t long ago that online tools and technologies were cost prohibitive for small and mid-sized businesses, and only available to larger companies.
However, strategic technology is now accessible to small and mid-sized businesses due to a number of developments over the past decade: open source, cloud-based (hosted) applications, the hosting platforms, low cost computing processing and network bandwidth, off-shore development resources. The playing field has been leveled.
Some key technology initiatives any organization – big or small – should adopt to support the marketing and sales functions, are:
To systemize business development efforts, organizations must maintain a data base of prospects, track those prospects through the sales process, and generate an accurate sales forecast. This capability is commonly referred to as “CRM” – Customer Relationship Management.
CRM systems were once big and expensive. However, with open source (e.g. SugarCRM) and hosted (e.g. Saleforce.com) options, this technology is now accessible to any organization.
Online Marketing Technologies
For most businesses, if you don’t have a well planned and executed online marketing strategy, you’re missing out on opportunities each and every day.
Online marketing goes beyond having a first or second generation web site – which is essentially an electronic brochure. You must now think in terms of interactive, multi-media sites that educate target prospects. Due to open source platforms such as WordPress, these sites can be developed at an acceptable price point for small and mid-sized businesses.
In addition to an interactive, content rich web site, an effective online marketing strategy should include:
- Social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn to engage communities of interest.
- Analytical tools such as Google Analytics to monitor web site traffic and how well your site converts into sales.
- Email distribution/marketing automation platforms that allow for simple email communications with a target audience.
Customized software that improves relationships with existing customers, or makes it easier for prospects to buy, can result in a significant point of differentiation.
Examples are configurators, web based referral forms, on-line ordering or inventory inquiry, notifying prospects of up-coming events on their mobile devices, etc.
These innovative, game changing applications can now be developed by small and mid-sized businesses. The possibilities are endless – you just need to think in terms of creating optimal value for customers and prospects, resulting in a competitive edge.
1. To systemize marketing and sales efforts, you must leverage readily available online technology.
2. These technologies are available to small and mid-sized businesses. There are no barriers or excuses. Take advantage of what they have to offer – and optimize your marketing and sales efforts so they drive sustainable revenue growth.
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