Since the pandemic hit, sales professionals have been on the front lines with customers – compassionately listening, learning and finding creative ways to help minimize the health and economic impact. At the same time, those sales teams have faced tough internal discussions around shrinking revenue pipelines. As the economy begins to reopen, sales finds itself challenged with leading the revenue recovery plan. The new reality of social distancing, combined with improved sales/marketing technology, make this an ideal time to consider a new virtual selling model for today’s digital-first world. As highlighted below from a May 28 Hubspot webinar, customers have quickly jumped onboard digital channels – making it imperative for sales organizations to stay in step.
So – how do you stay connected with current clients and create opportunities with new customers in this new environment? In May, I introduced a Digital Marketing and Sales Model (provided below for reference). Educational content is presented through various digital channels to attract, engage and delight clients, creating new opportunities that are managed in Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Sounds great, but how do you implement this model? The place to start is with the technology stack. At first blush, this may sound complicated and expensive – but that’s not the case. To illustrate, I will use the stack we apply at NextTech. We are self-funded startup with limited budget and resources – so efficiency and cost are paramount. We partner with a network of freelancers who provide creative, technical and editorial services to maximize impact and minimize cost.
Based on an evaluation of effective sales and marketing technology, we apply four principles to guide our decision-making with clients: 1) Grow with us; 2) Integrate with existing software and future tools; 3) Insist on ease of use; 4) Don’t break the bank. With that in mind, let’s get started.
The Digital Channels
NextTech was founded in September 2018, with our first clients derived from existing professional networks. Most of our work can be done remotely, so we invested in GoToMeeting for teleconferences, video conferencing and file sharing. Learnings from initial projects helped us to better understand how we can help our customers grow. In February 2019, we invested in additional digital channels – a WordPress website and LinkedIn company page. WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) that has a large online community and easy-to-install add-ons for leading complementary tools. LinkedIn is an ideal social media platform to engage with our network and ranks high for quality lead generation. Recently, we launched Slack as a collaboration tool with our freelance network; it has accelerated project speed and improved team communication.
Customer Relationship Management
These digital channels are only effective in driving growth if they reach the right clients with the right messaging. Just like our clients, we require relevant market data and information to be effective. Who are our ideal customers? What business have we won and lost and what are the current revenue opportunities? How can this information be available real time to the entire organization? CRM – the system for managing relationships and interactions with customers – is the foundational layer of a digital marketing and sales strategy. To learn more, visit Salesforce CRM 101 and Hubspot, What is a CRM?. When we evaluated potential solutions in October 2019, we were pleasantly surprised with the ease of use and reasonable cost. We chose Hubspot Growth Suite, which is ranked among the top two systems for small businesses by G2.
Integration: The Key to Delighting Customers
As we developed the Digital Marketing and Sales Model, it became clear that integration of our technology stack is essential to delivering exceptional customer experiences. By using leading providers, we have easily been able to add channels, improve efficiency and enhance the customer journey. For example, by using Hubspot CRM and WordPress, we were able to implement chat on our website in about 15 minutes. To simplify meeting scheduling and track email conversations, Hubspot integrates with both Google and Outlook Calendars. Hubspot also easily integrates with Slack, Zoom and GoToWebinar – eliminating the need to switch between tools, and providing valuable insights on how customers are engaging with the company.
In a recent webinar, leading media intelligence provider Meltwater presented an insightful graphic highlighting the myriad of digital touchpoints along the customer journey. This image should serve as an eye-opener for sales organizations that may be holding back on fully engaging in a new virtual selling model. Envision your organization with a coordinated sales and marketing technology stack that encompasses these touchpoints – efficiently and cost-effectively.
Now is the time to be disruptive and bring new technology to your marketing and sales model for a digital-first world. Your investment today will not only attract, engage and delight customers, but also drive your revenue recovery plan and serve as a growth platform for years to come.