No longer nice-to-haves, CRM systems today are essential tools helping organizations create the high-touch, personalized interactions their customers demand.
Journey to loyalty. The ultimate goal of customer relationship management (CRM) software is to personalize individual customer experiences at every point along their journey from prospect to repeat buyer, increasing brand loyalty and the company’s bottom line.
Four classes of CRM. There are four main types of CRM: Operational, Strategic, Analytical and Collaborative. Most enterprise-class CRM systems will provide features and functionality from each of these areas. Embrace the learning curve and be open-minded to new marketing automation solutions.
Considering clouds. There are benefits and drawbacks to both cloud-based and on-premises CRM solutions, and the best option for an organization will depend on factors such as company size, technical expertise and budget.
While most people equate customer relationship management (CRM) with enterprise software such as Salesforce, CRM is much more than just another enterprise software package. CRM is a discipline that represents the practices, strategies and technologies organizations deploy to manage, analyze and improve customer interactions.
The ultimate goal of CRM systems, technologies and software is to personalize individual customer experiences at every point along their journey from prospect to repeat buyer. When successful, CRM increases brand loyalty and the company’s bottom line.
A Brief History of CRM: From Sales Automation to Customer Experience CRM software has been around for decades. It was first introduced in the late 1980s. Its primary focus was sales automation and contact management, not customer experience. The goal of these early software packages was simply to digitize and organize customer data for analysis and management.
With the rise of the internet and the growth of ecommerce in the late 1990s and early 2000s, companies began to interact with customers digitally on a grand scale.
Predicting the future is a fool’s errand, even, or maybe especially, in CRM, yet we’re all over it like a cheap suit this time of year.
I was recently part of a series of panels on CRM Playaz, a streaming show from my friends Paul Greenberg and Brent Leary. The show consisted of a panel of CRM industry executives, another panel of analysts, and a third of customers. I was part of the middle panel. I don’t think we accomplished much, but that’s not the point. Sometimes it’s good just to see how others ponder complex issues.
One reason predictions are tricky is that January 2023 won’t look much different from December 2022, although December 2023 will certainly have some differences. Another reason is that, considering the first reason, we often simply extrapolate the present into the future. I saw this in operation on the Playaz as many people simply assumed that because all things related to data are important now, they will be later too. Maybe.
We tend to solve problems and move on; data is essential now, but will we have data sussed a year from now? Will something else take precedence? After all, trees don’t grow to the moon. Let’s call this the straight-line (more or less) theory of the future.
Pendulum Swinging in CRM Another theory of the future might be called not quite circular. Think of a Slinky, a kid’s toy that never goes out of style. The Slinky coils but never comes back to the exact same place, like two Decembers that happen precisely 12 months apart; they’re very similar but different.
Circular repetition, some would say, is history repeating itself but a bit differently, back and forth. That was the theme offered by another friend, John Taschek, the market strategy chief at Salesforce. “There’s always been a kind of pendulum swinging in CRM,” he told me. One extreme is a focus on efficiency and customer retention, what Taschek called “CFO stuff,” and the other end focuses on growth. Let’s call that CEO Stuff.
With a recession possibly looming, the focus on CFO stuff might have the upper hand, and CRM is not the only place to see this.
Quick tangent — a recent article I read details the woes of the streaming industry, which has been growing like a weed for many years but began retrenching around mid-year. It looks like expenditures on new productions will be down almost 25 percent by this year’s end. The CFOs could be said to be ascendent in streaming, and next year won’t look much like this one.
Email marketing is not going anywhere despite the arrival of social media marketing. Even today, email marketing is predominantly used by millions of B2B and B2C businesses worldwide for good reasons. What are these reasons? Check out these interesting email marketing statistics to know what we are talking about.
It is worth mentioning that the “one approach fits all” concept does not apply in email marketing. There are stark differences between B2B email marketing and B2C email marketing and it is a good time to know what they are if you don’t already.
You are making a huge mistake if you are using the same email marketing strategy for B2B and B2C brands. Let’s be blunt – it does not work. B2B email marketing is a different ball game than B2C email marketing. Simply put, B2B email marketing primarily focuses on logic-driven decision making whereas B2C email marketing tingles the emotional side of the recipient. That said, there is no thumb rule here, but it is always better to be prepared rather than aim in the dark.
So, how different is B2B and B2C email marketing? Continue reading to find out.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 9 Tips for Effective B2C Email Marketing
B2B and B2C email marketing – how are they different? Let’s understand the main differences between B2B and B2C email marketing.
B2B marketing is already difficult in boom markets, but it’s infinitely more difficult in down markets. With rising costs and tougher competition, B2B marketers are faced with the challenge of bringing in qualified pipeline using fewer resources. As the vice president of marketing at a company that helps companies turn buyers’ job changes into revenue, I believe that using the same tactics that made sense during “boom time” may no longer be an option.
In the face of cost-cutting measures (paywall), layoffs and steep competition going into 2023, how can marketers stop relying on spray-and-pray tactics and start adopting sustainable, reliable strategies for generating new pipeline, and new revenue, for their companies?
Moving Away From Spray-And-Pray Marketing What is spray-and-pray marketing? In a nutshell, it’s the “old” way of doing things. It’s when marketing teams use tactics that cast a wide net without strategy or intention and hope for the best results.
Spray-and-pray marketing can look like:
• Sending marketing emails to purchased lead lists.
• Trying to generate leads without defining buyer personas.
• Running expensive advertising campaigns targeted at broad audiences.
This approach to marketing has worked pretty well in B2B marketing because we were essentially in a boom time, especially within B2B SaaS. Even though spray-and-pray isn’t necessarily efficient, many companies didn’t care much; they were still able to catch customers. Marketers didn’t have to worry as much about budgets, bad leads and untargeted campaigns—because either way, they could count on generating more leads than they had in the past.
Now, if they’re dealing with a down market, B2B marketers may need to step away from spray-and-pray tactics because of growing expenses, more cautious buyers and lower ROI on campaigns.
The result: more expensive marketing, less qualified lead generation, more pipeline anxiety and more stress for B2B marketing teams.
Marketers should consider these factors whether it’s a boom time or bust, but a market downturn could force more companies to move away from spray-and-pray tactics to more intentional, focused marketing tactics.
The B2B market is facing younger buying committees, shifts in expectations about the purchase process, overcomplicated tech stacks, and uncertain economic conditions. These factors are changing how marketers can reach, engage with, and retain business customers, according to our analyst Kelsey Voss. Here are five predictions for how these factors will impact your B2B marketing next year.
Digital self-service will dominate the B2B buyer journey. Who’s the B2B buyer in 2023?
Millennials and Gen Z make up the majority of B2B buying committees (65% of buyers are between the ages of 18 and 40, according to a recent American Marketing Association survey).
“These buyers grew up in a digital world and they also expect to manage their journey on their own terms,” Voss said. Buyers will do their own research (visiting a website or attending a webinar) before accepting a meeting with a salesperson. “These buyers want a self-serve and very personalized experience. B2B marketers need to meet buyers’ higher expectations in 2023 and provide experiences that mirror their consumer experiences.”
The buying committee is bigger and more diverse. There are more roles involved, which means many responsibilities and preferences (for example, the CFO wants marketing to be cost-effective). According to a Forrester Consulting and Outreach survey, 75% said there are more people in the decision-making process.
As people involved in the buying cycle expanded, so too did the time. That same Forrester survey found that 75% said the average buying cycle has increased in the last 24 months.
Marketers need to get tech integration right. The pandemic rush to implement marketing technology (martech) is moving to a new investment phase:
While martech spending will increase in the next two years, according to our forecasts, growth will drop from 2021’s 21.2% increase to 12.4% next year.
“The problem many B2B marketers currently face is their stacks are unwieldy and don’t align with tech and other teams,” Voss said. “Data integration and alignment between marketers and sales is crucial to achieve revenue growth expected from both teams and strategic collaboration with customer success teams drives customer retention and loyalty.”
An SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy is an essential component of any digital marketing plan. It involves optimizing your website and its content for the purpose of improving its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). A well-crafted SEO strategy can bring numerous benefits to your business, including increased website traffic, higher search engine rankings, enhanced online visibility, improved brand awareness, increased customer acquisition, and higher lead generation.
Here are some of the top benefits of implementing an SEO strategy:
Increased website traffic: One of the primary objectives of SEO is to drive more traffic to your website. By optimizing your site for relevant keywords and phrases, you can attract potential customers who are actively searching for the products or services you offer. This means that you are getting qualified leads who are already interested in what you have to offer, rather than hoping to reach a broader audience with a more general message.
Higher search engine rankings: A high ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) is crucial for any business. The higher your website ranks, the more likely it is to be seen by potential customers. When your website ranks well, it becomes more visible to those searching for your products or services, which means more traffic, leads, and sales for your business.
Enhanced online visibility: SEO not only helps to improve your search engine rankings, but it also increases the visibility of your website on other platforms. For example, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter often display links to popular websites in their search results, so having a strong SEO strategy can help your website gain more visibility on these platforms as well.
Improved brand awareness: SEO can help to improve the overall awareness of your brand. When your website ranks well in search results, it becomes more visible to a wider audience. This increased visibility can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers, which can lead to increased sales and revenue.
Increased customer acquisition: A well-executed SEO strategy can help to attract new customers to your business. By optimizing your website for relevant keywords, you can attract potential customers who are actively searching for the products or services you offer. This means that you are getting qualified leads who are already interested in what you have to offer, rather than hoping to reach a broader audience with a more general message.
If you’re preparing a marketing and sales strategy, you’re likely looking at different ways to engage with potential customers—and that’s where demand and lead generation comes in.
Demand generation and lead generation are key to attracting new customers and monetizing your sales funnel, but they’re used at different stages of the process. Demand generation impacts the first stages of engagement, while lead generation targets prospects that already understand your brand.
Keep reading for a breakdown of the main differences between demand generation and lead generation.
What is a sales funnel? A sales funnel is a visual concept describing a prospective customer’s journey to becoming a definite customer. It is visually displayed as a large pool of prospects at the top of the funnel to a narrowed-down list of clients at the bottom. Demand and lead generation strategies are implemented at different stages of the sales funnel(opens in new tab).
The main stages of a sales funnel are Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Purchase. In essence, the more advanced the stage, the more prepared a prospect is to become your customer.
What is demand generation? Demand generation is a top-of-the-funnel activity that expands your sales pipeline with people that are aware of and interested in your products. Normally, prospects gathered through demand generation have either just heard of your brand or are unsure how your products could benefit them.
Often, prospects captured through demand generation can be quantified, but aren’t contactable. At this stage of awareness, audiences are less likely to part with their personal details.
A popular way to generate demand is to post blogs regularly on your website, offering valuable industry-specific information, and acting as a magnet for organic traffic. While you can track clicks and time spent on your blog pages, you don’t normally get identifiable information about your visitors.
Read more: Demand gen vs lead gen: What’s the difference? https://www.techradar.com/features/demand-gen-vs-lead-gen-whats-the-difference
Did you know that lead generation is the number one challenge for 61% of marketers?
Lead generation is the lifeline of any business. As a service business, you’ll need a healthy flow of clients coming in the door to ensure your profitability. You always need to begin with a plan. Once you have a solid strategy in place, you can begin your marketing outreach. Basics and essentials first. Keep reading to learn all about lead generation strategies for your service business.
Capitalize on Social Media Networks One great way to generate leads for your business is to capitalize on social media networks. Post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms that are relevant to your business. Leverage keywords and hashtags to ensure that your posts are discoverable.
Incorporate stories and visuals to increase engagement and create interest. Take the opportunity to connect with potential leads through direct messaging and comments. With this strategy, you can give your service business the visibility and reach it needs to grow.
Leverage Email Marketing to Reach Prospects You can reach prospects, build trust, and generate leads by leveraging email marketing. You can identify prospects through targeted campaigns and create content that is tailored to their needs. You can provide personalized messages that entice prospective customers and help build relationships.
You can also nurture leads by providing engaging content and follow-up emails. By following up with prospects, you can encourage them to take the next step and book an appointment or consultation.
Employ Automation to Streamline Lead Generation Processes Using automation is an important strategy for any service business. It helps you reduce errors, save time, and ensure you’re always up-to-date with the latest leads and prospects.
When it comes to automation, there are several things you can do. A pest control software, for example, can help you capture information quickly and accurately. It can send automated emails and messages to let you communicate with prospects effectively.
Finally, automated lead scoring models enable you to identify valuable leads. All these strategies are effective ways to generate leads and improve your business.
As a digital marketing entrepreneur, you’ve always got to be looking ahead. Until 2026, the compound annual growth rate of the online marketing industry is 9%. Therefore, you’ve got to think in the long term if you want to succeed in a market that’s getting more crowded every year.
Now that 2023 is visible on the horizon, let’s go over the top industry trends that I think you’ve got to be on top of if you want to stand out in tomorrow’s digital marketing space:
GPT-4 and the rise of “smart” chatbots When Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) was released in 2020 by Silicon Valley-based OpenAI, its capacity to create human-like natural language shocked the world. As the most sophisticated AI language model in the world, GPT-3 is capable of writing convincing poetry, prose and dialogue using just a basic user prompt.
In 2023, we could see the long-awaited GPT-4 released. Although AI-based language processing has come a long way in recent years, there are still some hiccups. Chatbots that are powered by GPT-3 still don’t pass the Turing test, and many consumers loathe having their support queries handled by a bot.
With GPT-4 on the horizon, chatbots are about to see a quantum leap in their development. Once chatbots can produce language indistinguishable from humans — with all our emotional nuance and subtle interpretations — chatbots are going to take over. We may even see GPT-4 chatbots replace human support agents altogether. Savvy entrepreneurs will keep their eye on new chatbot developments based on GPT-4 and embrace them when the time comes.
In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is now recessionary talk taking place, and there are varying opinions on economic stability and how everything is going to unfold. Factor in high interest rates and talk of real estate bubbles, and there’s plenty for B2B marketers to be wary of financially as they attempt to grow their businesses and generate new sales opportunities.
When facing a wobbly economy, I believe the single most important thing that businesses can do is focus on client retention. And that starts with communications, digital marketing and a focus on customer success initiatives.
In 2020, Gartner forecast that “by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.” In 2023, I believe that identifying the right marketing channels and areas to devote resources and spending will be more critical. These are some of the areas that I anticipate seeing a greater focus on in the year ahead:
Customer success could gain greater traction. One marketing trend that has gained critical importance over the past several years is an increased emphasis on customer success and prioritizing retention. Strengthening and further developing existing client relationships—as opposed to always seeking out new customers—can lead to business growth.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.