Why Your Digital Business Must Be More than Sales and Marketing
At this point, it's no new news that your business needs to be online to survive.
Every owner knows that an informative website is the bare minimum when it comes to connecting with customers online, and even social media has ceased to be the shiny new toy in the marketing toolkit (it's now mobile marketing, in case you're keeping score.)
The reality is that operating online spans almost every part of your business
What it's important to remember now is that your online presence is about more than just marketing and making a quick sale.
Make Your Digital Business About More than Sales & Marketing
While sales tends to been the lens through which owners view any online initiative, marketing comes a close second. Both lie at the end of the business that makes money, which makes it easier for us to prioritize these activities for online attention.
But the truth is that plenty of our other business functions contribute along the way to making the digital cash register ring, whether it's to raise awareness, convince a customer to buy, or to keep them coming back for more. It's a concept that Google expanded upon with the "Zero Moment of Truth" concept - and let's face it, seeing what some 70% of Americans search for, they should know - which is a valuable read for any organization looking to win more business online.
Technology has developed to a point where sales and marketing simply aren't wide enough to cover all online initiatives.
With so many other factors involved in making the sale, elements of your business like customer service, product sourcing, consumer information, and even recruitment may all need to be involved in rounding out your online presence. Because the customer touch points have grown from a small few - think mail, telephone, and personal meetings - to a continually expanding web of online connections, your company must be represented by as many aspects of the buusiness as provide value to the customer in your daily operations. as are able to interact online.
Open Up the Lines of Communication
Another key distinction between the early days of online activity and today is that most modern channels are cross-functional and demand two-way communication.
A potential customer on Facebook may well ask for direct pricing, but you're just as likely to find an existing customer asking a service question or an researcher asking about how one of your products is made. It's conceivable that a good salesperson
Because of this, these interactions that aren't sales-focused can easily accumulate and develop into the former opportunity for a sale. If your online team is geared only to push marketing messages and close sales, the softer . Remember, even though they're much earlier in the funnel, these moments still make an impact on sales eventually. Against this backdrop, the potential to develop sales leads is everywhere in this environment and cropping up in real time, with no concept of traditional business processes or hours of operation.
This means that everyone with a role online becomes more customer-focused, and those that watch the busy communication channels must be multi-functional. Encapsulated in this is the need for skilled individuals, who can recognize the early sales potential we just discussed and and nurture leads through the pipeline.
For your organizational structure, this also means that sales personnel need to be ready to jump in at a moment's notice when a prospect turns into a warm lead. Frequent check ins with support staff become crucial, with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system extremely useful in tying different functions together, tracking both progress and follow up responsibilities.
For smaller businesses with fewer levels in the chain of communication, this can offer a competitive advantage in responding to customers more quickly and recognizing the potential for new leads on the fly. It's well worth taking the time to understand how your customers are testing out new technology and where they're gathering across the many social networks.
Respecting the ability of these tools to foster communication and bring new leads through the funnel from every corner of your operation is key to making more of your business online.
What steps have you taken to go beyond sales and marketing to support potential customers online?
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- Written by: mike on September 25, 2014Driving a small business toward success takes more than hard work; a successful business must brand and market itself efficiently and effectively.Read more
- Written by: mike on September 16, 2014Marketing is an investment, and like everything else in your portfolio, you expect to see a return. Whether it's increased info on leads, more calls, or pure and simple sales, everything in your marketing tool kit must pull its weight (or be dumped in favor of something else that does). Compared to most marketing tools, vanity phone numbers work harder for you andRead more