Some small business-to-business firms are content to remain in a particular niche, but what happens if you want to grow your company? Your sales team will need to go after bigger sales or a higher volume, but you need the tools in place to do this. If you need to attract new customers, your employees will need more in-depth insights into the buyer’s journey and a way to proactively engage with prospects during the research phase.
An integrated marketing platform can help small businesses rise to the challenge. Owners may think they can’t chase the same large deals as their bigger competitors, but this isn’t the case if they have an online marketing system to refine the sales process. Implementing new technology could help you stay ahead of competitors. Companies are more interested in marketing automation solutions than ever before, Trent Dyrsmid wrote for Groove Digital Marketing, citing data from Sirius Decisions. In fact, the market for these platforms may grow as much as 50 percent by 2015. The reason these tools are rapidly gaining popularity is because they drive results.
Why is marketing automation good for small business?
An integrated environment allows a small firm to strengthen its B2B marketing strategy to include inbound efforts. Prospects – maybe even top decision-makers at major companies – will want to return to your website if they find relevant, informative content. Visitors might opt in for future communications, which gives your sales reps the chance to build a relationship and convert leads. Inbound marketing can provide prospects with a more relevant buying experience throughout the sales cycle. Dyrsmid cited several other statistics on marketing automation:
Focus Research: 75 percent of companies that implement marketing automation experience a return on investment within 12 months.
Jupiter Research: Targeted emails lead to 18 times more revenue than generic email blasts.
Forrester Research: Lead nurturing results in 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent of the cost.
It’s no surprise that the adoption rates for marketing automation are accelerating. As these solutions continue to gain popularity, they will be more accessible to small companies. Niche B2B firms that cater to a smaller audience can improve their sales results with an integrated marketing platform. These systems allow you to more carefully map your sales process to the buyer’s journey through improved insights. This helps your sales employees more appropriately tailor their efforts.
A streamlined system helps your team work more effectively
The high cost of marketing automation platforms once made them exclusive to larger companies that had the resources to invest in these sophisticated tools. However, the growing interest in marketing automation has sparked many developments in the market. Additionally, the B2B sales cycle has changed a great deal over time. Writing for CMSWire, Steve Riegel cited data from Gartner Research that found customers will conduct 85 percent of their business relationships without talking to an actual person. Buyers have more control over the sales cycle than ever before, and small businesses will need solutions to grapple with this challenge.
In order to close bigger deals, your sales employees will need to place greater emphasis on building stronger customer relationships. However, this degree of personalization takes time. Sales representatives need to devote more of their days to having personal phone conversations or in face-to-face meetings to make strong connections with prospects. This could be difficult for small companies where sales employees are responsible for a multitude of tasks. However, this is another benefit that an integrated marketing environment can provide. These tools eliminate many tedious manual processes, such as sending lead-nurturing emails or generating reports. An integrated marketing platform can also streamline workflow, allowing salespeople to be more efficient on a day-to-day basis.
Integration makes the sales process easier
Perhaps unsurprisingly, attempting to juggle disparate marketing and sales systems can inhibit productivity and decrease accuracy. It can be time-consuming for sales reps to shift back and forth between a customer relationship management program and an email marketing client. Additionally, these separate systems can cause employees to overlook crucial behavioral data that can provide an indication of sales readiness. This is highly detrimental when your team is trying to win a big deal.
An integrated marketing environment can connect multiple systems to enable a simplified workflow and ensure no data is missed. The automatic triggers within the program can make your sales processes more effective. For example, if a prospect has made multiple visits to your website and has been browsing product pages, integrated marketing software can send a relevant lead nurturing email based on this action. Customers want this personalized attention and it can contribute to leads’ decisions to buy or not. These tools put your sales team on level ground with larger companies, allowing you to more successfully attract high-value clients and grow your business over time.
Eric Murphy is the Digital Marketing Manager at ActiveDEMAND. He is responsible for driving the marketing strategy for the ActiveDEMAND integrated marketing platform. He has a strong background in online marketing, communications and working closely with sales teams. For many years Eric was an evangelist and marketer for the industrial communications community through guest articles, maintaining industry blogs and speaking at conferences and other events.