The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Small Business Owner
If you’re the owner of a small business, technology may not be your strong suit, but chances are it’s one of multiple hats you need to wear because you’re strapped for time and money. But the reality is that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and MA (Marketing Automation) are no longer “nice to have” options and implementing them is a long, evolving process.
Before making a software purchase, here are some things to consider:
- Don’t make snap decisions based on emotions. Being ticked off about something that isn’t working in your business can lead to bad choices that end up costing a lot of time and money when you have to redo the entire process to get it right.
- You must engage your whole team in the process.
- Technology vendors don’t care about your business. They care about selling software.
- Doing the work properly always takes more time and money than you think. (Cheaping out means redoing work multiple times.)
- Thinking that the technology is the starting point.
Don’t make snap decisions based on emotion.
It’s easy to become frustrated when things aren’t working in your business. Even if you know what the outcome needs to be, you may not understand how to make it happen. The quest for a CRM tool may start with the decision to implement MA. Integrating these two all important tools can reduce costs and increase productivity. Centralizing customer data is less cumbersome and reduces the risk of data leaks and the disruption of customer interactions. Aligning CRM and MA software improves workflow because data is easier to input, edit, view, and organize. Working on two different platforms makes it much more difficult to ensure consistent messaging so that you’re constantly tracking two different conversations with the customer. Software integration is the best way to nurture and retain relationships with customers new and old.
Engage your whole team in the process.
You may think you have all the bases covered and don’t need input from your team, but this is a mistake. Even if you’re active in the sales and marketing process and have most of the interactions with prospects and customers, your team are the ones delivering for customers after the sale has been made. They understand things about what was sold and who needs to do what down the food chain. Your team can give you invaluable input about understanding what the process needs to be. Without a documented process, there is no point purchasing technology. You are just setting yourself up to fail.
Technology vendors don’t care about your business…
Software companies care about selling software, not about your business. If they did, the first step when you land on their website would not be “book a demo,” because this only serves as an opportunity for them to show you their software. The first step should be, “download this important guide to get yourself prepared for purchasing technology.” This guide should be a step-by-step outline of:
- How to gather requirements from your team
- How to involve your team
- How to document the changes you want to see after the software has been implemented
- Listing the resources who will be needed to execute the change and what the resource budget should look like to do it properly
- What should happen 12 months after the technology is implemented and if goals have not been achieved and people don’t like the solution, what happens next?
What if the software doesn’t help you achieve your goals?
This last point is HUGE. How many technology companies ask you before you buy the software, “what happens if you don’t achieve your goals at the end of 12 months?”
This question is a killer for any business. And chances are it would mean:
- You don’t achieve your lead generation goals, therefore your sales will tank.
- You have to spend twice as much time and money putting in a new solution.
- You will be even angrier about the solution then when you started.
Don’t lead with the technology. Lead with the business objectives, goals you want to achieve, and process you need to follow. Companies need to start merging Sales and Marketing functions as much as possible and the tools you should use will emerge naturally when you start thinking this way. Implementing CRM and MA software should adapt to fit the needs of your business, not the other way around.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Dynamics 365 for Marketing are built on the same platform, which means they are completely integrated and can share data and connect processes, which makes it easier to use and less confusing. This can cut costs, increase productivity, improve workflow, ensure consistent messaging, and reduce data leaks and downtime.
In 2017, after making some costly and time-consuming mistakes, Marketing CoPilot implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 marketing automation and CRM tools. Ask us anything about our technology journey over the last 24 months and get this guide if you are interested in marketing automation for your business to improve lead generation and lead management.