Imagine you’re online and reviewing all the less expensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software’s that you can use for your particular business. Then you come across a CRM tool which is pretty popular with great reviews, it’s a cutting edge CRM, it allows you to have up to nine user accounts, provides you with the options of generating customized reports, has email integration, and document tracking. So it has all those flowery features that can take your business to the next level, then you start thinking of all the money you can save on that particular CRM, how efficient your sales process will be and how to move business online using great tools.
You’re totally sold at that moment in time, then you decide to actually pay for it and start using it. Then one week into the sales process, you start to notice a few things. The first one, you can’t log in calls into your CRM, probably your process has a lot of cold calling, but this particular CRM doesn’t allow you to actually log in the calls to make a record of how your conversation went with a particular prospect or customer.
The second thing, you can’t customize the properties in the CRM to fit your evolving process. What do I mean by this? When you first adopted this CRM, you didn’t think about your process first. So you find it hard to customize the properties in the CRM to fit your process, which keeps evolving day in day out because customer needs keep changing every day.
The third thing is you keep switching between apps. So you’re not handling all your communication in one place or in one app. So you keep shuffling between very many apps in that digital space. Then let’s say you have a team of salespeople, you’re the head probably, and the sales team is struggling to use it. Definitely, this sounds like the beginning of a pandemic, pun intended.
As the entrepreneur or the business owner, you vehemently defend this choice for before you ultimately cancel the subscription. This is common with most businesses when putting in place systems for operations, like the sales process. Often, business owners tend to solve problems in a similar fashion.
We pick the technology first, and then we retrofit our process to fit into the technology. Then we try to get our people on board to actually use that tool or technology. But that’s why so many tools or technology fail to achieve the intended purpose in the first place. Definitely, the first system is a broken process. Which begs the question: which particular process is the ideal one?
How to move business online using great tools requires that you start by training your team, clarifying the process: then tools become the last thing. You need to design your process upfront so that you are sure you have addressed your business needs. It will also help you identify what is a must have in your tool set. There are very many tools available, but not all of them will fit your people and process. It is important to follow this framework, the people first, the process then the tools.
It is awesome to have a CRM. What if your business needs could be met by using excels or Google sheets which are free, and you can easily optimize and customize them to your business? Find below tool categories for your business.
Tool Categories For Your Business
1) Sales CRM
Succeeding in the sales process in the 21st century is not an easy job. In addition to needing empathy, grit and drive, you also need to know your potential and existing customers intimately to be relevant in every touch point.
When you rely on sales technology, you will actually outperform your peers in that particular sector that you’re in. A sales CRM is a customer relationship management software that you use for managing your relationship with your customers and determines how to move business online using great tools. It helps to keep track of existing customers, enhance customer, relationships, improve customer retention, and helps you stay on top of sales and marketing efforts.
It also has the element of automating your communication and picking the right platform is a very important decision. You need to integrate it with other apps as you continue growing your business. So it’s important that you pick the one that won’t limit you down the road, let’s say two years from now.
This notion that when you have fewer customers, it is easy to keep on top of everything that you need to know and that you don’t need a CRM is false. As you start making more sales, though, it quickly becomes apparent that you need help, and this is where CRM comes in. While it might come off as expensive software, there are plenty of applications with free and premium versions that can help you out such as
CRM’s can be categorized into three major categories according to the dominant features:
i) Operational CRM
These are CRM’s whose main features support building strong relationships with customers such as sales force/team automation, marketing automation, contact management and lead scoring (assigning scores to leads in the sale pipeline). Examples include:
- Salesforce CRM
- Insightly CRM
ii) Analytical CRM
They analyze customer data and come up with insights such as trends, buyer personas, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Examples include
- Hubspot CRM
- Zoho CRM
iii) Collaborative CRM
They share customer data between departments improving customer journey experience. Examples include
Both operational and analytical CRM’s can be used to collaborate, but collaborative CRM’s main features are aimed at customer satisfaction.
2) Video Conferencing
Video conferencing allows communication online through audio, video, screen sharing and recording. Video conferencing will help you reduce hiccups in communication with your remote employees, potential prospects or even outside stakeholders. Then you can also use them for check-in within the team. It will also help you do demos and offerings with your prospective clients; large conference calls and external meetings.
- Google Hangouts meet
- Microsoft Teams
- Cisco Webex Meetings
- BlueJeans Meetings
- Dialpad UberConference
3) Lead Generation
These are a set of tools to make your life easier when you’re looking for leads online. It’s very important, actually, for people dealing with business-to-business (b2b) clients. It also caters for Business to Customer (B2C), but not the majority.
Let us say you want to use Owler, a lead generation tool, which is really great for discovering new companies in your target market. Ola offers one key benefit which is the ability to filter their database to find your ideal customers, and then you can follow those companies and receive updates whenever anything interesting happens. This ensures that you actually stay informed and able to present yourself in a very intelligent way, instead of just going to meet this prospect when you’re actually blank, you don’t know much about them.
Other tools include:
- Reach Stream
4) Email finders
Let’s say you’ve identified Sarah as the CEO of company X and are wondering how you will get her email. This set of tools will actually do the work for you. You just need to enter the name of the company and the name of that contact person in that particular company, and the tool will be able to dig for that information online. It will give you the correct email address for you to reach out to this particular person. It saves you time, you’re able to get emails that are very hard to find.
- Datanyze Insider
5) Social Media
Definitely, now more than ever, your social media presence is important. People turn to social media to learn more about your brand, what you do on a daily basis, and how your products or services tuck up to your competitors. It’s definitely a major element of any comprehensive marketing strategy.
Right now we are equipped with LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and so much more. It can be juggling too many balls at the same time, but you don’t need to be in all of them. You need to have criteria on identifying the relevant criteria for your company and how to move business online using great tools. You also don’t want to spend much effort in a channel that probably won’t give you returns as you would expect. It is very important to choose the channel that speaks more to your business and to the needs of your customers. All these channels are important for effective social media marketing but keeping track of all channels on a regular basis, posting, engaging with them can take a lot of time. That is why we have social media management tools.
6) Posting Tools
They help you keep track of your posting engagement with prospects. You can schedule your posts across multiple channels that you’re in, monitor any mentions of your business, track and analyze performance, and so much more.
The posting tools are very effective when it comes to connecting your different social media platforms. From your Facebook account to your Instagram account; whichever post you release goes to your Instagram account and your Facebook account.
7) Social Media Analytics
These tools collect and analyze data from social media platforms, blogs and websites to enable informed business decisions.
- Google Analytics
- Sprout Social
8) Graphics Tools
Graphic tools enable online design, publishing and image editing.
- Adobe Spark
9) Productivity Tracking
Productivity tools are used for time management; creating of to do list and prioritization; time audit and focus. Most of them are free, or they have free versions to them. Examples include:
- Creating to do list and prioritization – Todoist
- Time audit – Clockify
- Avoid digital distractions
- Emails – Consider using apps like strict workflow and Heyfocus that can help block websites and applications at the times you know you are most likely to become distracted.
- Social media – Use apps such as AppBlock, Offtime and YourHour to block you from using social media for a certain set period.
10) Integrations and Workflows
These are tools that facilitate workflow by connecting systems and database; accounting, CRM,ERP etc.
11) Team Communication & Collaboration Apps
These are tools that aid in communication and collaboration. Examples include;
- Google Apps
12) Project Management Apps.
These are applications that aid in project management. Examples include
Great note taking tools that you can use include
- Google keeps
Whether you want to jump on a call with a prospect or touch base with the rest of your team, the right software can mean the difference between a frustrating call, closing a deal and how to move business online using great tools.
Start with the people involved, whether it’s yourself or you have a team, then map out your process and ensure your people are involved in that process. So that they are aware because they can give you insights on how things are done and guide you on how to move business online. You will be able to come up with a list of must have in your tool set that will make you successful a particular process.