It’s Time For Your Annual Sales and Marketing Checkup Jonathan Herrick It’s hard to believe that a new year is right around the corner…. Just as your annual checkup is a great way to ensure you are meeting your health goals, an annual sales and marketing checkup is a great way to make sure your business is healthy and meeting its goals. Below are five of the most common issues affecting small businesses. Fortunately, each issue has an easy fix, allowing you to make your business healthier than ever before! 1: Contacts are not organized or stored in a central place. Organizing and storing contacts helps safeguard your business from many things that range from simple inefficiency all the way to key staff leaving and taking the contacts with them. How to fix it One of the key features of CRM for small business is its ability to help store and manage your various contacts. This ensures that all of your team is on the same page with where hot leads are within the sales funnel as well. 2: Lack of communication between sales, marketing, and support. Selling is all about timing, and a lack of communication between different teams can kill deals. Moments of poor timing such as sales contacting someone to pitch a new product while that person is in the middle of resolving issues related to previous purchases can be catastrophic to building relationships and closing sales. That customer is almost certainly in no mood to hear about a new product and may be quite offended that your company hasn’t fixed one thing before trying to sell him another. How to fix it You should already be using small business CRM to automate (and personalize) your follow-ups to customer correspondence. A strong CRM also allows sales and other members of your team to see all history of customer contact at the touch of a button. Not only will automation ensure prospects are taken care of through the entire process, but sales members are more equipped to pounce on “Hot” opportunities and customer support team members are up to speed on any issues that might have happened in the past. 3: Inaccurate records and absence of customer history on file. Speaking of customer faux pas, one of the chief dangers of having inaccurate records is that you might end up making a passionate sales call to someone who turns out to already be a customer. This is a lose/lose scenario: time and resources have been wasted by the sales member while the customer craving personalized service is starting to think he’s just another number…and one that hasn’t been kept track of! How to fix it Correct use of small business CRM will ensure that all records and customer interactions are available to all team members. This not only avoids the aforementioned offensive call but ensures that futures sales calls target the hottest leads that have already been properly nurtured through state-of-the-art email campaigns and other forms of automated marketing. 4: Cold calling instead of following up with warm leads. The cold call is well-named…after all, it can feel like a chilly experience. While hot prospects that are visiting your site are neglected, valuable sales time is wasted with people that don’t have any engagement with your company. After all their called cold contacts for a reason. How to fix it There is a smarter way. When it comes to customer interaction data, small business CRM puts important data right at your fingertips You can pinpoint with complete accuracy if a customer has visited your website on multiple occasions, read any of your blogs, and responded to any forms or calls to action on the site or via email. In short, cold calling can be left back in the refrigerator while your team uses this information to call only warmed up, hot leads, in a more personalized manner from now on. 5: Opportunities slipping through the cracks. One of the double-edged swords of doing business is that the more business you conduct, the more missed opportunities accidentally get created. For instance, it’s easy for someone to lose a note reminding them to contact a promising prospect in the shuffle and hustle of a busy day of meetings. In the time it takes sales to find that note – if they ever do – that prospect has moved on to another business. How to fix it In cases like this, small business CRM lets you instantly upload important notes and key information into a shared database that the entire team can access. Not only is your sales team not going to lose any more activities, but even if sales is too busy to immediately contact that prospect by phone, they can be nurtured via automated marketing that makes the prospect feel special and catered to. Using small business CRM in smart and creative ways should be just one part of your marketing plan. In fact, that marketing plan is more important than ever if you want to stay competitive and relevant in the 21st-century marketplace.