If you’re a small business owner, chances are you have heard about the surge of sales and marketing software tools designed to help your business be more efficient. Incorporating CRM (Customer Relationship Management), email and marketing automation into one software platform, helps businesses to reach more new customers and drive repeat sales. But maybe you’ve been slow to implement new tools into your business fearing they are overly complex, costly, or far too impersonal.

Fortunately, digital technology has evolved. No longer are sales and marketing automation tools designed just for the Fortune 500. Sales and marketing software is not only affordable and easy to use, but it boosts your sales efficiency. In fact, businesses that use marketing automation for nurturing prospects experience a “451% increase in qualified leads.”  One main reason for the increase in conversions and leads is that sales and marketing automation is far from impersonal: It actually makes your prospects and customers feel like you care about their individual needs, concerns, and goals.

So, is it the right time to bring sales and marketing software into your business?  Here are five signs that you are ready to jump in.

1. You’re Not Finding Ideal Buyers

While it has always been important for your business to stand out, the digital era has made it more important than ever for you to understand who your best customers are and where they are online. If you try to appeal to everyone, all of the time, then prospective customers may dismiss your business in favor of one that understands their specific needs.

Automation software lets you identify and cater to ideal buyers of your products and services. By monitoring and reporting on the behavior of your website visitors, email responses, and customer purchases, you can begin segmenting prospects and customers more effectively.

Each segment within your contacts has different goals and different ways of meeting those goals. Let’s assume you own a commercial insurance agency and decide to send an offer out to your leads. One prospect, Jane, opens your email but is looking for life insurance for her family. While Steve, a more qualified prospect has a need to insure his new office space. He opens your email, clicks on the email link and also visits your quote page. By determining how each prospect is interacting with your content and online, you can start to deliver the right message to your ideal buyers — like Steve.

Attracting ideal buyers like Steve may also include:

  • Making sure your website has pictures of Steve’s demographic
  • Ensuring that your email campaigns offer resources for his specific problems
  • Creating social media-friendly media content, such as videos and infographics, to help Steve meet his goals.

Ultimately, one of the greatest strengths of sales and marketing software is that it consistently gives you an opportunity to improve: The more you know about your best customers, the more you can customize an experience to appeal to your ideal buyers.

2. You’re Missing Out On Hot Sales Opportunities

Most sales people focus their efforts on cold calling leads and moving them through to a closed sale. The problem is that it’s an inefficient way to grow sales in this modern age. Even for veteran sales members knowing when a sales lead is ready to contact and following up on sales opportunities can be tricky.

Often, the sales team is in the dark about how visitors interact with your website, where prospects fit in the sales process, and which opportunities to spend their valuable time on.

Sales and marketing automation provides real time sales data right to your fingertips and “Hot” leads to your doorstep. You get valuable insights into which prospects are ready to buy and which ones need a bit more nurturing.

For instance, let’s say you sell tax software and your goal is to get your ideal buyer into a demonstration of your product. A prospective customer, Jill, visits your website and your “Take a live demo” page but doesn’t fill out the form to see your software. Another prospect, Sam, visits your demo page and fills out the contact form to take a live demo. Even though Jill didn’t follow through on taking a demo and may not ready to convert, she’s most likely interested enough to receive a nurtured email campaign to sustain and build her interest.

When Sam fills out your call to action form, all of this information is automatically sent to your sales team, with the CRM software automatically moving Sam and the hottest leads to the top of the stack. Sales and marketing software helps reduce the amount of sales time you spend with prospects like Jill and makes sure you never miss another “Hot” opportunity like Sam.

3. You Don’t Have Insights into Sales Pipelines and Activities

The goal of your business is to convert more leads into customers and grow sales in an efficient manner. That means your sales and marketing process shouldn’t be left to trusting your gut or only based on feedback from your sales team. In order to drive better sales and marketing results you need to know what’s working and what isn’t through real, actionable data.

Sales and marketing software gives your business the insights into which lead sources are converting, where opportunities stand in your sales pipeline, and what sales activities your sales team is working on.  The better you can identify bottlenecks in your pipeline or sales and marketing process, the quicker you can adapt and fine tune your sales and marketing machine.

Improved sales data will also help you to forecast monthly sales more accurately and measure sales performance so you can increase your ability to exceed your sales goals.

4. You Need to Grow Revenue with Existing Customers

A great way to grow sales for your small business is to market to your existing customers. After all, repeat customers spend on average 20% more than new customers. Whether it’s an up-sell (finding ways to increase sales through existing products), a cross-sell (selling a new product to an existing customer that drives revenue) or a referral, there are a number of ways to gain more revenue from your customer base.

If  you’re struggling, like most businesses, to get more repeat sales and keep customers, sales and marketing software maybe the answer.

Using online behaviors such as webpage visits and purchase data within your sales and marketing software, you can better target customers’ specific needs based on what interests them and then nurture them with personalized emails until they are ready to purchase. Automatic campaigns can also be set up to reach out to customers on important events such as birthdays, contract renewals, or even to request a review or referral for your business.

5. No Central Place for Information

If your sales and marketing process consists of sticky notes and a series of Excel or Google spreadsheets, it’s probably time to step up your game with an all-in-one sales and marketing system. Standalone tools such as Outlook or Gmail are fine if you only have a handful of customers. But, as you grow and build new connections, it becomes impossible for you or your team to know who has been contacted – when and by whom – making it really difficult to build those close, profitable relationships with your contacts.

There are other issues that can arise when hosting customer information in multiple silos. For instance, one of your sales reps may end up reaching out to try to sell to a hot lead, only to find out that this “hot lead” is already using your product. This is a “lose/lose” scenario because your sales team not only wasted time trying to sell to someone who is already a customer, but left the customer wondering if your company even cares about having his business at all.

With CRM and marketing tools in one spot, you get a better picture of the entire customer lifecycle and can improve communications with your prospects and customers every step of the way. All of your team members have instant access to detailed customer records at the click of a button, making sure that nobody’s time ends up wasted.

With all of your data in one place, your entire business stays on the same page. Customers receive email nurturing campaigns that are unique and distinct from what those on your prospecting lists receive. This ends up being a”win/win” scenario. Your sales team avoids embarrassing flubs, improves efficiency, and prospective and existing customers get the warm, fuzzy feeling that you value your relationship with them.

Incorporating sales and marketing software into your business can help you reach new customers and drive repeat sales. With an improved process and all your data in one place, you’ll have your finger on the pulse of the marketing efforts that are driving sales and gain real time insights into the needs of every prospect and customer.

So what’s the best way to see if sales and marketing software is right for your business? Request a live demo!