How to use technology to make more sales
Nowadays more than ever before we have access to a bewildering amount of technology and data – and we can use this data to make better decisions when it comes to selling, helping target the right people and guiding customers through the buying process.
Sometimes, however, it can feel overwhelming. So we spoke to Peter Small, head of customer success at SalesSeek – a digital marketing and sales platform for growing B2B businesses – about how you can use technology to increase your sales. Here's his advice.
Whether you’re selling high-ticket products and services to other businesses, or are a retailer of consumer goods, staying ahead of the curve (and your competition) requires careful consideration of ever-evolving technology that can both support you day-to-day and help you scale your business. Here we’ve outlined some of these tools, explaining their benefits and going into further detail on how to use them to drive your sales process.
Today’s technology ecosystem
The cloud has changed the way people communicate, share information and do business. It’s also provided an influx of tools and services to support and grow your company. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is subscription software that allows all entrepreneurs to access best-of-breed software that scales with their business without requiring capital investment or lengthy implementation.
Pop-up shops or bricks and mortar retail can benefit from tools such as iZettle for easy mobile payments, online retailers can create beautiful shopping experiences with little to no technical skills using tools such as Shopify for ecommerce and RocketSpark for their website. Meanwhile, higher value business-to-consumer and business-to-business companies have access to a range of marketing and sales tools such as SalesSeek, Google Analytics, MailChimp and Intercom that enable more efficient and effective sales and support. Handling the finance side, Xero offers simple account software for all manner of small to medium sized businesses
Most of the above tools will integrate and allow records and other data to be passed from one system to another automatically, for example passing invoice details from RocketSpark to Xero once a sale is made, or allowing salespeople to see who is engaging with Mailchimp email campaigns from inside SalesSeek. These integrations can be created as simply as logging into the applications themselves. However if integrations don’t exist then tools such as Zapier and IFTTT can easily automate basic functions to create a unified system of business operations without writing any computer code.
Automation provides a huge opportunity for small businesses, not only for outbound automated marketing, but also to improve internal functions and processes. Of course the simplest and most common automations are those which respond automatically to website queries, and there are a few simple tips to follow when doing this:
1. Define Your Objective(s)
Automated emails should not be about simply pushing information - they should be goal-oriented and carefully geared towards that goal, such as:
- Sell a product
- Market your brand further through engaging content
- Drive traffic to your website
- Gain registered interest in additional products or services
Ideally, each email should have just one objective and be carefully focused on achieving that using the carefully crafted copy and a strong call-to-action.
2. Segment Your Audience
Choosing the criteria that defines who your audience is and when they will receive the email will allow your automated emails to be more personal, targeted and relevant. You may need to adjust your segmentation after writing your content.
3. Write your content
There are several key points to note when crafting your automated content:
4. Be genuine
There is nothing wrong with sending an automated email, but do not try to trick your audience that your content has been written only for them and sent in the moment. While you can segment and personalise heavily, being deceptive or untruthful will only make you seem disingenuous.
5. Be succinct
While it depends on the style of your content (video or image content holds attention for longer), you should offer value quickly and make your objective clear.
6. Be creative
Nobody likes a bland marketing email, so show some personality and a human voice that is likeable and, more importantly, relatable.
Tracking and analytics
A major part of using technology to sell more effectively is being data-driven and making decisions based on metrics rather than instincts. Learning to understand how open rates and click-through rates of automated emails are affected by different segmentation and content allows you to refine and retarget additional campaigns for greater success.
However there are also considerations to be made on the micro level, as a contact is passed from general marketing into the sales process as a prospect, understanding what content has been delivered, engaged with and which met objectives allows the salesperson to not only pick up where automated content has ended, but also to speak from a position of knowledge, by understanding how informed their prospective buyer is.
Once the sales process has begun, crystal clear visibility is needed across all sales activity to ensure rigorous follow up and optimal results. Key metrics to track during the sales process are:
Momentum - How quickly do sales progress to closure?
Conversion – What is your win to loss ratio and how does this affect your cost of sale?
Volume – How much business do you have in your pipeline? Will this, combined with momentum and conversion above, allow you to meet your target?
The answers to these questions should be easy to answer, track and improve over time. With the right tools in place, digital marketing and sales should be a seamless, single process which is reliable, scalable and easily understandable.