For small business owners, sales is a top priority, but it’s also a major challenge. When asked by Infusionsoft to name their top marketing goal, small business owners consistently named driving sales as their biggest priority three years in a row, with one-third citing this as their highest aim in 2018. But many small business owners are struggling to meet this goal, with nearly one in five saying their biggest marketing challenge is converting leads into customers. Infusionsoft’s research indicates that one of the major reasons entrepreneurs aren’t meeting their sales goals is under-utilization of digital tools such as CRM and sales automation platforms.
If you’re struggling to meet your sales goals, it may be time to review the tactics you’re using. Here are three leading strategies to improve your sales results.
Map Your Customers’ Buying Journey
One of the latest trends in sales that is proving effective for many companies is mapping your customers’ buying journey. Mapping your customers’ journey is replacing the traditional paradigm of mapping your marketing funnel, which envisioned a single series of steps for all customers. Instead, customer journey mapping takes a more customized approach that envisions multiple pathways a customer can take toward making a purchase and seeks to meet the individual customer where they’re at in the buying cycle. For instance, a customer who arrives at your site’s landing page from a Facebook post might be at a different stage in their buying journey than someone who requests a quote through a contact form on your site.
To map your customer buying journey, begin by creating different personas representing demographic profiles for your ideal buyers. You can then identify the stages in the buying journey for each type of persona, consider the decision-making process your customer will be making at each stage in the journey, and design content geared toward persuading them to take the next step toward a purchase at each stage. Content marketing consultant Peter Dorfman has designed a customer journey mapping worksheet you can use to help you design content for each type of buyer persona.
Leverage Automated Sales Tools
Infusionsoft’s research emphasized the need to leverage the power of automated sales tools in order to achieve results. The study identified three sets of tools that are particularly powerful for effective personalized sales follow-up. The first is using digital marketing tactics such as email opt-ins and downloadable content to collect lead contact information. The second is using an automated marketing platform to coordinate personalized marketing campaigns across multiple media channels and score leads as they come in so that you can focus on following up with those prospects who are most ready to buy. The third is using a CRM system to store lead contact information and track sales efforts with individual leads.
Many of today’s automated marketing platforms, such as Hubspot, Marketo, and Pardot, either include built-in CRM functionality or can integrate with leading CRM tools. Today’s best CRM platforms include smart analytics features that can automatically analyze your leads and optimize your follow-up. For instance, Salesforce Einstein can not only identify which of your prospects are your hottest leads, but can also predict which customers are most likely to leave you for competitors and suggest actions to help you retain them. Combining automated tools with a customer journey map can empower you to automate the steps in your customer’s buying journey, maximizing your sales.
Multiply Your Lead Generation with Social Media Marketing
Infusionsoft’s survey found that social media promotion is today’s most popular marketing tactic, used by three-quarters of all small businesses. Many companies aren’t using social media effectively because they make the mistake of using it in isolation from other important tactics such as email marketing, the study found. But used in conjunction with other tactics and automated tools, social media can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.
One of the most effective ways to use social media is to distribute content of interest to your target audience, which serves to attract a social following, drive traffic to your website, and generate leads. For instance, Amway uses its Twitter feed to post links to content of interest to entrepreneurs, with content posted in both English and Spanish to double audience outreach. Video is one of the most powerful tools for distributing this type of content on social media, generating 1,200 percent more shares than images and text, according to Brightcove research. This is why video is emphasized by leading brands such as Facebook, which not only supports its own native video format, but also promotes information content to over 800,000 followers on its YouTube channel. Facebook’s YouTube channel includes videos on topics such as tips for getting the most out of Facebook, which encourages more engagement with Facebook’s own platform.
Mapping your customers’ buying journey enables you to create a more personalized marketing pathway than the traditional sales funnel, allowing you to deliver content geared toward appealing to the customer where they are in the buying process. Tools such as email opt-ins, marketing automation platforms, and CRM software let you automate the steps your customers take in their buying path, allowing you to manage more leads and handle them more efficiently. Social media marketing can multiply your lead volume, generating more prospects taking the first steps along the journey to becoming your customer. Deploying and integrating these tactics will help you generate more leads, convert more leads into sales, and grow your customer base.