Ever get those emails that make you wince purely out of the little annoyances they bring with them?
For me, it used to be those asking me to ‘sign something’. Cue the process of printing the attachment out, signing it, either returning it via fax, or scanning it back in and re-attaching to the email. It was laborious, wasted paper, and meant a simple process interrupted my day when it shouldn’t have.
You can probably tell where this is going by now… back to the land we normally inhabit: the happy space of automation. Because (as usual) there’s a way to let technology take care of that for you.
Online signatures remove the annoyance and wastage of printing/signing/somehow returning. All within your browser, you can effortlessly and elegantly sign documents and send them back to the interested parties. There’s a number of added benefits that come with online signatures, too, including the ability to highlight exactly where signatures...
Let’s take a look at a tool you may already have a degree of familiarity with. You’ve probably filled a couple out in the past 24 hours - the online form has emerged as a ubiquitous form of data gathering and transactional processes. However, online forms can be the under-appreciated swiss army knives of your customer engagement strategies, so I’m championing their cause in a fight for the underdog.
Online forms can be used to build databases, engage leads, capture early enquiries, trigger direct downloads, sign up new users, generate immediate quotes, increase conversion rates or sample customers through surveys. Not only do they offer many benefits, but they’re also deceptively simple to set up and use. A well-crafted online form can make engagement with your current or potential customer base smoother and can lead to the increased profitability of your sales approaches.
Some of the benefits of online forms include…
Jump back a post if you’re yet to read part one of our introduction to sales and marketing automation.
Once you’ve found a great CRM you can trust wholeheartedly with your customer’s data, and you’ve considered what can be integrated to drive data input in and out of that CRM, it’s time to ramp up to the next level of what automation can offer to your business - marketing automation.
Marketing automation is a dream come true - when it’s approached with the same kind of understanding and consideration that any other kind of marketing would be treated with. Automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all for your business solutions. If you don’t have an effective understanding of your customer base, existing and potential, or you’re unsure how to communicate the value of your product or service, automating your systems isn’t going to solve these issues.
However, when you DO know why it is you do what you do, and how it will be of...
This is the first in a two-part series focused on the ABCs of sales and marketing automation. Take a look at the introduction here.
Hopefully, you kept that list handy I mentioned in my last post, noting down manual activities related to your sales and marketing functionality which you’re finding yourself repeating on a regular basis. I want to introduce you to some simple tools which could turn these manually repeating tasks into a thing of the past.
There are thousands of automation solutions, products and services available on the market. Saying yes to every app or system will have an inverse impact on your business to a strategically considered and carefully implement automation solution.
The easiest way to feel empowered rather than overwhelmed is to work from the ground up - focusing on the big-picture sales and marketing automation tools that could make the most effective changes, and moving into the minute detail as a secondary stage.
With this in mind,...
There’s really no business activity automation can’t improve.
As an automation expert, there’s nothing more satisfying for me than the change people experience when automation’s working hand-in-hand with their daily efforts, bringing about results that are greater than the sum of its parts.
Automation’s about working smarter, not harder, and when it comes to combining your sales and marketing efforts with automated approaches, this is where it can truly excel.
Sales = the action of selling something. Automation = the technique of making a process or system operate automatically.
Sales automation = the automatic operation of sales.
It’s an attractive proposition.
There’s another equation that should be coming pretty apparent right about now… sales automation = the potential to increase profits without adding any additional manual work.
True sales and marketing automation applies simple logic to the overall sales process that’s...
You’ve probably come across a chatbot before - perhaps far more often than you’ve realised. This relatively new form of communication has begun to flood apps and the online space with a flurry of activity. After all, when it comes to 24/7 customer-facing conversation, robots have the upper hand - no rest required.
Chatbots are one of those tools that can either be GREAT, or can feel unnatural and clunky. The key to using chatbots effectively is to place yourself in your customer’s shoes. How can you communicate your brand’s personality through this point of interaction? What value does a chatbot offer in making your business accessible and engaging?
It’s also important to respect your customers’ intelligence. There’s nothing worse than a friendly chatbot trying to pass as a human, when it’s obviously pre-programmed to be prompted by keyword. Embracing the technology for what it is, including its strengths and limitations, will protect...
Even with the plethora of digital communication tools available to us, I remain a big believer in the power of voice. There’s nothing quite as personal as voice communication when it comes to creating an authentic communication experience for your customers or clients. Plus, for some, it’s perceived as the fastest way to get the answers you need in the moment you need them. Voice communication can protect the time of both your team and your customers when implemented strategically.
If you’re looking to integrate voice communication into your strategy, automation’s got a plethora of powerful options. Automation can give you the tools you need to leverage voice communication on a 24/7 basis.
Here are my recommendations when it comes to kick-starting your automated voice connection…
Existing technology and forms of communication can play an important role in your overall communication strategy. I’m encouraging you to keep using something - just in a kinda different way.
SMS is still the most widely used messaging platform and is a native form of communication for a huge range of consumers. Your clients and customers already have their phone by their side 24/7, so it’s a powerful way to reach them in a space they’re already active.
There are a number of ways to harness the strengths of SMS communication and put it to work for your business in an intuitive way. Whether it’s an initial point of communication, ongoing messaging, friendly reminders, or bot messaging, SMS is fully customisable, easy to set up, and can be a less intrusive form of marketing messaging than communication alternatives.
Better yet, SMS messaging is cheap and simple to use. We’re big fans of Twilio, which gives you the functionality you need to...
I’m going to make a bold statement that’ll shock any of you still hanging out in Outlook 2003: email is not the most powerful form of communication, internally or externally.
For some, it can be hard to fathom going even more than half an hour without checking the inbox and throwing our opinion into the latest inter-office email chain (and let’s face it, there’s always one person who responds three times as much as the quiet guy without adding a whole lot of value). The thought of finding a way to communicate with your employees, your colleagues, or even your customers without relying on The Ol’ Inbox is a foreign and strange idea.
Well, it’s time to get used to it pretty quickly. I've got plenty of compelling reasons as to why it’s time for you to jump on board the non-linear train and revolutionise how effective your communication tools are.
We’re big fans of non-linear communication as...
How many ways have you communicated with a fellow human today?
You’ve probably sent a few text messages. Maybe jumped onto that Facebook chat group that blew up overnight and sent off a quick response. You’ve most likely sent an email, answered a phone call, or perhaps even engaged in that most old-fashioned of communication methods: face-to-face conversation.
The way we communicate has exploded as technology continues to make its way into every corner of our rituals, habits and processes. No longer do we wait for the mail to bring important news, or send telegrams to loved ones far away. As quickly as interpersonal communication has morphed into an ever-present, always-available, multiple-options-at-your-fingertips web, so too has the potential for businesses to engage with their customers in new, intuitive and innovative ways.
And yet, surprisingly - far too many businesses communicate with their customers the same way today as they did a...