VA Partners’ Digital Marketing and Sales Tools

I recently presented a webinar with the St. Catharines Enteprise Centre on the topic of digital marketing and sales tools and would like to share some ideas from it in this blog post.

Recent Trends

A recent McKinsey study outlined the shift that is currently taking place towards remote sales. Some insights from the study:
– Companies are still buying: While some companies are generally reducing spend, a sizable number are increasing or maintaining it, with rates depending on company size, sector, and location.
– A shift to digital will continue past Covid: Looking forward, B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.
– Remote engagement is the new expectation for both sales and service: Almost 90 percent of sales have moved to a videoconferencing/phone/web sales model, with more than half of respondents believing this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.

What does this mean? Your digital marketing and sales tools are more important than ever, and you need to keep them organized. I recently put together a simple playset for my kids in the backyard. I had my 47-page step by step guide, the 200 plus pieces of materials, and the dozen or so tools I would need to put it together. I didn’t need to be a master carpenter to know that my tools had to be kept organized, and my materials set up in a way that would make sense as I followed the instructions step by step. It’s the same with the digital marketing and sales tools at your disposal. Once you have the plan in front of you, its important to execute and stay organized.

In this presentation I will l highlight some digital marketing and sales tools that will help you to stay organized as you research, collaborate, manage create, execute and analyze your sales and marketing processes:

Research:

Presuming you know who your target customer is, and the buyer journey that they are on, you want to start with researching targets, and filtering based on conditions such as location, company size, title, or industry. LinkedIn is one of the best digital marketing and sales tools for this in the B2B space, as it allows you to create a very specific search criteria. Having identified a group of prospects, you can use freemium tools like Get Prospect, Snov.io, or Hunter.io to extract email addresses from your targets. You can further use a tool like Zoom Info to collect missing company information. If you’re in the early stages of market research, consider using a tool like Survey Monkey to conduct market research surveys with prospective customers.

Collaborate:

While collaboration tools don’t need to be complex for very small teams, its worthwhile putting some basic team communication strategies in place. A Google Drive or Dropbox repository can be helpful for sharing documents, Trello can work will for project management, while Slack is a tool where you can leverage dozens of specific plugins. One Slack plugin we’ve been able to leverage at VA Partners is Obie.ai . It is an easy way to build an internal knowledge base at work. Leveraging the Slack framework, it helps teams connect knowledge and documents that you already have into a searchable, intelligent, and accessible database. And of course, don’t underestimate the power of a phone call for staying connected and communicating abstract or complex ideas that might be missed on an email or slack message.

Manage:

Once you have targeted new customers you’ll need some kind of CRM to keep track and manager interactions. While some of the largest digital marketing and sales tools like Salesforce can costs upwards of 50$-100$ per user monthly, we suggest Hubspot to most of our clients. The free version has a number of basic tools that will help track opportunities. Hubspot also has great email marketing functionality. If you are using G Suite, you might also consider a CRM like Streak which functions as a lightweight plugin. I enjoy their mail-merge feature which is quite easy to use.

Create:

When thinking about the journey your buyer is on, you’ll want to create the content that will help them transition through the various stages in that process. Your website can be a place to help people think further about a buying opportunity through things like competitor comparison graphics, pricing, ROI calculators, blogs and white papers. Square Space and Wix are popular platforms that do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. If you are selling your product online consider using Shopify, and if you’re a little more technically agile you can look at WordPress. Canva is a great tool to create the graphics, infomatics, charts and other eye-catching materials that will grab your readers attention both on social and your website.

Engage:

Posting to social media is probably the widest circle of engagement. Using a tools like Hootsuite or Buffer will help you to schedule posts, do social listening, and manage multiple social channels from one tool. Once a potential customer arrives on your site you can personalize that engagement by using a chatbot. Drift provides some advanced tools for automated chatbots, but you can also use simpler versions that consist only of live chat. If you have done your job connecting with a potential customer you will have at some point collected their email. Tools like Mailchimp or Hubspot can help you create engaging emails that provide further information about your customer for retargeting. I’ve also recently dabbled with embedded video engagement tools like Vidyard and Loom which boast high engagement rates.

Execute:

You’ve done all the work of finding your target customer, moving alongside them through the buyer’s journey, keeping them engaged, and now its time to close the deal, to execute. For some this might mean an online purchase, for others, booking an appointment with a tool such as Calendly, or doing a live demo via Zoom. Whatever the tool, be sure that you have a plan going into the meeting or engagement including a goal of what you want to accomplish, and what next steps could be. Its easier to be flexible and adapt when you have a plan in place, especially when there are other team members in the meeting.

Analyze:

You’ve made the sale. Great. What were the steps your customer took to get there? How can you replicate their journey? Whether you’re trying to analyze a successful sale or one that has stalled out its important to have digital marketing and sales tools that will help you analyze whats working and what isn’t. For your website, be sure to be using Google Analytics to measure traffic and activities. MOZ is another tool that will help you understand SEO, what’s working on your site, how you rank and compare with others, and where your website might be getting bogged down unnecessarily. Many tools have analytics built in, like tracking open and click through rates via Mailchimp, or website usage with a tool like Crazy Egg.

Concluding Thoughts

Its not enough to just have a box of digital tools, they need to be organized. Then you’ll be ready to go and develop a great sales funnel! Looking for more info on digital sales support? Contact me directly to discuss how VA Partners can help you grow your sales: [email protected]