Where do you stand?
A company’s first steps are sometimes its most important: a well organized process can be easy to build upon for many growth phases to come. Regardless of whether you are starting at a small office or in your garage, a few key steps are necessary: 1-) A solid plan to reach your audience, 2-) A strategy to grow their sales, and 3-) A process to follow (that can be build upon or/and later automated).
- Creating a Marketing Plan
- Organizing Goals (Short-Term and Long-Term)
- Establishing a Sales Process
- Defining a Sales Strategy
There are many steps during the inital phases of a company, many which happen on parallel tracks. The main goal is to make sure to put together guidelines, missions and goals (both short-term and long-term) to ensure that everything that gets done follows that principle or end goal in mind. Without that, it’s very easy to get side tracked and commit resources in activities that will yield little to no results.
An organization at a startup phase faces constant challenges. Usually driven by need and budget, the company begins to acquire several tools (as needed), whether it’d be for marketing, book keeping, invoicing, and so on. Although they solve the short-term need, they generate cumbersome consequences such as the necessity for double entries, lack of real-time visibility, etc. All of this while attempting to manage brand recognition from prospects online and offline.
- Time Management (double entries, etc)
- Improving Brand Awareness
- Generating a measurable Lead pipeline
- Lack of visibility on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
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A common challenge among startups is the quick overloading of tasks due to a limited staff and lengthy internal processes. The way to tackle a streamlining solution is to find tools that work for you, such as a Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) tool. A well set up tool to manage your Sales Operations can save time from many users. Another great starting point is re-evaluating your online marketing campaigns, researching SEO keywords, and doing a competitive analysis research.
After experiencing consecutive success, a company begins to grow and streamline its processes. At this point there are several staff members with key responsibilities, processes are in place and there is some level of automation. Challenges for a company at this stage will be to maximize their investment in platforms for automation, or replacing legacy systems which cannot be as flexible as the organization’s growing needs.
- Automating processes with deployed tools
- Product limitations with legacy systems
- Keeping CRM data clean
- Prospects getting “stuck” on the sales pipeline
- User adoption of office tools
Breaking the Ice: CRM User Adoption
Marketing Automation: Which one is the right for you?
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Streamlining is seldom easy. Replacing legacy systems with a new one can raise resistance from current users to adopt a new system. Therefore it’s paramount to make sure any new system is optimized to make the transition as smooth as possible. Using a few additional tools could be extremely helpful, as well as fool-proofing the system to collect the information you need. Additionally, if prospects are getting stuck in the pipeline, not only can a properly implemented system pinpoint where exactly the issue is, but a plan to re-evaluate your sales process might be in order.
One of the greatest challenges on the road to the top is the moment where the company decides to centralize most (or all) of the organization’s information.
Each department will always have its core platform, but marketing data needs to be fed to sales, sales data needs to be fed to accounting, and the need to have this information in real-time is now paramount. Furthermore, setting checks and balances to ensure that the necessary data is collected is a must!
- Need to integrate a customer portal with internal data
- Making sure all platforms withing the organization are flexible enough to connect with real-time integrations
- Buy-in from all departments to discuss what information needs to be collected/shared
- Buy-in from the IT department on sign-off and time resource availability
- Ensuring that required data from one department is not ignored by others
Building an internal ROI plan
Salesforce’s Best Asset: It’s flexibility
Software integrations are one of the most challenging tasks simply because there can be so many departments involved in the process. Building an ROI plan to get buy-in from all of the departments (especially the IT department) becomes essential as the kick-off to any integration project. Once there is organizational buy-in, carefully blueprinting the plan and partnering with the right specialists to ensure that the integration goes smoothly.
The most advanced organizations that get to this point have it all: set processes across all departments, a centralized platform that feeds into other systems automatically (and likely in real time), and even a fairly well organized process to bring new hires up to speed within a quick time frame. The greatest challenges here are faced in the seldom events such as mergers and acquisitions, as well as assisting the current system administrators to ensure that the data is cleaned up and remains as clean as possible (without making the system cumbersome for the end users).
- Potential Mergers and Acquisitions
- Promotion Organization-Wide User Adoption
- System Administrator Training
- Maintaining the Data Clean
FullOpp can assist with several data cleanup projects, mass imports and exports, to ensure that data is not lost in the process. Whether sharing data among platforms, training a large group of new users, or ensuring that the system remains intuitive and easy enough for end users to adopt becomes an on-going task. The hiring of a full-time system administrator is highly recommended, and ensuring that the administrator is trained and capable of managing the tasks at hand become essential.