As we all work to navigate our way through the current crisis, it can be tough to find the positives to hold onto. It can be helpful to take comfort in the many ways people are coming together in our country with efforts that are truly unprecedented. Many professional communities and leaders in the industry are taking proactive steps to keep businesses afloat in these tough times. One thing is for certain, though, when it comes to the economic impact on agencies and SMBs tackling an economic downturn. History tells us that the most successful companies had a few things in common. They:
- Planned ahead
- Went on the offense early
- Found ways – during and after the crisis – to position themselves as winners
Need proof? Check out the graph below charting profitability before, during, and following the 2008 recession.
Now you may be thinking, “Okay, that all sounds great, but how is an agency supposed to ‘accelerate profitability’ when they’re experiencing less customer engagement than ever before and have likely had to make major cutbacks, including layoffs and cuts in ad spend?” And while we don’t pretend to have all the answers, we can tell you the perfect place to start – and that’s by implementing an effective MarTech stack to streamline marketing efforts, cut costs, and maximize revenue – for your business and your clients’ businesses. When the economy is down, maximizing every opportunity and converting every lead possible is more critical than ever, and a solid marketing and sales automation platform is a must-have to accomplish that.
Focus on MarTech Stack Essentials During an Economic Downturn
A quick search for what tools are necessary in any MarTech stack will show just how intricate and detailed we can get with data, but just because a shiny new tool exists doesn’t mean it’s necessary.
For example, a retailer has no reason to use appointment software, and a restaurant chain probably has little use for abandoned cart or suggested product emails. The technology needs to be the right fit for the business. Yet, there are some basic marketing data points that every business needs in order to compete in today’s fast-paced, data-driven, and economically uncertain world.
Having a robust analytics tool that can also report on email performance, campaigns, and even map out the life of your leads is non-negotiable.
All marketing strategies hinge on the quality and accuracy of the data.
Content Management System
Your CMS is the home base for your business online. It is how content will be managed, uploaded, published, and engaged with, so it’s another super important piece of your tech stack.
When choosing a CMS, it’s incredibly important that the system integrates with all the other tools being used. Your marketing automation and CRM platform goes hand-in-hand with your CMS because it’s the central hub where all data should be funneled to – so if a piece of technology does not work with your CMS and CRM, it likely won’t be helpful.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Speaking of CRM, this is where you’ll track and manage every lead and customer interaction.
Whether the CRM is in place to help the marketing and sales teams manage and distribute leads, or it’s your primary customer service tool to help direct inquiries to the correct department (or both!), companies need some way to manage the relationship with contacts, now more than ever.
An all-in-one CRM marketing automation platform can cover all of your customer management needs, along with MarTech solutions that directly integrate with the customer data. Streamlining how many different places employees need to log in and how many pieces of software are being integrated can save valuable time and even speed up the buyer’s journey through more effective marketing.
Marketing automation plays a big role in an effective marketing strategy, particularly during tough economic times when efficiency, affordability and conversion are truly vital.
The speed at which customers are making decisions and trends are changing has made it impossible to survive without automation software in place. Automation tools help to consolidate company processes as manual steps are removed and improve customer experience with better personalization – in turn maximizing every interaction to nurture leads toward a sale.
In a multi-channel world, automation paired with accurate data is the only way to compete. Approximately 81% of consumers want brands to better understand them and know the right time to approach them.
Working with a disjointed MarTech stack could mean sending marketing messages at unwanted times or putting customers into incorrect funnels. Those mistakes seem minor to companies in good times, but right now it’s especially vital to make sure every impression counts.
Email is a top performing and highly converting marketing strategy. Especially when paired with automation, email marketing is a powerful influencer for purchases.
Of course, there’s more to email marketing than simply sending emails. A complete email marketing strategy requires a plan for list growth, which requires the ability to embed forms and create landing pages, and an automated follow-up sequence for any form that’s filled out.
To put it simply, email marketing isn’t as simple as it seems. Having an integrated tool that includes automation, list segmentation, landing page integration, and form integration will make for a more effective strategy. Using a CRM for email marketing automation means all these pieces are integrated by default – plus many other tools that can move the needle.
In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers expect to be able to message company social media pages for instant customer service. If a brand’s pages are left unmonitored, it creates negative experiences for customers who reach out with a question or concern and never receive a response.
If engaging customers in a more dynamic way or triggering automations based on social activity are goals for the marketing department, then an all-in-one CRM might be the right choice to start or improve your stack. Using a CRM with social media scheduling and social listening capabilities further helps to integrate company data for accurate and effective marketing messaging.
All-in-One Sales and Marketing Platforms: Benefits in Times of Economic Uncertainty
Before looking at layering several complicated technologies, make sure you know the basics:
- Marketing automation
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- A content management system (CMS)
- An analytics platform for the website
Once these basics are covered, your technology needs will depend on your company goals.
Whether you’re focused on delivering better experiences, helping sales have more relevant conversations, or serving up context-based content, smartly investing in the right technology can ensure you come out on top.
Ultimately, an effective MarTech stack efficiently combines marketing activity data, along with engagement and conversion data, to maximize every single opportunity in your pipeline. It allows marketers and sales teams to better understand the ROI of their efforts and thus prioritize spend in the right areas to maximize revenue. And that’s a business benefit no one can afford to pass up, especially during these difficult economic times.
To learn more about how to utilize marketing and sales automation to deliver results, save money, streamline your marketing efforts effectively, and come out on top during and after this economic downturn, check out our website or contact a SharpSpring team member today at 1-888-428-9605.