The Goldfish Study
Recently researchers in Canada conducted a study to find out if there has been a change in our attention span since the rise of technology. After analysing around 2,000 participants’ brain activity, they found that on average our attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds since the emergence of Social Media. – (Consumer Insights, Microsoft Canada)
Just to put things into perspective, on average our attention span is now one second less than that of a goldfish… Imagine what would happen if goldfish started using Facebook?
Anyway, researchers of the study found that due to the increased consumption of information and our new digital lifestyle, this has reduced the ability for consumers to focus for extended periods of time. On the other hand, they also found that “tech savvy consumers are actually getting better and processing information and encoding that into their memory”.
What does this mean for us Sales and Marketing guys?
Well, this means that the game we are playing is constantly changing. In order to be successful in 2017, we need to be aware of how consumers are changing so we can adapt our approach and understand the following:
With this in mind I have created a list of some of the most up to date sales and marketing tips backed with research to help answer all of the questions above.
If you would like to add some of your own tips, feel free to leave a comment below.
5 Golden Ways to Engage your Prospects in 2017:
#1 – Start taking advantage of technology.
As we are all aware, having a great customer experience is vital when trying to influence the modern consumer to invest in your products or services. In order to do this effectively, we first need to understand exactly who our audience is and what they are looking for.
So, what’s a good way of doing this?
One of the best ways you can understand your customer is by using ‘Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software’ or the use of other ‘Contact Management’ tools.
CRM allows you to get quick and relevant insight into your customers by giving you easy access to the vital information assigned to each contact you interact with.
By doing so, this allows you to adapt your sales and marketing approach to deliver a personalised and relevant experience that increases customer engagement and the chances of making a sale.
So for example, lets say that prospect ‘John’ goes on our website and downloads an e-book regarding Marketing Automation. During this process John will fill out a form that gathers information on him such as his company name, job title, number of employees and his industry type.
All the information from this form is automatically collected and pulled into the system under John’s contact.
Now if you are using old school methods such as spreadsheets to collect this data, then you may realise that over time when more and more data is added, this can become an unbearable mess to manage and draw insight from.
With a modern CRM tool in place, this will organise your data for clean and clear access so that you can understand customer trends, interests, activities or buying habits more efficiently.
This information helps you understand your prospects better and at the same time will help guide the salesman through the entire sales process.
Applying insight to your prospects has never been easier.
Furthermore, with quick access to this information and a custom notification when a lead is added, you will be the first person to respond every time.
— AGOVO (@agovo) 17 January 2017
Bonus: A little something for the data scientists out there.
For us data nerds, it’s essential that we have clear visibility over all of our marketing and sales activities. Most modern CRMs will give you the ability to quantify your business’ raw data to deliver deep insight into how your business is performing.
For instance, if you are currently working in sales, it’s vital that you have access to reporting functionality that shows your teams performance, KPIs, calling activity or even the pipeline status for this month.
With these dashboards available, you will be able to gain greater business visibility.
Here’s an example of a typical dashboard report you can create:
How can you improve marketing ROI?
If you are in the marketing industry then you can create a dashboard that clearly shows the return of your campaigns, landing pages or content. This means that you can easily see which marketing activities are benefiting your business the most and which ones need to be optimised.
Say goodbye to those long tedious Excel reports.
In summary, tip #1 shows us how CRM can be used to gather a deeper understanding into our customers and deliver a faster and more relevant approach.
However, here you may be thinking, “So CRM has now given me the insight but how do I engage / keep my prospects engaged for longer?”
This brings me onto tip #2.
#2 – Is it back to basics for email?
Over the years it has become harder and harder to captivate users through email as a direct result of the mass exposure we have to ‘HTML heavy’ spam emails.
Although there may have been a point in history in which HTML emails actually worked, unfortunately this type of email now converts far less than it used to.
Modern consumers are now more aware than ever as to when someone is trying spam us vs actually add value to our lives or start a conversation.
In order to combat this and increase engagement, the trick is to go back to basics and start using plain text or ‘HTML light’ emails with personalised content.
The Golden Rule
One top tip is to make sure you send prospects emails in a way that you would when contacting your friends or family. Furthermore, it’s vital that you make sure you are personalising your emails as much as possible.
Doing so tells the prospect that there is a human on the other end and that they can reach out to you if they needed to. This technique is often overlooked but doing so will increase your response and click through rates (CTR) significantly.
At this point, you may be thinking, “George, what if I don’t have the time to email each prospect individually?”
Well, let me show you…
#3 – Personalise your prospect emails.
In a recent study from Experian Marketing Services, they found that personalised emails delivered a 6X higher transaction rate and an average increase in sales by 15-20%.
It’s a no brainer, right?
Nowadays, most modern CRMs not only give you the ability to manage the complete customer journey, but they also allow you to automate key marketing and sales processes such as email personalisation.
Here’s how we built a personalised email campaign:
As you can see above, we created a segmented list for all Managers currently working in the Advertising industry. Then we hit them up with a super personalised email offering them something highly relevant to their industry.
The email could go a little something like this:
Here are the results we achieved from a personalised campaign:
As you can see, the campaign above achieved some great results with a high engagement rate whilst also including many direct enquiries from prospects.
In summary, this campaign returned almost double the results of a standard non-personalised mail out and proves that personalised content will increase the engagement of your campaigns quite significantly.
But here’s the cool part.
In addition, this process was set up using an ‘Automated Campaign’, this means that any leads that came through after this process that met our original criteria will be added to that list and sent the same email.
With the right CRM in place, this campaign took no longer than 15 – 20 minutes to create and in doing so has increased prospect engagement by delivering faster end-to-end communication whilst reducing the time spend on completing manual tasks.
Learn more about how CRM can handle a large portion of your workload.
#4 –Start automating (if you’re not doing so already)
Although this tip is a slight variation of the one above, with the recent growth of Business Automation it would be hard to ignore some of the other ways it can help you grow your business.
The proof is in the pudding
Research shows that businesses currently using automation to nurture prospects experience as much as a 451% increase in qualified leads. – (The Annuatis Group)
By automating particular business processes such as invoice creation, data entry, reporting, budgeting and lead nurturing, this will allow you to free up your time so you can focus on the more important things.
And… the good news.
The good news here is that Business Automation can be combined with most modern CRM solutions (depending on which one you choose).
So, it’s important to make sure that when you look for a CRM solution, you are picking ones that feature a ‘Business Process Management’ (BPM) engine.
Although, ‘Business Process Management’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘Business Automation’, this feature will let you power through manual daily tasks at lightning speed and can easily be modified to meet your business’ specific sales process.
Below is an example of a process we are currently running here at Agovo. This campaign automates a part of our lead nurturing process and helps categorise our prospects into their current stage of the buyer journey.
In this example, a prospect will receive an email with two links in it. The first link will go to content that’s associated to their first stage of the buyer journey (the initial research stage) and the second link represents content associated to the second stage of their buyer journey (needing to be convinced).
If a prospect clicks the second link, then this tells us that they are ready to move onto the next stage of the buyer journey where they will categorised differently and sent content associated to this new stage.
From here it’s pretty simple, you can rinse and repeat this process until the prospect reaches the stage in which they are happy to be contacted by a sales representative.
#5 – Gain a deeper understanding into your prospect’s needs.
Due to the rise of social media and the evolution of search engines, information is becoming widely accessible to anyone who desires it. Especially when it comes to some of our personal information.
As Social Selling Evangelist, Jill Rowley states “It’s not just who you know but what you know about who you know”.
Essentially what this means is that you can now use social media sites to gather information and gain a deeper level of understanding into your customers or target market.
Here’s an example of how you can use Linkedin and Facebook as a tool for understanding customer trends or improving your products / services:
Let’s say you create a list of all your current customers (or the first person you contacted in that account) and then matched it to their job title, industry, age, location and interests. You may find something like this.
Let’s just take some of the basic information for the moment. Here’s an example of something you may find.
Even with this basic data set, when used effectively you will be able to drive a very targeted and cost effective digital ad campaign to engage new prospects. Here you can take full advantage of advertising platforms such as Facebook to run ads relevant to this exact demographic.
After a little optimisation and playing around with placements, content and landing page optimisation ect (that’s a whole different post!), you will soon be able to understand exactly what your customers are after and what benefits appeal to them the most. Here you will be able to adapt your marketing approach to suit these needs and achieve greater results.
With the rise in technology and the decline of traditional sales and marketing methods, we need to ultimately adapt our approach in order to meet the new consumers’ preferences.
One way in which we can reach customers faster and increase engagement is by implementing the right CRM solution for your business. Here at Agovo we use bpm’online to help us with our business processes.
Doing so has had numerous benefits including a better organisational structure, faster response times, increased workforce productivity and the ability to deliver more relavant sales and marketing results.
In conclusion, I hope this article has given you a bit of insight and some ideas on how you can take your business onto the next level this year.
If you are interested in taking a quick look into CRM, feel free to contact the team here at Agovo. We will be more than happy to show you how CRM will work for your business and take you through a personalised demo.
- Consumer Insights, Microsoft Canada.
- Experian Marketing Services
- The Annuatis Group