Marketing automation for small business owners
As a small business owner, you will need to have processes and systems in place that are unique to your business. They are executed regularly to sell your products and services. How do you know if your business processes are defined? Ask yourself what would happen if you had to step away from the business for a few weeks. If you have to continually remind, coach, and fix what your team is doing, you don't have consistent processes.
Technopedia explains business processes as a "wide range of structured, often chained activities or tasks … to produce a specific service or product … implemented to accomplish a predetermined organizational goal." Whoever conducts the task follows the same defined steps to achieve the intended result each time. You don't have to guess whether it's been done correctly in your absence.
The Small Business Owner Reality
The reality of smaller organizations is that these processes are rarely well-documented and may only be defined in your head. You may be able to get by without formalizing them and still run a successful business for a time. However, it is challenging to scale your business or eventually sell it without clear, updated processes in place. CRM technology allows your business to:
- Manage and track the execution and efficiency of every process
- Collect data to evaluate your strengths, make improvements when necessary and duplicate successes
- Use marketing automation to stay ahead of your competitors
Now imagine that you are scaling your business. Your revenue has been increasing consistently in the last three to five years. Your profit margins are healthy, and your team is growing. But more activity is causing some confusion or mistakes that could eventually impact the client or consumer. You realize there may be a need for an improved system to track data and customer journeys as you grow. You've debated the use of multiple spreadsheets against implementing a more centralized, detailed, and automated system.
Technology upgrades can seem a bit intimidating, and we've witnessed a wide range of approaches over the years when it comes to helping business owners set up new CRM systems.
The early adopter: you may jump right in and subscribe to a cloud-based system before you're ready for it, wasting money and time. Disappointment comes when you realize the new system is not providing you with the information you wanted. It took too long to configure features during the setup, and you give up or finally find an expert to help you move forward.
The conservative approach: you'll move forward with spreadsheets and documents that create additional work and make it harder to simplify processes for others to follow. You'll gain some temporary momentum because you feel more organized, but you still haven't solved the problems that are looming in the future. The current system is not adequate for growth. The documents and spreadsheets can become very difficult to manage, consuming precious time and increasing the frustration levels of employees.
The over-analyzer: you think about the decision for so long that you never make one, and the business continues to suffer or fails. A last-minute attempt to sell won't work because no one can figure out your processes to easily step in and run it.
Why is it so challenging?
Small business owners often attack problems with their business processes based on vague assumptions about their current systems. Tracking an ambiguous group of activities without mapping out processes step by step will not give you the results you want. Your team will make their own assumptions about the processes, and most of the time, they will not be aligned with yours. As each person works independently, a mess is created that will be painful to clean up.
What is the ideal path?
The ideal path is to define and improve your business processes during the implementation of a new system. Collaborate with a CRM consultant who can guide you and your team toward the right solutions for your business. Working with an expert coach from the beginning will help you save time and money.
Be open-minded as you start your planning. Remember, many CRM applications and cloud-based systems have been designed to solve common business processes across industries. If the system doesn't work the way you expected, we explain why and help adapt your business process in a way that will give you better information in the end. It is also possible to customize the system to be more aligned with how your specific small business already operates.
Begin your journey today! At Small Business CRM Coach, we help small business owners choose, integrate, and update CRM systems. Marketing automation tracks sales, customer journeys, and promotional activities with a central dashboard to let you know how your processes are performing.
How are you tracking your clients and potential sales? Is your business growing? Do you need a better system, or are you having a hard time figuring out how to use all your current CRM features? Contact us for Small Business CRM Coaching and Consulting to help you choose between desktop applications or cloud-based solutions with more data storage options and access across digital devices.Get the most out of your CRM by reaching out for a Discovery Session to assess your situation.