• Email marketing permission is not what you think

    by Jake Hoiby, Sr. Manager - Email Deliverability | May 14, 2019

    The #1 Factor for Inbox Placement

    Inbox placement is instrumental to email marketing effectiveness, so it makes sense to manage the influencing factors. Inbox placement is largely determined by your sender reputation, and whether or not the recipient server correlates your past email behavior with unwanted email. Obtaining explicit permission before sending email is the most important method for maintaining a good reputation because it ensures that recipients want to receive your email and greatly increases the likelihood that they will engage with it. It also helps to prevent the major causes of spam complaints, hard bounces and sending to spam traps, all of which can cause your email to be identified as unwanted and sent to junk, or worse, blocked entirely.

    Getting permission to show an advertisement is not even a consideration for other marketing channels like TV or print media, but with email (and SMS) it’s inherently part of the system, and there are real consequences if you ignore it.  This practice is so fundamental to email deliverability and inbox placement that it is required by reputable email service providers and has become part of the current trend of anti-spam laws. Even if you think you already have permission to send marketing email, you might be surprised about what your subscribers have to say.

    Permission is in the Eye of the Subscriber

    Permission is an agreement between you and your subscriber to send them email from your business with particular content and at a particular frequency.  Since your subscriber solely determines whether or not your email is wanted and expected (and consequently whether they’ll report it as spam, delete it, ignore it, or read it), the subscription agreement is not valid if they don’t understand the terms, or if the terms are not clearly defined.  At the end of the day, what the subscriber thinks is all that matters.  For explicit permission to be valid from your subscribers perspective, it should have these qualities:

    • Freely given – Truly voluntary. Denial or withdrawal of permission must not imply negative consequences for the recipient.
    • Specific –  Clearly communicate what your email content will be, how often you’ll send email, and who the email will come from (your sender domain, branding, logos, colors etc.). Subscribers should know the specific purpose for which they are providing their email address, and if there is more than one purpose, there should be separate consent for each.
    • Informed – Details of the permission must be clear and distinct from other text - not buried inside a paragraph or terms of service.
    • Unambiguous – Permission must be indicated through an affirmative act or declaration, preferably a checkbox that is defaulted to un-ticked. A pre-ticked box or lack of objection (e.g. “they didn’t say they didn’t want marketing…”) does not constitute permission.  Using a checkbox is a major differentiator between explicit permission and implied permission.

    Common Misconceptions

    Many common sources of email addresses don’t qualify as explicit permission because they fundamentally can’t meet the above criteria:

    • Third Party Lists -   Addresses gathered through an association, affiliates, joint venture partners or purchased lists may have signed up to receive email from someone, but unless it was explicitly and solely for your business, it doesn’t qualify.   Additionally, using third party lists puts the details and execution of obtaining permission out of your control, but you’re still held accountable since you’re the one sending the email.
    • Implied Permission - Customers who gave you their email address to facilitate a transaction or purchase, create an account, register for an event, or put their business card in a bowl should not be sent any marketing email unless they specifically provided explicit permission when they gave you their email address.  They may have given you their email address, but it’s not for free and unlimited use.
    • Old Permission - Lack of email communication degrades permission.  For example, if a recipient subscribed to your monthly newsletter 2 years ago, but you haven’t sent them an email yet, you can consider that permission to be expired.  In cases like this, you should re-acquire permission before sending.

    8 Steps for Obtaining Explicit Permission

    • Create a landing page with a web form, or modify an existing form to ensure it meets the criteria for explicit permission.
    • Make sure the recipient is freely providing their address and not coerced into subscribing.
    • Create a checkbox that is un-ticked by default with an accurate description of what the checkbox does.
    • Tie the checkbox to a field in your CRM so you always know exactly what the recipient signed up for.
    • Use multiple checkboxes for multiple segments (e.g. monthly newsletter, deal-of-the-day, etc.)
    • Make sure that between the web page branding, form details and checkbox text, you’ve set clear expectations for your sender identity, email content and mailing frequency.
    • Only send email to those that checked the box, and only send them what they expect to receive.
    • To avoid mistakes with data entry, ask the subscribers to confirm their request by clicking a confirmation link the first email that you send, and don’t send any more email to those that don’t click the link.

    Obtaining permission via a web form has additional benefits over offline collection: it provides an electronic record to help you maintain proper segmentation and protect yourself against potential legal issues, and with marketing automation you can deliver the confirmation email immediately.  Once your form is setup, don’t forget to drive traffic to it. If you’re already sending out transactional email to your customers like order receipts, it’s OK to add a link and encourage recipients to subscribe to your newsletter or regular marketing. Just don’t send email without permission asking them to provide permission - that is definitively spam.

    There’s a Person Behind the Address

    The end goal of explicit permission is to make sure your email is wanted and expected by the recipient.  Remember that email is not a one-way street - you’re fostering relationships with your recipients and it’s important that they desire and value the content you provide.  Implementing industry standard best practices like obtaining explicit permission when generating leads is a surefire way to avoid reputation problems that can ruin your inbox placement and marketing effectiveness. As a not-so-minor side effect, you’ll also build some trust with your future customers.

     

  • Verkaufstechniken – mit bewährten Methoden zu höherem Umsatz

    by Act! Blog | May 11, 2019

    Ganz gleich ob Sie schon seit Ewigkeiten im Außendienst tätig sind oder neu im Bereich Vertrieb Fuß fassen möchten – bei der Kundenakquise gibt es bestimmte Verkaufstechniken, die Sie im Rahmen Ihrer im Vorfeld definierten Vertriebsstrategie anwenden können, um gegenüber potenziellen Kunden erfolgreicher aufzutreten und mehr Deals abzuschließen.

    Denn sich ausschließlich auf seine Spontanität und umgangssprachliche Beredsamkeit zu verlassen, kann selbst für den gewieftesten Vertriebler eine Herausforderung sein. Es empfiehlt sich daher, eine Verkaufstechnik anzuwenden, auf Basis derer Sie effektiver verkaufen und Ihre Umsätze erhöhen können.

    Laut Hubspot ist die Neukundengewinnung für 40 Prozent der Vertriebsmitarbeiter der schwierigste Teil an ihrem Job. Wer sich hier eine bewährte Methodik mit einem professionellen System zu Hilfe nimmt, kann viele Stolpersteine umgehen und sich das Leben leichter machen.

    Aus Leads werden Kunden – mit System

    Der Kunde von heute ist sehr gut informiert. Sie müssen Ihre Zielgruppe daher genau kennen und verstehen, wie sie tickt, sodass Sie entsprechend ihrer Vorlieben relevante Verkaufstechniken einsetzen können.

    Daher verfügen erfolgreiche Vertriebsmitarbeiter über eine systematische Methodik zur Ansprache, Pflege und Umwandlung von Leads, die sie jedes Mal verwenden und dokumentieren.

    Im Folgenden haben wir Ihnen fünf effektive Verkaufstechniken zusammengestellt, die Sie für ein erfolgreiches Vertriebsmodell berücksichtigen sollten:

    1. Warmakquise – alles andere als kalter Kaffee

    Ihre erste Kontaktaufnahme muss nicht immer die Kaltakquise sein. Vielmehr kann es sehr nützlich sein, Ihre potenziellen Kunden zuerst etwas „anzuwärmen“. Erhöhen Sie Ihre Chancen, dass Ihre Kontaktaufnahme eher positiv als negativ wahrgenommen wird, indem Sie den Interessenten mit Ihrem Namen oder Ihrer Position vertraut machen, noch bevor Sie Ihren ersten Anruf tätigen bzw. die erste E-Mail verschicken.

    Nutzen Sie dazu Ihr Netzwerk, denn eine persönliche Empfehlung hat eine sehr viel höhere Konversionsrate als die Kaltakquise. Fragen Sie Personen in Ihrem Netzwerk, ob sie Sie einem Interessenten weiterempfehlen können, der von Ihren Produkten oder Dienstleistungen profitieren könnte.

    Kommentieren Sie einen Beitrag, den der potenzielle Kunde in sozialen Medien geteilt hat, oder klicken Sie auf „Gefällt mir", wenn ein Lead auf LinkedIn eine Statusaktualisierung vorgenommen hat oder auf Xing ein Jobwechsel angezeigt wird.

    So hat der potenzielle Kunde Ihren Namen schon einmal gehört bzw. gesehen und kann sie bestenfalls sogar Ihrem Unternehmen bzw. Ihrer Marke zuordnen, wenn Sie sich mit ihm in Verbindung setzen.

    2. Bauen Sie Vertrauen auf

    Grundsätzlich sollten Sie sich folgende Faustregel immer auf die Fahne schreiben: Behandeln Sie Ihren Kontakt wie eine Person, die Sie außerhalb der Arbeit treffen. Nehmen Sie sich Zeit und lernen Sie potenzielle Neukunden richtig kennen, bauen Sie eine Beziehung zu ihnen auf und schaffen Sie eine grundlegende Vertrauensbasis. Damit geht einher, dass Sie zuverlässig sind und tun, was Sie sagen: Wenn Sie versprochen haben, am Montag anzurufen, sollten Sie um jeden Preis auch am Montag zum Hörer greifen. Wenn Sie Ihrem Wort treu bleiben, können Sie Vertrauen aufbauen und Kunden wissen, dass sie sich auf Sie verlassen können.Verkaufstechniken

    3. Werden Sie zum Experten

    Indem Sie sich in Ihrer Branche als Fachexperte etablieren, werden Sie von potenziellen Neukunden sehr viel eher als glaubwürdig eingestuft. Es weckt Vertrauen, wenn Sie sich mit einem Blog, durch das Schreiben von Gastbeiträgen für Fachzeitschriften oder mit Vorträgen auf Messen und Konferenzen bereits einen Namen gemacht haben.

    4. Eine Prise Humor hat noch nie geschadet

    Humor hat sich als sehr effektive Möglichkeit erwiesen, um potenzielle Kunden zu beeindrucken. Laut einer wissenschaftlichen Erhebung hat die humorvolle Kundenansprache sogar eine Chance auf 15 % mehr Gewinnerzielung.

    Fakt ist: 50 % der europäischen und amerikanischen Verbraucher bevorzugen Humor in der Marketingansprache gegenüber anderen Themen. Der Vorteil für Sie liegt klar auf der Hand, denn bringen Sie Menschen zum Lachen oder zaubern Sie ihnen zumindest ein Schmunzeln auf ihr Gesicht, werden sie Sie möglicherweise auch zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt noch in Erinnerung haben.

    So können Sie Humor in E-Mails integrieren:

    • Finden Sie ein lustiges Video, Meme oder ein GIF, von dem Sie denken, dass es mit der Persönlichkeit Ihres Leads in Einklang steht.
    • Integrieren Sie einen witzigen, aber vollkommen harmlosen Comic in Ihrer E-Mail. Es kann eine kurze Bildgeschichte sein, die aktuelles oder politisches Zeitgeschehen thematisiert und Ihr Anliegen dabei auf clevere Weise einbezieht.
    • Durchsuchen Sie die Social-Media-Profile Ihrer Leads, um mehr über ihre Interessen und Hobbys zu erfahren, und versuchen Sie, etwas zu finden, auf das Sie sich mit einem Augenzwinkern – aber ohne anstoßend zu sein – beziehen können.
    • Scherze auf eigene Kosten zu machen, ist effektiv und lässt den wahren Menschen hinter dem Verkäufer erkennen. Aber achten Sie darauf, nicht als inkompetent zu erscheinen.
    • Seien Sie kreativ und erfinden Sie ein lustiges Wortspiel, das gleichzeitig auch eine klare Call-to-Action ist!

    Aber Achtung: Nicht jeder reagiert positiv auf eine humorvolle E-Mail. Bevor Sie etwas Lustiges versenden, versuchen Sie mehr über die Persönlichkeit Ihres Ansprechpartners herauszufinden.

    5. Verwenden Sie einen Leitfaden, aber seien Sie nicht zu aufdringlich

    Für Mitarbeiter, die neu im Vertrieb sind, kann das Zuhilfenehmen eines einfachen Leitfadens während der Kundenansprache dabei helfen, unangenehme Pausen zu vermeiden, die richtigen Worte zu verwenden und auf Kundeneinwände zu reagieren. Achten Sie aber unbedingt darauf, dennoch so natürlich wie möglich zu klingen!

    Unabhängig davon, ob Sie ein Skript verwenden oder nicht: Stellen Sie sicher, dass Sie Ihren Interessenten aktiv zuhören und Ihre Konversation entsprechend den Bedürfnissen Ihres Gegenübers anpassen.

    Denken Sie daran, Sie versuchen eine emotionale Bindung einzugehen, seien Sie also so persönlich wie möglich. Wenn Sie Zugriff auf die Kaufhistorie Ihres Gesprächspartners – bestenfalls über Ihr firmeneigenes CRM – haben, ist dies vorteilhaft.

    Wenn Sie im heutigen Vertrieb erfolgreich sein möchten, müssen Sie sich auf den Aufbau von authentischen Kundenbeziehungen konzentrieren. Sind Sie zu aufdringlich und verkäuferisch, besteht die Gefahr, dass Sie den potenziellen Kunden unter Druck setzen und auf Ablehnung stoßen.

    Fazit: Der Kunde ist und bleibt König

    Zentraler Bestandteil der dargestellten Verkaufstechniken ist die Tatsache, dass Sie im Vorfeld Ihre Hausaufgaben machen und so viel wie möglich über ihre Leads herausfinden müssen. Sobald Sie wissen, wie Ihr potenzieller Kunde tickt, können Sie dieses Wissen anwenden und spezifische Vertriebstechniken sowie relevante Gesprächsthemen wählen.

    Denn hat der Kunde das Gefühl, dass Sie auf einer Wellenlänge sind, schenkt er Ihnen viel leichter sein Vertrauen und lässt sich auf eine Interaktion mit Ihnen ein. Nutzen Sie eine oder mehrere der oben genannten Verkaufstechniken, und Sie werden feststellen, dass Sie erfolgreich in Ihre Kundenbindung investieren.


  • The all-new Act! Growth Suite is here

    by Mallory Bowers | May 07, 2019

    This week we launched Act! Growth Suite, the all-in-one sales and marketing platform, that provides you with everything you and your team needs to successfully run and grow your business.

    The relationship you have with your customers is important to every business – big or small. Act! Growth Suite can help you build better relationships by maximizing prospect and customer engagement and ultimately, drive business growth.

    Here’s how Act! Growth Suite can grow your business:

    Build Better Relationships. With rich customer management functionality, ensure you make every interaction count with quick, organized access to rich prospect and customer details. Keep contact details, emails, notes, history, activities, documents and more in one easy to find place—the Act! customer console.

    Maximize Prospect and Customer Engagement. Act! Marketing Automation allows you to optimize all the ways you communicate with prospects and customers. Users get comprehensive campaign management, a visual workflow designer to map out the perfect customer journey and real-time response metrics.

    Drive Business Growth. Always know where you stand with Act! Growth Suite. Close deals faster and more often with dynamic sales pipeline management tools. Capture all the details of a sales opportunity, then progress deals through the sales process with a simple drag-and-drop tool. Gain rich, actionable insights from the interactive Act! Insight console. Fully customizable, the Act! Insight console covers a range of individual, team and business performance metrics. Users can extend the power and reach of Act! with the Act! Connect app marketplace. Set up connections to hundreds of popular apps, including Microsoft® Outlook®, Slack™, QuickBooks® Online, and Shopify.

    The next generation of Act! is here – get started with your free trial of the Act! Growth Suite today. Need more convincing? Check out this video or visit our demo center.

  • Swiftpage Launches All-in-One Act! Growth Suite Sales & Marketing Platform for SMBs

    by Mallory Bowers | May 07, 2019

    Act! Growth Suite, the next generation of Act!, makes it easy for customers to drive business growth

    DENVER, CO — May 7, 2019 Swiftpage, the provider of Act!, a leading cloud-enabled CRM and marketing automation platform aimed at helping small and midsized businesses (SMBs) grow, today announced a new approach to connected CRM, marketing, sales and customer service technology with Act! Growth Suite, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform purpose-built for SMBs. The introduction of the new Act! Growth Suite represents a significant step forward, both for Swiftpage and the broader SMB market, and is available now in English in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

    With the marriage of sales and marketing on a single, all-in-one platform, Act! Growth Suite gives SMBs everything they need to successfully build relationships, maximize engagement and drive business growth – quickly and easily. All Act! Growth Suite subscription plans include full-featured CRM, powerful marketing automation, the Act! Companion mobile app, actionable business insights from the Act! Insight console, expert technical support and exclusive Act! Insider membership benefits, providing SMBs with unparalleled value for the price.

    “Since acquiring the Act! business in 2013, we have been on a journey to transform the Act! product to better suit the needs of today’s small and midsized businesses,” said H. John Oechsle, Swiftpage president and CEO. “With the introduction of Act! Growth Suite, we can now offer our customers a comprehensive suite of sales and marketing tools they need to run their businesses and drive growth – all on one platform.”

    Here’s how Act! Growth Suite can grow your business:

    Build Better Relationships

    • Rich Customer Management - Make every interaction count with quick, organized access to rich prospect and customer details. Keep contact details, emails, notes, history, activities, documents and more in one easy to find place—the Act! customer console.

    Maximize Prospect and Customer Engagement

    • Powerful Marketing Automation - Optimize all the ways you communicate with prospects and customers with Act! Marketing Automation. Users get comprehensive campaign management, a visual workflow designer to map out the perfect customer journey and real-time response metrics.

    Drive Business Growth

    • Dynamic Sales Pipeline Management - Close deals faster and more often with dynamic sales pipeline management tools. Capture all the details of a sales opportunity, then progress deals through the sales process with a simple drag-and-drop tool.
    • Actionable Business Insights - Gain rich, actionable insights from the interactive Act! Insight console. Fully customizable, the Act! Insight console covers a range of individual, team and business performance metrics.
    • Popular Apps & Integrations - Users can extend the power and reach of Act! with the Act! Connect app marketplace. Set up connections to hundreds of popular apps, including Microsoft® Outlook®, Slack™, QuickBooks® Online, and Shopify.

    Get Started Quickly

    • Customer Experience & Onboarding - An all-new migration wizard makes it easier than ever to get started on Act! Growth Suite. Migrate and import information from documents, commonly used applications, and many popular CRMs.

    Find products and pricing here and a complete list of what’s new here and a video introducing the new Act! Growth Suite here.  

    Social Media and Website Links

     

    About the Act! Portfolio

    For over 30 years, Act! has been a pioneer in the SMB market, acquiring six million users in over 100 countries, and today offers the rich functionality, unparalleled flexibility and exceptional value that enables a perfect fit for every customer.

  • In 7 Schritten eine effektive Vertriebsstrategie entwickeln

    by Act! Blog | May 06, 2019

    Ein Unternehmen zu führen ist komplex. Um nachhaltig erfolgreich sein zu können, müssen Sie sich Ihrer Konkurrenz bewusst sein, sich in Ihrer Branche zurechtfinden und den Markt sowie Ihre Zielgruppe kennen.

    Bei einer Vertriebsstrategie handelt es sich um einen Verkaufsansatz, der es dem Vertrieb einer Organisation ermöglicht, das Unternehmen und seine Produkte bzw. Dienstleistungen in einer sinnvollen und differenzierten Weise für Kunden zu positionieren.

    Die meisten Strategien beinhalten einen detaillierten, auf Marktanalysen basierenden Plan mit Best-Practice-Beispielen und Prozessvorgaben, die im Team festgelegt werden.

    Eine ausgereifte Vertriebsstrategie, die sämtliche Szenarien, Chancen und Risiken berücksichtigt, ist das A und O, damit Ihr Vertriebsteam zielgerichtet an einem Strang zieht und für alle Fälle gewappnet ist.

    Mit dynamischer Vertriebsstrategie zu langfristigem Gewinn

    Erfolgreiche Unternehmen passen ihre Verkaufsstrategien jeden Monat den aktuellen Gegebenheiten an. Mit Blick auf Ihre Verkaufshistorie, die momentanen Marktbedingungen, aktuellen Kundendaten und Ihre Marketingstrategie können Sie Risiken definieren und Verkaufschancen bestimmen.

    Auf Basis dessen legen Sie eine monatliche Verkaufsstrategie fest, mit der Sie Ihr Ziel erreichen können: mehr Kunden gewinnen und damit mehr Umsatz generieren bzw. Ihre Gewinne steigern.

    Eine professionelle Vertriebsstrategie sollte folgende Aspekte beinhalten:

    • klare Prioritäten, die jeder versteht,
    • klare Ergebnisse, die jeder messen kann,
    • klare Richtlinien, denen jeder folgen kann und
    • klare Ziele, auf die jeder hinarbeiten kann.

    Im Folgenden nehmen wir Sie ein wenig an die Hand und erläutern Ihnen Schritt für Schritt, wie Sie eine auf Ihr individuelles Unternehmen zugeschnittene Vertriebsstrategie entwickeln können:

    Schritt 1: Ist-Analyse

    Sie haben konkrete Ziele vor Augen, wo Sie Ihr Unternehmen in Zukunft haben wollen. Um dort hinzukommen, müssen Sie jedoch die Vergangenheit und die Gegenwart genau überprüfen, um feststellen zu können, was Sie ändern, verbessern oder ganz abschaffen müssen.

    Folgende Fragen sind in diesem Kontext hilfreich und sollten gemeinsam mit Ihrem Team besprochen werden:

  • Haben Sie Ihre Verkaufsziele letztes Jahr erreicht?
  • Wie viele Leads wurden in Kunden umgewandelt?
  • Wie viel Umsatz haben Sie im letzten Jahr erzielt?
  • Konnten Sie die meisten Ihrer Kunden behalten?
  • Wie viele Kunden haben nur einmal gekauft?
  • War ein professionelles Pipeline-Management implementiert?
  • Was war die längste Zeit, die ein Lead in Ihrer Verkaufspipeline verblieb?
  • Welche Verkaufstechniken haben Sie definiert?
  • Schritt 2: Zielgruppen-Analyse

    In Anbetracht der Tatsache, dass laut Hubspot mindestens 50 % der Interessenten nicht gut zu dem passen, was Unternehmen verkaufen, ist im Rahmen einer durchdachten Vertriebsstrategie vor allem ein genaues Profil der relevanten Zielgruppe elementar wichtig.

    Um Ihre Verkaufsziele zu erreichen und Ihr Unternehmen auszubauen, müssen Sie die demografischen Merkmale Ihrer Kundschaft ermitteln, auf die Sie abzielen. Ziel ist, die für Sie optimale Kunden-Persona zu erstellen, auf Basis derer Sie Ihre wichtigsten Geschäftsentscheidungen treffen können.

    Nutzen Sie zur Ermittlung der Persona vorhandene Verkaufsdaten, die Sie bestenfalls in Ihrem CRM gespeichert haben. Um Ihre Zielgruppe zu bestimmen, suchen Sie einfach nach den Kunden, die am meisten bei Ihnen gekauft bzw. die höchsten Summen ausgegeben haben.Vertriebsstrategie

    Schritt 3: Konkurrenzanalyse

    Sich über die Produkte, Zielgruppen und Vorgehensweisen seiner Konkurrenz im Klaren zu sein, ist ein großer Vorteil. Daher ist es unerlässlich, sich im Rahmen der Erstellung Ihrer Vertriebsstrategie ausführlich mit der Konkurrenz zu beschäftigen.

    Passende Fragen sind beispielsweise folgende:

    • Wie viele potenzielle bzw. konkrete Konkurrenten haben Sie?
    • Welches Unternehmen hat den größten Marktanteil?
    • Welche Qualität haben die Produkte Ihrer Konkurrenz? Wie teuer sind sie?
    • Welche Vertriebskanäle und Marketingbotschaften nutzen Ihre Konkurrenten, um ihre Produkte zu verkaufen?
    • Bietet die Konkurrenz bestimmte Rabattaktionen oder Preisnachlässe an?
    • Wie sind die Zahlungs- und Lieferbedingungen?
    • Was für ein Image hat Ihre Konkurrenz? Wie steht es um die Kundenzufriedenheit?

    Schritt 4: Marketingstrategie definieren

    Die nächste zentrale Frage dreht sich darum, wie Vertrieb und Marketing zusammenarbeiten können, um neue Leads zu finden und mehr Produkte zu verkaufen.

    Es reicht nicht aus, das Vertriebsteam zu bitten, die Positionierung des Unternehmens bzw. der Marke zu erarbeiten. Die Vertriebs-, Marketing- und Produktteams müssen zusammenarbeiten, um Käufer-Personas zu erstellen und Marketingbotschaften zu definieren, die den unterschiedlichen Anforderungen entsprechen.

    Weitere wichtige Elemente dieser Phase betreffen folgende Fragestellungen:

    • Wie kann ich meine Kundenbindungsrate erhöhen?
    • Wie kann ich mein Mund-zu-Mund-Propaganda-Marketing steigern?
    • Was sind die besten Kanäle, um neue Leads zu gewinnen?
    • Ist es finanziell sinnvoll, in eine Software für E-Mail-Marketing-Automatisierung zu investieren?

    Schritt 5: Lead-Scoring-System implementieren

    Beim Lead Scoring geht es um ein Punktesystem, das Sie nutzen, um Ihre Leads basierend auf verschiedenen Attributen einem Ranking unterzuordnen. Ihr Vertriebsteam kann mit dieser Methode priorisieren, sodass es sich bestenfalls nur noch auf die Leads mit dem höchsten Potenzial konzentrieren muss.

    Entwickeln Sie einen Algorithmus, der auf Ihr Produkt bzw. Ihre Dienstleistung zugeschnitten ist. Eine professionelle Software zur Marketing Automatisierung hilft Ihnen dabei, Ihre Lead-Daten auszuwerten und einen automatischen Prozess für die Verteilung der entsprechenden Punkte zu implementieren.

    Schritt 6: Klare Umsatzziele definieren

    Wenn Sie Ihre Umsatzziele mit der Marktstrategie kombinieren, die Sie basierend auf einer Analyse der vergangenen sowie aktuellen Situation erstellt haben, können Sie realistische Umsatzziele für Ihr Unternehmen generieren.

    Jetzt ist es an der Zeit zu überlegen, welche Unterstützung Ihr Vertriebsteam benötigt, um diese Ziele zu erreichen. Bringen Sie Ihr Marketingteam, Ihr Verkaufsteam und Ihr Produktteam zusammen, um einen Plan zu erarbeiten.

    Es ist elementar, dass Sie sich abteilungsübergreifend mit allen relevanten Mitarbeitern austauschen, bevor Sie die Ziele festlegen. Nur so können Sie sicherstellen, dass Sie wirklich allen wesentlichen Aspekten Berücksichtigung schenken. Nachdem Sie alle Ziele festgelegt haben, müssen Sie diese in kleinere Meilensteine unterteilen und ihnen Fristen zuordnen.

    Beispiel: Sie möchten Ihren Umsatz für Produkt B vor Ende des ersten Quartals um 50 % steigern. Der erste Meilenstein für dieses Ziel könnte sein, den Umsatz vor Ende des ersten Monats um 20 % zu steigern.

    Schritt 7: Klaren Maßnahmenplan aufstellen

    Wenn Sie genau wissen, welche Vertriebskanäle Sie einsetzen müssen, um Ihre Zielkunden zu erreichen, ist jeder Vertriebsmitarbeiter gefragt, einen Trichter für genau diese Kanäle zu erstellen und Leads zu generieren. An dieser Stelle sollten auch die vorab definierten Verkaufstechniken implementiert werden.

    Es gilt, Anlässe zur Kundenansprache innerhalb der Lead Generierung zu ermitteln, Marketingmaterialien und Vertriebsunterlagen zu erstellen sowie Maßnahmen zu Netzwerkaufbau und -pflege zu entwickeln.

    Fazit: Mit strategischer Ausrichtung zum Vertriebserfolg

    Ein erfolgreiches Vertriebsteam überlässt nichts dem Zufall. Sämtliche Vertriebsprozesse und -abläufe werden im Vorfeld definiert und für Außen- sowie Innendienstmitarbeiter festgelegt. Nehmen Sie sich die Zeit, Ihre Vertriebsstrategie in regelmäßigen Abständen unter Einbeziehung des Feedbacks der relevanten Teams anzupassen.

    Wenn Sie diese Schritte beherzigen, können Sie sich auf einen strukturierten Maßnahmenkatalog beziehen, der Ihnen die nötige Überlegenheit verschafft, um sich von Ihrem Wettbewerb abzugrenzen.


  • 4 techniques de ventes efficaces pour vendre plus

    by Act! Blog | May 06, 2019

    On pense souvent qu’un bon vendeur doit avoir du bagout. C’est indéniable, pour bien vendre, il faut maîtriser l’art de la communication, mais aussi posséder d’excellentes compétences relationnelles et des qualités humaines. Mais ce n’est pas tout.

    Un bon commercial doit également être correctement formé et disposer d’outils (comme les techniques de vente, le CRM, le marketing automation, etc.) pour l’aider à structurer son approche et son discours, et ainsi conclure des ventes.

    De plus, avec Internet et l’essor du e-commerce, les consommateurs ont désormais accès à plus d’informations, plus d’offres et plus de choix. D’ailleurs, selon Sirius Decisions, 67% du processus d’achat se fait sur le web avant même de parler à un commercial.

    De ce fait, les consommateurs sont devenus plus exigeants et plus volatils, et il ne suffit plus d’offrir des produits de qualité pour les séduire. Désormais, 80% des clients déclarent que l’expérience offerte par une marque est aussi importante que les produits et les services proposés, selon le 5e rapport State of the Marketing de Salesforce.

    D’où l’intérêt de maîtriser les différentes techniques de vente et de suivre leur évolution dans le but de développer et d’entretenir une relation commerciale de confiance avec vos clients.

    Pourquoi utiliser une technique de vente ?

    En plus de son sens de la communication et des relations, le commercial doit s’appuyer sur des techniques éprouvées pour élaborer des argumentaires de vente structurés et efficaces. Sans cela, le discours du vendeur risque d’être long et ennuyeux, et pourrait faire fuir le client.

    Ces techniques de vente vous aident à maîtriser les différentes étapes du processus de vente qui se conclut par l’acte d’achat, puis la fidélisation du client. Avec ces méthodes, le commercial est préparé à reconnaître le profil du client potentiel, identifier ses besoins et ses exigences, répondre à ses objections, mettre en avant les bénéfices de son produit par rapport à celui du concurrent et négocier. Il sera capable de tenir un discours adapté au prospect afin de le convaincre d’acheter son produit ou service.Techniques de ventes

    Découvrez 4 techniques de vente qui font la différence.

    1. La méthode SPANCO

    Créée par la société américaine Xerox, SPANCO est une méthode qui permet de suivre toutes les étapes du processus de vente qui va transformer un prospect en client.

    Chacune des six lettres correspond à une étape et à une série d’actions à réaliser pour que votre prospect passe à l’acte d’achat.

    • S pour Suspect : vous définissez votre cible afin d’identifier vos prospects idéals.
    • P pour Prospect : vous identifiez vos clients potentiels, puis vous les contactez pour la première fois.
    • A pour Approche ou Analyse : vous rencontrez ou échangez avec le prospect et vous écoutez ses problématiques et ses besoins afin de réfléchir à une proposition pertinente.
    • N pour Négociation : vous lui faites une proposition de vente et vous négociez avec lui les termes
    • C pour Conclusion : le prospect a pris sa décision, c’est la phase de concrétisation de la vente.
    • O pour Ordre : le contrat est signé et le produit ou le service est livré. Soignez cette dernière étape car elle permet de renforcer la confiance du client et favorise le processus de fidélisation.

    2. La méthode SONCAS

    Cette technique de vente populaire se base sur la pyramide de Maslow. Elle favorise l’acte d’achat en activant des leviers psychologiques et en contrant les objections du prospect grâce à des argumentaires ciblés. L’objectif est de connaître les besoins et les motivations d’achat du prospect.

    Les six lettres de l’acronyme correspondent à un type de motivation :

    • Sécurité : ce client potentiel ne veut prendre aucun risque et a besoin d’être rassuré. Mettez le prospect en confiance en insistant sur l’aspect sécurité du produit / service dans votre argumentaire (garantie, fiabilité, assurance, etc.).
    • Orgueil : le prospect veut se démarquer, sortir du lot. Il a une haute estime de lui-même et a besoin de se sentir valorisé. N’hésitez pas à le flatter et à nourrir son amour-propre avec des termes comme privilège, luxe, unique, haut de gamme…
    • Nouveauté : vecteur commercial majeur, la nouveauté appelle la curiosité et le besoin de changement. Ce client potentiel s’intéresse aux dernières innovations et se veut précurseur. Les termes originalité, avant-garde, innovation, nouveauté, etc. sauront le convaincre.
    • Confort : le prospect est soucieux de son bien-être, il recherche la simplicité et la tranquillité. Vous parviendrez à séduire ce client avec des termes comme simple, facile, agréable, assistance, etc.
    • Argent : tous les clients sont sensibles à l’aspect financier qui peut constituer un frein comme une motivation à l’achat. Votre rôle est de faire comprendre à votre client que son achat n’est pas une dépense, mais un investissement. Utilisez des mots comme promotion, rapport qualité/prix, bonne affaire, économie, etc.
    • Sympathie : c’est certain, un vendeur souriant, respectueux et sympathique aura plus de chance de conclure une vente qu’un vendeur froid et arrogant.

    3. La méthode CAB

    Cette méthode vous donne les trois éléments indispensables pour construire votre argumentaire de vente :

    • C pour Caractéristiques : décrivez les caractéristiques de votre produit/service.
    • A pour Avantages : expliquez pourquoi votre offre est meilleure que celles de vos concurrents. Chaque caractéristique citée précédemment doit devenir un avantage pour le prospect.
    • B pour Bénéfices : il s’agit des bienfaits qui vont séduire le client potentiel, répondre directement à ses besoins et déclencher l’acte d’achat.

    Vous pouvez combiner la méthode CAB à la méthode SONCAS pour développer une argumentation commerciale encore plus efficace.

    4. La méthode SIMAC

    Cette technique de vente vous aide à préparer un argumentaire efficace qui captera l’attention et suscitera l’intérêt de votre client potentiel pour le convaincre d’acheter. Elle se déroule en cinq étapes :

    • Situation : commencez par identifier les besoins et la situation du prospect en lui posant les bonnes questions.
    • Idée : ensuite, suscitez l’intérêt du client en lui proposant une idée qui répond à la situation et aux besoins que vous avez analysés précédemment. L’idée doit être simple, claire et précise.
    • Mécanisme : cette 3e étape consiste à détailler l’idée grâce à la méthode QQOQCP (Qui, Quoi, Où, Quand, Comment et Pourquoi) afin de répondre à toutes les questions de votre prospect.
    • Avantages : citez tous les avantages et les bénéfices de votre produit/service, en quoi il satisfera les besoins du client et ce qui le différencie de ce que propose la concurrence.
    • Conclusion : invitez le client à prendre une décision en lui proposant de choisir entre deux ou trois offres adaptées à ses besoins.

    Conclusion

    Pour finir, retenez que l’élément indispensable, commun à toutes les techniques de vente est l’écoute active. C’est sans conteste l’atout majeur de votre force de vente et le meilleur moyen de démarrer une relation commerciale durable. Vous devez écouter attentivement le prospect pour le comprendre, connaître ses besoins, ses désirs et ses exigences afin d’y répondre de façon pertinente. 

    Etre réellement à l’écoute de vos clients potentiels vous garantit de conclure davantage de ventes, mais aussi d’augmenter la satisfaction de votre clientèle, ce qui est indispensable à sa fidélisation.

  • How to Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy

    by Act! Blog | Apr 29, 2019

    The free market is like a battlefield where you can’t succeed without a strategy. You want to start a new business? You need a strategy. You want to expand globally? You need a strategy. You want to become the go-to company for a service? You need a strategy. Yet, when it comes to marketing, most businesses don’t bother strategising. Without a properly laid-out marketing strategy, their efforts to attract, convert, and retain customers are directionless and inefficient. Let’s see why:

    As a growing business, you have a lot on your plate.

    • Not only do you need to retain existing customers, you also need to bring in new ones.
    • Not only do you need to achieve short-term goals, you also need to stay on track to achieve the long-term ones.
    • You also need to be wary of your competitors at all times.
    • You also need to perform highly targeted marketing.

    To manage all this and more, you need to plan before you act. You can’t base important business decisions on intuition, you need to take every step after careful contemplation. You need a marketing strategy; a well-researched game plan which ensures that you keep selling and converting without hitting any roadblocks. So, how do you formulate a killer marketing strategy? What kind of research must you do, and what type of questions must you answer? Let’s take a look:

    How to Create a Killer Marketing Strategy

    What are your goals?

    You need to identify your business’ overarching ambitions before you formulate its course of action. This includes both short-term and long-term goals. Answer questions like: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How many new customers must you attain in the next month? How much do you need to increase your customer retention rate in the next few months, to ensure that your revenue crosses a certain threshold?

    It’s a recommended practice to use the SMART criteria for goal setting, which entails that your goals must be:

    • Specific: There is no room for doubt. Either go for something or forego it. Know what you want, where you want it, and how you want it.
    • Measurable: You must be able to track your progress regarding a goal.
    • Attainable: Don’t punch above your weight.
    • Relevant: Only set goals that actually help you move forward as a business.
    • Time-based: Assign deadlines to your goals.

    Identify your target market

    What do you know about your ideal customer? Where do they live? In which industry do they work? In what age group do they fall? Where are you most likely to catch their attention (billboards, email, social media etc.)? By identifying your target market, you will be able to make focused marketing efforts, which will enhance chances of conversion.

    A recommended practice in this regard is creating a buyer persona; a fictional manifestation of your ideal customer. You can create one by going through your customer database and looking for any noticeable patterns, conducting market research, and asking for input from your sales team.

    What is your competitive advantage?

    Customers will only do business with you if you offer them good value. As soon as they find a better deal someplace else, they will leave without saying Goodbye. So, to maintain a significant market share, you need to have a unique selling proposition (USP); something that sets you apart from the competition. This can be lower prices, an innovative feature, a promotional offer, or better customer service etc. Identify your USP and focus on it while creating marketing campaigns.

    Moreover, you also need to keep close tabs on your competitors’ actions. Are they about to start a new marketing campaign focused on attracting new customers? Make sure you come up with something of your own. Are they planning to launch in a new city in the coming year? Think about its impact on your market share and your growth ambitions, and respond accordingly. Did a new company, with a slightly better service enter the market recently? Give your customers a few more reasons to stay loyal to you.

    Analyse your sales pipeline

    Your sales pipeline helps you visualise the different stages of the purchasing process, and where each lead is positioned at any given time. Figure out a way to separate the cold leads from the hot ones, and the fresh leads from the stagnant ones. When formulating a marketing strategy, you need to figure out the next steps regarding these different kinds of leads, while keeping your goals in mind.

    Answer questions like: Have a lot of leads reached a certain stage in the funnel and then stopped making progress? How many customers have not opened any of the emails sent in the last few weeks? Are you following up with the hottest leads in a timely manner? What weaknesses are present in your customer journey that can be improved?

    Define your actions

    At this point, you have all of the information that you need to define your marketing actions. You know the problem areas, you know what your competitors are up to, and you know what your customers are expecting. Throw your thinking hat on and come up with the best ways to spread awareness about your products and services.

    Answer questions like: Should you include a re-engagement campaign in next month’s marketing strategy? Is there a need to dispatch emails to all the people who abandoned carts recently? How frequently should you be sending emails to your target market? Do you need to release a new promotional offer to counter the discounts your competitor just announced? How many more leads do you need to convert in the next month, to stay on track with your annual targets?

    Final Word

    A marketing strategy makes it easy to achieve and measure success. Haven’t got one? Use the steps above to create your very own marketing strategy today.

  • 6 Marketing Techniques Every Small Business Should Know

    by Act! Blog | Apr 29, 2019

    In the early stages of a business, choosing a viable marketing strategy can be a challenge. More often than not, you are working a tight budget, which basically means that you can’t risk making the wrong decision. Moreover, there is such an abundance of marketing related information on the internet, that it can become hard to know where to start. Should you create a sales funnel which funnels leads from your social media to a landing page, or should you conduct market research and try to build a buyer persona first? How to know what would work best for your business?

    It’s true that your business has a unique business model and a niche target market. It would be natural to assume that what worked for say company A (from industry X) might not work for you. However, there are some effective, universal marketing techniques that any business can benefit from, regardless of what it sells. In the following sections, we will talk about some of those marketing techniques for small business:

    Don’t neglect SEO

    As a customer, what’s the first thing you do when you want to purchase a product or a service? You search for it on Google, of course. What’s the next thing you do? You go through the results on the first page and look for a suitable match. You rarely go to the second page (if at all), right? After all, why would you? You trust Google enough to know that it displayed the best results for you, first. As a business owner, you must strive to make your website rank as high in these search engine results as possible. You can do this by improving your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO).

    Google, and other search engines, have a huge list of websites to search from. Using SEO, you can make your website easy to find and thus rank higher in the results. So how do you get started? First, you begin with a SEO audit. Websites like SEMrush offer great insight regarding your website’s SEO status. You can know your website’s strengths and weaknesses, along with the organic keywords that lead visitors to your website. From there, you can identify areas of improvement. As a first step, revamp your website’s content to incorporate relevant keywords more appropriately. Then, focus on other avenues of SEO building like backlinking and social signals etc.

    Advertise on Facebook

    More than 2 million businesses are advertising on Facebook, and there are good reasons why. No matter what age, demographic, or location your target market might have, they can be reached via Facebook. To say that it’s one of the most effective way to market in the modern world, won’t be an overstatement.

    The best part about Facebook ads is that they are immensely targeted. You can choose an audience on the basis of gender, location, online behaviour, occupation, age, and many other factors. Creating an ad on Facebook is also fairly straightforward. All you need is a catchy headline, a succinct description, an image, and a link. You can manage your ads and track their progress easily using the Facebook ad manager.

    Content Marketing

    Content marketing involves posting relevant, informative content on a regular basis, to attract and retain visitors to your website. Content marketing might not yield tangible benefits immediately (like paid advertising), but it’s a very effective long-term strategy. If you are able to identify the needs, pain points, and challenges of your target audience, then you can post content on your website that relates to them on an emotional level, opening numerous possibilities for profitable customer actions. Content you create must be:

    • High quality
    • Creative
    • SEO optimised
    • Reader-friendly
    • Consistent

    Content marketing isn’t limited to starting and maintaining an online blog. You can also create videos, webinars, online courses etc. and share them across different customer touchpoints.

    Generate Leads Using Lead Magnets

    Lead generation is an important part of a marketing lifecycle. Before you create targeted marketing campaigns, you must first have an extensive list of potential leads. A great tactic to generate leads quickly is using a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something you offer (for free) to prospects in exchange for their emails, phone numbers, or any other desired information. This can be a small helpful e-book, interactive quizzes, cheat sheets, discount coupons, webinars, or limited-period trials etc.

    Solidify Your Presence on Social Media Websites

    67% of customers prefer using social media while seeking customer support. This is only one of the many reasons why having social media accounts for your business is a no-brainer. Look at it this way: If a potential customer can’t find you on social media, they will probably settle for your counterpart that does. However, we aren’t debating having a business social media account here (because that’s non-negotiable), we are talking about investing time and money in social media engagement.Marketing Techniques

    Most businesses can benefit from investing in social media growth by posting relevant content regularly. One share can (start a chain and) make you viral, one like can make you appear on numerous news feeds, and one giveaway can earn you hundreds of thousands of comments! The possibilities of customer outreach via social media are phenomenal.

    Personalised Email Campaigns

    Email marketing has always been a marketing technique you can depend upon. It’s easy to do, and using a marketing automation tool, it’s also incredibly easy to automate. Once you have generated a list of potential leads, start engaging with them via email. The key here is to frequently provide interesting and personalised content, which allows you to avoid the dreaded spam folder. Simply remembering a prospect’s name or talking about their pain points in the email’s body can do a world of good.

    Final Word

    Some of the marketing techniques mentioned above can prove to be game-changers for your small business. If you are in the early days of running a business, and want to go for the safest options first, don’t’ think twice before implementing any of the aforementioned marketing techniques.


  • The Benefits of Smarketing and How to Implement it

    by Act! Blog | Apr 29, 2019

    The harmonious coexistence of sales and marketing teams is fundamental for any growing business. The two must cooperate to capture, nurture, engage, and eventually convert leads without running into conflicts of their own. However, since they work a bit too closely with one another, conflicts are not uncommon. Sales teams are known to complain about the poor quality of the leads generated by marketing, while the marketing guys berate the sales people for not working the leads hard enough. This constant bickering can be a strong deterrent to workplace harmony and productivity, and thus calls for a solution. Enter Smarketing.

    What is Smarketing?

    Smarketing can be defined as the necessary alignment between sales and marketing teams, made possible by perpetual to-and-fro communication. Marketing guys must not consider their job done once they hit a monthly lead generation quota; they should be willing to join the sales team when they make important follow-up calls, if asked. In the same way, sales guys must also provide constant, constructive feedback to the marketing team regarding the nature of leads they are receiving. The two must be ready to blur the metaphorical boundaries separating them, in an attempt to create a more dynamic relationship. This will make them realise that they are fighting the same battle, and are geared towards the common goal of revenue generation. Let’s look at some tangible benefits of smarketing:

    Benefits of Smarketing

    • Everyone is on the same page: Smarketing entails that the goals of both sales and marketing teams be aligned with overall aims and objectives of the business. Everyone knows their role and the whole business starts operating as a well-oiled machine. Marketing teams must provide accurately scored leads for sales teams to pursue, and sales teams must ensure that they convert a certain number of these leads to customers.
    • Better customer experience: Both marketing and sales teams interact with customers in their own way. Each knows a thing or two about the customers that the other doesn’t. By communicating with each other more often, they are able to exchange these important bits of information. This leads to a better understanding of the target market and an opportunity to deliver a more engaging customer experience.
    • Growth in revenue: A report compiled by Aberdeen Group indicated that organisations that focused on aligning sales and marketing efforts, saw an annual revenue growth of around 20%. Need we say more?Smarketing

    Now that we have established just how effective smarketing can be, we must answer the burning question: How do you implement Smarketing in an everyday workplace, where there is no love lost between sales and marketing teams? Well, let’s find out:

    Talk Revenue; Not Numbers or Leads

    Both marketing and sales teams should know that their ultimate goal is to increase the company’s revenue, and not just meet their departmental quotas. The conflicts between the two arise mainly because marketing only talks in terms of leads, and sales care about nothing other than numbers. The solution to this problem is making the two teams speak the same language: revenue. Instead of asking marketing to generate X number of leads throughout the year, and instead of asking the sales teams to convert Y% of those leads into customers, ask both the teams to help the business increase its revenue by Z%. This will make them work in unison to achieve the common goal of furthering business growth.

    Integrate Marketing and Sales Software

    First things first, you need a CRM solution if you haven’t got one. Maintaining a central customer information database is imperative if you intend to establish seamless communication across your company. Moreover, it also helps if you integrate your sales and marketing software. This can allow you to have marketing automation and sales funnel features bundled up in one application available to everyone. Sales teams can know the recent interactions a lead made with your company, and marketing teams can keep an eye on the customer journey from start to finish.

    Establish Accountability via a Service Level Agreement (SLA)

    Even though you want your sales and marketing teams to function as a unit, you also want to be able to hold them accountable individually. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) helps a lot in this regard by documenting the expectations and responsibilities of all parties involved. Here it’s important that you create a point-based SLA, after incorporating the following suggestions:

    • Points should reflect monetary gain: Don’t assign a point to a marketing agent right after they generate a new lead. Wait for the lead to generate any monetary gain before disseminating points.
    • Concise: Every team should know the precise number of SLA points they need to achieve, to hit the revenue targets.

    Regular Smarketing Meetings

    In order to maintain open communication between both teams, it’s a great idea to hold smarketing meetings on a weekly basis. This allows both teams to talk about important notions like changing customer expectations, tweaks in the buyer personas, promotional deals, marketing and sales strategies, and much more. They can also track their collective progress to identify and remedy possible areas of improvement.

    Monitor Performance Using Reliable, Shared Metrics

    Smarketing is a systematic change that will bring a paradigm-shift in the way your team manages customer journeys. Naturally, it will take some time for everyone to get used to it. Managers should monitor both the teams closely as they adapt to the new changes, and also keep an eye on the performance metrics. Refer to the SLA and see if the teams are on track to achieve their revenue targets. Make sure that the performance of one team isn’t getting negatively impacted by the shortcomings of the other.

    Final Word

    Sales and marketing teams are two pivotal parts of your business. It’s paramount that they both form an unbreakable bond with one another; one that boosts workplace harmony and productivity.


  • 4 Effective Customer Journey Map Examples

    by Act! Blog | Apr 25, 2019

    As part of a series of articles we have written on customer journey mapping, we are introducing some techniques designed to help readers to create customer journey maps for their businesses. After familiarising with the concept of a customer journey map, the next logical steps are to familiarise yourself with the common types of customer journey map, and to figure out exactly what it is that you want to achieve.

    No doubt you will then be looking for a customer journey map example or two so that you can start to develop some maps that are specific to your business. Creating a customer journey map can be a complex process, and it will need to be tailored carefully according to your niche. It is not a case of ‘one size fits all’ with customer journey maps, and there are various types of map that can be developed in accordance with your goals.

    This article aims to help you do exactly that. We have gathered some customer journey map examples that were very effective for the businesses that created them:

    4 examples of effective customer journey maps

    The below examples of effective customer journey maps may offer valuable inspiration for creating your own customer journey map template. Each has been tailored to the company’s specific goals with the needs of their customers in mind.

    Carnegie Mellon University

    This customer journey map is based on the future state model. Designed for Carnegie Mellon University, it highlights the range of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors the university hoped to evoke in its students. This example includes goals relating to the people, devices, touchpoints and environments that the students would ideally interact with.

    As you can see, precise changes were proposed in relation to each phase, complete with examples of scenarios. It works because it is a detailed illustration encompassing the vision of the university and its aims in terms of user experience. It is something that individual departments could refer to in measuring progress.Customer Journey Map_Example 1

    WebsiteSetup

    This current state customer journey map focuses on customers’ specific needs, so it enabled the company to structure its website with targeted solutions in mind. It demonstrates a typical search process through Google, as well as where certain queries might lead customers. For example, to resources pages or blogs containing the information they sought. Studying the typical inquiries and search terms made it easier to identify problems and offer appropriate solutions.

    This map also contains detailed statistics on customer engagement through social media channels, such as time spent on each channel, number of visits and bounce rate. This enabled the company to get a clear picture of customer behavior while indicating where more effort should be placed for better engagement. This was important, as social media makes up the bulk of acquisition for the site.Customer Journey Map Example 2

    Dapper Apps

    Dapper Apps specialises in bespoke app design and development. They came up with this customer journey map aimed at understanding their target audience: typical startups, or people with original, independent ideas, but without the technological knowledge to create the end product. This simple map focuses on 5 phases: Research, Comparison, Workshop, Quote, and Sign-Off.

    This simple journey map aims to pinpoint the insecurities and questions customers are grappling with at the start of the process, the corresponding mental processes and feelings; it also covers the ways in which Dapper Apps might communicate effectively and provide value and solutions. It tackles every potential concern a customer may have and aims to illuminate the perfect actions to satisfy them.Customer Journey Map Example 3

    LEGO

    This customer journey map was made by LEGO and given a name: The Experience Wheel. The design is relatively simplistic and easy to follow. It demonstrates the possible process a customer might go through when booking a flight to New York City.

    This map aims to understand specific personas and how they might interact with a product or service from start to finish, including the likely emotions relating to each aspect of the journey (depicted via emojis). It gives a quick but effective overview of a customer’s probable emotional response to the product or service in question, highlighting areas that could be improved at a glance.Customer Journey Map Example 4

    It is no secret that these days, positive customer experience is one of the most vital aspects of your customer acquisition and retention strategies. As you can see, customer journey maps can be powerful tools for this. They can take a myriad forms and focal points, but the idea is to create a diagram that encompasses the most important details of the customer experience and makes solutions easy to pinpoint.

  • How to Create a Customer Journey Map

    by Act! Blog | Apr 25, 2019

    We have covered the powerful process of customer journey mapping in a series of articles which include details on what a customer journey map is, some different types of customer journey maps, and examples of effective customer journey maps. This article will cover how to create a customer journey map.

    In brief, a customer journey map is a mindfully created diagram that documents the mental and emotional processes your customers go through when interacting with your business. It is a way of capturing your customers’ experiences from start to finish, enabling prediction of future behaviours and outcomes. An effective customer journey map is a tool that helps company employees to align with the business mission and goals. It encapsulates customers’ motivations and expectations so that you are best positioned to meet their requirements and improve their overall experience of your brand.

    It is worth noting that customer experience is one of the major factors in business growth now. This idea is backed by The Temkin Group, which found that companies earning $1 billion per year can expect to earn another $700 million (on average) within three years of investing in customer experience. Take it also from digital analyst Brian Solis, who said in his book X: The Experience When Business Meets Design: “Experiences are more important than products now. In fact, experiences are products.”

    If you are wondering how to map customer journeys, check out our detailed pointers below:

    A precursor to customer journey mapping

    The right mindset must be cultivated and used in combination with collected data. These two factors will become the foundations of your customer journey map. Remember that a customer journey map is simply a guide; one that highlights the best possible courses of action.

    Action is equally important, and your map will be the catalyst for refined and considered actions that take your business to the next level. The more you tailor actions to improve the experiences of your various customer demographics, the better.

    Most successful businesses are already accustomed to data collection for marketing purposes. Yet although necessary, data is only one part of the equation. It must be analysed and translated into a concise story, and that story is your map.

    How to create a customer journey map

    1. Set clear objectives and profile your personas

    Firstly, decide on your reasons for creating a customer journey map. What goals do you plan to realise through it? Which business processes will it relate to, who will benefit from it and how? Once you have decided on specific and measurable objectives, you will use them to profile personas.

    It helps to create buyer personas so that you have a picture of whom you’re dealing with, characterised in a ‘typical’ buyer profile. To achieve this, you may study metrics, communications, patterns, marketing campaign results, survey results, and whatever else gives insight into customers’ current behaviours and expectations.

    These kinds of questions should help you profile your customers and define their expectations and goals:

    • Do they prefer to speak with company representatives or are they happy to do this via email or chat bots?
    • What motivated them to look for the product or service they got from you?
    • How did they conduct research on it?
    • Where did they buy it? (E.g. website or store)
    • What criteria did they have for making a purchase?
    • Which online channels did they use to evaluate products?
    • Why did they choose your business and product/service over competitors?
    • What do your metrics say about preferences?
    • How do they use your website/app, and how do they interact with your business offline?

    Ultimately, you are aiming to get an accurate picture of customer demographics, their behaviour patterns, motivations and goals. Don’t forget that asking customers direct questions via surveys is one of the most useful ways of gathering this kind of data.How to Create a Customer Journey Map

    2. List all the touchpoints

    Touchpoints are the points that allow customers to interact directly with your business or brand, before, during or after purchase.

    Examples might be:

    • Through social media channels
    • Downloading resources from your website
    • Calling a customer service line
    • Stepping into a store
    • Responding to a marketing email
    • Review sites, or other third party sites
    • Joining a webinar

    Some good questions to help pinpoint these are:

    • Did they find you through an online search, via an advert or printed marketing materials?
    • Did they visit your website after reading reviews, or stop by a physical location such as a store?
    • What methods of contact are available to them?

    3. Define which type of map you want to use

    You will need to decide upon a convenient and easy-to-follow method of representing the customer journey. This can be as rudimentary as a series of sticky notes or whiteboard diagrams, but serious customer journey maps will be created in a digital format so that they can be easily shared around. It needs to be simple enough that the appropriate employees can understand it.

    They often take the form of spreadsheets or infographics. Infographics tend to be the most popular as they are aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand. You need to know which types of customer journey maps will help you reach your objectives. This might be a current state map, a future state map, or a day in the life map.

    For example, if you decided on using a current state customer journey map, you would need to consider where prospects are coming from, and how they are finding your business in the first place. Which touchpoints were they using? What steps were taken for them to become your customers? How did they begin to use your products?

    It could also be useful to take a look at some examples of effective customer journey maps, to give you an idea of what works well. You might wish to check out online map building tools such as UXPressia and Canvanizer for a little extra assistance.

    4. Take the customer journey yourself

    Now that your map is taking shape, it is time study the results. Consider details such as:

    • How was their experience on your website or in your store, and how user-friendly were those processes?
    • Are they following through with a purchase after evaluating products?
    • How happy are they over all, and have their needs been met?
    • Do they plan to return as a future customer?
    • Is it obvious how they can reach you for assistance and is that process convenient?

    Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and pinpoint any holes that detract from a positive experience. Taking on the mindset of each persona you developed, run through the processes you’re analysing (such as social media activity, or online searching) and see what obstacles you meet.

    5. Make the necessary changes

    Once you have a clear picture of what how your customers are currently experiencing your services, you are ready to implement the necessary actions you’ve pinpointed. The changes might related to website user-friendliness, or customer service options. Perhaps you need to open more social media channels, or define products more clearly.

    A good way of measuring the probably success of these changes is to take the customer journey again afterwards, comparing the new experience against the pain points you found last time. Each time you repeat this you can make refinements that take your brand from strength to strength.

    Now that you know how to create a customer journey map, you should find that processes are streamlined, sales are climbing, reviews are improving and most importantly, customer acquisition and retention is consistently on the rise. For consistency, keep on top of analytics to measure the success of your maps, and remember to repeat the process as regularly as is necessary.





  • Comment développer une stratégie d’acquisition client efficace ?

    by Act! Blog | Apr 10, 2019

    La conquête de nouveaux clients et leur fidélisation sont des préoccupations majeures et de véritables défis pour les entreprises de toutes tailles. Attirer toujours plus de clients est indispensable pour augmenter vos ventes, accroître votre chiffre d’affaire et développer votre entreprise sur le long terme.

    Pour cela, vous devez mettre en place une stratégie d’acquisition client performante, qui regroupe à la fois des actions marketing et commerciales, et qui englobe toutes les étapes de l’entonnoir de conversion de la génération de leads à la fidélisation des clients.

    Une stratégie d’acquisition client se déroule en trois étapes : parvenir à attirer vos prospects, les transformer en clients, et enfin les fidéliser. Pour réussir, vous devez prendre en compte la position des prospects dans le cycle d’achat et personnaliser votre offre et votre stratégie d’acquisition en fonction de cela.

    Découvrez 7 astuces et techniques pour planifier et mettre en place une stratégie d’acquisition client réussie.

    1. Connaître vos cibles et leurs comportements

    Pour commencer, vous devez connaître vos prospects. Quels sont leurs besoins et leurs attentes ? Comment s’informent-ils sur un produit ? Quels sont leurs modes de consommation ? Commencez par analyser les comportements et les habitudes d’achat de vos clients potentiels. Ainsi, vous saurez où et comment communiquer pour les atteindre et quoi leur proposer pour les conquérir.

    2. Optimiser votre site Internet pour le SEO

    Vous le savez, si vous n’apparaissez pas sur la première page de Google, il y a peu de chances que des clients potentiels vous trouvent. En effet, 75 % des utilisateurs de moteurs de recherche ne vont pas plus loin que la première page (imForza).

    Pour générer du trafic organique naturel sur votre site Internet, vous devez commencer par l’optimiser pour les moteurs de recherche en choisissant des mots clés et des grappes de contenu (ou cluster topics) pertinents, en lien avec votre activité.

    3. Faire une campagne de référencement payant

    Un moyen efficace d’être référencé sur la première page de Google et des autres moteurs de recherche est d’investir dans une campagne de référencement payant. Certes, cela peut représenter un certain budget pour votre entreprise. Mais de cette façon, vous obtenez plus rapidement du trafic ciblé sur votre site Internet, vous atteignez plus facilement votre audience et vous pouvez convertir plus vite les acheteurs potentiels en clients.

    Ce type de campagne doit être utilisé ponctuellement, comme pour le démarrage ou l’anniversaire de votre marque, le lancement d’un nouveau produit ou pour annoncer une promotion exceptionnelle.Stratégie d’acquisition client

    4. Former des partenariats

    Associez-vous à des marques qui proposent des produits ou des services complémentaires aux vôtres. Par exemple, vous vendez des bouquets de fleurs ? Pourquoi ne pas vous associer avec un chocolatier pour proposer des coffrets cadeaux pour la Saint-Valentin, la fête des mères ou les anniversaires.

    Pour que cette méthode fonctionne, vous devez soigneusement choisir votre partenaire et vous assurer que les bénéfices sont mutuels. De cette façon, non seulement vous atteignez de nouveaux clients à travers la clientèle de votre partenaire, mais en plus, vous bénéficiez de sa notoriété, et inversement.

    5. Proposer du contenu unique et original

    Articles de blog, newsletters, vidéos, ebooks, etc., créer du contenu est devenu incontournable pour acquérir de nouveaux clients et les fidéliser. En effet, en publiant régulièrement des articles sur votre site Internet, celui-ci sera mieux référencé sur les moteurs de recherche. Mais ce n’est pas tout : vous montrez que vous êtes un expert dans votre domaine et vous donnez des conseils et astuces pour utiliser au mieux vos produits.

    Autre avantage : en publiant fréquemment du contenu, vous avez de la matière pour alimenter les réseaux sociaux et ainsi renforcer votre présence.

    Petite astuce : n’hésitez pas à mettre à jour d’anciens articles de blog avec du nouveau contenu et de nouvelles images et à les republier car, selon Backlinko, cela peut augmenter le trafic organique jusqu’à 111 %.

    6. Etre présent sur les réseaux sociaux

    Aujourd’hui, les réseaux sociaux sont devenus incontournables dans une stratégie d’acquisition de nouveaux clients. En 2018, 3,3 milliards de personnes sont actives sur les réseaux sociaux (soit 43% de la population mondiale). Dans le top 5 des réseaux sociaux les plus populaires au monde, on retrouve Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr et QZone (Statista).

    Etre présent sur les réseaux sociaux vous permet d’améliorer la notoriété de votre marque, d’engager vos clients et prospects, de dévoiler la personnalité de votre entreprise et de créer un sentiment d’appartenance. C’est une technique à ne pas négliger dans votre stratégie d’acquisition client car 57% des acheteurs en ligne ont acheté un produit après en avoir entendu parler sur les réseaux sociaux selon Bazaarvoice.

    Découvrez nos 8 conseils pour une stratégie réussie sur les réseaux sociaux.

    7. Collaborer avec des influenceurs

    Le marketing d’influence est en plein essor. De nombreuses marques s’associent avec un ou plusieurs influenceurs pour promouvoir leurs produits, améliorer leur visibilité et gagner en notoriété, et ça marche ! En France, 54 % des millennials suivent les influenceurs sur les réseaux sociaux et 37 % ont déjà acheté un produit recommandé par un influenceur (Blog du Modérateur).

    Associez-vous à une ou plusieurs personnes influentes dans votre secteur d’activité et proposez-leur de tester vos produits sur leur blog et les réseaux sociaux. Vous pouvez créer une offre spéciale dont pourront bénéficier les internautes qui achètent votre produit via ces influenceurs.

    Attention, prenez soin de choisir un influenceur dont le profil est en parfaite adéquation avec votre marque et auquel vos clients et prospects peuvent s’identifier.

    Conclusion

    L’acquisition et la fidélisation des clients sont indispensables au succès d’une entreprise. Pour mettre en place une stratégie d’acquisition clients performante, il faut prendre en compte les besoins et les attentes de vos prospects afin de les attirer plus facilement, et surtout de les retenir. La liste ci-dessus n’est pas exhaustive et vous pouvez l’adapter en fonction de votre marque et des produits ou services que vous proposez.

  • Neukundengewinnung-Strategie: Tipps zur erfolgreichen Kundenakquise

    by Act! Blog | Apr 10, 2019

    Gerade für KMUs ist es oft nicht einfach, neue Kunden zu gewinnen. Um in diesem essentiellen Bereich eines Unternehmens nachhaltig erfolgreich zu sein, bedarf es einer durchdachten Strategie.

    Ihre Teams aus Marketing, Kundendienst und Vertrieb sollten an einen Tisch kommen und gemeinsam die entsprechenden Rahmenbedingungen erörtern, die für Ihre spezifische Firma bzw. Produkte und Dienstleistungen sinnvoll sind.

    Ein Unternehmen, das sich beispielsweise auf Landwirtschaftsmaschinerie spezialisiert hat, wird andere Anforderungen an die Methoden zur Kundenakquise haben, als ein Fachgeschäft für medizinische Fachbekleidung.

    Methoden für die erfolgreiche Kundenakquise – das Telefon als Mittel zum Zweck

    Kundenakquise bezieht sich auf die Strategien und Techniken, die von Unternehmen angewandt werden, um bei potenziellen Kunden das Interesse an Produkten und Dienstleistungen zu wecken und sie zu Kunden zu machen. Laut Hupspot fällt es 40 Prozent der Mitarbeiter aus dem Vertrieb jedoch sehr schwer, Kundenakquise zu betreiben.

    Die Statistiken besagen, dass 92 Prozent aller Kundeninteraktionen über das Telefon stattfinden. Die besten Verkäufer dieser Zeit verbringen jeden Tag zwei bis drei Stunden damit, „Check-up-Calls" durchzuführen, um alte Geschäftsfreunde und Bekannte anzurufen.

    Das Ziel dieser Anrufe ist zum einen, Beziehungen zu pflegen und zum anderen herauszufinden, was in den entsprechenden Unternehmen gerade vor sich geht, um potenzielle Möglichkeiten der Zusammenarbeit zu nutzen. Wenn Sie also das nächste Mal auf einen alten Bekannten stoßen, der auf LinkedIn seinen Jobtitel ändert oder über drei Ecken von einem alten Kunden hören, greifen Sie zum Telefonhörer und führen Sie einen Check-up-Anruf durch.

    Es braucht durchschnittlich acht Versuche, um einen Interessenten zu erreichen. Das bedeutet, dass Sie hartnäckig und entschlossen sein müssen. 80 Prozent der generierten Umsätze erfordern nach dem ersten Treffen fünf weitere Anrufe.

    Hilfreiche Tipps, wie Sie erfolgreich Kundenakquise betreiben können

    • Persönliche Ansprache: Einen persönlichen Brief zu schreiben oder einen ehemaligen bzw. potenziellen Kunden direkt anzurufen, ist heute mehr denn je eine empfehlenswerte Strategie, um sich im Gedächtnis potenzieller Leads zu rufen. Ein Brief oder ein Telefonat sind weniger einfach zu ignorieren als ein Facebook-Beitrag oder eine E-Mail. In einer Zeit, in der Menschen mit digitalen Anzeigen überfordert sind, lohnt es sich, potenzielle Kunden tatsächlich anzurufen und persönliche Gespräche zu führen, die das Leben des Gesprächspartners nachhaltig bereichern.
    • Alte Inhalte neu verwerten: Wenn Sie auf Ihrer Internetseite bereits seit einiger Zeit aktiv Inhalte erstellen – sei es durch Blogartikel, fachliche Beiträge oder andere wissenswerte Informationen – sollten Sie unbedingt auf einige Ihrer vorhandenen Inhalte zurückgreifen und sie thematisch ein wenig aktualisieren und dann erneut publizieren. Haben Sie eBooks oder Videos erstellt, dann können Sie diese erneut nutzen und mit neuen Titeln testen. Im Idealfall können Ihre wiederverwerteten Inhalte Ihre Konversionsraten in die Höhe treiben.
    • Interview mit einem Influencer: Influencer haben umfangreichen Einfluss und meist eine hohe Reichweite. Bei der Auswahl der richtigen Influencer für Ihre Marke ist eine große Fangemeinde nicht immer von Vorteil. Vielmehr geht es darum, sicherzustellen, dass der Influencer wirklich zu Ihrer Marke passt und involvierte Anhänger hat. Im Vergleich zu größeren Influencern können Mikro-Influencer, die weniger Anhänger haben, persönlichere Beziehungen zu ihren Anhängern aufbauen. Sie werden daher als authentischer wahrgenommen und bieten eine bessere Chance für die Kundenakquise. Laut Experticity reagieren 82 Prozent der Verbraucher sehr wahrscheinlich auf die Empfehlungen eines Mikro-Influencers.Neukundengewinnung-Strategie
    • Testen Sie neue Werbekanäle: Es gibt eine Welt außerhalb von Google AdWords und Facebook. Es gibt Anzeigen auf Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat und Twitter. Sie können Offline-Werbung ausprobieren oder Ihre Anzeigen in beliebten Podcasts anzeigen lassen. Viele dieser Kanäle verfügen möglicherweise nicht über die Reichweite, die Sie auf großen Plattformen wie Google und Facebook erzielen können. Wenn sich Ihr spezifisches Publikum jedoch auf anderen Kanälen aufhält, könnte dies die Goldgrube sein, die Ihr Unternehmen sucht. Stellen Sie ein kleines monatliches Budget zur Verfügung und testen Sie verschiedene Kanäle, damit Sie wissen, was funktioniert und was nicht.
    • Chatbots nutzen: Chatbots können zu einem äußerst wertvollen Werkzeug der Kundenakquise werden und Sie dabei unterstützen, sich aktiv mit potenziellen Kunden auszutauschen und Ihre Zielgruppe auf zentrale Seiten Ihrer Internetpräsenz zu lenken. Und das alles, ohne dass Sie zusätzliches Personal einstellen müssen. Sie können einen Entwickler beauftragen, der Ihnen einen Chatbot programmiert, oder Sie können Dienste wie Chatfuel oder Smooch nutzen, mithilfe derer Sie Bots ohne Codierung selbst entwerfen können.
    • In neue Technologien investieren: Neue Technologien bestimmen den Markt. So zum Beispiel sind Smartphones mittlerweile auf der ganzen Welt fest im Alltag der Verbraucher integriert. Unternehmen müssen daher in Technologien investieren, um Ihre Marketingaktivitäten mit diesen Geräten kompatibel zu machen, sodass Sie die maximale Anzahl an Kunden erreichen können. Sie sollten daher die neu aufkommenden Technologien und Kanäle stets im Auge behalten, durch die Sie mehr Leads für Ihr Unternehmen gewinnen können.
    • E-Mail-Marketing verwenden: Bei der Entwicklung von E-Mail-Inhalten zur Generierung von Leads müssen Sie Folgendes berücksichtigen:
    • Betreffzeile: Die Betreffzeile muss Interesse wecken, damit der Empfänger den Inhalt lesen möchte. Die Betreffzeile sollte die Probleme ansprechen, mit denen Ihre potenziellen Leads im Allgemeinen konfrontiert sind.
    • Prägnanter Text: Der Inhalt der E-Mail sollte prägnant, kurz und ansprechend sein.
    • Integrieren Sie Social Media: Integrieren Sie Social-Media-Links in Ihre E-Mails, damit Sie die Leser auf Ihre Social-Media-Seite weiterleiten können.
    • Bilder einbetten: Ein Bild sagt mehr als 1000 Worte! Versuchen Sie, Bilder hinzuzufügen, die nicht zu groß sind, damit Ihre E-Mail-Inhalte schneller geladen werden.
    • Integrieren Sie eine Call-to-Action-Schaltfläche: CTAs sind in der oberen Hälfte der E-Mail am effektivsten.
    • Videos auf YouTube teilen: YouTube ist nicht nur ein Video-Hosting-Service, sondern auch eine riesige Suchmaschine und beliebter als jede andere Social-Media-Plattform wie Facebook, Twitter, Google+ usw. Auf YouTube können Sie einen eigenen Kanal erstellen und verwalten, in dem Sie Videos freigeben. Dies hilft Ihnen, sich von Ihren Mitbewerbern abzuheben und mehr Leads für Ihr Unternehmen zu gewinnen.

    Kundenakquise mit CRM-Software-Unterstützung

    Unabhängig von der Branche Ihres Unternehmens empfiehlt es sich, Exceltabellen, Datenbanken & Co. durch die Vorzüge eines CRM-Systems zu ersetzen. Die Vorteile sind:
    • Bessere Kundenbeziehungen: Je mehr Sie über Ihre potenziellen und Bestandskunden wissen, desto höher die Chance, eine viel stärkere Verbindung und eine tiefere Beziehung zu ihnen aufzubauen.
    • Marketing-Automatisierung: Professionelle Marketing-Automatisierung in Kombination mit einer CRM-Software hilft Ihnen dabei, auf strukturierte und effiziente Weise ihren Umsatz zu steigern, indem sie mehr Kunden gewinnen, Marketing und Vertrieb aufeinander ausrichten und ihr Kampagnenmanagement verbessern.
    • Kosteneinsparungen: Während die Implementierung einer CRM-Software zunächst recht kosten- und zeitaufwändig ist, überwiegt im Laufe der Zeit der Nutzen bei weitem. Sie haben jetzt eine zentrale Client- und Interessenten-Datenbank, auf die jeder zugreifen kann. Ihre Produktivität, Rentabilität und die Erträge steigen automatisch.

    Act! ist ein Beispiel für ein professionelles CRM-System, das kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen dank hilfreicher Tools und Marketing-Automatisierung effizient im Alltag unterstützt und Marketing, Vertrieb und Kundendienst abteilungsübergreifend miteinander verbindet.

    Fazit: Flexibel und anpassungsfähig sein

    Kundenakquise ist harte Arbeit. Es bedarf einer durchdachten Strategie, die bereichsübergreifend gilt und die idealerweise in Form eines einheitlichen CRM-Systems angewandt wird. Empfehlenswert ist, eine Kombination der genannten Tipps und Strategien für Ihre Kundenakquise zu testen, um herauszufinden, was für Ihr Unternehmen am besten funktioniert.

    Tests sind das A und O, denn Ihre Kunden können Ihre Vorlieben ändern, neue Werbeplattformen entwickeln sich und innovative Technologien kommen hinzu. Um im dynamischen Prozess der Kundenakquise am Ball zu bleiben, müssen Sie flexibel und anpassungsfähig sein, um den Anschluss nicht zu verpassen und gegenüber Ihrer Konkurrenz die Nase vorn zu haben.



  • 5 powerful sales techniques that will help you close more deals

    by Act! Blog | Apr 05, 2019

    Successful sales people don’t just talk prospects into buying; relying solely on their spontaneity and colloquial eloquence. They have a proven methodology of pursuing, nurturing, and converting leads, that they use every single time.

    The modern-day customer is very well-informed, so winging it just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to understand how your target market thinks and use relevant sales techniques accordingly. You need to start believing in the science of conversion, as much as you believe in the art of conversion.

    Many researchers have tried to study the human mind more extensively in the past few decades. They have come up with valuable insights regarding the factors that affect our brain’s decision-making process. These insights have spawned a new approach which is been actively adopted by sales experts from all over the world. The approach is known as science-driven selling.

    What is science-driven selling?

    Put in simple words, science-driven selling is a sales technique that uses the principles of neuroscience, behavioral economics and social psychology to form methodologies that enhance conversion.

    It basically forces you to stop relying on your hunches (however educated they might be) and instead allowing science to dictate your actions. It lets you take a peek inside the customer’s brain, and figure out how you can make them go, “Yep! That’s what I am buying!”

    This might seem diabolical or far-fetched, but at its heart, it’s just years of research bringing a paradigm shift in the way we sell. If you are still not using research-backed sales techniques in your business, then now is the time to change that. To help you get started, we have compiled a list of the 5 most powerful sales techniques that will definitely help you convert more.

    Relate

    We all love telling stories, and honestly, if they are any good, the audience loves hearing them. Science tells us that it’s time we start telling stories during customer interactions, as it gives us more chances of conversion. Researchers believe that when people find traits similar to theirs in characters of a story, they feel an inclination to identify with them, which eventually enhances chances of persuasion. 

     However, sharing a story relevant to the lead/customer takes some brainstorming. This is once again an area where you can’t apply the one-fits-all principle. Remember, you are trying to form an emotional bond here, so be as personal as you can. Here’s how you can proceed:

    1. Find out where your prospect works, what their designation and duties are. If you have access to their purchase history, then that’s handy too.
    2. Get your thinking cap on and try to find a previous customer who was in a similar situation.
    3. Hit hard on a pain point (or two) that the customer had, and which the lead can relate too as well.
    4. Start by presenting the problem and finish the conversation/message with the solution.

    The 5-minute rule

    Customers don’t like waiting. Be it a long line at a Tesco, a slow-loading website, or a lazy sales team; a customer would rather “take their business elsewhere” than wait. Today, we even have stats to back this up. Research conducted by Velocify shows that leads are likelier to spend if you respond to their initial request/inquiry within the first few minutes. They claim that if you react within the first minute of lead generation, you increase your chances of landing a new customer by a whopping 400%!

    So, while designing your business’ sales strategy, make sure you include the 5-minute rule.Sales Techniques

    Be funny

    Salesy emails can put anyone out; especially the people who aren’t looking to buy anything at the moment. However, make them laugh or put a cheeky smile on their face, and they might keep you in mind for later.

    Humor has proven to be a very effective way to impress potential customers. After all, who doesn’t like people with witty jokes up their sleeve? If they really enjoy the quip, you might even get a reply. But obviously, remember that it’s easier to offend people than to make them laugh. Here’s how you can go about incorporating humor in your emails:

    1. Find a funny meme or a gif that you think resonates with the personality of the lead.
    2. Go through their social media profiles to find more about their interests and hobbies, and try to find something to refer to. For example, if your prospect is a fan of Friends, you can include a Joey dialogue in your email to them.

    The fear of missing out

    Customers start taking you for granted when you keep bombarding them with salesy, let-us-love-you emails. Sometimes, to prompt immediate action, you can instill a sense of urgency into the minds of the lead.

    For example, let’s suppose a customer mentioned that they want to get the new system installed before the next year starts. If they haven’t responded to some of your previous messages, you can send them an email warning them that you can only adhere to the deadline if they act within the next week.

    One option is never enough

    Daniel Mochon, a famous researcher of consumer behavior, found out that the amount of buying options presented to a potential customer influences their decision hugely. He famously conducted an experiment in which he tried to sell a DVD player to some people. When there was only DVD player to be bought, only 10% of the people made a purchase. However, when he gave them two DVD players to choose from, he saw the sales go up by 66%!

    This works because we, as buyers, feel an innate urge to be confident in our decision. When we are given multiple options to choose from, we can put our finger on the thing that is the least risky for us.

    Final word

    Science tells us how our planet is getting hotter, and also how we can make more sales by paying heed to research. Start using any (or all) of the aforementioned sales techniques within your customer journeys and you’ll feel the difference.

  • How to build an effective sales strategy

    by Act! Blog | Apr 05, 2019

    Running a business is much like warfare. You have to be weary of your enemies/competitors, any time you enter the warzone/market. Without a properly laid out war/sales strategy, you will have no chances of coming out of a battle victorious. Meaning, unless you plan for every possible risk, and ensure that there are no problem areas within your team, it will be unlikely for you to hit the targets you set out to achieve.

    After all, the greatest objective for any sales team is hitting the yearly sales quota. A sales strategy is a master plan that follows extensive market research and corporate introspection, and allows a company to keep on selling its products and services effectively. If you do it right, your sales agents will have a field day converting leads into customers, and helping your business grow.

    Successful businesses reevaluate their sales strategies every month. After having a look at your historic sales, current market conditions, target demographics, and marketing strategies, you devise a monthly sales strategy that will help you attain your goals. Not only does this premeditation equip your sales team with valuable market and customer information, it also allows you to put your finger on any risks, opportunities, or droughts that might pop up soon.

     Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Want to create a sales strategy for your business, but don’t know where to start? Fret not, the following list of steps should be enough to help you set up your own sales plan:

    Where are you standing?

    You know where you want to go, but do you know where you are right now? Before you set out a plan for your business’ future, you need to scrutinise the past and the present to see precisely what you need to change/improve/remove.

    An ideal first step is to go over the historic sales statistics. Start by answering questions like:

    • Did we attain our sales goals for last year?
    • How many leads were converted to customers?
    • How much in sales did we make last year?
    • Were we able to retain most of our customers? How many customers just bought once?
    • Was there a sales pipeline in place?
    • What was the longest duration a lead remained within our sales pipeline?

    Have a sit-down with all the managers within your company and try to evaluate your business’ position, relevant to the market, before you proceed.Sales Strategy

    Identify your target market

    The importance of targeted marketing in the modern world can’t be stressed enough. To meet your sales quotas and really grow your business, you need to identify the demographics that you want to target. Try to create an ideal customer persona, which you can then base your major business decisions around.

    If you have some historic data to dig into, a simple way to identify your target market is by searching for the highest spending customers.

    Set goals and deadlines

    Every sales strategy defines certain goals that your team then strives to achieve throughout the month/year. It’s better if you quantify these goals; it can be number of sales, number of customers, number of retained customers etc. However, when setting goals, make sure you stay realistic. Here are some key points to remember:

    • Don’t be over-optimistic: Were you able to achieve last year’s goals? If not, was it because you were being over-optimistic? We all want to grow our business as fast as possible, keeping the sky as the limit, but it’s important to be realistic too.
    • Know the market: Some markets can change within seconds, while others maintain state throughout the year. Know your market before setting goals. If you can foresee a drop in your shares, don’t forecast a sales increase.
    • Consult your sales team: Your sales team knows a thing or two about the customers and the market that you don’t. Have a chat with them before you set out goals for them.

    Now that your goals are all set, you need to break them down into smaller milestones, and then assign deadlines to these milestones. For example, you want to increase your sales for product B by 50% before the end of the first quarter. The first milestone for this goal could be increasing the sales by 20% before the end of the first month. 

    How will you score leads?

    Your sales agents should be able to prioritise their efforts depending on the quality of the lead. This is why you need to pen down a lead scoring algorithm. How you want to identify a good lead from a bad one depends on your business’ preferences. Want to give a higher score to people from New York? Sure. Want to give a +5 to people who abandoned a cart recently? Up to you!

    You can also gradually start discarding (or at-least disregarding) the cold leads to ensure that your lead count doesn’t get unnecessarily huge. A marketing automation software can come in handy in this regard by helping you automatically score and track leads. 

    Pen down the market strategy

    The next step involves strategising your marketing efforts. Answer questions like:

    • How can I increase my customer retention?
    • How can I up the ante when it comes to word of mouth marketing?
    • Can I release a new product line for the new demographic I intend to target?
    • What are the best channels to gain new leads from?
    • Is it financially viable to invest in email marketing automation?

    Action plan

    It all boils down to this. Now is the time you try to tie everything together and come up with an executable action plan. A sales funnel is an obvious first step. Identify the channels that can maximise lead generation and then create a well-laid out path for the leads to funnel through.

    At this stage, you can bring the sales team in to talk about the sales funnel. Assign revenue targets to every representative and clear any doubts they have regarding the numbers they need to bring in, and the corresponding deadlines.

    Once everyone is on the same page, you can finalise the actionable plans that the entire team can follow. Take as much time as you need as this is the most important piece of the puzzle.

    Final word

    It takes considerate contemplation to come up with an effective sales strategy, but without it, your business (and your employees) will be directionless. Follow the aforementioned steps and devise your own sales strategy today!

     

  • 10 marketing tools for your business growth

    by Act! Blog | Apr 05, 2019

    You may have heard the cliché that business is a contact sport where grit and determination separates the winners from the losers. And it is, but it’s also a thinking man’s game. The strategies and tools you use will help you stay ahead of your competition.

    Let’s say you have the best product in the world. You know there’s a market for it and it serves your customer’s needs much better than anything else out there – you blow the competition out of the water 10 times out of 10.

    First of all, congratulations. But you won’t be able to build a successful business without paying customers. To do that, you need to be able to reach prospects and communicate why your product or service is better and what they gain from working with you over one of your competitors. In other words, you need the right tools and marketing strategies for business growth.

    Here are 10 (mostly free) marketing tools for business growth that every small business owner should use:

    1. Google Analytics

    You have a website that you’re using to communicate your marketing message, reach prospects and/or sell products.  But how do you know where they’re coming from or whether the optimisations you make are moving the needle?

    Google Analytics helps you learn more about your customers by tracking where your visitors are coming from, what they’re doing on your website (i.e. pages visited or time spent) and ultimately, helps you figure out what messages are the most effective at compelling visitors to take a particular action.

    2. SEMrush

    If you want to grow your business with digital marketing, SEO should be something that is top of mind.

    When you search for something on Google, how often do you search past the first page?  Probably not very often.  And you’re not alone – according to Search Engine People, the first position generates around 33% of the clicks with the next getting 15% and the 3rd getting just 9% and the drop-off gets steeper and steeper after that (here’s a chart for the data junkies out there).

    SEMrush helps you develop a winning SEO marketing strategy by helping you with keyword research, SEO audits of your website, identifies backlink opportunities and tracks the keyword strategies used by your competition.

    3. PitchBox

    When it comes to SEO, one of the things search engines look at is how many other websites are referencing your content and how authoritative those websites are.  Since these websites have influence over your ranking, let’s call them “influencers”.

    PitchBox makes it easy for you to find influential bloggers or publishers in your niche with their search and filter function and makes it easy for you to reach out to them via personalised automated email sequences.  If the influencers like your content and are willing to showcase it on their sites, your SEO ranking will go up.

    4. Answer the Public

    If you want to rank high on search engines, it’s important to create high quality content around what people are searching.  But how do you know what people are looking for and how do you come up with topics week after week?

    Answer the Public works by generating a tree of potential blog topics based on the keyword you’re targeting and real search queries and trending topics related to your keyword.

    5. Hootsuite

    Today, in the UK 67% of the entire population are on social media so the customers you’re trying to reach are probably there too. 

    Social media marketing is a great way to reach new customers and build loyalty with your existing customers. Hootsuite helps you do this by helping you manage all of your social media accounts in 1 place. You can easily create an editorial calendar, schedule and approve posts, track social media engagement and ROI, and helps you track what people are saying about your brand online.

    6. Act! Growth Suite

    Once you’ve got a steady stream of visitors to your website, it’s time to get their contact information, build a relationship with them (we call this nurturing) and gently nudge them towards a sale. 

    While there are a lot of fancy tools out there like AI-enabled chatbots, one of the most powerful marketing tools for business growth is still email marketing because of the tremendous ROI.  According to CampaignMonitor, you can expect to make $44 back for every $1 you spend on email.

    Act! Growth Suite is a comprehensive sales and marketing platform that combines CRM and Marketing Automation, providing everything you and your team need to successfully run and grow your business. Act! Marketing Automation allows you to set up simple ad-hoc email blasts or drip marketing campaigns for one-off or single path communications as needed.

    7. Hello Bar

    Once you have visitors, how do you get them to take action? Hello Bar makes it easy to design and add Calls to Action (CTA) buttons to your website through pop-ups, sliders, and even exit intent pop-ups to deliver your offer in a timely and engaging way.  Best of all, it’s free for most users (visit their home page and input your URL to get started).

    Marketing teams can use Hello Bar to increase your landing page’s conversion rate by offering coupon codes, asking them to like your social media page or to collect emails for your newsletter.

    8. Canva

    Whether you’re creating ads, social media posts or email blasts, you’ll need eye-catching graphics that capture people’s attention.

    Canva is a free tool for creating logos and designs. They have beautiful professional-grade templates for almost anything you can imagine from posters to email banners to Facebook ads.

    9. Survey Monkey

    In order to develop marketing strategies for business growth, you need to understand your customers. Collecting feedback allows you to improve your offering and find out who your customers are and what they care about so you can better craft marketing messages in future.

    Survey Monkey or TypeForm are two great tools to easily create beautiful forms and surveys (that people actually want to complete) and analyse the results. You can even generate presentation-ready charts and graphs automatically.

    10. Hotjar

    We already talked about how important it is to understand your customers. Hotjar, takes this concept further using heat maps to see what people are clicking on and how far they’re scrolling, collect user feedback via pop-up surveys and even run live recordings of user sessions to gain insight into user behaviour.

    The likes of Nintendo and Microsoft use this tool to help them improve their product, marketing funnels and user experience but it’s not just a tool for large corporations. They have a free tier which is good enough for most small businesses.

    To succeed in business, you need a sound strategy for growing your business through digital marketing that covers SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and landing page optimisation. The marketing tools suggested above will hopefully make your life easier as you execute on your business growth strategy.

  • 6 powerful business growth strategies for small businesses

    by Act! Blog | Apr 05, 2019

    Start-ups and small businesses usually set out into their chosen markets fuelled by ample enthusiasm and positivity. This may take them far, but to truly succeed in competitive markets it is prudent to have a tangible long-term business growth plan in place.  

    The unfortunate truth is that many start-ups or small companies fail because they haven’t taken this crucial step. Without it, a new business can reach a plateau far sooner than expected; this stage may even be a death knell, yet it is possible to turn things around quickly by implementing some appropriate business growth strategies.

    If you are at the stage where your business needs a boost – and fast – it is time to figure out which growth strategies can be put in place. This article aims to help you understand how to accelerate business growth so that your business has every chance of long-term success.

    Here are our top 6 tips to grow your business:

    1. Market penetration

    Market penetration aims to increase market share for an existing product, or to successfully promote a new product. Useful strategies include advertising, bundling products into attractive, saleable packages, offering discounts on larger orders and lowering prices to beat competitors.

    Although it may seem unappealing, lowering prices can be a good short-term expansion strategy for businesses selling products similar to those sold by their competitors. For example, businesses with relatively generic products (such as household cleaning supply businesses or stationers) can benefit from adopting this market penetration strategy. 

    If you can’t increase or improve your product range and must continue to promote existing products, it may be necessary to make products more attractive by coupling them with complementary products in a package, or offering bulk buy bargains.

    2. Market development

    A market development strategy pertains to promotion of existing products or services to new customers, or launching them in a new geographical area. It might be that your usual market has been saturated or you’re struggling to attract new customers or clients in your local region.

    Sales and profits are apt to suffer unless a business finds new markets for its products. A larger-scale example of this would be leading footwear companies Nike, Adidas, and Reebok, which successfully expanded into international markets with original, attractive marketing campaigns.

    Small businesses budgets may not be comparable, but it is certainly possible to find new uses for current products or branch out into similar markets. For example, a restaurant owner might consider private catering, or doing some B2B marketing to get well-packaged signature products onto local grocery store shelves.

    3. Alternative channels

    Utilising alternative channels is one of the best methods of growth in business. Many small businesses already use more than one online platform for marketing, but sometimes switching platforms achieves better results.

    The top three marketing channels are email marketing, social media and business websites. 54% of small businesses use email and 48% use social media; it might be surprising to know that less than two thirds (equating to 64%) of small businesses has its own website, according to B2B research firm Clutch.co - yet customers tend to expect to find a website for informational purposes at the very least!

    For exclusively offline businesses, it may be time to launch a website with an online product store to gain national or international reach. Trends in recent years show that having both an offline and online presence leads to optimum growth, so it is worth considering.

    Small businesses with quality products usually benefit from using alternative channels. Five commonly used channels are Google Ads (pay-per-click/cost-per-click advertising), Facebook, email marketing and remarketing. To give you an idea, remarketing is email-based and relates to the collection of user information for list creation; the lists are then used for future promotional emails.  Business growth strategies for small businesses

    4. Product expansion

    Small businesses can benefit hugely from expansion of product lines or adding new features to appeal to their existing markets. You may be experiencing a lull in sales or profits due to outdated technology or outmoded products. If so, it could be time to expand your product line.

    Drinks giant Coca Cola are a good example: in order to outperform competitors, they launched Cherry Coke in 1985. As the first adaptation of the original drink, it refreshed the interest of previous customers and attracted the attention of many more.

    Gilette is another company with many variants of similar products in their range. When your product sales start to decline, it’s time to phase out weaker products and introduce newer versions to your loyal customers as a starting point. Any business with products no longer hitting targets can benefit from product or service expansion, but remember that pre-expansion research is key in order to avoid failure.

    5. Market segmentation

    Another of the small business growth strategies is market segmentation. This simply means to divide your market into various groups (segments) according to customer preferences, interests, locations and other characteristics. These segments allow you to create targeted campaigns according to specific variables, giving the campaigns a much higher chance of success. Typical segments are:

    • Geographic
    • Demographic
    • Firmographic
    • Behavioural
    • Psychographic

    Segmentation is a strategy typically employed by businesses such as cosmetics suppliers, banks, clothing companies and media outlets. If your product or service range is in any way diverse, you can surely benefit from market segmentation.

    Note that it will involve thorough research in order to efficiently profile your customers and tailor content accordingly. Capturing details through email surveys, purchase history and site analytics is a good start.

    However, given that 65% of marketing managers admit to struggling with the interpretation of data-driven market segmentation solutions, reducing the complexity of this strategy may appeal to you. If so, there is one very convenient method of segmenting your market: a powerful customer relationship management (CRM) tool can optimise your segmentation effortlessly, saving you plenty of precious time and energy.

    6. Partnerships

    Sometimes joining forces with another business is the most viable method of growing your small business. You might choose to do this though mergers, acquisitions or partnerships with other businesses. Provided that the arrangement brings significant benefits to all parties, it can be a true win-win situation that boosts resources in a big way.

    Depending on your business type, the possibilities might include extra resources in terms of manpower, skillsets, knowledge, equipment and technology, for instance. There may even be a reduction in workloads or commercial risks. Partnerships tend to suit sole traders who can share clients and collaborate to complete complex projects. For example, carpenters, electricians and builders can help each other to gain traction in the construction industry.  

    By joining up with a complementary, non-competitive business you can instantly gain access to new customer bases and markets. If going down this route, just be careful to have comprehensive legal contracts in place in order to protect your business in the event of unforeseen issues.

    To conclude, by constructing a solid business development strategy you can inject new life into your business - whatever the market. Just keep in mind that no business strategy or plan is the same; it is important to figure out what works for your specific type of business and tailor it according to the resources at your disposal, the needs of your target audience, and your company vision.

    Well-executed business growth and expansion strategies will win your business a larger share of the market. Even if it means taking a financial hit in the short-term, they can put you ahead of the competition and keep you there for the long-term. If you’re committed to learning how to grow a business, don’t forget to check out our small business growth hacks too. Good luck!




  • A guide to your customer acquisition strategy

    by Act! Blog | Apr 05, 2019

    Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, if you want your company to grow, you need to continually add new customers. The best way to do this is through a repeatable, sustainable process that will predictably generate new revenue over time -- a customer acquisition strategy.

    What is a customer acquisition strategy?

    A customer acquisition strategy is a well-defined plan to help prospects find your brand, helping them through their buying process until they become customers. It details your goals, a description of your ideal prospect, specific approaches you’ll employ, how you’ll measure success, timing of various tactics and who will be responsible for which elements. The idea is to educate and engage your ideal potential customers so they become leads that convert to prospects who buy your product or service.

    Why do you need a customer acquisition strategy?

    It’s important to develop a carefully considered customer acquisition marketing strategy. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time, money and resources. Although no plan is perfect, you need to start somewhere and then make adjustments over time. Having an acquisition strategy gives you an advantage over competitors who don’t, allowing your company to grow more consistently.

    Steps needed to plan and execute your customer acquisition strategy

    Wondering how to create a customer acquisition strategy? Here are the steps you’ll want to take to plan and execute yours:

    1. Create your team

    Involve all the appropriate members of your staff in the creation of your acquisition strategy. Ones to consider include those responsible for sales, marketing, product, customer service and leadership. This ensures a more complete plan by incorporating more viewpoints and avoiding overlooking important details.

    2. Define your target audience

    It’s important to understand who your target audience is before expending the time and effort on marketing. Yes, you want to get the word out about your company and offerings, but you need to be sure that you know who you’re talking to for maximum impact. Otherwise, your efforts will be wasted.

    Some questions to answer include:

    • Are they executives, housewives or teenagers?
    • What age are they?
    • What are their likes and dislikes as related to your product or service?
    • What are their roles and responsibilities?
    • How and where do they go to research products or services like yours?
    • Which social media platform(s) do they frequent?

    The more you know about your audience, the better, and the more success you will have when implementing your strategy.

    Of course, if you already have customers, this step will be significantly easier. You can speak to or survey these people to learn more about them and their preferences. Whatever you do, do not proceed to the next step until you have completed this critical one. It could be the difference between success and failure.

    3. Define your goals

    Before selecting which tactics to include in your acquisition strategy, you need to define what you want to accomplish. Without goals, you won’t know which approaches to use. It’s like heading off on a road trip without a map or destination.

    Your goals should include information like how many new customers you want to gain over what time period, for example. Start by setting yearly goals, then break them down to quarterly and monthly. Your revenue targets will help you establish these targets. If you have a defined sales process with metrics relating to how customers move through your sales funnel, goal-setting will be that much easier. Leverage this information to define goals for each stage in the customer acquisition process.A guide to your customer acquisition strategy

    4. Select your methods and channels

    There are a variety of different customer acquisition methods. They include paid or free as well as inbound or outbound options. Paid versus free is clear but inbound and outbound requires a bit more explanation. Inbound marketing is where you attract your audience by helping them find you. Outbound marketing involves going where your customer is, such as cold calling off a purchased list or having a booth at a trade show. The best methods for your business will be based on your ideal customer, resources and the other approaches you employ in your overall strategy.

    Content marketing is an excellent place to start. It drives traffic to your website, captures leads, nurtures them until they’re ready and helps them make a buying decision. It’s an effective method for all types of businesses and is at the core of many customer acquisition strategies. This is particularly true because today’s buyers are 50-70% through their decision-making process before they engage with a salesperson. Plus, this approach is cost effective so you don’t have to break the bank to implement it.

    5. Create engaging content

    Start by creating a library of unique, valuable, educational content that helps your ideal prospects answer their questions and solve their challenges throughout the buying process. You’ll need to decide which content options are best suited for each stage of your funnel. Some options include blog articles, e-books, case studies, white papers, videos and webinars. Which ones you select will be based on which types your audience tends to prefer consuming.

    6. Create conversion points

    Next you need to provide interested parties with the opportunity to convert to leads and enter your sales funnel. This happen through an appropriate call-to-action on various pages of your website, depending on where the prospect is in their buying process. You’ll want to create ones for each stage of your funnel to boost your overall conversion rates and gather more leads.

    7. Drive qualified traffic to your site

    Also called “demand generation,” you want to help qualified prospects find your site so you can add these leads to your sales funnel. Potential tactics to leverage here include SEO, social media, email marketing, trade shows, direct mail, PPC and search advertising. Which options you select will vary based on what works best for your audience and budgetary considerations.

    8. Nurture your leads

    Using marketing automation technology will simplify and streamline your customer acquisition efforts while helping you stay on track. An email newsletter, or any other method of staying in touch with your leads until they’re ready to buy, will increase your customer acquisition results.

    9. Leverage a CRM

    A customer relationship management (CRM) platform integrates with marketing automation to simplify the process further while garnering valuable insights, lead data and important metrics. It arms your sales team with a history of each lead’s interactions with content, your website and your brand, better preparing them to more effectively speak with prospects during each encounter. A CRM also makes it easier for you to determine where leads are getting stalled, helping you determine where to add more content to advance prospects through the process. It will also tell you which calls-to-actions are working best and which need to be adjusted. If you're interested in learning more about CRM and Marketing Automation you can request a free Act! demo here

    10. Measure your results and refine your strategy

    There are many ways to measure your customer acquisition success. These include conversion rate, rate of new customer acquisition and calculating your customer acquisition cost (CAC). Once you review these metrics, you’ll be better equipped to determine which strategies are working and which ones aren’t necessarily the best fit for your business. Be sure to routinely measure results so you stay current with ever-changing market conditions and buyer preferences. This will help you see consistent growth while receiving the best possible results for the time, money and resources invested.


  • 5 best accounting software for small businesses

    by Act! Blog | Apr 02, 2019

    Managing your accounts and cash flow efficiently and effectively is key to the success of any small business, so why are so many companies still using manual accounting methods?

    According to research, almost one-third of small businesses are relying on manual processes such as pen and paper or Microsoft Excel to manage their expenses.

    It’s time-consuming and expensive to manage your accounting manually. In the UK, it takes around 110 hours per year to complete the necessary tax obligations.

    That’s why you need to automate your processes by using accounting software so you can better run your small business.

    We know choosing new software is a headache, which is why we’ve put together our picks of the best accounting software for small businesses.

    Xero

    Xero is a cloud-based accounting software specifically aimed at small businesses. What makes Xero one of the best accounting software for small business is that it both provides tools for companies to monitor financial performance in real time, as well as features for accountants to help ensure their clients have healthy balance sheets.

    Xero’s key features include:

    • Reporting capabilities that can be tailored to track your specific financial KPIs as well as compare your company’s financial performance against actual or selected periods.
    • Ability to prepare a detailed budget or import an existing one
    • Accept payments online from providers like Stripe and PayPal (as well as with credit cards) in multiple currencies
    • Manage your fixed assets in one place
    • Connect to your bank account so your transactions can flow in and out, and you can reconcile outgoings and income with your bank statements
    • Take photos of receipts to file as expenses and then add labels to categorise these expenses
    • Create and send invoices, as well as send automated payment reminders to clients when their invoices are overdue and need to be paid

    You can also expand Xero’s capabilities through native integrations, for example, you can manage your payroll with the Gusto payroll integration.

    Quickbooks

    Quickbooks accounting software is geared towards small businesses and is available both on-premise and in the cloud, as well as through a mobile app.

    Quickbooks’ main features include:

    • Record expenses by photographing and saving receipts with the mobile app
    • Ability to manage cash flow by scheduling recurring payments and only paying bills from vendors when they are due
    • Invoicing capabilities that allow you to create invoices customised to your brand, and send and track these invoices so you can get an overview of unpaid bills
    • Customisable reports and dashboards to help you get on top of your business’ financial performance. This includes generating pie charts and bar graphs with profit and loss, balance sheets, and cash flow statements

    You can also give your accountant access to your Quickbooks cloud account so they can manage your finances from anywhere. Quickbooks enables simultaneous logins from multiple people, such as your accountant, and your co-workers, employees, or managers.

    With automatic data backup and sync, you always have an up-to-date picture of your business’ finances and your cashflow.

    Freshbooks

    Small business accounting software Freshbooks has six main sets of features:

    • Invoicing – either automatically or manually add expense and client information, as well as any time tracked. This speeds up the invoicing process
    • Expenses– photograph and file expenses using either the mobile app or on a desktop
    • Time tracking – log minutes and hours automatically, which you can then add to invoices
    • Projects – keep track of deliverables and timelines by storing all files, feedback, and conversations in one place so you can stick to a schedule
    • Payments – customers can pay online using a credit card, while the Stripe integration enables automatic deposits
    • Reporting – customise reports with key information so you can make better forecasts and understand your income and outgoings.

    Other features in Freshbooks that make it a suitable solution for small businesses include automated and customisable payment reminders for clients who haven’t paid yet, automatic late fees, multi-currency billing, multi-language invoicing and the ability to apply discounts to payments.

    Freshbooks also comes with a mobile app for Android and iOS so you can keep track of your accounts on the go.

    Freeagent

    Freeagent accounting software is aimed at small businesses, as well as freelancers and micro businesses and their accountants. It aims to streamline the bookkeeping process for businesses that are looking to automate their account processes. It’s been recognised by the industry for the innovation in its software, being named Small Business Accounting Software of the Year at the Accounting Excellence Software Awards.

    Freeagent’s most important features include:

    • Create invoices from a customisable template in multiple currencies and languages and send them via email or post, as well as set up recurring invoices
    • Accept payments online using credit cards, direct debit, or PayPal and Stripe
    • Get an overview of unpaid bills and send automated reminders to those clients
    • Ability for both you and employees to photograph and file expense claims and track the status of these clients
    • Better manage your projects by keeping track of your expenses, estimates, invoices, and tasks
    • Link your bank account to Freeagent to important transactions, categorise transactions, and get an overview of your income, outgoings, and overall cash flow
    • Dashboards help you stay up-to-date with the income and expenses of projects so you can see which are most profitable

    Freeagent also includes a time tracking feature which you can use through its mobile app and on desktop.

    Wave

    Wave is a free accounting software aimed at solopreneurs and small businesses. Accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning functionality is free, but businesses have to pay for payment processing on a pay-per-use basis.

    Wave’s key features include:

    • Customisable reports thatshow month-to-month or year-to-year comparisons to help you better understand your cash flow
    • Connect an unlimited amount of bank accounts to Wave so you can track transactions
    • A smart dashboard that provides a graphical overview of expenses, income, invoices, and payments
    • Double-entry accounting functionality
    • Create customisable invoices from Wave’s templates
    • Ability to create recurring invoices and enable automatic credit card payments for repeat business
    • Accept credit card and direct debit payments online
    • Scan and track receipts and expense reports

    Wave also has an active online community on its website, which can help you get answers to questions and find resolutions to your problems.

    What is the best accounting software for small business?

    There is no one, overall best small business accounting software; it all depends on the needs of your company. Each business is different, which is why it’s important to thoroughly research and try any software before you decide to buy. Make sure you also get the input of anyone who will be using the accounting so you can ensure you get the features that they need.

  • The best small business blogs to follow in 2019

    by Act! Blog | Apr 02, 2019

    As a small business, it’s important to stay up-to-date with what is happening in your industry. It’s also key to always be learning so you can optimise the way you run your business.

    The best small business blogs have a wealth of useful information that can help you both innovate and ensure that you meet the needs of your customers.

    They are tailored to companies that are a similar size to the one you work in or run, so you can rest assured that the advice is relevant for your situation.

    But everyone seems to be blogging these days so weeding out the bad and focusing on the good can be time-consuming.

    That’s why we’ve put together a list of our picks for the best small business blogs that you should be reading to get ahead.

    Small Business Trends

    Small Business Trends provides practical advice to help your small business thrive, combined with industry analysis and thought leadership articles. The blog is broken down into six categories with relevant content in each: Marketing, Management, Technology, Finance, Advice, Resources.

    Some of the useful tips it provides include how to keep your social media content on brand, how to raise venture capital for your startup, and advice on creating a smart business.

    The site also reviews books and technology from a small business perspective.

    Big Ideas for Small Businesses

    The Big Ideas for Small Businesses blog has won a plethora of accolades, so you don’t need to take our word for it about how great this blog is! The articles are written by Barbara Weltman who is an attorney and small business tax expert.

    While there is a strong emphasis on tax and finance topics on the blog, it also covers subjects such as company driving and dating policies, developing leadership qualities, and health plans and related regulations.

    Kabbage

    Kabbage’s blog manages to present what can be complex ideas for small businesses in an easy-to-understand way.

    The blog leans towards the finance and accounting side of running a business, discussing topics such as top tax and bookkeeping books for small business owners, low-cost marketing tips and strategies, and how the internet sales tax will affect online retail.

    YoungUpstarts

    YoungUpstarts is another small business blog that has won countless awards for its small business and entrepreneur focused articles.

    This blog has a section dedicated to starting your own business called “Advice for the Young at Heart”, but also combines this with articles aimed at more traditional small businesses across different industries.

    Some useful recent articles include an in-depth guide on cybersecurity for small businesses, tips on how to get people to engage with your website, and how to take your marketing automation further with AI.  

    Small Biz Survival

    In contrast to YoungUpstarts, the Small Biz Survival blog is geared towards small businesses in rural and small-town environments, rather than entrepreneurs and people starting up digital-first businesses.

    The blog covers topics focused on the basics of running a small business in a small town such as tourism, marketing, and economic development. It also has articles and guides that target small businesses at different stages, which sit under the headers of Dreaming, Doing and Growing, and Leveling Up. The articles are also all written by small businesses that are operating in small towns and rural environments.

    Evergreen Small Business

    The Evergreen Small Business blog is run by two CPAs – Stephen L. Nelson and Elizabeth C. Nelson. Because of this, a lot of the content is focused on practical and tax and legal issues for small businesses. To complement the blog, Evergreen has a small business FAQ section, which delivers more long-form content on a range of burning business issues.

    They also publish e-books, which are normally free to download, including Small Business Tax Deduction Secrets and Setting Low S Corporation Salaries.

    Duct Tape Marketing

    The Duct Tape Marketing blog is run by John Jantsch who brands himself as the “World’s Most Practical Small Business Expert”. This blog aims to provide simple, effective, and affordable marketing advice to small business owners.

    Posts cover topics from how small businesses can compete in the online marketplace, how to marry content with the customer journey, and why storytelling can help your business’ bottom line.

    BizSugar

    The BizSugar blog curates content from its community of readers (the BizSugar Mastermind Community) that is aimed at the small business market. The type of content on the blog varies from articles to videos and webinars from industry experts.

    Topics covered include using sustainability as a competitive advantage, promoting your crowdfunding campaign, and tips on how to be an influencer.

    Fast Company for Small Businesses

    Fast Company is a generally well-respected blog with innovative and interesting content, but did you know that they also have a section dedicated to small business issues? These articles still focus on design, innovation, and technology, just like the main site, but they are all about issues that affect small businesses.

    Content ranges from reports that talk about the best (and worst cities to run small businesses), to answers to the most common startup and small business questions, to trend pieces such as small business owners’ perspective on the current political climate and how it affects them.

    Startups.co.uk

    Startups.co.uk provides online resource for anyone who wants to start a new business, grow an existing small business, or sell your business. It’s a business advice platform as well as a blog and aims to provide small business ideas, business inspiration, and free business advice, no matter what sector your business operates in.

    Some of the site’s most interesting content includes:

    • “How to start" guides, which provide information on some of the most popular start-up ideas
    • Business ideas to start for under £10,000
    • Information on social business ideas

    These are our picks for the best small business blogs, but we’re keen to hear from you on this. What sites do you read to get tips on – and insight into – how to better run your small business? Let us know!