What's the first thing you do every day? Besides checking your email and Facebook notifications.
For me (and many other marketers), it's logging in to my marketing software and checking the day's stats. I look at how many people are visiting my website, converting on offers, and moving down the funnel that my coworkers and I painstakingly created.
Taking care of those, whether by writing content or evaluating lead quality, is the majority of my job. That's true of most marketers because, in general, marketing is usually broken down into just three goals:
- Attract people.
- Turn website visitors into leads.
- Convert leads to customers.
While marketing often ends there, your business and revenue opportunities extend far beyond getting customers to sign on the dotted line.
Existing customers are one of the most powerful sources of revenue and even new business that you have. According to research from Bain & Company, the longer your relationship with customers, the more those customers will spend. Furthermore, as customers make repeat purchases they're also more likely to refer friends, family, and colleagues to your organization.
Your current customers are valuable, which is why you need more than just marketing and sales software. You need technology that extends all the way to the end of your customer's lifecycle "“ including the time they're an active customer.
But what technology do you use to connect with your existing customers? Twitter, online video, email, and many other platforms are all vying for your attention. And while all these platforms are important components of your strategy, you need to put essential systems in place first so you don't end up missing the forest for the trees and leaving money on the table.
Your essential systems are the ones that help you systematize marketing to current customers. They'll gather data on your customers' interests, priorities, and concerns to help you discover the best upsell and referral opportunities in your customer base.
There are only three marketing systems that you must have and they'll ensure that you're covered throughout the customer lifecycle.
The 3 Essential Marketing Systems
System #1) Marketing Software
Marketing software is the core of your technology stack and follows prospects from the moment they visit your site to the time they become customers. Its goal is attracting new visitors, converting them to leads, and nurturing them into customers. Marketing software often involves ways to automate the tasks you do every day so you can get more done in less time.
Marketers commonly use their software to track prospects throughout the buyer's journey as well as create and publish helpful content. Marketing software also helps manage email campaigns and outreach efforts like social media posts.
Some of the common functions of marketing software include:
- Tracking and analyzing marketing efforts, such as lead generation strategies
- Reporting on traffic, sources of leads and visits, and prospect activity
- Scheduling social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other networks
- Managing contact lists
- Drafting, scheduling, and sending email campaigns
System #2) CRM/Sales Software
Marketing software is closely followed by CRM (customer relationship management) and sales software. Both CRM and sales systems track prospects that marketing has attracted and deemed ready to be further qualified by sales. These marketing qualified leads are people or organizations who fit your business's solution.
Sales professionals use CRM systems to manage and track their lead's contact information, activities, and communication. The software also records how sales people further qualify their leads, turning them into sales qualified leads if they're likely to make a purchase.
Like marketing software, CRM and sales systems automate tasks and can be used to nurture leads and prospects through the funnel to make a purchase. Common functions of CRM and sales software are:
- Managing contact information for leads
- Gathering, recording, and tracking information on sales opportunities
- Tracking and reporting on sales efforts
- Sending and tracking sales communication including emails, phone calls, and demos
System #3) Customer Portal Software
Both marketing and sales software help your business bring in and close new customers, but what happens after the sale? Where do you send customers once they've made their initial purchase?
Smart companies employ a third system, a customer portal, to keep customers informed and engaged. Customer portals help companies build ongoing relationships with their customers to generate opportunities for repeat business, as well as increase retention and referrals.
Both sales and marketing professionals use customer portal software to keep existing customers engaged. The software provides a single place for customers to connect with businesses by giving feedback and ideas about future products, seeking support, or browsing documentation. The best customer portal platforms also provide an exclusive customer community for peer-to-peer conversations.
Sales and marketing professionals use customer feedback and activity data from the portal to fuel product innovation, identify upsell opportunities, and recruit customers to referral programs. Common functions of customer portal software are:
- Providing 24/7 self-service options and customer support
- Peer-to-peer networking in a customer community
- Providing product and company documents in file and media libraries
- Encouraging conversations between customers, peers, and businesses in discussion forums
- Gathering customer and product feedback with surveys and polls
- Making product and company announcements through blogs and emails
Modern Marketing Stack Takeaway
The key to using these three systems effectively is to get them to share data. You need seamless integrations that allow data to flow from one system to the next so you can combine information from all three systems. The better your data, the more likely you are to get a comprehensive view of your customers that you can use to build stronger relationships. Those relationships will help you increase customer retention, referrals, and sales.
Today's technology and software options even allow you to do this efficiently, with automation and repeatable processes, that make the most of your sales and marketing teams. Choose systems with top-of-the-line integrations that let you set your automation, sales processes, and customer engagement opportunities to consistently generate revenue throughout your customer's lifecycle.
The results will typically be visible over the long-term, creating sustainable growth opportunities.