You may have noticed that it’s getting harder to get in front of new customers. They’ve walled themselves off with email, ad, and interruption blockers and filters. They’re disconnected.
This customer disconnection is part of what is driving sales toward more social engagement, but the reality is that this doesn’t make it easier for you to reach them - social is way more messy, hard to track, and requires additional tools, coaching, etc. And salespeople that aren’t by nature social media savvy, find this a tough way to go.
We think it's a bigger cultural problem - a crisis of disconnection, that’s driving isolation and even mental health issues. but we’ll leave that for another conversation.
Your systems which may include Desktop and Office, CRM, Marketing, Sales, Social, Lead Generation and Intelligence, Business Intelligence and Reporting, Email, and whatever else you may have, all have just one job:
To put you in personal contact with real humans.
The problem is the greater the number of jumps your team has to make between software the less time you have to focus on that human connection.
More admin time spent by sales and service = less time with customers.
Salespeople for example spend on average 30-40% of their time doing non-sales tasks.
So the disconnection with customers is connected to all of your un-integrated and ad hoc software. The average sales team has to use more than a dozen pieces of software to close a deal. You need more time and focus to reach across the digital divide the customers have thrown up through ad blockers and email filtering.
To reach across the customer divide that is growing every day, your team has to get more efficient and more focused. And multiplying all the digital tools they use won’t help, it will make it worse.
Three Enemies of Greater Customer Connection
Enemy #1 Single Point Solutions
There is a new single-point solution for almost everything being presented almost every day, but they just multiply the time lost in making customer connections. You can see these in social media, email, sales outreach, business intelligence and many others. There are
Simplification for customer focus means streamlining not confusing the situation with even more apps and digital tools. The only way forward is actually to move from a collection of disconnected tools to an all-in-one solution.
Here’s a list of just a few of the tools that you can probably get rid of if you move to something like HubSpot:
- Spreadsheets for tracking sales
- Smart sheets for managing spreadsheets
- Social media apps
- Advertising management apps
- One-off video tools
- Email-only tools
- Proposal or quote writing tools
- Sales dashboards
- SMS tools’
- Reporting software
- Web chat
- Ticket and service software
- Email writing and blog writing tools
- SEO tools
Enemy #2 - Industry-Specific Software Attempting to be all-in-one
Some industry-specific systems have attempted to move to an all-in-one approach, with limited success. For example, if you need an estimating system or HR system, that system may never be able to also do marketing, social media, sales, and reporting in a useful way.
Some industry-specific software is actually masquerading as an all-in-one, and when you ask, they answer, “Yes, we do that, too.”
Moving from a disconnected system to an integrated system may require that you retain a few specialized systems such as estimating, hiring, or event management. But, it will also mean that you should find a way to consolidate as many of the one-off tools as possible. As you look at the admin burden of your team you may need to keep one or more industry-specific systems, but you should think about how they can be integrated into the core of your sales, marketing, and operations.
Enemy #3 - DIY software for professional users
A pretty cool thing is happening that is changing the way that software is developed and sold. It is a general democratization of who can develop and sell software using AI and other new tools. But the downside of that is that there are so many tools being developed and sold that aren’t well funded, tested, or designed that it can be almost dizzying. This is seen
A simple question that you should ask before selecting a tool is whether this is a DIY piece of software that a solopreneur could use, or is it suitable for professional sales, service, or operations teams.
A second important question is also critical - will the new tools integrate with other tools or will it further disintegrate your team’s time and attention?
What sits at the core of a better customer connection?
Two things live at the center of this critical need for businesses and nonprofits:
- A determined focus to make more relational connections with customers
- A centralized single source of information about customer interactions, needs, and communication.
The first part of the answer is a leadership challenge. Can you eliminate distractions and confusion and the needless drain of time and energy into administrative tasks and help people in sales and service to become better at connecting with customers?
The net outcome of this choice is more time focused on people.
The second part of the answer is pretty simple - it’s about putting a single source of truth at the center of all communications whether it is service, sales, or marketing. That tool is almost always a smart CRM. The smarter and the easier to use the better. And it HAS TO integrate with everything else that you use.
The net outcome of this choice is also more time focused on people (sound familiar?)
Talk with us about how HubSpot can remove the barriers to entry for integrated professional tools for small sales teams and nonprofits.