Almost every business and nonprofit has experienced some level of market disruption. And it’s lasted longer than anyone thought. What comes along with these market disruptions is something that every leader has to pay attention to - change.
No doubt, you’ve already made multiple adjustments to the way you do business, how your staff works (and probably where), but the long-term changes will come based on how your customers and prospects have changed. How much change and the direction it will take is still becoming clear. That being said, what is clear today is that becoming more agile in the way that you reach and win customers is vital.
Taking a Page from Lean Start-Up Methods
In seasons of rapid change, like the one we’re in, we need to use methods that allow us to quickly test and prove or disprove marketing and sales hypotheses. If we think customers have moved to a new interest, and we want to be there, moving quickly to test that interest is critical. The lean start-up approach is helpful - quickly get a new product or service configuration in front of consumers so that they can validate or invalidate the direction.
In the lean start-up approach, the flexible launch of a new product or service is called the Minimally Viable Product (MVP). It is tested not by theorizing about its value, but by getting in front of real buyers with a price tag. The beauty of this approach is that it allows you to put these items into the field quickly so that you don’t lose precious recovery time if it does not work. The goal is to test quickly, then to either fail quickly or improve.
To recover your business this year, you’ll need the fastest test and improve cycles possible. The more cycles you can get in, the shorter your recovery.
This approach works whether you are having to shift advertising, pricing, or entire product and service lines. The key is to approach the change as an experiment and prove or disprove what will work.
The accelerated process of creating, testing and improving doesn't just apply to the products and services you provide, it also applies to your website. Why spend 6 months building a new website, when you are still testing the messaging and the key stories that you need to tell? Using a quick-to-deploy, easy-to-adapt Content Management System (CMS) is essential to support an agile growth strategy.
What You Might Need to Test
For some, the changes that you need to make are simply a difference of emphasis - making a new business or use case for your products. For others, you need to launch a new combination of products or services that you’ve never sold together before. Another group will need to be able to test the kinds of incentives or pricing needed to move customers back into the fold - activating or re-establishing loyalty and buying habits.
Others are going to need to test completely new communication and sales channels. If you sold in-person, then virtual sales is now a reality, and the kinds of answers that you need to deliver to customers, in advance of meeting virtually, weren’t needed online before, but are now critical. If you sold to a buying team, then you’ll need to reach them more effectively now and perhaps in brand new ways. If your customers used to buy as a family experience, you may now have to reach some of that family at home.
Minimally Viable Products Require Quick to Market Web Strategies.
Since so much of the sales and purchase cycle has moved online - more than ever before - the primary testing tools are found online too. The four tools that you need to put minimally viable products or services in front of your customers are landing pages, A/B testing, a customer relationship manager (CRM), and microsites. The old method of slow development using a large and inflexible website or launching big eCommerce projects isn’t very useful when you need to move quickly.
Let’s understand how these four tools can work to help you to work the problem to rebound quickly.
Long used as a way to deliver specific information and opportunities to advertising clients, landing pages allow you to spin up specific offers quickly and effectively. With landing pages you can create alternative offers, pricing and services or products and deliver them to targeted groups of emails or digital ads. Landing pages give you a targeted way to deploy and test what you sell.
Sometimes the difference in success is simply a turn of phrase, placement of a button, or the inclusion of an overview video. The only way to know is to deploy marketing pages (both landing and microsite) with A/B testing. This allows you to see which approach, price or offer is working best so that you can invest your efforts based upon data instead of guesswork.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
To effectively understand which existing customers and new customers are responding and the most effective means to reach them, a marketing linked CRM is an essential tool. You don’t need a massive CRM, but you do need one that is integrated with the marketing assets so that you can get both the bottom line number of leads and conversions or sales as well as the path that customers took to arrive at their decision. An effective CRM will allow you to see all the influences that lead to the “yes,” that you were seeking. Content attribution tied to the CRM will let you know which page and the marketing or ads you ran were producing the best results.
The prospect of shifting your entire website, relying upon developers, just so that you can put some fresh options into the market is too slow for an organization that wants to recover quickly. Microsites (a small collection of focused pages) can help you present the new approach, answer all the questions plus close the sale, without having the heavy and slow lift of a website redesign. Microsites allow you to stay on brand, or try a new brand flavor, along with the A/B testing that will show you the most effective path.
Microsites are a good choice for reaching customers as well as recruiting employees or improving customer service. They allow for a fast deployment of customer response options to whatever audience you need to reach.
Integrating the Tools for a Faster Rebound
The process of deploying all four of these tools quickly is best served when they are entirely integrated. HubSpot’s new CMS Hub offers all of these tools built around a CRM in a fully integrated and fast to deploy approach.
By using an integrated system like this, you can focus on getting the products and services out there, right to the audience, rather than getting stuck in the mechanics of how to host, promote and convert leads.
Maximum creativity and customer focus are supported when the technical elements are prepackaged using this SaaS approach. You won’t have any back-end servers to deploy, no code to wrangle, and you’ll be able to add multiple response methods including forms, calls to action, and live chat along with chatbots. The place to start is with a short discussion. Story Collaborative team members can provide feedback about how to best put your new efforts to work and provide a tour or trial of the CMS Hub.