- Buy Technology as an Investment, Not as a Cost
- Date Your Leads and Marry Your Customers With Technology (CRM and marketing automation are essential)
- Content Selling Is Vital – Social Media Is Important
- Leverage Mobile technology – Be as productive out of the office as you are in the office
- To save time and get expertise, outsource – Don’t do everything yourself.
- Don’t technologize a bad business process
- Educate yourself about technology (bonus)
- Leverage online software (bonus)
- Secure computing is smart computing (bonus)
- Upgrade your web site (bonus)
- Email marketing is not dead (bonus)
Buy Technology as an Investment, Not as a Cost
You spend money on insurance – right? You have a lawyer (most likely) and an accountant (for sure) – right? However, when it comes to spending money on technology, many of you ONLY spend money if you have to. You don’t spend money on technology that you don’t think you need. This is a mistake.
If you are building a business that is built to last, you must think of your technology spending as an investment in how technology can help your business GROW. You must spend money on technology that will help you now and in the future. The right investments in technology will help you save money, save time, do more with less and efficiently grow your business.
Don’t think of where your business is now, but think of where your business will be in 5 years and invest in technology accordingly.
Date Your Leads and Marry Your Customers With Technology With CRM
Marketing and sales are great, but these processes are often one way communications. You send email newsletters, buy billboard advertisements and buy ads on Facebook to reach your customers, however, when a potential buyer actually becomes a customer, do you have systems in place to nurture the relationship?
Amazon.com has led the way in showing this to us. For example, you like movie A, others who liked movie A also liked movie B.
The second aspect of CRM (customer relationship management) is being able to segment who your customers are and sell to them based on who they are. Maybe when customers buy 3 widgets you want to make them an offer to get a fourth one for free. You can automate this and other processes by using marketing automation software.
Content Selling Is Vital. Social Media Is Important
Direct sales and marketing are important, but equally or even more important is providing content about your product, related to your industry and of interest to your customers. Customers are searching online for information – they want to be educated or entertained. How do I mow my lawn? What are the best pair of shoes for dancing?
Your prospective and current customers are searching online for a variety (billions) of bits of information. Through Youtube they want to be educated or just be entertained, through Twitter they want to keep up with news that affects their lives.
The other aspect of content is social media, wherein people want to be connected with each other and “engaged”. As a business you must enter into this pool of engagement. It’s not about SELLING your product, but about being integrated into the social fabric of your customers lives (as relevant) and giving them a reason to want to be engaged with you. Think about the funny videos that Orabrush has on Youtube about making your breath not smell bad. They’re funny, engaging, and rich in information. Their sales are skyrocketing.
Leverage Mobile Technology
If you and your staff are sitting at desks all day long I guess you don’t need mobile technology.
However, if you and your staff are traveling around the city, the airport or in your car on a highway (as I suspect you do) then you need to implement mobile technology solutions. This means that you can be as productive outside of your office as you are in your office. You can access your email (of course), voice mail, faxes, files, video conference and more – from anywhere.
There’s no reason you should have to tell a customer you didn’t get their fax or voice mail because you were out of the office. Take your office with you by leveraging mobile technology, because with smartphones getting smarter and more powerful, with apps becoming more feature rich, and with broadband speeds increasing, there is no excuse.
As you become more mobile – remember to be SECURE.
Outsource For Tech Expertise and Time
There is NO need for you to manage and implement technology on your own. Maybe you are an expert in what you sell (be you a florist, computer vendor, lawyer, graphic artists or media consultant), but you are not an expert in network security, data backup or mobile technology.
The only way you are going to maximize your use of technology is to outsource your use and implementation of it in your business.
Technology is not all that you need to outsource. If you find that you are scanning business cards, answering phones and faxing proposals you need to hire someone else to do these tasks for your so you can concentrate on your business. If you are a one person business or a 50 person business – you need to manage your company and concentrate on its growth. Hire someone else, like a smart virtual or in-person assistant to help you.
So outsource to save yourself TIME and outsource to ensure that what you are doing is done as best as it can be, by a hired expert.
Don’t technologize a bad business process
I’m sure you run a very good business and do your best to manage its various processes, however if there are parts of your business that are not going so well and you think technology is the answer, you’re wrong.
I was recently in Puerto Rico at the great Ritz Carlton Hotel. The entire experience in Puerto Rico and at the hotel was simply splendid, what most impressed me was the customer customer service. It so happens that customer service is a HUGE part of the hotel’s culture and ingrained into each employee.
However, they use technology to profile each guest and build a database of their likes and “don’t likes” and maximize their culture of customer service. What if the Ritz Carlton had employees that were rude, inconsiderate and nasty. Ritz Carlton would only be “technologizing a bad business process”.
They first hire great employees and then leverage technology(tablets can’t fix employee moral).