1. Mid-sized businesses with CRM (customer relationship management) tools in place should look for lead capturing and online servicing solutions, such as invoicing, payments and scheduling that will integrate these systems. 
  2. Small businesses can simply upgrade to a more modern client engagement platform that will handle both the website and online client experience as well as the client management backend.

Incorporating Customer Service and Sales

Integrating sales and support — seamless client transfer, full view of customer issues, satisfaction, etc. — builds your team’s overall investment in the customer and can offset the small compromises made in combining the two. If merging sales and support isn’t possible, then establishing a hand-off protocol that allows each side to complement the other is the next best thing. 
Train both teams on the other’s system, and ensure support notes “unhappy customer” info in the sales database.

Connecting Marketing and Sales

This is probably the easiest step to take. Once the lead is generated and the client is somewhere in the sales funnel, marketing should start adjusting their engagement. There are differences between someone who’s never heard of you, someone who’s visited your site and left, and a prospect that’s talking to your sales team. Using the same email campaign or banner for all three is pointless and ineffective.

For those who decided not to move forward with you, try creating different emails, banners and social messages.

Reusing the same content strategy that brought them in the first time won’t bring them back a second time. Once the customer is engaged, switch from generic emails to more targeted ones sent on behalf of the sales rep.

These messages should include online scheduling functionality and encourage prospects to arrange a time — at their convenience — to speak with the rep. Employing CRM solutions with drip-marketing functionality is a great way to send custom emails at various phases of the sale.

If your requirements are more sophisticated, most marketing automation solutions work with CRMs and offer extended capabilities to meet these needs.

Completing the Circle

The marketing landscape is constantly evolving with new technologies and tools that seem to overlap, even appearing to compete — yet they actually complement each other by providing alternate perspectives on the consumer’s journey and thus different insights and metrics for analysis. 
Understanding the full breadth of a customer relationship can bring exponentially greater benefit if businesses take the time to effectively coordinate each channel so that the results of one complement the others.

Becoming familiar with the technology options and capabilities out there is essential to optimizing marketing strategy and accurately evaluating marketing performance.

Title image by Charles Forerunner.
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