Ever since we started bringing technology into business, we’ve struggled with getting systems to work together adequately. Maybe you have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that seeks to run your entire enterprise (manufacturing, finance, sales, HR, and marketing). Maybe you have one solution for your Finance team, another for HR, and another for Sales. And, perhaps those systems don’t integrate well, if at all with your marketing platforms.
If you could go back to the advent of many of these platforms (the dot-com boom) we seldom thought about how they integrated with other platforms or even fueled a marketing approach. Many of the marketing tactics we regularly deploy today just weren’t a priority or even known back when these systems took off.
What we’re left with is a business evaluation process that often doesn’t take into consideration the entire needs of an organization. Worse, organizations often fail to realize all the areas in which “marketing” plays a part.
There are the apparent avenues where your sales team tags and categorize leads, which in an ideal scenario automatically update to the marketing system creating dynamic lists that can be specifically targeted. However, what is often the case is a mish-mash of data that isn’t consistently organized, let along at all connected to a marketing solution.
However, there are also some not-so-obvious avenues. Think about how your human resources team may leverage systems to “market” new benefits, or facilitate building out a pipeline of top-talent to fill identified openings that are coming up. You may even want to “market” to your business partners in ways that keep them informed and engaged – possibly identifying opportunities or needs before you realize you have them.
What IS Your Business Strategy
At Cora+Krist we are known for our data-driven digital marketing expertise. However, we also work with many businesses to get these systems and processes right.
The first step is fully understanding your entire business strategy and asking some pretty critical questions. Whom will you need to communicate with? What are your audience categories, subcategories, triggers, and interests? What are some of the innovative ways that other companies are “marketing” various departments? How might those help or hinder your efforts?
Taking the time to map all of this out is a critical first step. If you aren’t sure how product “A” cross-sells with service “C,” you can’t expect your sales team to know either. Likewise, you’ve just completed a significant hiring round with another around the corner, but your HR team couldn’t log candidates by job type, skills, interests, or location. In one instance you are potentially losing out on valuable sales, and in the other, a team is now back at the starting block having to expend a great deal of time and energy bringing in that second round of hires.
Taking the time to properly strategize your complete business operational plan and identify how information is used and shared will have a profound impact on your ability to adequately assess technological needs. This effort will also ensure that your integrations will grow with you and meet your business needs for years to come.
Data and System Integrations Drive Marketing & Business Growth
If you adequately mapped your business processes and deployed the correct system integrations and technologies, you now have the key to unlocking data to drive your marketing efforts and as a result, business growth.
The efficiencies in business you can achieve are immense, and these integrations and technologies don’t have to be overly expensive. Think of how your local coffee shop utilizes the Squarespace platform. They leverage customer information at check out to track your purchase behaviors. This information can then be used to send out promo codes and communications to drive you back into the coffee shop. It literally can be that simple!
For larger companies, a successful integration may be leveraging SalesForce to capture your customer information and sales status back and forth from MailChimp so your marketing team can tailor email automations around specific industries and customer needs.
Some solutions integrate well with specific platforms but may require custom development and API integrations to work with others. This is where a robust agency partner can help. Every day we help clients work better. It could be a project management system or a human resources information system (HRIS), and yes, even tying systems like SalesForce and HubSpot into other systems to drive email marketing efforts, social communities, and more.
At the core of these efforts are a data-driven and information-based approach. A thorough mapping of who the customer is, what they want, and using technologies that allow for a natural evolution in the data so that your tactical efforts around sales and marketing can meet emerging needs of your customers and key stakeholders.
So what is your technology doing for your business growth? It’s a question that many businesses grapple with, and we’re here to help you get it all sorted out.