How technology can help you manage customer relationships and grow your sales

How technology can help you manage customer relationships and grow your sales

Posted: Wed 18th Jan 2023

When it comes to increasing both your sales and your revenue, adopting technology can benefit your business in a number of ways. In recent times, the way we work has grown more complex and sophisticated, and the sales cycle of any business looks entirely different to what it once was.

Gone (mostly) are the days of cold-calling a list of names and hoping to make sales that way. As a business, you're now dealing with highly informed customers, who expect increasingly personalised services. And as always, you're operating in a highly competitive sales environment, with other businesses and competitors undergoing massive digital transformation and taking advantage of new technology.

As a business owner, it's vital you embrace this digital transformation yourself, and use the right tech tools to work more productively, expand your customer base, and get ahead of the competition.

In this blog, we look at ways you can use simple digital technology to find, win and keep customers and grow your sales as a result.

Building technology into your sales and marketing plan

If you haven't done it already, the early part of the year is when you develop your sales and marketing plan for the coming 12 months. As part of this work, you'll set a target for the amount of revenue you want to generate.

For example, you may decide to aim for the same market share as the previous year, or focus more on growth. You'll also make decisions around which customer types to target, and what will ultimately set you apart from your competitors. All these choices will influence your overall plan.

It might be that the type of your business you run has little need for technology. But adopting it in small doses can truly have a transformative effect on sales. These days, customers expect digital solutions and a certain type of customer experience.

Customer expectations

In Salesforce's State of the Connected Customer survey, 58% of consumers said technology had significantly changed their expectations of how businesses should interact with them. At the same time, more than half of those consumers also agreed that it's important for companies to be innovative.

The effective use of technology can really set a small business apart from its competitors, helping them to build relationships and establish a strong foundation for growth. Salesforce's research found that over 70% of small businesses say digitisation had helped their businesses survive the pandemic.

During that time of great change, growing businesses accelerated their investments in technology, and saw increased productivity as a result. Business owners then had more time to improve their sales processes, become more agile, and strengthen their data security.

Technology is really changing the game for sellers, making them smarter about their prospects and their customers. Not only is it enabling businesses to gather that really hard-to-find customer data that the offline world doesn't really offer, but it's also making them more efficient and productive.

Added to that, it's helping them transform their position with buyers and evolve their role from solely vendors to advisers as well.

Use technology to manage your customer relationships

Automating marketing

Often, the biggest frustration for a business can be the disconnect between sales and marketing. Sales teams don't really know the source of their leads, and which leads to prioritise and pursue.

From a marketing point of view, it can then be tough to develop a strategy and establish what's the best message to send to the business's customers.

By automating your marketing – within a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, for example (see below) – you can bridge that gap, and create a more cohesive and influential marketing and sales strategy.

Through automation, you can have frequent and relevant communication with your customers, saving time and effort in the process. You can personalise your marketing message for each and every prospect.

That's massively useful in this age where customers expect a personalised journey and often feel frustrated when the marketing content they receive is poorly timed or inaccurate.

When you automate your marketing in this way, you can receive notifications in real time when a potential customer (a "prospect") becomes a mature lead (they might have viewed a certain page on your website, started a free trial, or downloaded some marketing content) and is ready to buy from you.

At that point, you (or your salespeople, if you have them) can get in touch with the prospect and make a sale. And that's how you your increase your revenue! It's a true collaboration between sales and marketing.

Gathering data to understand your customers

Once you've found your new customers and converted them from a qualified lead into an opportunity, how do you win that opportunity and drive a sale? Using CRM software can give you a better understanding of your customers, which in turn helps you to upsell and cross-sell and generate more revenue.

If you have the right data, you can create compelling, actionable insights to allow you to drive your business forward based on the existing customers that you already have.

For example, your data may tell you that certain customers spend a lot less with your business compared to others. In response, you can start to dedicate more attention to that customer. You have something actionable with which you can devote some of your marketing time and resources.

On the flipside, if you aren't using technology to collect meaningful data about your customers, and the people who potentially might buy from you, there's no way to draw any meaningful insights. Consequently, you won't have any guidance on what action to take, and you won't be driving your revenue.

Using CRM tools

This software is all about improving your relationships with your customers. CRM tools allow you to store and manage all your customer data in one central place, which you can then use to provide more personalised and tailored services.

After all, the more you know about your customers, the more you're able to attract them to your store (whether that's a physical shop or online). Your relationship with customers plays a vital role in the whole sales process. You can't think about increasing your sales without building that strong and ongoing bond with your customers.

CRM software lets you create and manage your contacts, monitor how customers are interacting with you, send marketing emails, generate reports and more. Without storing and organising your precious customer data in this way, you won't be able to use it to personalise your marketing outreach work later.

You don't necessarily need to spend lots of money here – something basic like a Google Sheets document would work. But if you need something more comprehensive, a CRM system will help you organise customer data, log sales conversations and forecast sales growth.

Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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