Everyone wants something for less, but as a business owner, you’re consistently trying to increase sales and improve profit margins. So, the question is: What are the most effective ways of achieving these goals? In my opinion, the integration of business systems or solutions is one of the most under-utilized elements toward achieving these goals. By integrating online business solutions, it allows your business and team to do less manual work while improving efficiencies and overall turnaround time.
Below is my list of top 10 online business solutions that should be integrated to put your business on the path to better sales turnaround time, identifying insights, and improving profit margins:
Your web analytics solution needs to be implemented onto the entire website accurately. Many times I’ve noticed that prospects or clients have launched websites that do not incorporate tracking into their application, sales, or lead generation processes. In most cases, you should be okay with tracking into these areas as long as you’re not collecting personally-identifiable information. By tracking these areas, you’ll be able to identify opportunities to improve the process as well as your conversion rate (completion).
Search (SEO, PPC, & Onsite)
Search can be used to improve your conversion rate. A few of the easier elements to integrate are SEO, PPC, and Onsite search. An example would be to enable AdWords, Google Analytics, and Google Site Search; however, there are other solutions that have these capabilities as well (Adobe CQ, Search&Promote, and Search Center+). By integrating these solutions, it will give you insights into what keywords or search queries are most critical to the conversion process and cut costs on ineffective keywords.
CRM Solutions (Salesforce.com)
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are important for all business types, but not every business integrates their CRM with other solutions. This can lead to inefficiencies as well as negatively impact response times and reduce sales volume. Through CRM solution integration, your business can more easily connect account records, automatically import prospects or leads, and segment prospects into different groups. An example would be the integration of Salesforce.com with email marketing solutions.
Billing & Invoicing Solutions (QuickBooks)
You can manage customer and client accounts without juggling separate databases. By integrating with your billing and invoicing services, you can automatically add new customers to your email marketing audience or estimates with CRM solutions. Going this route significantly limits the possibilities for errors.
Email Marketing Solutions
Email Marketing Solutions’ integration capabilities continue to grow through APIs and login authentications. With some email marketing solutions, you have the ability to integrate web analytics, search, CRMs, billing solutions, and a lot more. This also gives you the ability to implement automatic responses and send notifications directly to your sales team.
Publishing Solutions (Drupal, WordPress, etc)
Many CMS’s (Content Management Systems) allow you to leverage plug-ins that make it easy to add signup forms to your website. If you’re already gathering new subscribers with an online form, there are opportunities to connect it to your email audience in order to easily gather new audience members with the tools you’re already using.
By integrating shopping carts with your website or email marketing solution, you can grow your audience right from your shopping cart. With eCommerce plug-ins or applications, your online customers can subscribe to your mailings with a single click during the checkout process. You can also sort your audience using information from their purchase history to send them the most impactful messages.
With event management integration, you can better communicate with your event attendees. Connect email marketing solutions to your event management account to gather email subscribers from your events. This integration makes it easier to automatically add new attendees to your email audience and sort your audience by attendee information.
Testing Solution (T&T)
Every business should be testing things like content, landing page variations, email subject lines, etc. With testing solutions, you can evaluate the effectiveness of content, landing pages, ad copy, and more. This integration can be completed between your Content Management System and the testing solutions. It makes it easier to get the right message and design in front of the right customers or prospects.
My team uses a project management solution to help organize projects, but I would recommend that marketing professionals as well as business owners consider integrating a project management solution into their processes. No more sending documents, waiting for status updates, or looking for meeting information. Many project management solutions are now cloud-based with applications to integrate with Outlook, QuickBooks, and more. Helping your team to stay on track, stay on budget, invoice accurately, and deliver on your brand promise.
Let me start by saying that this list is not all-inclusive, but it is a start. The truth of the matter is that clients, customers, and prospects demand more from your business. They demand solutions to their problems or ideas for improvements. Your business can deliver more with less if you effectively use online marketing solutions and integrate them to work together. So what’s that mean to your business? It could mean more satisfied customers, better prospecting, improved processes, cohesion among online business solutions, internal solutions, and better information that will increase your likelihood for increased sales and high profit margins. Once upon a time, a business owner or marketing professional would need an army to effectively manage all of these tasks but with applications, plug-ins, and CMS solutions, you can get away with one or two really good people to manage it all.