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6 Steps to Accelerate SMB Growth in 2013

The Problem:

We live in a different world with vastly different means of communication and ways of keeping informed. This has a dramatic impact on how businesses operate. In this environment, small businesses which have disconnected departments cannot effectively communicate with customers, thereby slowing their business growth.

This problem can be solved by unifying the Sales, Marketing, and Support teams. This article will outline how to create a solution for each small business department then conclude with a list of 6 Steps to Accelerate SMB Growth in 2013 as a summation of everything discussed.

Solution Part 1:  Marketing

marketing 2013 quote resized 600 The current marketing playbook is broken; traditional marketing tactics of broadcasting the same message to anyone who was listening are outdated.  The new process of marketing involves inbound tactics which creates a more meaningful, personal, and valuable message to a target audience.  The idea is to create marketing people love by using the mediums of communication people use every day; such as Google,Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Creating and communicating an abundance of interesting and, most importantly, contextual content via these mediums builds an infrastructure of successful marketing both now and into the future. The idea is to pull potential clients in with content and push them through with context.

Solution Part 2:  Sales

Sales teams are wasting time and effort looking for customer information in a variety of documents from a variety of sources. A small business can improve effectiveness in all this noise by gaining a more complete view. With real time customer updates and the ability to integrate social and traditional activity all in one dashboard, your sales team can sell more effectively with shared customer insight.

Another important aspect to look at is how to use a current sales database to make smarter business decisions with analytics and consistent forecasting of sales projections; this is only possible with real time, up-to-date numbers from a singular location.

With these building blocks in place a sales team will be more relevant with a complete view of the customer and will be able to see the places where action needs to be taken.

Solution Part 3:  Support

describe the image Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com, once said“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world they might each tell 6 friends.  If you make customers unhappy on the internet they can each tell 6000 friends.”  The famous phrase can now be expanded to include all business, not just Internet-based companies. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, everyone has a forum to broadcast their concerns with a brand and many more people are listening.

A big problem today is that most complaints registered through these social media are not being answered by companies.  While this is a rather large oversight, it is understandable; it can be very difficult to keep up with exploding customer demand.  The solution is to Listen Everywhere.  With client characteristics becoming increasingly social and mobile, social media is the new 1-800 number and the idea is to connect to all channels, both social and traditional.  This is all part ofengaging customers where they are.

Creating a system of support is of the utmost importance. This means having a unified support tool which gives every customer inquiry a support ticket with an owner and current status. Moving these cases through the system, from opened to resolved, ensures no customer slips through the cracks.

Having this kind of knowledge database for each support agent to use and update with relevant information means that every agent will be as smart as your best agent.  As well, it will be possible to avoid some trivial customer inquiries altogether by posting some of these FAQs on your website for clients to view and help themselves.  Overall, it is absolutely essential that small businesses take charge of their customer support.

The 6 Steps to Accelerate SMB Growth in 2013

From the above solutions, there are 6 main points to keep in mind to drive small business growth through 2013 and beyond:

1.  Pull in with content.
2.  Push through with context.
3.  Be relevant, with a complete view of the customer.
4.  Gain visibility to take action.
5.  Take charge of your customer support.
6.  Engage your customers where they are.

This article was based upon an exclusive webinar from our partners at Hubspot.  If you have questions regarding marketing or telecommunications the experts at ECI can be trusted to guide your business to the solution that best fits your needs.  Contact ECI at info@ecitech.ca to get expert advice and guidance.