In “How to Get Started with Social Media” yesterday, I cited a study released by Forrester and commissioned by Act-On Software in order to urge SMBs to get started on implementing a social media strategy.
Act-On also sent along a number of tips it says top-performing small and mid-sized businesses are acting on. Though I don’t typically focus on marketing strategies, I felt the tips illustrated how the use of technology can help bring SMBs to the next level — more on that later.
For now, I have reproduced the pointers offered by Act-On below, partially paraphrased.
Don’t reactively cut the marketing budget in a down economy
Top performers have shown that maintaining or increasing investment will pay off in terms of revenue performance.
Take lead generation as seriously as management
SMB marketers should carefully manage every lead, vetting, qualifying and nurturing before handing off to sales for the close. The leading marketers in company of every size, industry and market know that while successful pipeline management is not just a numbers game, it all starts with a lead.
Get online and start using digital marketing techniques
Many SMBs are sticking with the techniques they know and trust, like print advertising, trade shows, events and seminars. They are not adopting online, digital marketing tactics as rapidly as large enterprises, despite them being critical tools to cost-effectively scale engagement with a broader audience.
Get serious about social marketing
SMBs need to steal a page from their counterparts in larger enterprises and start utilizing social marketing beyond an abstract and immeasurable buzz-generating tool. It’s an integral part of their lead-to-revenue management process — an engagement strategy that can have a measurable impact on lead generation.
Use marketing automation to complement your CRM
It’s time for SMBs to improve execution of the entire “lead to revenue” process by automating marketing. Given the plethora of marketing-services-as-software tools now available, there is no longer any reason to avoid marketing automation.
Use the appropriate tools
One theme that I saw running through the various tips above is the contrast between obsolete, manual methods and the availability of applications to greatly speed up or even automate marketing tasks. The challenge with small businesses has to do with the lack of time to investigate the availability of better tools, be it in the area of marketing or other aspects of their operations.
On that front, Enterprise Apps Today — another IT Business Edge website — focuses on the latest software applications pertaining to ERP, CRM and various other facets of business. Moreover, the sheer popularity of online services means that a surprisingly large proportion of them are actually cost-effective options for SMBs. In fact, I reviewed a product called OneDesk recently that monitors social media streams and offers the ability to translate them into actionable tasks either as help desk issues or ideas for improvement.
Moving on, I’ll be talking more about other online services that SMBs can tap into without having to spend up front on expensive infrastructure purchases or software licenses. Stay tuned.