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Opinion: 7 tech things inhibiting growth – and how to overcome them

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In the last two years, there’s been a shift in the way people use technology to consume information and make purchases. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, recently said, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

As business leaders, we must shift our messaging and how we market ourselves. We also must continue to make better use of technologies that can help us grow our businesses.

Too many companies continue marketing the same way they did pre-pandemic. That won’t get results with today’s customers. If you take a new approach to these seven things, you’ll be on your way to expanding your audience and creating new growth.

  1. Know your target customer in detail. It’s not only about the market; it’s about the individual. It’s knowing who the decision-makers are so you can reach out to them and get specific about the value you bring. Spend your time and energy on a small group of prospects that will generate the most revenue rather than doing mass marketing like in the past.
  2. Don’t use general sales and marketing messages. People want to consume valuable content. If you deliver value to them, that will lead to conversions. What’s the mission and vision of your organization? If all you’re doing is hawking a product, it’s going to fall on deaf ears. It’s got to have some purpose behind it. You need a message that engages directly with those involved in that decision-making process.
  3. Focusing on only the prospects you know rather than those that you don’t. It’s estimated 80% of research is done online before ever engaging with the salesperson. Therefore, you cannot get so fixated on the prospect you’re chasing that you neglect the buyers coming straight to you. Your digital messaging must be on-point. This is true in every single industry and every size of business. If your website and social media aren’t focused on educating people and pulling them into your world before they engage with you, then you’re missing the mark.
  4. Simplify and automate sales processes as much as possible. When the prospect engages, whether via text or phone, you have a tiny window to route to a real salesperson with a meaningful, nonautomated response. People rarely leave voicemails. They don’t follow up. If they don’t get you on the first try, they’re going to move on to the next vendor. People always will take the path of least resistance. The key is to figure out how your technology can ensure that your process makes it easy for people to buy.
  5. A rocky transition between sales and delivery. After a sale, both the seller and the buyer are excited. You want to keep that energy going. Therefore, onboarding/delivery needs to be low effort for both customers and salespeople. After all, you don’t want your salespeople pulled into hours of internal meetings; you want them back in the field working on the next opportunity. The flow of information internally is a big part of that. Create guidelines for clear communication, have a defined process, make it easy for everyone and utilize technology that helps facilitate that transition.
  6. A culture that doesn’t facilitate innovation. This means you need a culture that’s supported by technology, where people feel like they can raise their hand and say, “I’ve got an idea about a better way.” Companies with a digital vision that guides strategic decisions grow 75% faster than those without, according to a study by the National Center for the Middle Market Center. Create enthusiasm around constant innovation and encourage people to change your organization effectively. That is what’s going to keep you on the front edge.
  7. Not appreciating your existing customers enough. The customer that you have has real, tangible value to your business. The customer you don’t have doesn’t have value yet. While you must always invest time in acquiring new customers, it’s vital to also invest in the relationships you have. Over time, recognition of value in a business relationship can depreciate if you’re not constantly adding value and showing your customer the ongoing impact of your products or services.

In the end, you must check four boxes in every transaction: What’s the logical reason that somebody should buy from you? What are the emotional reasons to buy from you? Why is your product better than your competition’s? And finally, why should they spend their budget dollars with you versus the competing priorities within their business? If you can check all those boxes, then you’re a long way down the road to making the sale.

Focusing on the seven items above, along with making sure you can achieve the logical, emotional and competitive areas, will set you up for the greatest success. Then you can simplify and clarify your messaging and processes, ensuring that you reach the right customers and seal the right deals.

Thomas Douglas is CEO of JMark Business Solutions Inc. and a speaker on leadership and technology. He can be reached at tdouglas@jmark.com.

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