Anyone who has spent any amount of time in business will have learned one golden rule: nothing worth having comes for free.
It’s no secret that we need to spend money to make money. That we need to speculate to accumulate. This is such common knowledge that there’s a wealth of cliché phrases designed to reflect this; in fact, I’ve just used two of them in this very paragraph!
Whether we’re purchasing a powerful piece of software aimed at boosting our business’ reach and revenue, or we’re undergoing one-to-one business consultation and mentoring in an effort to prepare ourselves for the next stage of growth, we’re familiar with the idea of paying for development. But does this mean that we should just hand a blank check to any software publisher or business expert who can give us an advantage? No we shouldn’t, but the answer is more nuanced than this.
For example, costs will still be costs even if they provide us with an advantage in the long run, and so they must be managed accordingly. What business owners need is the ability to handle the difficulties and surmount the obstacles that growth brings, and to develop a sustainable path to follow into the future.
Sustainability and future growth
It’s this concept of sustainability which is so vital to a growing business. We seek business intelligence – we crave a deeper understanding of what makes our business tick and of what a strong performance means in the market place – so how do we go about achieving this?
First of all, we need to recognize the resources that we already have in place. With so much data to draw upon, this can sometimes cause an embarrassment of riches. Just like too many cooks spoil the broth, too much data, without a robust data management strategy in place with which to handle it, can be overwhelming.
Secondly, we need to know how to store and access that data. This is easy to achieve at the outset, when our client base is small and the relative value of each client interaction is low, but it becomes more difficult to accomplish as our organizations grow. When significant growth occurs, the only way to handle this data is by using a comprehensive system which can store and report on volumes of facts and figures that would be unwieldy to the individual.
Finally, we need to know what to do with the insight once we have it. Trying to apply raw data to your organization without the necessary tools is like tackling automotive repairs with your bare hands. In other words; it’s tough! You need to have the proper tools and procedures in place, allowing you to bring your business intelligence to bear within your organization.
This is how we safeguard growth, stability, and sustainability in the future.
Data as a business asset
As you get to grips with using marketing automation software to store, process and access data, you’ll start to notice that your business is actually self-sufficient in many ways, particularly when it comes to data. In fact, all businesses are data producers on an almost unfathomable scale, churning out a complex array of data, in an incredible volume, every single day.
This means that many small businesses are eating into their hard-earned profits in an effort to acquire resources that they already have. Expensive data consultancy services, data insight advisories, and other bodies provide businesses with high-levels of business intelligence, but very often, the raw materials of that business intelligence were already within the company the whole time.
By harnessing this data and insight through the implementation of company-wide automation systems, businesses receive the key which unlocks a wealth of advantages and benefits. What’s more, good quality automation systems are scalable, working alongside and complementing business procedures and protocols as a company grows.
What are your company aims? Perhaps you want to better understand your customer base and to predict their actions ahead of time, giving yourself the opportunity to provide what they need before they even ask for it? This is achievable with the insight gained through automation. Maybe you want to trim the fat on your lead generation strategies, bringing in qualified leads and prospects and optimizing conversions? Automation makes this possible too.
Or it could be you simply want to conduct regular audits and appraisals, examining your actions and developing future strategies. The data reporting and analytical functions of automation software give you the tools to accomplish this efficiently and effectively.
The gift that never stops giving
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; give him a fishing rod and he never goes hungry again. We’re really racking up the clichés now, but this is still a valid point. The landscape of business is in constant flux, evolving and altering before our very eyes. This isn’t a time for one off solutions – today’s eureka moment is tomorrow’s old news – instead this is a time for the three ‘illity’s: sustainability, adaptability and versatility.
The fact is, getting ahead means nothing if we can’t stay ahead. Progress comes from incremental gains; little steps made in the right direction over a long period of time. Instead of providing holistic treatments to specific problems, we need to set about building a comprehensive strategy; robust architecture which will enable us to keep competing at our best even as we outgrow our current markets.
This is why marketing automation really is the gift that keeps on giving. Our organizations create rich veins of data, and it’s up to us to mine these veins; tapping into them and gaining the insight we need. No one needs to show us how to do this – no one needs to provide us with additional data resources to keep our companies going – instead, we just need to harness the resources that we already have, and then apply them effectively in business.
Today, tomorrow, and the day after, keep looking inward; keep on gaining that valuable insight, keep on focusing on making the best of what you have, and keep on track for success.
Back to you
Please share your thoughts and views about marketing automation in the comment section below. I’d love to learn more about what you think.