All posts by Ann Marie Gastineau

Ann Marie is a demand generation manager at ReadyTalk.

4 Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without

No matter how large or small your company is, handling the pressures of modern marketing strategies can be stressful. From content marketing to running analytics, markers are more busy than ever before. To simplify your marketing techniques, here are four tools you shouldn’t live without:
marketing tools

1. CRM

Every company needs a high-quality customer relationship management (CRM) solution to track, organize and follow up on sales leads. However, some CRMs are not user-friendly or they’re too expensive for fledgling startups or small businesses to afford. Shop around until you find the right option for you.

2. Marketing automation tool

If you want your marketing team to maximize efficiency and increase revenue, you need a marketing automation tool, such as Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua or Pardot. Choose a solution that offers easy CRM integration, email marketing and lead generation. This way, every step of the marketing and sales processes will be covered.

3. Analytics solution

Every industry is increasingly relying on metrics to make evidence-based business decisions. So why should your company be any different? Use Google Analytics or Kissmetrics to track the success of your marketing efforts. With these tools, you can get a better understanding of how customers respond to everything from your homepage to your monthly newsletters.

4. Webinar

If you want to reach a wide audience to perform product demos, introduce new features or answer company questions, webinars are the best choice for your business. Not only do they offer interactive polling and Q&A features for your audience, but they let you talk to people from all over the country from your laptop or tablet.

What Is Little Data and Why Is This a Thing?

The tech industry is obsessed with creating, using and understanding the next big, complex and exciting devices and solutions. Whether they are focused on the internet of things (IoT), advanced machine learning or big data, it is easy to assume that bigger is certainly better. Despite the obvious benefits of big data, Forbes explains that big data on its own is essentially useless without little data.

What’s little data?

little data is a thingBy most definitions, little data are the small pieces of information, such as traditional performance metrics, that illuminate a broader topic. Essentially, little data makes big data more digestible and accessible. For example, an organization may wish to create advertising and marketing strategies based on customer data. However, without having access to the small pieces, such as customer satisfaction, profit margins, social media engagement and more, the company will never be able to truly know if its efforts are paying off.

It’s always been a thing

Your company is collecting little data now. In fact, most companies have been collecting little data for a wile and doing it well. Your web traffic, sales information, number of leads — this is all little data. It’s just that little data is a new buzzword describing it.

Big data depends on little data and vice versa – you simply cannot have one without the other. While big data will paint a broad picture about a specific situation or business pattern, the little data will fill in the gaps and blanks in the form of key performance indicators. These key performance indicators (KPIs) can make gathering data more personal, moving beyond the big picture and targeting specific individuals or groups.

The crucial element of being successful when analyzing your little data is ensuring that you establish the best KPIs for your business. After all, if you are focused on gathering and examining the wrong sets of data – big or small – it is not likely you will achieve the results you want. And seeing things from the micro and macro level are both helpful. If your revenue is down, but leads are up then you know something’s wrong with your leads or the sales process. If customer satisfaction scores are up, but customer retention is down, it may mean you want to take a closer look at the numbers. Or it could be pricing.

When little and big data are in concert, you can find out a lot about your business.

Unsung Heroes: BizOps

Business operations, commonly referred to as BizOps, started off as one of the famous Silicon Valley “buzzword” jobs, but now is one of the hottest fields to get into. What you might not know, however, is that a solid, knowledgeable BizOps team is just what your organization needs to get ahead.

So what do BizOps employees do?

In short, this team has the difficult task of keeping core internal functions at your company up and running. They may handle everything from day-to-day operations to high-priority initiatives. Their main role is to create more value for the company as a whole and improve its profitability by supporting the people who run it.

hooray for bizopsBasically, this team is the group of people that gets things done at your organization. They are charged with understanding your business’s strategy and putting that plan into action. For example, if your company seeks to move into a new market in another state, these are the individuals who will be hard at work, fine-tuning all the small details and putting pieces into place to make that happen.

Where do they fit in?

The cool part about BizOps teams is that they aren’t tied to one particular department or focus. They can be involved at multiple levels and areas of a company, such as sales, financial, product and communication departments. Most simply, if you have a goal or problem, they have an answer or solution.

Your company’s size depends on the role of your business operations team. BizOps might be involved in diverse areas of your organization, and as your operations evolve, so will their roles. Instead of stagnating, they will adapt to fit need company needs. They will learn to prioritize different projects and goals and provide a cross-department communication channel for everyone at your company.

Problem solvers to add revenue and decrease cost

Because they’re problem solvers, they’ll streamline, look for efficiency and no doubt save you time and money. And if they’re working on sales and marketing opportunities, they’ll help you gain revenue. For example, at ReadyTalk, BizOps is one of the leaders to helping with sales enablement. Ensuring our sales team is ready, understands how to sell products and has access to back-end systems to follow-up on leads is vital.

So let’s hear it for Business Operations … otherwise known as BizOps!

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4 Marketing Budget Beaters

It’s that time of year. You’re fighting for every marketing dollar and yet expectations are that you’ll beat your lead and qualified lead (and thereby revenue) projections.

Here are a few tips to extend your marketing budget, make your CMO happy and meet those revenue expectations.

1. Do webinars!

budget beatersMost marketing departments rely on those leads and qualified leads you get from webinars. Not only that, but you’re extending your content strategy significantly, repurposing content and determining where there’s engagement. So chances are that webinars were already part of your budget. Good!

But did you know that webinars can be replayed as if live to extend your reach to new, international audiences while you do other revenue-generating things? It’s true.

See more about webinars

2. Make friends with social media.

Social media is your best friend. Your BFF! There’s no cheaper or more effective marketing platform than interacting with potential consumers or clients over Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites. This is an excellent way to attract a younger customer base as well.

Most marketing departments aren’t giving their social media strategy justice though. Don’t be that organization! Paid and organic social with sharing embedded into your website extends your budget significantly. Don’t overlook it, even though things are tight. If necessary, enlist other employees to help your social media strategy, especially implementation.

3. Brush off your email list.

Email marketing still remains as one of the most successful forms of marketing available for companies of any size. This provides regular, meaningful content straight to prospects’ inboxes. Use promotions and specials to draw them in time and time again.

4. Partner up to extend your strategy.

Strategic partners fill in gaps by giving you access to new audiences, new companies and possibly new products and services. Be upfront with your potential partner to provide information about what you hope to gain as well as what you might have to offer. Read more.

Some Like It Hot … Webinars

When it comes to webinar platforms, you’d think only marketing people would say, “That’s hot!” Well, it turns out research companies do, too.

Aragon’s hottest webinar vendors of 2016

hottest webinarsAragon, a research company that informs and recommends different technology, took a look at the hottest webinar vendors. Reviewing how easy solutions were to use, they came up with their short list as well as how the competition stacks up against each other.

They identified the problem, bulls-eye. Although webinars tend to generate a lot of leads, marketing professionals frequently complain they’re painful to put on. Most of that pain is from the webinar systems out there. With some vendors, the functionality is so archaic, it’s nearly unusable. And when it comes to putting your reputation on the line — as well as your company’s brand — old and busted isn’t something you want.

What’s in the Aragon report?

Besides, ReadyTalk they have a couple of other vendors they recommend as well as …

  • Screen shots
  • Features of each product
  • Strengths of each platform
  • Company product’s growth plans and strategies into the next year

If you’re considering a new webinar platform, including revisiting your current choice, this report is for you.

Download Report