Last year (2020) certainly taught us all how to adapt from in-person to virtual environments to continue “business as usual.” Even networking went virtual. More meetings happened in Zoom rooms than in any other location in 2020, so what does 2021 have in store for us?
With everyone relegated – for the most part – to virtual offices, prospecting became more difficult last year – or did it? Since the advent of Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) apps, some prospecting could be done electronically. Platforms such as Salesforce and HubSpot offer AI enabled prospecting for companies that can afford those solutions. Unfortunately, most smaller companies cannot afford the more well-known apps that are available.
For small and medium companies, that usually meant that a company needed to use a combination of tools, like LinkedIn with a transactional email/CRM platform, to find and connect with prospects. Tools like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, Cleverly, and similar LinkedIn prospecting apps sprung up, but the price tag was still a bit steep for many of these smaller companies. Other, more affordable, tools can often mean hours of manual intervention. But a new generation of apps is starting to appear on the market.
These reduce the cost of the prospecting solutions of the past, but give you more of the AI-powered capabilities – improving your prospecting and reducing the time investment needed too. There is still a tradeoff between money and time, but now the time investment can be more productive because more powerful AI is used. None of these tools is right for every business, but the right tool can produce very targeted leads faster, and even shorten your sales cycle.
How can you tell which tool is right for your business? Start with an assessment of your needs and expectation of the results you will get (or need to get). Then figure out your budget. While it may be tempting to minimize the monetary cost, remember the cost of your time (or a team member’s time) needs to be taken into account too. You need to decide how much time you can afford to invest in using the solution before your actual cost is equal to the more expensive platforms. Here is some additional information you might find useful when considering Marketing Technology.
As a general rule, the cost of time spent (yours or a team members) should be measured in terms of the hourly rate of the person doing the prospecting and the related opportunity cost. How much additional business would those same hours generate if applied to following up leads instead of managing a software tool? You also have to consider how many prospects or leads you will uncover using the app and determine how many your team can follow up on. So, the new, more affordable, tools can be a game changer, but only if you are using the right app.
Would you like to learn more about using AI-enabled apps that can make your digital prospecting more productive yet affordable? Schedule a complimentary meeting with me now!