Marketing Automation for the SMB HVAC Business
A revolution is underway in how businesses treat customers. Competitive companies work with customers on an equal footing as coaches, co-creators, nurturers and trusted advisors. This implies a consistency of communication, couched around a message that their satisfaction is first priority. Content management and SEO efforts are widely accepted methods now. CRM and marketing automation exist at relatively few HVAC businesses. Having everything in one affordable, accessible system that is matched with the business methods has a wealth of immediate and long term benefits for a relatively small investment. TO READ THE FULL WHITE PAPER CLICK HERE.
If you play tennis or golf you will quickly learn how great the sweet spot can be. The ball comes off the racket or club and sails away almost effortlessly. The professionals make it look easy. Having been in Fortune 500 sales for 15 years selling mainframes, CAD/CAM and workstations, I can recall times when I breezed by annual sales goals in the first quarter. I can also recall literally having seizures early on while giving my first corporate overviews to prospects. I was self-conscious and had only a shred of product knowledge despite the corporate training.
As time went on, my sales skills improved as did my product knowledge. Those two elements, combined with qualified prospects spelled the sweet spot. How we get these elements to coalesce in a marketing automation system is the challenge. The development of this model relies on replacing the sales person and imbuing the system with their sales skills and product knowledge. Eric Keiles and Mike Lieberman authored ‘Fire Your Sales Team Today: Then Rehire Them As Sales Guides In Your New Revenue Department’ and is a definitive tome for this approach whereby a new order of reality is created and traditional sales people become ‘sales advisors’ engaging with contacts that have been pre-warmed or jump started by engaging with the system prior to personal attention.
Businesses that are service oriented and have recurring revenue opportunities such as maintenance agreements to support warranties can especially benefit from this approach. Automation can be used to facilitate reminders and easy renewals with e-commerce links for payments. This can be taken a step further and on site visit protocol can include equipment audits that ascertain the manufacturing dates. End of life predictions based on the make and model can be easily done and legacy automations can be setup to remind customers when end of life is near to harvest replacements. Service oriented companies such as HVAC dealers can also leverage the system for requests for reviews (review automation).
Email marketing is by far the most cost effective way to acquire a new customer. Importantly, marketing automation systems now have sophisticated methods for extending the life cycle of the customer and generating incremental revenue through automation. Define your business tactic and create the automation.
A few examples automation is perfect for;
• Interest in a specific product (gleaned from site tracking or form).
• Engagement tagging (Engaged or Disengaged)
• Abandoned cart reminder
• Upgrade incentive
• Service reminders and payment processing.
• Customer Win Back Sequence.
• Blog Posts.
• Failed Bill Reminder
When approaching or analyzing your project it is worthwhile to divide the components into sections. If we think of it as a four legged stool that your company will rest on, each ‘leg’ of the project has to be equally structurally sound.
When you discuss or attend to the project, whatever you do can be assigned into one of the four legs or silos of development. These are;
Technology is the enabler but should not be the sole focus. Instead, the less obtrusive the technology is the better. I think back to circa early 2000 and can recall what seemed to be endless hours installing application software on desktops and laptops. The CRM solutions being installed would need to be integrated with other local applications such as MS Word and also setup to synchronize with the central database if it were a laptop computer.
Those localized days are gone and Software As A Service (SAAS) has replaced applications running locally. Simply assign a login and user rights and away you go. Features, functions and benefits are what you are after and not the constant worry about system problems or upgrades.
The all-in-one marketing platform we prefer is Active Campaign and it is very easy to see why when you look at comparisons such as the one at Smart Business Trends.
The digital world seems abundant these days with marketing expertise, opinion and examples. From one glorious cold email campaign to a raft of split tested messages from a high reputation sender and the consequent dashboard selection of reports and drill down in exotic bar graph charts. If you are a geek, or propeller head as we used to call them, this is a self-perpetuating field of dreams. If you are a small business owner who has thoughts about adopting Internet marketing for your business it can be a field of screams.
So, how best to approach discernment of the context? Let’s forget the means and first look at the ends. Fast forward three years and you are asked by someone you know and admire ‘what’s new with the your business?’. Obviously, you immediately think, you are going to be pleased with any reply that involves more money. That juices your ego and temporarily makes you forget the fear that you may be missing a better path. By virtue of your will and intention however, you had adopted a marketing system that practically ran itself and consistently lowered your sales costs, delivered better prospects, and allowed you to focus your time. Basically, the system made your life easier and that is what you relay to your friend. And that is the goal; to make your life easier.