Systemization helps tasks and recurring business issues to be dealt with consistently and strategically. To ensure a smooth and seamless experience throughout the customer journey, your sales and marketing teams should be working together to create organized systems. In this episode, we are diving into the steps involved in identifying areas of growth and implementing systemization throughout the business.
INTRO: Building a great company is a marathon not a sprint. Each week Krista Ankenman and the team at TANK New Media take on growth challenges, explore technology, and interview business leaders that are always upping their game. If you're ready to build scalable systems to drive your business forward, this podcast is for you.
KRISTA: Welcome, everyone. Today, we're with Taylor Kack. She works with companies to help systemize their marketing and sales efforts to improve efficiencies and overall processes. Welcome, Taylor.
KRISTA: So today we're going to be talking a little bit about marketing and sales and kind of creating systems. So can you talk a little bit about why it's important to kind of treat your marketing and sales efforts as systems?
TAYLOR: Yeah, I think that's a great place to start. I almost will take a step back and just thinking about what is a system as a whole, you know, it's a unified, unified items kind of working together as one unit or one functioning body. And oftentimes we see businesses wanting to move these sales and marketing teams from maybe a one function operation or a one-man band and kind of be able to scale or grow into a fully established process. And in order to do that, you really have to consider systemization. You know, it's basically this really long word that you can consider, you know, kind of taking that one function or maybe a couple functions and establishing those into this idea of like a really well-oiled machine or, you know, maybe consider it as like an assembly line. So one efficient-inefficiency or one broken component in an assembly line can really have a catastrophic effect on the whole production. Right? It can immediately halt things, inefficiency can like drastically expand the time from start to finish. And it's that kind of idea that if you can really streamline that process and hone in on how to make sure each piece is functioning in conjunction to the other, you can really have this unified whole, that is kind of working as one body and really having that growth impact on your business. And I think businesses can kind of learn a lot from that same idea. You know, every employee or department or marketing and sales should be functioning as one key organizational unit and really doing their part to drive growth. And again, sales and marketing are no different than that. It really functions well when you can have these systems put in place with each other in mind and it allows for the smooth and seamless experience throughout the entire customer journey.
KRISTA: Yeah, absolutely. That's an interesting way to kind of think about it like an assembly line, because I know, you know, a lot of the manufacturers we talked to, you know, put a lot of effort into their assembly lines, making sure that there's as little waste as possible. And, you know, things are moving, you know, as smoothly as possible. But it's really the same in kind of their business efforts as well. If, you know, they're going through the marketing process and there's a hang-up and the handoff to sales or there's a disconnect and some of the sales material that disrupts the process and really creates a friction point that can slow the whole thing down.
TAYLOR: Yeah, and I had the same idea. It can translate almost-almost seamless seamlessly to marketing and sales. You know, if you can't get the materials or source, you know, the components that you need to even start building your assembly line or product on that thing, then you can't even begin and marketing the same way if you can't get the leads, you know, generated and in the door, you know, you're not even starting off on the right foot. So I think it's important and a really great analogy to consider the two kind of almost hand-in-hand.
KRISTA: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And we're seeing a lot more these days of, you know, the marketing and sales teams combining, you know, sometimes you'll have a-a head of marketing and sales, you know, and they're really in charge of, you know, the overall revenue generation for the company, more or less. Sometimes we hear them called, you know, revenue teams where these teams have to work together in order to really, you know, make the sales happen for the company. So, you know, having within their particular department, having their systems working smoothly is very important.
TAYLOR: And it's almost... Yeah. It's the way that your business is going to drive growth at the end of the day. You know that them working together one and creating the seamless system really allows for a unified effort to create that growth.
KRISTA: Yeah, absolutely. Let's, let's expand on this a little bit more about, you know, what we really mean by systemizing the marketing and sales and what this actually looks like.
TAYLOR: So I think in, when I think about systemizing marketing and sales, I really kind of think of it as a method of solving these reoccurring tasks maybe in more of a strategic way. It often involves a process that or a routine that maybe takes some manual or repeated work or inefficient work that you're doing consistently and kind of creates it as one again, one unit for your team or salesperson or marketing person to kind of create a consistent and repetitive process.
KRISTA: So it's really kind of looking at what's-what's existing, what's manual, what could be improved from a productivity standpoint. So how could things be-be quicker, smoother, more efficient?
TAYLOR: Yeah, exactly. You know, you're-you're doing these things. So consider things like customer acquisition or sending out weekly quarterly newsletters, managing social media. These things that you're doing consistently and maybe really repetitive and cumbersome for your sales or marketing team can really completely transform the way that your-your business runs it-it saves you time and it helps your organization be better organized and ultimately increase productivity.
KRISTA: Yes. So are there things in place that can make systemizing these areas a little easier?
TAYLOR: I think a good place to maybe start would be a brand guide. This can help create a baseline for your marketing or sales systems. Kind of start from I think these help, these brand guides help create consistencies across the business. This really sets a standard for your team to know where to build a system or a task or a process from. And then allows those things to maybe be presented a bit more professional and reliable. You have that consistency starting to be established and something to reference back to. If you're starting something new or you feel like maybe you're getting off-kilter or you just have a really good foundation for these systems to be built on. Sure. Another really great place to consider or think about, I think would be your target audience. I mean, we see all the time sales and marketing teams may not look at the target audience the same way. So they may define them as the same audience, but they look at them in a completely different way or they may not entirely align on who they're qualified lead is. And I think it's-it's very crucial. They miss out on a ton of valuable opportunities if they can't agree on who they're qualifying or who they're seeing as their target audience. Sixth Sense just did a report of U.S. based B2B marketers that says 80% of sales team routinely rejects supplies-supplied leads from the marketing team.
KRISTA: Oh wow, that's a lot.
TAYLOR: That's huge. So if your marketing team is putting all of his effort up front and then they get to your sales team and they're not the people that they're expecting or people that they feel like they can qualify, you know, you really need them to speak the same language. And if you can have them have an agreement on this target audience and understand why they're making up that audience, then it allows for those systems to be built and tailored to that experience through the whole unit. And then I think tailoring onto that or tagging along to that is messaging. So you want your prospects and viewers to have this seamless experience throughout their entire process. And messaging can really help with that. You'll often times see in marketing and or sales systems, there's handoff and maybe you're going from a manual portion to an automated portion back to manual or whatever that might look like. You want that experience to be seamless and you don't want people to feel like they're being passed around and you want it to be kind of this cohesive journey for them. And messaging can really help kind of smooth that out and tailor it, make sure that they feel like they're kind of getting that same warm, fuzzy feeling or whatever that might be when they're speaking through the entire marketing system and the sale system along with that.
KRISTA: Gotcha. OK. That makes sense. So tell me a little bit more about some of the benefits of systemizing marketing and sales.
TAYLOR: So there's actually quite a bit of data out there supporting, you know, financial or revenue benefits. HubSpot reports that companies with good sales and marketing practices can generate 200% more revenue, which is a lot. But I think one of the more important benefits is the time and productivity. So often we see companies trying to do sales and marketing tasks in these cumbersome or labor-intensive ways, honestly, because they sometimes don't even realize a better way exists.
TAYLOR: And in turn and turn, that's wasting them time and money. And if you can really enable these systems process, it's creating these documented step by step procedures to get things done and aligns all various aspects of your business and the way you get work done. Creating this easy, seamless assembly line, you know, one thing moves from one portion to the other. And I think this helps create overall success for manufacturers and it kind of creates this clockwork relationship between the different components of your business and allows you to monitor the performance of each one of those aspects and how they're working together.
KRISTA: OK. So really just making sure you're on top of everything, making sure that everything's running smoothly, it's building a lot of efficiencies.
TAYLOR: And I think to that point, it also allows you to avoid things from falling through the cracks. Right? There's I think a lot of times people don't even realize different tasks or things that they send out to prospects or the way that they interact with a lead or what the lead's looking for. There's so many different things that could possibly be missed in that process or, you know, easily fall through the cracks and it helps you create that consistent experience. So if you know that this process can work, these items really help a customer or prospect kind of work through their sales cycle or educate them on what they're looking for, then it allows you to keep creating that same seamless experience. You're not missing things. You're not forgetting different portions of the process. So it can help create like a quality, consistent, and scalable system for you to keep building on.
KRISTA: Absolutely. And you know, that would kind of lead into even the operational side of things. So somebody creates an order, you're fulfilling it from the manufacturing side, but what happens then? You know, are you having email statuses set out on where the product is along the lines or anything like that? You know, really creating that seamless experience. It can go in beyond marketing and sales.
TAYLOR: Yeah, exactly.
KRISTA: Yeah. All right. So what are some of the components of an actual marketing and sales system? So if somebody wanted to kind of start figuring this out, where would they start?
TAYLOR: That's a really big question. It could look a million different ways, I think. And there are a variety of different components that I think would work for different manufacturing companies. I think a great place to maybe start to answer that question would be one-sheets or sales sheets. So these are kind of those — they provide specific product information or maybe it's elaborating on a service you offer or a way that you approach the process for your company, whatever that content may be. It just really helps educate the buyer and even more so on their own time. Right? So it could be a digital download. You could physically be handing these out somewhere or people can be picking them up from somewhere. But no matter how they're getting them it allows them to educate themselves and processes information and even revisit this information kind of on their own time and self-educate themselves on a particular product or kind of whatever you have that content tailored to. Another good component we kind of see often is nurturing campaigns.
TAYLOR: So again, the way that this gets built could look a million and one different ways, but oftentimes we see a prospect initiate some kind of interest. So for example's sake, let's say they download an introductory offer, but maybe they're not quite ready to talk to a salesperson so they could be entered into an email workflow where it kind of provides them maybe a drip campaign of here's some more information related to the download you offer. Maybe it's a blog post, maybe it's a video, a couple more emails, and start kind of nurturing them through that process to hopefully help educate them, give them the information that they're maybe missing, to work them towards hopefully being prepared to talk to a salesperson or make the purchase or figure out where they need to go next from that kind of nurturing campaign. And then I think maybe a step back from both of those is blogging is another really great way to kind of initiate initial interest or organic reach. So these are people who maybe are a little bit farther outside of the sales system. Maybe they're more so in the marketing. They're trying to start that initial search, they're just trying to learn more. They maybe don't know all the ins and outs of, ins and outs of what they're looking for quite yet, but this helps you kind of educate them again. Maybe you show them relevant products. Maybe they think they need, you know, this component, but they actually were better suited for something different. And you can kind of help educate them and self identify those different aspects of what they could possibly need. But it's a really great way to allow them to self serve and to digest information that they're maybe in search for.
KRISTA: Sure. Absolutely. So what about the sale side? Is there any other kind of pieces on the sales element system?
TAYLOR: I think more often we are seeing live chat kind of used in the sales system. This provides customers with a way to connect with a salesperson directly. So they're in need of a question immediately. Rather than wait around for an answer or try to fish for who to talk to, it really connects them with the person that they're looking for right away. And I think an extension of that are chatbots. So maybe this is more of an automated way of looking at how to provide people with the information they're looking for without wasting a salesperson's time. So maybe it asks them a series of questions, tries to gage what they might be looking for and can either point them in the direction of content that they're looking for, get them set up to schedule a call if it sounds like maybe they are interested in more detailed information or specifics that they need to kind of answer questions with a salesperson or support team or something. But it can kind of help fish people or fish through information to see what they might be in search of without having to have a salesperson directly answer question after question. Another great idea, I think is task cues. So these kind of happen more often in a CRM, but they act as a sort of checklist as your customer enters the CRM and moves through the sales cycle. So it's kind of this running list of sales processes. But again, it can really help you make sure that there are any balls that are being dropped and nothing's being missed or overlooked. It's creating that seamless, expected experience time and time again, and your salesperson isn't trying to guess. Did I send this out? Did I do X, Y, Z with this customer? It really allows you to kind of create basically a checklist of each interaction that you're having with a customer.
TAYLOR: And I think maybe a last idea for the sales system component. It might. Email sequences, so again, salespeople are really busy. There's so much going on and I think kind of you alluded to this idea before that even when production happens or operations start, you might need a way to follow up with people in an automated way. So whether it's somebody isn't quite ready to buy, but you're not quite ready to write them off yet. So can you follow up with them in an email sequence that's did we answer all your questions? Can we help you with anything else? Those types of ideas to kind of help keep them addressed and making sure that they're still being, their needs are still being met. Or, you know, if you are in a longer production time, maybe it's checking and making them feel like they haven't been forgotten. You know, hey, your product just moved into this portion of our process or entered this phase of production, just to help keep them feeling like they're still being remembered and thought about and worked-kept in the loop, I guess. So it's just a great way to help initiate next steps of a process in kind of this automated or kind of set it and forget it kinda way.
KRISTA: Yeah. So when we look at all of these different things, you know, these are some examples of basically like more tactical things that people can do. But really what we're, what we're talking about when we're talking about system is kind of stringing all of these together in a systematic way so it can kind of all run smoothly. Right?
TAYLOR: Correct. And I think that's kind of the key, if you can get to that point, especially even between marketing systems being seamlessly integrated to a sales system, I think that you've really kind of you've-you've set yourself up for success.
KRISTA: Absolutely. So how do we kind of start moving down that path?
TAYLOR: So I think a great place to start is probably by just taking an inventory of all of the tasks that you're currently performing. This may initially feel overwhelming, but I think it's a really good insight into what tasks are being performed, what tasks aren't, or maybe what tasks aren't consistently being performed. And help you start to create this list of everything that's happening through the entire process. And it's not necessarily about dismantling or blowing up this whole operation that you have going. Oftentimes it's about identifying these things are working really well. Here's tasks we have in place that are generating leads for us and working really well. But maybe you have another portion that the follow up on engagements is not where you're expecting it to be. So while the entire operation might not be functioning to give you your desired results, there's still a good chance you have pieces that are working well, and you just need to make sure that you're maximizing each portion of that or, you know, every task to make sure it's reaching its full potential. So start by making this list of tasks, go through, ask yourself: why is this task in place? Is this system solving a problem we need? What problem is it solving? Because ultimately, in order for the system to be effective, it really must solve a problem or it's irrelevant.
KRISTA: So why are we doing it?
TAYLOR: Yeah, exactly. So if you can kind of create that list and identify, you know, what's important, what's not, what needs to be on this list, what doesn't, I think that really, you know, kind of kick starts your process to creating this system. Then I think after you've kind of formulated this list of tasks, a great next step would be to kind of categorize them based on type. So I think there's maybe three good categories to find yourself using. The first would be automation. So this means this system or portion of the system is going to occur automatically. So you'll probably use a technology like a CRM, or workflows, smart content. I mean, there's a variety of things you could use to accomplish this, but you'll set criteria once that criteria is met, it will allow for, you know, a task or function to be completed. So I think when we talk about automation, maybe a good example is when you send an email, place in order, initiate a production process, maybe it automatically starts to generate the next tasks, notifies the salesperson, sends up another email workflow to get the requested information from a prospect or customer. It really just helps you kind of create this automatic process that allows them to kind of begin the process and then automatically work yourself through that entire process or system.
TAYLOR: The other one is manual. So these are tasks that you can't automate or maybe aren't as easy to automate. Oftentimes I think a good example of this is maybe networking or communication at a tradeshow. These conversations kind of happen a bit more organically. So maybe you're striking up with a conversation with somebody, exchanging business cards. This stuff is a little bit more personable and happens a bit more organically. So I think that these are tasks that you won't see automated as much. So the last option is the combination of the two. So this might be when a customer completes a form or shows interest in a particular product, you might have a task created for a salesperson to follow up with maybe more detailed information or questions about what they're interest is or what they're interested in or have a conversation about maybe how you can help fulfill their expectations. So I think once you have kind of all of these things identified what you're going to need and how you're going to maybe create the system. The next step, I think, is really just establishing priorities. So this can be a tricky one to kind of figure out. I think there's a couple of different things to consider when you're trying to figure out priority one maybe what's going to move the needle the most. I think this might be the most attractive option. You know, what's going to make the most impact to grow the company? And that's a great place to start, I'm not arguing against that. I think I just think one of the more important indicators is, what are these repetitive tasks your team is doing that's taking up valuable time.
TAYLOR: So these things are happening consistently and it may not be the most like beautiful or appear to be the most impact task, but these can really help you cut down on that production time or productivity. It really helps you kind of streamline that process. And I think it's probably a safe bet to assume there's a lot of tasks that people don't even realize you're doing consistently. So if you can, you know, find something in your process that takes you two hours a week and create a system to free those hours up for you, you're gaining 8 hours a month, in a month.
KRISTA: Wow, like a whole day.
TAYLOR: That's a whole day. Yeah. So I think it's just important to kind of consider both. Don't just go for what you think might have the biggest impact out of the gate. Kind of consider those things that maybe you're doing repetitively, maybe be really cumbersome and can kind of have maybe a longer impact. And then I think after that, it's kind of creating your process. So identifying or creating a map that gets you from the beginning task all the way to done. So how can you ensure each step between the process is getting done successfully and the more detailed you can be, the better chance of success you will have. So, you know, if you can really create this detailed plan of action, it's going to allow you to be able to create a system that can be performed at each step without any kind of misstep. So — or I guess if there is a misstep, maybe you have identified a contingency plan or something that should happen in place of that. So I think a really great idea to keep in mind for this is if you can document this procedure really clearly, this gives you an opportunity for somebody who may be new to the process or, you know, somebody who might be joining a team or stepping into a role can kind of give them a foolproof way of entering the system as well. And now your expectations are being met as the system's kind of being created. And as always, I would think at the very end, you know, just continue to monitor and track how the system's working. So build reporting, check against key metrics. These indicators can really let you know what portions are performing well and what sections might not be happening the way that you expected. And that's fine. It's going to happen. Systems are ongoing and need continuous support. You will often see as you hone in and streamline one portion of the process, it might cause friction later down the road, or that process might need to evolve a bit in order to create that seamless experience that you really want to have. But if you can start to build that system and improve upon it as time goes on, you will really have a way to kind of accommodate the improvement to your business and help manufacturer that growth.
KRISTA: That's awesome. So what might be a good example of this just to kind of help people, you know, start visualizing how this could work?
TAYLOR: You're really going to test my knowledge here. When I think about an example of a full marketing and sales system, there is a shed manufacturer that I think has a really, really good example. So for them, they have display lots located all over their region that people can go see the shed in person and they can even walk inside, check out outside, inside, kind of all of the features or what it might look like. And inside of those sheds, they have sales collateral. So signage, they have catalogs in there that then also contain specific URLs that allow a customer to then be directed back towards the site. So from there, they can kind of start to identify which shed might meet their needs. So do they need a bigger shed? Do they need, you know, a specific workbench in it? They can kind of start to identify those features that they need from that step. They then can enter a configurator. So the configuration allows customers to customize and tailor their shed to them. So picking the color, adding trim.
KRISTA: The windows, doors...
TAYLOR: Yeah, whatever they need to make it really what they need and what they're expecting. So they select all those things, get it set to how they want and. Then they can save the shed and check out immediately if they're ready to go, it's what they mean. They can make the purchase. It can be a new kind of brush their hands together and be on their way or they can select to have follow-up initiated so they save their shed. That information then gets passed along to a salesperson. That salesperson can then kind of look it over, process what they need and then get in contact with the customer and be able to finish meeting the needs of what the customer might be looking for. So answer the questions, follow-up on do they need delivery? Different things like that that maybe is kind of holding the customer from buying and then complete the sale and that kind of way.
KRISTA: Sure. Sure. And I think they also have a part in their process as well. If they, if they save the shed but maybe aren't ready to move into the sales process, there's some nurturing sequences.
TAYLOR: Yeah. So let's say I save the shed and then go about my day. A lot of companies do this right, like an abandoned cart kind of idea. It follows up with them, it, you know, kind of reminds them like, hey, did you have questions? Did you need something additional?
KRISTA: Are you not done?
TAYLOR: Yeah. Can we help you finish up what you're looking for? It kind of helps, you know, just follow up with them, make sure that, you know, there isn't something that, you know, a salesperson or a member of the team can kind of reach out or provide them to help meet their needs.
KRISTA: Absolutely fantastic. Well, thanks so much for sharing with us all this information about system izing our marketing and sales and making sure you have a really efficient machine working for your business.
KRISTA: Absolutely. Don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe.
Co-founder & VP, Client Services
Krista also has more than a decade of professional experience under her belt. Her expertise lies in graphic design, project management, and digital marketing for both high-profile and growing businesses. Currently, she functions as the VP of Client Services and lead strategist.
Building a great company is a marathon, not a sprint. Each week Krista Ankenman and her team at TANK New Media take on growth challenges, explore technology, and interview business leaders dedicated to growing better through continuous improvement. If you’re ready to build repeatable and scalable systems to drive your business forward, this podcast is for you.
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