Inefficiency costs companies anywhere from 20% to 30% of their revenue every year, according to research firm IDC.
I recently met with a client who was not quite sure if investing in HubSpot, a cloud-based marketing automation platform, was going to be worthwhile. So, I decided to do an analysis with him to determine the return on investment.
In his current situation he had three part-time employees spending time in five different spreadsheets updating data and information. Some of the challenges he faced were:
Not having current data at his fingertips
Inaccurate information and manual data entry errors
Lack of reporting
Delays in availability of information
We ran through the numbers together in a very elementary way. The HubSpot software was going to cost approximately $1,200.00 per month. The average cost of each one of his part-time employees with overhead was $35.00 per hour.
Dividing $1200.00 divided by $35.00 per hour, we would need to prove that by deploying HubSpot he could save 34 hours per month.
That translates into approximately 8.5 hours per week.
Between three people that translates into saving each person approximately three hours per week.
The key question was, could we save each employee three hours per week?
Next, I met with his three team members to better understand the time they were putting into the spreadsheets, communicating their updates to one another, fixing and correcting any errors, and finally running reports. My findings uncovered that they were each spending at least five hours per week managing this work – and as a result-were not getting other tasks completed. They were frustrated with the situation. They all wanted to do their best work but the current situation was keeping them from making progress on more pressing issues, including invoicing and new client acquisition.
Some of you might be thinking it’s a no-brainer decision – make the switch! But what ultimately happened? Even with this analysis the business owner opted not to move to Hubspot. Why? Fear of unknown: spreadsheets were known and the software was not, even if it would save time in the long run.
Embracing the Unknown
When facing the unknown, even when there’s evidence that a change will make you more efficient, it’s hard to get past the wondering if it will really be worth the initial effort or the money. It really does require a leap of faith.
Especially if your team has no experience with this type of software you might not even know what preparations are necessary to get a product like Hubspot or others up and running. “Marketing automation is complex and requires an investment from your teams to translate existing processes into an established sales and marketing process before implementing,” notes the Content Marketing Institute.
An experienced partner can help by working with your staff to determine what functionalities you need, what data you want to see, how to organize it, and how to fill your software with clean and meaningful customer and prospect data. Training is another key to getting past anxiety about new tools – the more practice you get the better you’ll understand them. Taken together, these things make the difference between utilizing your CRM to its full capabilities or simply paying a lot of money to send emails with it.
As familiarity grows unexpected benefits may emerge that directly impact efficiency across the organization:
Task automation such as follow up reminders or report generation
Customer/prospect history at the click of a mouse
Easy sorting, segmenting, and manipulating of data
Cloud based access with robust search and data entry functionality for access anywhere, anytime
Dashboards to communicate metrics and trends clearly
Shared access to records for collaboration between departments/teams
Visibility into trends or gaps in your processes, such as incomplete nurturing cycles
Better sales and marketing alignment and communication
Improved responsiveness with customers
When you face up to inefficiencies and invest in solutions, you’ll free up time and energy that had been wasted or misdirected. In the face of COVID 19, many companies have been forced to take a hard look at internal operations and make tough decisions. Don’t wait to document what worked, what did not and what you need to fix. There’s no time like now to evaluate and educate yourself on adjustments to make.
I hope you can see that the cost of deploying CRM and marketing automation software and learning a new way far outweighs the cost of trying to hold work as status quo.
Lacking solid operations, and the agility to overcome them, will be the death of many small businesses. In these rapidly changing times, those who are agile, meaning those who can adjust and streamline and adapt to new technology, will be the winners. Acadia can show you how to get started.