Enabling Buyers at Every Stage

Buyer Enablement helps steer prospects toward your offer. It’s about feeding them the right information at the perfect time, potentially boosting conversion rates by 20%.

The buyer’s journey into three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Here’s how to craft content for each stage:

Awareness Phase

Goal: Educate and guide

What Buyers Want: Knowledge about their problem

Best Vehicles:

Indications that a lead is in the “Awareness” stage:

  • Website visits to educational or informational pages
  • Google searches with symptoms of a problem included in keywords
  • Attending informational events.

Tech that Can Help:

  • Social Media Management Tools: Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social let you schedule, post, and monitor social media content to engage with early stage leads
  • SEO Tools: Platforms like SEMrush, Moz, or Ahrefs ensure content is optimized for organic search, attracting potential buyers during their research phase
  • Google Analytics: To understand the source of website traffic and what content potential buyers are engaging with

Consideration Phase

Goal: Showcase expertise

What Buyers Want: Deep insights, comparisons, and potential solutions

Best Vehicles:

Indications that a lead is in the “Consideration” stage:

  • Engagement with content that compares one solution with another
  • Inbound questions regarding specific differentiators of your products vs others
  • Engagement with tools like cost calculators and product configurators

Tech that Can Help:

  • Email Marketing Platforms: Tools like Mailchimp, HubSpot, or Constant Contact enable lead nurturing through email marketing and more
  • Chatbots and Messaging Platforms: Tools like Intercom, Drift, or MobileMonkey engage leads in real-time, answering questions and directing them to resources or reps
  • Webinar Platforms: Solutions like Zoom, Livestorm, or Webex hosting informational sessions or workshops

Decision Phase

Goal: Make the Sale

What Buyers Want: Address objections, showcase value

Best Vehicles:

Indications that a lead is in the “Decision” stage:

  • Requesting detailed pricing information, terms and conditions, etc.
  • Requesting references or further social proof (e.g. industry-specific specific case studies)
  • Requesting a trial

Tech that Can Help:

  • Sales Enablement Platforms: Tools like SalesLoft, Highspot, or Showpad equip reps with the right content or knowledge at the right time
  • Proposal and Quoting Software: Platforms like PandaDoc, Proposify, or Qwilr to create, send, and track professional proposals quickly
  • E-Signature Platforms: Solutions such as DocuSign or PandaDoc expedite the closing process by allowing leads to securely sign contracts or agreements online
  • Competitive Intelligence Tools: Platforms like Crayon or Kompyte help reps stay updated on competitors’ moves, allowing them to position their offerings more effectively

Pipedrive CRM – Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for a solid customer relationship management (CRM) platform that won’t break the bank, Pipedrive is a definite contender. While it’s not the best CRM for everyone, Pipedrive CRM packs a lot of value into a very affordable price point that makes it an appealing option for many users.

Pipedrive CRM Strengths & Weaknesses

Every CRM platform has strengths and weaknesses, and Pipedrive is no exception. Knowing the potential pros and cons of the CRM you’re looking to purchase is an essential part of the research process. Read on to learn what we’ve discovered as experienced Pipedrive users.

Pipedrive strengths:

Pipedrive offers the best value of any CRM

Pipedrive’s Advanced and Professional tiers provide significantly more value than other CRMs at that price point. Pipedrive’s Professional tier (~$60 user/month) includes workflow automations, webhooks, custom fields, quotes, e-signatures, email sequences, custom reporting, scheduling, a dialer, and more. The majority of these features are either not included with other CRMs or are priced upwards of $100 per user per month.

Pipedrive’s UI/UX is excellent

It’s tough to pack a lot of features in a CRM while keeping it streamlined and easy to navigate. Many people leave CRMs like Salesforce, Zoho, and ActiveCampaign because the user interface is too confusing and difficult for sales reps to navigate. Ease of use is important in a sales CRM solution. Pipedrive is user-friendly, visually appealing, and easy to learn, and it maintains the difficult balance of containing lots of data without being visually overwhelming.

Pipedrive Weaknesses:

Limited scalability

Because Pipedrive has many of the same features as enterprise CRMs, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never grow out of it, but features are different from capabilities. Anytime you see a feature advertised by Pipedrive, know that it will have fewer capabilities and be less customizable than the same feature in premium tiers of HubSpot or Salesforce.

This is a tradeoff many are willing to make, as the cost of Pipedrive is 10-20 times lower than a premium tier enterprise CRM software. However, changing CRMs is such a big job that ability to scale provides a lot of reassurance and not everyone will find that in Pipedrive.

Some key features require paid add-ons

There are features you’ll find in other full-suite CRMs that aren’t included with Pipedrive and must be purchased as add-ons. Depending on how you look at it, this could be a strength or a weakness, since a trimmed down core product helps keep the price down for those who don’t need these features.

However, many of these features are very basic and really shouldn’t be behind a paywall. For example, it’s an additional $32/month for a meeting scheduler, live chat, and web forms, which are all included in HubSpot’s completely free tier. Document library, document tracking, proposals and quotes, and e-signatures cost another $32/month. The list goes on.

Pipedrive Features for Sales Team Success

To be successful, sales reps must have a written, enforceable, transparent, and efficient sales process. The last two qualities, transparency and efficiency, are not possible without CRM functionality like the features we’ve listed below.

Pipedrive features that create efficiency:

Efficiency is the effort required from sales reps when moving deals through the sales process, from lead scoring to the moment you close deals. Too often, salespeople end up spending too much time on repetitive or even unnecessary tasks. By becoming more efficient, your reps will be able to spend more time actually selling. Time and time again, we’ve seen that increased sales team efficiency translates into increased revenue.

Pipedrive offers multiple sales tools to improve sales team efficiency. Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorites.

1. Workflow automation

Use workflow automations to email new leads, and set reminders for follow-ups and deal management. While Pipedrive’s workflow automations aren’t sophisticated, they’re enough to automate routine tasks. Also, Pipedrive integrates with many other software platforms, including third-party automation apps like Zapier for complex sales automation.

2. Smart contact data

Researching leads is an all too easy way for sales reps to waste time, but with Pipedrive’s Smart Contact Data there’s really no excuse for spending hours on inefficient lead research. Smart Contact Data uses publicly available information from the web and social sources, allowing reps to auto-populate lead information in just one click.

3. Two-way email sync

It’s important to log all communication in your CRM, and connecting your email inbox to Pipedrive via two-way email sync means you can put email logging on autopilot. Two-way email sync also enables transparency by providing visibility into conversations and negotiations in real time, making it easy to stay in the loop or quickly get up to speed as needed. Users who have synced their Gmail or other email accounts can also access email templates.

More Pipedrive features worth noting:

  • Sales forecasts – a comprehensive view of your predicted revenue.
  • Multiple sales pipelines – gives you the ability to separate your sales pipelines by product, team, or sales process for better visibility into each one.
  • Lead management – a complete overview of each lead and deal, with detailed communication and activity history.
  • Email open and click tracking – get notified when leads open your emails or click on a link you’ve sent them.
  • Native mobile apps – make changes to contacts, deals, and activities from your smartphone, whether on Android, iOS, Microsoft, or other operating systems.
  • Web-to-mobile calls – outgoing calls can be made from your desktop or you can send them to your phone.

Bottom line:

Pipedrive is a solid budget CRM that provides a lot of value for the price point. However, you may end up paying extra for basic features that are only available as add-ons. Still, it’s a great CRM platform, especially for small businesses that don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.

Boost Email Engagement with Video

Boost your email open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and cut unsubscribes by 26% with one tool: video. Video, especially in emails, has become a powerful marketing tool because:

  • It’s now affordable and accessible to produce high-quality content.
  • Videos can simplify complex topics better than text.
  • They showcase the brand’s personality, fostering familiarity.
  • They naturally grab more attention than plain text, boosting visibility and engagement.

For prospecting, videos are invaluable. Start with an email introduction and then offer a personalized video. This makes your video anticipated and tailored to the recipient, increasing engagement.

Example strategy:

  • Email 1: “Thanks for downloading our Commission Modeler. What challenges do you face in selecting the right commission structure? Reply, and I’ll provide a personalized video with recommendations.”
  • Email 2 (if no response): “Here’s a video about selecting the right commission model for various sales models. If you want personalized insights: <insert link to sales page>”

Thinking of using video? Here are tips:

  • Personalize: Address specific issues of the prospect.
  • Keep it concise: Aim for about 30 seconds. Anything longer than that, and viewers drop off.
  • Be clear: Have a succinct message with a defined call-to-action.
  • Prioritize quality: Even smartphone cameras work, but ensure good lighting, minimal background noise, and stability.

Expand video use to social media, post-event emails, testimonials, and demos. Incorporating video in your email marketing not only boosts engagement but also effectively addresses prospect needs, paving the way for conversion.

Zoho One CRM – Everything You Need to Know

Zoho One is customer relationship management software (otherwise known as a CRM) that gives you access to 40+ apps to manage nearly every sales and business operations need. With an appealing price point, and the ability to make a one-and-done purchase decision, Zoho One can be an attractive option. That said, there are a few things you should know before choosing Zoho CRM.

An important note: Zoho actually offers two CRM-related products: Zoho One, and Zoho CRM Plus. While Zoho CRM Plus sounds like a solid and affordable option, in reality you would need to upgrade (and pay significantly more) for multiple other Zoho “apps” just to get features that are standard in the minimum tier of almost every other CRM. Zoho One, on the other hand, includes all 40+ Zoho apps (including Zoho CRM), bundling nearly every feature you could ever need into a slightly higher subscription price.

This article is primarily focused on Zoho One.

Zoho One Strengths & Weaknesses

Even the best CRM platforms have strengths and weaknesses, and Zoho One is no exception. Knowing the potential pros and cons of the CRM tool you’re looking to purchase is an essential part of the research process. Read on to learn what we’ve discovered as experienced Zoho CRM users.

Strengths of Zoho One:

For the price, Zoho One is the more well-rounded of the two CRM-related Zoho products, especially for small businesses and startups with limited sales and marketing teams. It integrates with Salesforce, HubSpot, MailChimp, and other solutions. The Zoho CRM mobile app allows you to receive notifications anywhere and access and modify customer data even while offline.

Zoho One is affordable

Individual subscription costs can add up fast, and Zoho One’s bundle of 40+ sales, marketing, and other business operations apps is a compelling reason to consider Zoho One. Unfortunately, in our experience, this strength is also one of Zoho’s greatest weaknesses, but more on that later.

Zoho One is an all-in-one solution for business processes

Along with including a complete CRM, Zoho One markets itself as a business operating system. With sales, marketing, support, HR, accounting, and operations software bundled into one semi-integrated platform, Zoho One is a one-stop shop for business software needs.

For example, Zoho Analytics allows you to create custom reports and configure dashboards with varying layouts, and Zoho Campaigns allows you to manage your email marketing campaigns across customizable email templates.

While that’s all well and good, there are a few things you should know before settling on Zoho One for your CRM.

Weaknesses of Zoho One:

When choosing a CRM software, one of the most important things to look for is the combination of scalability and user experience. In other words, your sales CRM should be easy enough to use that your sales reps will like it and commit to using it, and it should be scalable enough to still be a good choice as your business grows.

Zoho One’s user interface is terrible

With a visually confusing user interface and perplexing navigation, Zoho One scores negative points in the user experience category. CRM software is supposed to be the lifeblood of your sales team, but when it’s difficult or impossible to learn and use, reps end up not using it properly or, even worse, not using it at all.

Customer support is available 24/7, but a dedicated help desk doesn’t make up for a negative customer experience.

Zoho One can do almost everything, but none of it well

While Zoho One provides a ton of functionality, none of the apps are truly good enough to stand on their own. Zoho Sites may give you a website, but it isn’t WordPress. Zoho’s combination of Zoho Books, Payroll, Invoice, and Expense apps doesn’t even come close to the functionality of QuickBooks. You may love the idea of a one-stop shop for your entire business needs but you’re in for a rude awakening if you try to replace your specialized platforms with Zoho apps.

Zoho One’s user experience is also terrible

A good portion of the “apps” included in Zoho One – forms, sales pipeline management, meeting scheduler, and document library – are standard features in almost any CRM solution, not add-ons. Splitting these features into apps (each with their own unique navigation) is not user-friendly and results in an experience that’s clunky, disjointed, and extremely frustrating.

While some CRM systems may charge extra for certain features, it’s insane to compartmentalize each one. Zoho One users need to constantly click to the main menu, find another app, open it, perform a task, click to the main menu, go back to the CRM, etc. And, since apps are separate modules, it’s often not possible to link tasks between two modules.

Zoho One features you might find helpful

  • CRM – basic, non-intuitive customer relationship and pipeline management.
  • Appointment scheduling – allows customers to book a meeting with you at a time that works for them.
  • Email marketing – create, send, and track email campaigns in real time.
  • Forms – build lead generation and customer engagement forms.
  • Chat – team instant messaging tool.
  • Shared inboxes – allow teams to manage shared email inboxes and turn emails into tasks.
  • Workflow automation – automate routine tasks and sales processes for your team members.

As we mentioned before, these features are usually included in most CRMs, rather than standalone apps, and the lack of true integration among everything makes the user experience subpar.

Bottom line:

Not recommended, unless you don’t care about the user experience, have a small team, and need a cheap all-in-one solution.