In my experience, it’s not the lack of software that causes frustration for small business owners, rather the frustration stems from the over-abundance of software and features available.
That’s Bill Brelsford over at Small Business Marketing Tips & Strategies in his post last week, Software Alone Won’t Cure Your Marketing Blues. Bill looks at a list of marketing frustrations cited by small business in a survey published at Inside CRM.
- Too difficult to follow up with cold, warm and lukewarm leads consistently and efficiently
- Can’t properly track and manage prospects and customers
- Need to integrate online and offline marketing efforts
- Poor email deliverability
- Too much manual grunt work in the sales and marketing process, no automation
- Can’t track sales activity
- Lack of centralization, too many different programs and systems
- Too costly to maintain servers and IT staff
- Too difficult to manually manage multichannel campaigns
- One-dimensional marketing
Reviewing that list, Bill points out that process and strategy should come first, before the software. Items 1,2 and 6 on that list are issues of procedure, and discipline, not tools.
They can easily be handled with a Big Chief Tablet, a #2 pencil, and a consistently executed process.
Then there are the items that a software vendor would add to the list, and finally, Bill concludes:
I don’t want to sound like I’m anti-software, far from it. I have just found that a great source of frustration comes from purchasing marketing automation tools before there is a marketing plan or processes to automate. As I mentioned in this previous post, I think the right approach is to have a process first, and then pick the right tools to help you automate that processes.
Well said. And I think that same logic applies to other tools in business, not just marketing automation.
Thanks Larry, that's a great addition. Well said. Tim.
Hi – we faced this exact challenge when building our small business product offering.
How to make a small business management platform simple enough to accommodate to a wide range of working styles without forcing anyone into a system, yet clever enough to automate tasks and reporting.
Take a look at http://www.WORKetc.com
I worked with computers for a very long time (first project–mechanizing the telephone book)(I got fired because I was too old, too stuck in my ways to understand the new realities, and because I cost more than a bunch of high-school kids).
I have discovered a Great Truth that seems inaccessible to anybody else.
That truth is this:
Managers (of the MBA persuasion, not of the actually can do it old-school individualist persuasion) want to buy software that will allow them to avoid developing people, procedures and techniques for doing some thing useful.
They want accounting, marketing, "human resources" and sales software that will enforce policies they don't know how to implement.
They want a "web presence" that is not as close to reality as an old false-front building used to be.
They want shrink-wrapped fame and fortune without contributing any thing tangible to the transaction.
They want to send the pimply-faced youth down to Best Buy for what ever Business Solution is on sale this week.