We have long been proponents of online tools and apps for our clients. Online tools/apps come in a number of forms and can include sales support tools like CRMs, business data software that provides insights into your prospects, and sales enablement tools that help provide the content needed to close sales, just to name a few. In fact, the use of online tools is rated in the top ten of marketers’ inbound marketing priorities, according to HubSpot's annual research report of 4,500 marketers worldwide.
Inbound marketing is growing across virtually every sector of industry, decimating the long-held dominance of outbound marketing (see chart).
The rise of online apps and tools is a clear indication that marketers are starting to realize the power of these specialized apps to empower their sales team and increase the number of qualified leads marketing produces. By examining the report of top sales priorities for 2016, it is clear that several of their top priorities would benefit from the use of online apps.
In addition to off-the-shelf tools, our clients have seen the enormous competitive advantages of using custom apps. In many cases, a custom app can be developed that, through an automated interface (web hooks, APIs, etc.), can communicate with other online tools, such as your sales support tools (e.g. Salesforce) or marketing automation platform (e.g. HubSpot). These custom tools can enable a sales team to have significantly better insights into who their prospects are, what their needs are, whether they are a good fit, etc., helping to improve the efficiency of your sales funnel, and close more deals—or even increase the average revenue per sale.
As an example, one of our treasured clients, Eldorado Springs Natural Spring Water, needed a tool to help their prospects have a feel for how much water they would need as part of their delivery plans. Too often, prospects would only look at the entry-level plan without realizing that it wasn’t nearly enough water for the size of their family or business. The custom tool allows prospective customers to more accurately assess their needs, and gives Eldorado the ability to sell more water. Once their customer selects a plan (through another custom app we built for them) they can upgrade their plan, modify the dispenser style and design, and choose additional products to be delivered. By creating and refining these custom apps, Eldorado’s online sales have soared.
According to research firm Forrester, custom-built app and tool development grew at a staggering 200% between 2011-2013, and was something in the neighborhood of $60-70B/year. While custom-built apps cover a wide range of application types, the stats are nonetheless important to marketers looking to differentiate their companies’ products and services. As this HubSpot chart shows, 31% of consumers want more interactivity and online tools, and the second chart below shows other marketers (31%) are responding appropriately to the call.
As consumers continue to tune out interruption advertising and turn to the web to research their buying options, inbound marketing continues to rise as the most effective marketing strategy. By adding online apps and tools to the overall inbound customer experience, sales teams flourish, online sales thrive, and customer loyalty blossoms.
If you’d like help with your inbound marketing, would like to explore developing a custom app to differentiate your business, or need help connecting an app to HubSpot, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be happy to have a no-obligation discussion on how to get the most out of your marketing budget.
To download the entire State of Inbound 2016 report, click below.