Why Your Business Needs Google Street View, Salesforce and More Tech

These five tech offerings are changing the game.

Want to change your business forever? Want to grow and increase your profits? Want more customers and more work? Of course you do. Every business owner does. There are lots of great sales and marketing technologies that will help you make that change. And here are just a few that I discussed at A Weber’s Ascend Digital Marketing Summit this week in Philly.

1. Google Street View. Own a store? Getting found on Google Maps? You’ve only just begun. Google Street View is an additional service from Google that every store owner should use. You’ll need to pay a certified photographer to visit and take a 360 degree photo inside your store. And then when it’s online people that find you on Maps can “go inside” and check out that same inside view. It’s yet another perspective to show the world, particularly for your mobile customers and prospects.

2. CRM. This is customer relationship management. Consider Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ZohoCRM or (literally) hundreds of others. These are databases and most of them are cloud-based. A good CRM system will contain every single company and person that you do business with. It will be accessible to everyone in your company. It will integrate with everyone’s email and calendar. And if (a very big if) it’s implemented and used properly you can be assured that no opportunity will fall through the cracks and no one in your company is in the dark about your customers and prospects. CRM databases add a significant intangible value to any organization. It’s a $23 billion market and growing by double digits. And for a good reason.

3. Google Hangouts on Air. The world of marketing in 2015 is now all video, streaming and live content. So why not start your own TV show? That’s what Google Hangouts on Air does. Take 20 minutes out a month and produce your own program. Interview a customer. Do some training. Demonstrate safety tips. Show off that new piece of equipment. Get tips from your customer service team. Not a lot of people will watch your TV show, of course. But don’t let that bother you. You can talk about it before on social media. And then, after it’s automatically saved on your YouTube channel, promote it later. After a while you’ll build up a library of great videos that will show the world the kind of company you are – your people, your customers, your culture. Then people will watch. They really will.

4. A Weber. These are the guys that hosted the conference, and for good reason. A Weber specializes in email marketing. For just a few dollars you can be sending thousands of emails every month to your opt-in community (that’s the community in your CRM database by the way). This is not a sales pitch. You’re sharing information. You’re giving tips. You’re educating. You’re helping your community have better lives through the advice you’re giving. Almost 70 percent of U.S internet users say that email is the preferred method of communicating with businesses and 73 percent of marketers agree that email marketing is core to their business. E-mail is very much not dead. In fact, it’s more popular than ever.

5. Domo. Business intelligence is all the rage this year and it’s likely to explode in the years to come. That’s because technologies like Domo, Tableau, Microsoft Power BI and other great cloud-based reporting tools are changing the world of reporting. Data on the cloud is accessible everywhere and most companies are opening up this data to the world. Cloud-based reporting applications can pull this information from various sources to give you a handle on your sales-and-marketing metrics wherever you are and from whatever device you’re using.

There are tons of more marketing technologies you should be using. But frankly, I’m forgetting the most important thing: a person. Technology is great, but none of this stuff will be used to its potential without someone doing the work. Put in the right hands, these tools can be powerful. But you’ll need to invest in those hands. Consider a college kid, a marketing student, a contractor or a part-timer. Or hire someone full time. Or engage a firm. But get help. Technologies like the ones above are great … but they’re not going to work on their own.