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5 Telltale Signs These Outdated Strategies Are Killing Your Business (and How to Get With the Times) With the constant evolution of technology shaping how businesses operate and interact with customers, it's important to advance your own business processes and technologies to yield these benefits and stay relevant.

By Chip House Edited by Kara McIntyre

Key Takeaways

  • Not only does outdated technology consume additional time, but it can also worsen administrative inefficiencies, leading to the dissemination of inaccurate information.
  • This threat carries substantial risks for customer perception and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. That's why businesses need to make sure their marketing and sales strategies are up-to-date.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a CMO in the MarTech space, I am constantly getting outreach about new services and technologies from salespeople. While some might find it a bother — and repeated, non-reciprocated emails are — I do find value in some of the messages. Here's why: I'm willing to guess that many people in executive go-to-market roles rely in part on email pitches and LinkedIn posts from salespeople to stay abreast of new services and features that are coming on the market every day.

In today's dynamic business environment, adaptation is not just a choice, but an imperative for success — particularly for marketing and sales strategies. With the constant evolution of technology shaping how businesses operate and interact with customers, it's important to advance your own business processes and technologies to yield these benefits and stay relevant.

Looking ahead, it is predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) will assist in a staggering 95% of customer interactions by 2025. This statistic reflects the undeniable influence of innovation we're experiencing. Simultaneously, studies show that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a superior customer experience. Yet, surprisingly, 17% of organizations still report using spreadsheets to manage their customer interactions rather than a customer relationship management system (CRM).

If change is the only constant, clinging to obsolete methods is a recipe for disaster. A majority of businesses state that their primary challenge involves catering to changing customer behaviors and expectations, so companies must adapt their strategies to effectively engage their target audience in meaningful ways.

In my role as a CMO at a CRM, I often see robust, profitable businesses operating with an outdated CRM and it is staggering to me. Fostering strong relationships with prospects and customers directly impacts a company's bottom line and is an experience facilitated most often through CRMs — with 91% of companies with 11 employees or more reportedly managing relationships via CRMs. But, of that large portion of businesses, 79% of businesses report being dissatisfied with their current CRM software. Add to the mix stale marketing and sales strategies and it's no wonder that many companies struggle to fully capitalize on the benefits of these systems, leaving significant room for improvement in both CRM utilization and the overall effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts. So how, then, does a company determine if it's lagging behind? It's time to find out.

Related: 6 Outdated Marketing Tactics You Need to Leave in the Past (Where They Belong)

5 signs it's time for a refresh

Not only does outdated technology consume additional time, but it can also worsen administrative inefficiencies, leading to the dissemination of inaccurate information. This threat carries substantial risks for customer perception and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. Several telltale signs that it's time for a refresh include:

  • New hires question the tech stack: Bringing in new talent, whether through growth or backfill, gives you a glimpse into the technology being used in other companies and can help avoid the "we've always done it this way" mentality. If your new hires are asking for apps or questioning why your team is not using a certain technology, listen to them and use their feedback to question the status quo.
  • Decreased productivity and poor sales performance: Outdated systems often come with cumbersome processes that impede a team's productivity. If your team is spending excessive time on administrative tasks rather than valuable customer interactions or prospect engagements, it may be time to update your strategies and/or tech stack.
  • Low-quality customer experiences: If you notice a persistent drop in your customer satisfaction ratings or feedback, it's an indication that current strategies, and possibly tools, are not meeting customer expectations. Many modern tools offer various ways to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction.
  • Lack of integrations: The most efficient MarTech solutions are those that seamlessly integrate with other tools, streamlining your workflows and increasing efficiency while supporting your business's capability to grow, scale and change. For example, if your CRM doesn't integrate well with other tools, it's undoubtedly a sign of an outdated system.
  • Reliance on manual data entry: Relying on manual data entry in your sales processes not only heightens the potential for errors but also diminishes overall efficiency. If your existing system heavily depends on manual data input, rather than automation and calculated fields, it may be prudent to contemplate an upgrade.

Related: Hit 'Refresh' on That Stale Sales Cycle and Never Miss Your Numbers Again

Revamping your strategies

Rather than hastily adopting quick fixes, success hinges on a purposeful, methodical approach to change. Here's a concise roadmap to help navigate this process:

  • Self-assessment and benchmarking: Start with a comprehensive assessment of your current tech stack, strategies, and processes, benchmarking your performance against industry standards. Analyze customer feedback for insights into areas needing improvement. And, additionally, scrutinize any sales drop-offs for valuable insights beyond customer feedback. Once you've pinpointed the key issues that require attention, you can develop a clear and actionable plan to achieve the desired results.
  • Understanding emerging technologies and trends: Research the latest emerging technologies and industry trends, including taking a look at your competitors' advancements, to assess market positioning. This information can help you make informed decisions about which tools and strategies you need to adopt or incorporate into revising the technology that supports your playbook.
  • Identifying the right technology for your business: Not all technologies (or CRMs) will be suitable for your specific needs. Take time to identify the solutions that align with your business goals and customer expectations while addressing pain points within your organization's strategy. This means keeping a strong focus on understanding your customers' needs and finding ways to consistently exceed their expectations with the support of innovative technology.
  • Training and implementation: Investing in proper training for a sales or marketing team is critical to realizing the full potential of chosen tools. Remember to stay vigilant in regularly evaluating the performance, capabilities and strategies your company uses, particularly when it comes to the effectiveness of systems in play, to engage your target audience and provide value.

Related: Invest in These 5 Technologies to Redefine Your Marketing Efforts

Leveraging technology for success

Data-driven insights and customer relationships are the driving force behind success today, making it essential for companies to stay updated with marketing, sales and technology trends.

Outdated strategies put companies at risk of losing valuable connections and can prevent them from unlocking crucial growth opportunities. Acting on these telltale signs of outdated marketing and sales strategies could mark the difference between stagnation and advancement.

Companies not only need to recognize the signs of lagging behind, but also act swiftly, capitalizing on the versatility and dynamics of today's plethora of tech options. Refreshing and leveling up technology solutions is no longer a luxury; it's a business imperative that demands urgent attention.

Chip House

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Chief Marketing Officer at Insightly

Chip House is Insightly's Chief Marketing Officer and is responsible for its marketing strategy, messaging, content, digital marketing and lead generation. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior marketing roles at fast-growth SaaS companies.

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