Camarès as been acknowledged as one of just one of CIO Review’s twenty top workflow providers for 2021. The Camarès team has been working hard helping small and mid-sized businesses run more efficiently “from click to cash,” by leveraging the Zoho One platform to design custom workflows that increase revenue and optimize efficiency.
Through its work, Camarès realized that SMBs demand a different approach to workflows than those found at large enterprises, one that balances the need for data and discipline with the need for flexibility and innovation – that is at the heart of every small business. That’s why Camarès’ practice directors Deb Di Gregorio and Denise Maia spent hundreds of hours perfecting their SMB implementation framework. They call it HumanCentricAutomation. The framework has been proven over in dozens of successful implementations.
“For our clients, our Human Centric Automation framework results in workflows that deliver a rich, frictionless customer experience for their customers; facilitated employee experience that moves employees easily through workflows eliminating repetitive tasks and freeing employees to provide customers with higher value services; facilitates vendor interactions, and accurately captures just enough data to deliver ongoing actionable business insights to management,” says Di Gregorio, Camarès’ president.
In recent years I have met many VC-funded services companies selling a service that delivers Monthly Recurring Revenue — MRR — the mana Venture Capitalists are looking for these days. The usual revenue scenario: go from $10 million to $50 million in 3-5 years.
And like every prospect I meet — VC funded or not — they say the same thing, “this is our goal, but we do not have a lot of money.” TRANSLATION: I want the sun, the moon and the stars and I want to be on the first landing of the stairway to heaven within six months.
I am a marketer, but I have discovered a middle ground between marketing and sales. I call it Stra-tactics. That is, powerful lead-acquisition tactics informed by high-level marketing branding strategy that is only partially or never implemented. It is the solution for when the client cannot afford strategy in money OR in time. That’s Stra-tactics. And man, does it pay off. I get my clients well up that stairway.
And, I’ve also discovered this is a great approach for older middle-market companies who tell me they “want to build a brand” but will only spend the money it takes to build a brand when they, “see results.” As a marketer I could just blow them off, but as a business person I know there is a way to get those leads in the pipeline while working with ownership to explain what branding really means, branding’s extraordinary benefits (it can lift you out of commoditization) and how much it takes in time and money.
Here are the Elements of a Stra-tactical Plan
Fast and Deep Pre-Launch Set-up — Being Stra-tactical demands setting up as if you are going to launch a brand, that is, fully understanding the market, the competition, the customer desires vs the customer needs, creating a message-map, designing a brand but not launching it.
REALLY? yes really. This groundwork will inform a robust tactical lead-generation plan. Unlike just diving into a lead-generation program without this groundwork, our clients have an immediate leg up on their competition.
1. We work closely with the salesforce to build this program. They will cary it forward through their communications, be it conversations, emails or social media engagement.
2. The branding groundwork informs all messaging via tactical lead generation platforms making selling points consistent with sales communications.
3. And, it informs all tactical program decision making.
Determine KPIs We set up very clear KPIs from the get-go: what is an A lead? What is a B lead? What is our average sales value (ASV)? By how much do we want it to increase? What do we anticipate our close rate will be? These will be the numbers against which you will measure the program.
Speedy Program Launch — We ramp our programs up as fast as possible. Often we roll them out in stages. The stages are executed like planes landing at Newark Airport — in crisp, precise order.
Daily Engagement — Being Stra-tactical requires daily communication between sales and the Stra-tactical Program Manager as well as daily adjustments to the tactical lead generation program.
Monthly Reviews — Monthly reviews that feature a complete report compiled with data from the sales CRM system as well as the lead-generation platforms and any other relevant sources to determine what is, and what is not working and which step we’re on to the stairway to heaven.
Fast Failures, Sooner Successes — A bold willingness to look failure in the face and fix it fast, pivot on a dime and try something new.
Its really shameless isn’t it? But it is based on the reality that most companies are not prepared to invest what it truly takes to build a brand but requires sales anyway. Being “Stra-tactical” is the best way to achieve it.
Agile marketing and the Zebworks™ Agile Marketing Framework were developed to deliver complete customer focus, swift execution cycles, robust measurement and constant improvement.
But why do you need it?
The velocity of change has never been faster!
Everyday a new software as as service (SaaS), new permutations of CRM platforms that cross social media platforms, content aggregation platforms, analytics platforms etc etc. Then there are new devices in a zillion different form factors: mobile (which phone do you use and what size is it and what do you use it for?). Tablets, ditto! Laptops ditto! Google glass…well we’ll see about that. Bottom line what do you invest in now to ensure relevance tomorrow?
New Social Networks Everyday
Social networks are popping up — and collapsing like Top 40 hits! The old standards: Facebook & Linkedin are so blah they are hardly relevant. (When was the last time you heard “Button Up Your Overcoat” and if you heard it would deign to tap your foot? Facebook fatigue is here.) How will you know where your customers will flock next?
Accelerated Market Commoditization
There was always someone who sold your product or service cheaper, but now your customers can find them fast!
Just ten short years ago XM and Sirius Satellite radio blasted off their satellites and provided a zillion digital audio channels seamlessly across country. It was so impressive Howard Stern left broadcast radio, went to Sirius and sunk a ton of money into the company. Sirius and XM were locked in a competitive grip with each other, signing up car manufacturers and subscribers as fast as they could. Little did they realize they were in a double death grip – neither was the other’s true competition. The Internet, wifi and 3G were. Hello Pandora. Who is your Pandora? That question should be making you very anxious right now!
In the past departments working in silos would have been dealing with these issues separately: IT, new technologies; Marketing, new social networks; Executive Management, market commoditization — and NONE would have seen the unexpected competition coming!
Agile marketing (and the Zebworks framework) is a new way of working. Swift, independent, measuring results, refining and improving your approach as you move forward. But most importantly it demands cross-discipline teams and team members who not only want, but are HUNGRY to learn about each other’s disciplines. Technologists who want to understand marketing and business strategy. Marketers who understand the impacts of their fabulous ideas on technology and budgets. Executive management who know more than just enough to be dangerous when it comes to marketing and technology.
Working together and being Agile, they will not only see Pandora, they will know how to pivot to vanquish her!
The Agile Marketing buzz has been building. I thought it would be a good idea to provide some grounding in the hype. Here is quick agile marketing summary and a helpful guide for those of you who are interested in testing the agile marketing waters: Zebworks™, an agile marketing framework that is a practical guide for its implementation. (You can download the Zebworks Guide for free here.)
Marketing is the process of creating and communicating winning offers that profitably attract customer spend in an uncertain market environment. It does this by:
Shaping the market environment through innovation
Adapting to changes in the environment, and
Beating the competition
Freeling’s definition forms a springboard into the concept of Agile Marketing. Agile Marketing was developed to address our new changing marketing landscape. A landscape that is experiencing a head-exploding rate of change.
Agile, on its own, is a management process that dates back to the late 1980’s. And it is one that software developers embraced for the same reasons that it has become appropriate for the marketing discipline. Developers were faced with fast-paced change. By the time they completed their projects, using an orderly sequential methodology, their software products were no longer suited the needs of the customer.
The Agile Manifesto was written to address this environment and to change the way organizations functioned:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
And Scrum, the most well-known of the Agile frameworks for programmers, brought more shape to Agile. Written by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland it has become a proven methodology for software product development.
Customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy
Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns
The process of customer discovery over static prediction
Flexible vs. rigid planning
Responding to change over following a plan
Many small experiments over a few large bets
Though a bit repetitive and not as elegantly simple as the original, the Agile Marketing Manifesto makes its point: flexibility trumps rigidity. Validated data trumps opinion.
Theory is lovely, but how do we put this all into practice?
Zebworks was developed in 2010 by myself and the Camarès team. We are a marketing firm that has promoted technology companies for decades and as a result we had been compelled into highly streamlined workflows.
Zebworks was based on that experience as a framework for swift, sustainable a web development leveraging interdisciplinary teams. Highly pragmatic in its approach, Zebworks provided a sustainable approach to web development designed to withstand the chaotic Internet environment. It was delivered in 10 modules totaling 6.5 hours of in depth videos. Later, it came to light that many of the original Zebworks principals aligned cleanly with Agile.Zebworks has since been expanded to include marketing in general and refined as a framework for Agile Marketing.
Zebworks can be seen as “Scrum” for marketers, but with defined workflows and greater specificity.Being practitioners working in the marketing trenches, Zebworks is a direct out come of our work. It brings granular specifics and how-to information to the Agile process.
This Zebworks Guide is free and serves as an overview of the layout and process involved in Zebworks. Subsequent guides will provide further granularity on specific marketing, design and web development projects and workflows.