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There seems to be a lot of buzz around CRM software and marketing automation. If you aren’t really sure what the difference is, or why you are being told to use your CRM software as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll want to read on.

Traditional CRM software focuses on sales, while marketing automation software focuses on marketing. Okay, you probably already figured that much out. So let’s delve in a little further. CRM traditionally tracks customer information such as name, address, email, phone number and purchases along with complaints or calls for customer service.


On the flip side, marketing automation software streamlines and automates the marketing process and then provides tools to measure the success. Marketing software stores similar information such as names, address, email, phone number, etc. Marketing software lets you follow a prospect’s activities at the top of the funnel. For example, when they opened an email, visited a website, stopped by a social media site. Marketing software also lets you schedule your marketing campaigns.

The goal of marketing automation is to foster leads and prepare them for the sales team once the lead reaches the bottom of the funnel. This is where most companies begin to track the interaction with the prospect who is now a customer, using CRM software. Now when the sales team speaks with a customer they see a full picture of whom that customer is thanks to the profile that’s been built.
CRM software can become part of your marketing strategy. Most CRM packages will integrate with marketing automation software. Of course, you will need to do your homework to find the best blend for you. Newer CRM programs are also being released with a marketing component built right into them, which is the perfect scenario.


By integrating your marketing with your CRM, it provides some powerful information. Now the sales staff knows a lot about this prospect before they ever have made their purchase, which sets them up to better do their job. In addition, integration allows the tracking of the entire time in the pipeline. Depending on the product(s) being sold this can be a slow process. Knowing all of this helps to better determine the success of a particular marketing campaign and whether changes need to be made. You can also easily determine your ROI, which is important.
In today’s hi-tech world, your CRM and marketing software should be fully integrated if you want to really have a streamlined approach to sales.

Social Media Changes CRM
For tech watchers, this is pretty big news. CRM Software supports are quickly acquiring startups that allow businesses to comfortably manage significantly more social media platforms, as well as, a variety of platforms.

Oracle has purchased Vitrue to aid in the managing and publishing of social media campaigns. They’ve also purchased Collective Intellect to aid in the monitoring of social chatter. Salesforce.com, a strong CRM contender purchased Radian6 a sentiment tracking company. The list goes on. The question is why the big shopping spree and why should you care?

It seems industry experts believe that the next five years are going to be key for chief marketing officers, who will spend a huge amount of money on CRM systems that will integrate social media. This is great news for any business that isn’t running around with a seven-figure technology budget. Early game players referred to as Social CRM adopters are setting the stage for much smaller companies who have limited budgets to be able to adopt these new method fast and within their budget. In addition, it will be without the problems that have troubled CRM programs in the past.
Traditional CRM is integrated to make life more efficient and faster customer service within an organization and its departments. It’s designed to increase profits, improve customer service with faster resolutions and many other benefits.

However, when CRM programs are not executed properly they can actually they can actually make a company look very bad. Anyone who has received a mailout that’s supposed to look personalized but the name is spelled incorrectly or duplicates are received, knows that a company’s customer service attempts are far from personal. Another great example is the automated telephone answering system that annoys customers to no end. Yes all of these things lower your costs but at what cost to your customer service end?

Traditional CRM systems turn people into data and that’s a problem. Relationships become rules of engagement and that’s an even bigger problem. Technology can’t be empathetic, which is what’s driving CRM companies to integrate with social media.
75% of American consumers use one or more social networking sites, which provides the opportunity for 24/7 exceptional customer service, smart branding, and endless opportunities to manipulate the consumer in your favor. A company’s data power increases exponentially. It’s adding an entirely new dimension to CRM and that’s exciting.

For years, CRM has been one-sided communication and now that social media is becoming an integrated part of CRM the opportunity for two-sided communication is a reality. Its smart business and those who jump in early will really benefit.

Take Advantage of CRM Marketing
For many small businesses, it can be difficult to develop a solid marketing campaign. First, it is cost prohibitive. It is also difficult to manage. As a result, small businesses tend to ignore strong marketing, which ultimately results in a loss of profits and revenue. CRM marketing automation solutions can change that, because now you can have precision marketing and get results, on a budget that you can afford.

CRM marketing allows you to develop marketing campaigns that target a specific group based on your customer history. You can quickly and easily send out email campaigns on promotions that are time sensitive or you can send out newsletters. You can also track your marketing expenses in real time. CRM marketing lets you focus on the quality of the leads you generate so that you increase your ROI.

Using CRM marketing you can target your market activities and define what your success metrics will look like for each campaign. Marketers know how important ROI is, but without accurate data, it’s next to impossible to accurately calculate your ROI. Now you’ll know and you’ll be able to adjust accordingly.

Because of the improved email marketing, you will have the opportunity to create dynamic templates that are interesting and effective. You can easily scrub your mailing list so that it is always accurate. Setup emails that comply with the CAN-SPAM act and schedule mass email campaigns to go on a desire schedule. It’s that simple. You’ll never again struggle to reach your customers.

In addition, CRM marketing lets you track the performance of your campaign(s) so you can easily make changes. You can track on a number of parameters, which give you the flexibility to see what you need to see. You can access this information online or create reports for upper management. You can also present that information in your report in a dynamic fashion so that management can quickly grasp your successes. This makes it much easier to ask for a bigger marketing budget, when they can clearly see that the ROI is good.

CRM marketing is a powerful tool that is often overlooked or underutilized. The information that is available to you in your CRM database creates a powerful profile of who your customer is and it makes it easier to target new customers along with your existing customers. This is especially true if you take advantage of social networking and begin to incorporate that information into your CRM marketing. Don’t miss out on a powerful way to increase the effectiveness of your marketing.

How to Automate Your Marketing Campaigns Using CRM
One of the most underused tools in marketing is the CRM system. Many companies are running anywhere from a handful to thousands of campaigns at one time and each must be managed. There can be campaigns to sell a new product, there can be campaigns for new customers, there can be cross selling, and the list goes on. Trying to manage multiple campaigns that are all different can be time consuming, even when it’s just a handful. The error rate is also high and sometimes it’s virtually impossible to manage.

What makes things even trickier is that successful campaigns need you to be able to have access to all of the information at one time, not have to pick and choose from various places. These campaigns can become very complex and so the best way to take care of them is simply to take advantage of your CRM system.
A CRM system that is well run can help you run smoothly, improve your marketing campaign response rate, remove most of the challenges, and improve your ROI.

Target Market
You will be able to target your market with ease. Select candidates based on purchases, demographics, responses to a survey or any other way you want. Choose one or more criteria to include to pull your marketing campaign recipients right out of your database. Targeted marketing is always far more effective at bringing people into the pipeline than just random marketing.

Manage Execution
Even the best campaign will not do well if you cannot systematically execute it. CRM can help you to track your campaigns on a real time basis so you know exactly what is going on at any time. It can help you to maintain a schedule for your marketing campaigns and you can even set them to automatically launch. Using the CRM system provides you with all the necessary flexibility to be successful with your campaign.

Follow Up in a Timely Manner
This is a very important step and yet marketers often fail here. An automated marketing system can follow up for you at the preset date and time ensuring your potential customers receive the second part of your marketing campaign.
With CRM, you have the ability to track the status of every single lead. You know whether you contacted them in a timely way, what the outcome was, where they are in the pipeline, whether they actually made a purchase. The information is all there. Having the ability to see the effectiveness of your campaign through the entire sales cycle is a powerful tool that far too many are overlooking.

Let Your Inbound Marketing Plan Define the CRM You Choose
CRM products aren’t new; they’ve actually been around longer than the web was used as a business tool. The first CRM software was called ACT and it dates to 1987. Fast forward to now. CRM products have many additional features have been added including a number of features borrowed from automated marketing products. Some of these technologies overlap, while others compete. Senior management is constantly bulking at the idea of having to buy both CRM software and marketing software, so rather than asking for both why not let your inbound marketing plan define what you look for in a CRM option.
Inbound marketing is all about the use of search technologies combined with content marketing to nurture the best prospects and attract them to what you have to offer. For some companies this is a complete change in their selling approach.

The time has come to reinvent your sales process. Finally, your sales process can be prospects that are broke down based on their areas of interest and other information they volunteer. As you nurture this relationship, their content path will constantly provide you with more information discretely and on a real time basis. You can now spend less time prospecting and more time closing sales.
As you rebuild the way, you take care of sales you may discover that Lead Relationship management can be much more valuable in achieving your goals than Customer Relationship management, so when you go to buy CRM software you should choose a system that emphasizes this. Because rather than focusing on tracking purchases and the communication that follows after, you want to be able to focus on their interaction on your social media sites and websites and the situational and attitudinal information that they provide in exchange for the relevant content you provide.

Once you know what direction you are headed you can find CRM software that will play nice with your marketing automation needs and the need for multiple software packages can go by the wayside. You might be surprised to learn that you will not have to spend a fortune to get marketing functionality. Of course, it will depend on exactly what you need. There are a number of providers so make sure you do your homework in-depth.
By knowing what it is you need and how you visualize it integrating with the sales database, you’ll not only choose the best CRM software, you’ll simplify the process and make access to data from leads and customers readily available.

Incorporate Current Marketing Channels With CRM
CRM software plays an important role in many companies, but a major advantage in your marketing awaits you, when you use a completely integrated approach with your CRM that includes making use of the various technology components to track, improve your customer data and your customer service.
Social media platforms should play a key role in your CRM marketing strategies as they offer a completely new source for customer data, and marketers should be adding them to their CRM databases.

Not only has social media given companies access to a multitude of levels of information about potential customers, it also offers a new way to reach your customers that is acceptable and encouraged by social media users. What many companies don’t realize is that it will also have a significant impact on the way that B2B companies reach the market.
Having the ability to track behavior, such as what users click on, the websites they visit, what they like, etc., allows marketers to create a ‘digital’ profile and adding social media to your database will give you insight that you have never had in the past. You will quickly learn what the consumer likes, what they trust, and what they focus on.

As a marketer, it is imperative that you focus on incorporating those results into your database so that you can form a ‘big picture’ of the consumer and your customers that will allow you to easily target the perspective customers.
Most companies are already using social media themselves. Depending on the size of the account will depend on how many social networks they participate in, but it’s common for a large company to manage more than 100 different social media accounts.
B2B companies struggle more with social media. They must merge social interaction with their fundamental practices, which can be challenging. They must also measure social media to learn the channel value. There are customers who might complain on social networking platforms, yet never lodge an actual customer service ticket. This technology allows you to grab that customers name and actually deal with the complaint that otherwise you would not have known about. It builds good customer service and good branding.

All of the information gathered in social networks helps to build a better picture of your buyer. This information is helpful throughout the selling cycle where marketing is targeting potential buyers of your product. There is great potential here when used properly.

CRM and Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most powerful types of marketing you have available to you, so it’s important to get it right. If you currently are not taking advantage of email marketing then you are missing out on sales. However, we understand there are limited hours in the day and too much to do and so without the right tools you might find taking on an email marketing campaign just too daunting. This is where your CRM can play a key role in your marketing campaigns.
Through your CRM software you can create custom marketing campaigns that target specific customers. The more detailed the information in your customer profile the more beneficial it is to you when it comes to lean targeting. Email marketing using CRM is simple and easy to set up. Plus you can automate the process so it automatically sends out on specific dates. It seamlessly integrates with your CRM and allows for easy follow up as well.

If you want to grow your list, use it in conjunction with web forms. Your email marketing campaigns can take on many forms. It can be a newsletter, and introduction to a new product, a promotion for a specific period and more. Be creative here.
You can create themes based on the marketing campaign. In your newsletters, you can track links that the recipient clicks and collect other valuable information that you can enter into CRM. Targeted email campaigns are the most effective, but how well you can target your market is solely dependent on how well the customer database is maintained.


In the earlier days of creating email marketing campaigns, don’t be afraid to do a couple of small trial runs to make sure everything goes as you expect. There’s nothing worse than have a glitch that goes out to all your customers and then you having to backtrack. Today’s customer is impatient. They want the information they receive to be as concise as possible and they certainly want it to be accurate. You’ll annoy them with glitches and inaccurate information, so get it right the first time.

You can also take advantage of email reporting that can tell you about bounces, deliverability, click through rates, opens, and much more. These detailed stats can help you to determine how successful your campaign was. This information can be used to determine ROI and it can also be used to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your marketing campaign.

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