Best Practices for Marketing Automation in CRM

November 27, 2012   //   Customer Relationship Management, , , ,

Many businesses have deployed a Custom Relationship Management or CRM System. At SWC, we host events focused on helping our customers choose the right CRM system for their businesses. Our expertise is in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com. We know that customers drive your business and choosing the right CRM system can profoundly affect an organization’s profitability and growth. Once you choose a CRM system, there are many ways to customize your solution so that it can effectively manage the customer lifecycle, from marketing to sales to service. This blog will focus on some of the best practices for utilizing your CRM system for marketing automation. In this case, we will define marketing automation as using customer analytics and marketing modules to help drive attendance to webinars, training, and offline events. To learn more about this topic, please read my latest article in Destination CRM or join me for my next event.

When using your CRM to drive attendance to events, defining your target audience and market should be your first priority. That will determine how you build out your database. Your database of accounts and contacts is critical to your success. Take a very pragmatic approach to building it out. CRM is the house for accounts and contacts, but you must also define appropriate attributes to accounts and contacts to ensure your messages reach the right audience. Your CRM solution should allow you to configure account and contact records – creating custom fields to attribute and categorize these records. However, avoid over doing it with custom fields. The definitions of these attributes must hold legitimacy over time.

Now that you know your target audience and can identify them in your CRM system, you can create messages for specific audiences. Is there a pain point your audience faces that you wish to address? Are you offering a new service for the industry they serve? Your message should be crafted in a way that is appealing and resonates well with your target audience. Once you have crafted the perfect message, you need the means to create and deliver that message. Most CRM solutions focus on delivering the foundational tools for managing marketing, sales and service. Advanced functionality such as marketing automation tools can be plugged into your CRM to create highly visual and compelling campaigns. Combining your CRM with a marketing automation tool allows you to segment your audiences and send different messages for different audiences – even if the intended end result is the same. For instance, if I want to drive attendance to a CRM event, I could create three different messages – one for marketing leaders, one for sales leaders and one for service leaders. The end result is to drive them all to attend the event. However, each message is a little different, and tailored to peak their interest and compel them to act – or register and attend my event. SWC uses SalesFusion, but several other tools are out there to meet your needs, Marketo is another popular tool to connect with Salesforce.com.

There are many additional CRM functionality features that can be employed to derive even more value from your CRM investment. For example, workflows can be created to notify your sales reps if their contact registers for an event, thus prompting a follow up sales call. Notifications can also be created when opportunities are created from events. Integrated dialers can be customized for outbound lead generation teams. This is another “delivery mechanism” for attacking your target audiences. With a few simple clicks, your inside sales team can quickly call upon your target audiences with your targeted messages.

The final component of the marketing automation message is reporting and analytics. Basic reporting has improved in most CRM tools to allow you to track campaign spend, opportunities created and revenue generated. With this data, the marketing team can now calculate the ROI of their campaigns. They now know what works and what needs to be improved – tracking the effectiveness of the database (contact lists), messages and overall campaign. Even more powerful reporting can be enabled by combining CRM data with other external sources, like creating a cube in a business intelligence (BI) tool.

To learn more about Customer Relationship Management, please join us for our next Chicago area CRM event.