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Customer Relationship Management Tag

Your sales team has mastered the pipeline and opportunity management portion of your new CRM solution and sales have been on a steady increase for an extended period of time. Until recently. Sales have flat-lined with a very real fear they may actually start to show a downward trend. Worse yet, the marketing and sales teams are at odds with one another as to how to solve the problem. Apparently, in an attempt to keep up with the Sales team, Marketing has been flooding the sales pipeline with, shall we say, less than high quality leads. Marketing is frustrated that the Sales team is ignoring hot leads while the Sales team has all but given up trying to figure out which leads are worth following up on!

What happened?

Let’s take a moment to review the events that may have led to the above scenario.

A number of organizations implement a CRM solution due to the growing pains that often follow increased sales and the subsequent demands it puts on the sales and support teams. At some point in time, without streamlining and scaling the sales process, the stress and strain of the sales volume can bring a team to its knees. An effective CRM solution can bring standardizationautomation and increased visibility to the sales process which in turn can relieve many of the pain points and permit the sales team to focus their energies once again on closing sales.

The result? A new pain point; the Sales team needs more qualified leads, and the Marketing team needs a more effective way to nurture and qualify leads for the Sales team. If only there was a “CRM” for Marketing.

Enter Automated Marketing!

What’s the next step to improving the management of your sales prospects and increasing your lead conversion ratio? Streamlining and standardizing your marketing processes should be your next step to increasing not only the number of leads in your sales pipeline, but the efficiency of nurturing and the quality of those leads as well.

Automated marketing techniques have been around since the ‘80’s. The simple task of automatically inserting a name on an envelope or letter was one of the first, of many, mundane tasks a marketing automation tool performed. Today’s automated marketing tools do so much more than personalize communications. Wouldn’t you like to know that your emails are being opened? Or who is visiting your website, how often they visit, what they look at and how often?

Per our DPT mantra, before you focus on the tools you need to develop your Marketing Automation processes and strategy before defining which tool is the best part of your overall CRM strategy. Whatever Marketing Automation tool you use, your processes and strategies need to be integrated into your CRM strategy to enable your Sales and Marketing teams to work more effectively together.

Common functions include:

  • Outbound email communications
    • Create newsletters and email responses with ease and in coordination with campaigns and utilizing your CRM marketing lists
  • Web Analytics
    • Know who is visiting your website and which content they’re downloading or viewing
  • Web form management
    • Easy-to-Build web forms “Contact Us” and customer surveys
  • Lead nurturing campaign with automated scoring
    • Communicate with and score a lead based on a prospect’s activities (email opens, website visits, content browsed…etc.)

Much in the same way that your CRM has improved the effectiveness of your Sales team, Marketing Automation strategies and processes can help your Marketing team focus their efforts on nurturing a warm lead into a hot lead that any Sales team would love to follow-up on and close!

Having both the sales pipeline and Marketing Automation portions of your CRM actively working together will align your Sales and Marketing teams towards a common goal. At DPT, we can help you take the next step in enhancing your CRM solution by incorporating Marketing Automation processes and functions. Contact us to learn more.

Have you heard of the CRM Death Spiral? Maybe you’ve experienced it. Over time, people stop using CRM because it doesn’t work for them, the data isn’t meaningful, and they don’t have the training and processes in place to know when and how to use it. So they gradually stop keeping it up to date. When this happens, the reliability and usability of the data decreases even more, which leads to less confidence in the CRM solution, which leads to less use of the solution… and the cycle continues.

If you want to get your CRM back on track, or are wondering how to get started with CRM the right way, here’s a look at the top five CRM success factors to help you avoid the Death Spiral:

1.Don’t ignore user needs

CRM strategies are more likely to fail if compelling reasons for adoption aren’t provided to all users. For example, most sales people believe CRM is “big brother software” instead of a solution to help maximize their selling time and close more deals. Proper CRM strategic planning and design should provide obvious and clear value to the end users – to be more efficient and effective, AND to management – to enable better decision making.

2.Include people and process change factors

Many CRM projects that fail are driven by a “load the software, train the users, and we are done” mentality, which severely limits chances for success. This approach ignores the potential for users to revert back to past practices. Successful CRM takes a comprehensive approach that promotes user adoption, best practices, and continuous improvement.

3.Use the correct sequence

Selecting a software package first will lead most CRM projects right to failure. Likewise, defining processes and functionality before aligning the strategic drivers and measurements will also lower success rates. The proper sequencing of business strategy alignment, process standardization, requirements definition and tool selection is a key factor in determining success.

4.Define business metrics

“What gets measured gets done.” This philosophy applies to CRM via management of sales (close ratios), marketing (campaign ROI), and customer service (resolution efficiency). Without an accurate compass CRM projects can drift away from what is truly important. Properly tied to business drivers, metrics are the necessary feedback component that drives improvement.

5.Don’t eat the elephant all at once

Scope control is important. Well-intentioned projects can go awry with trying to take on the world or focusing too narrowly on a small piece of functionality. Use of proven Project Leadership techniques for effective scope, stakeholder, and resource management will increase the odds of success with CRM.

Let DPT show you how to avoid the CRM Death Spiral. Through our focus on success factors such as solid change management and project governance, DPT can help you drive user adoption, develop meaningful metrics, and build continuous improvement processes to provide real business value and engagement over time. Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your unique needs.

Comparing CRM and ERP solutions is like looking at the difference between apples and oranges. Depending on the business problem you’re trying to solve, it may make sense to pick an apple or an orange – or in most cases – both. While ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) standardizes and automates the back-end functions of a business, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) supports the “front office” functions by collecting customer information to grow a business through increased sales, higher retention rates, and better customer service. Essentially – while there certainly is crossover – ERP helps you run your business efficiently, while CRM helps you grow your business.

Why wouldn’t I just use the CRM module of my ERP or an accounting system add-on?

CRM and ERP require a very different approach to each strategy and solution. As with a car needing both an engine and transmission to drive, most companies need ERP and CRM to grow effectively – they serve different, but critically valuable purposes. Another way of thinking about the difference is how you sell and market your services as compared to the processes you use to deliver them. Each area requires different approaches, skill sets, techniques, and more.

Click to Tweet: “Most companies need #ERP and #CRM to grow effectively – they serve different, but critically valuable purposes.” http://ctt.ec/Nk2cS+

A good CRM strategy follows a “flexible processes driving technology” approach, whereas ERP typically comes with embedded predefined processes. Most cross functional processes utilize information from both systems. However, CRM is usually a consumer and producer of customer information, but ERP is typically only a consumer. The table below highlights a few of the other differences:

CRM ERP
Manages customer interactions and touchpoints Manages operational information
Benefits – Increased sales, service levels, customer acquisitions/retention Benefits – Lower costs, growth scalability, compliance
Primary interface for customer facing staff Primary interface for Operations staff
Requires flexibility to model complex customer relationships Requires high level of standardization for efficiency
Supports “Owning the customer experience” approach Supports efficient information management and access

 

Why do I need to hire a CRM specialist?

Sticking with the car analogy, if the transmission on your car goes out, do you go to a general auto shop or a transmission specialist? What this means is that getting the most out of your CRM means hiring someone that has specific CRM experience and approach to make it useable, provide value, and help your people see the need for using it. Most IT vendors and accounting firms trying to implement CRM the same way as ERP would be like hiring the general auto shop. Adoption is one of the biggest hurdles to CRM success – and ultimately, the ability to grow your business. Hiring the right CRM partner can make all the difference.

 

While most organizations recognize their need for ERP, they don’t necessarily see the need to have a separate CRM solution. As a partner to many Michigan-based companies, DPT helps evaluate your unique CRM success factors and create a solution that works. Contact us to start a conversation.