As we emerge from the recession, ISM’s best-in-class customers are reviewing their customer-centric strategies. Specifically, customers are ensuring that marketing + sales basics are in place and leveraging state-of-the-art technology to support marketing + sales basics.
Solid target marketing followed by sales follow-up is a proven formula. It starts with marketing personnel using simple data analysis tools to gain customer and market insights from transaction and other customer/market data your organization has compiled.
These insights help create targeted campaigns, which are launched from within your CRM system’s marketing campaign module. A well-done system implementation would link marketing and sales modules and make them accessible from the same platform. Using workflow tools provided by most CRM software vendors, targeted leads are automatically fed to the sales reps via the customer profile that is also housed within the CRM system. The result: Your reps have real-time awareness of marketing efforts that they can leverage during follow-up visits.
Assume that the customer responds well to your targeted marketing campaign and your rep secures new business. He would log the win into an opportunity management/order entry application in the CRM system. Marketing could immediately access your sales rep’s win, which is entered into your CRM system’s market campaign module. This closed-loop process is critical because, with this ROI insight, marketing personnel can evaluate whether to repeat this campaign type down the road.
Leverage State-of-the-Art Technology
Technology plays a key role as well. While there have been meaningful advances in both marketing and sales CRM applications (see our CRM software test results at http://bit.ly/f4LOFF), the most critical advances have come in gathering internal and external customer/
market information, analyzing it, and using it to optimize marketing and sales campaigns. Forget the days of shooting for a 3 percent response rate; with planning, expect response rates of 15 percent or higher.
At a global fashion and apparel client, we brought together demographic, lifestyle, wealth, and other data that offered insight into the buyer profile of the top 20 percent of the company’s customers. We noted two clusters, one buying almost twice as much as the other. Later we identified several characteristics that helped predict buyer behavior. Using that info, we sent targeted promotions to the top 20 percent of customers, whose purchases were below where the model predicted they should be. We then used the top 20 percent analysis to target customers in the lower 80 percent that displayed profile characteristics similar to the top 20 percent but were not buying at the level of the top 20 percent. Finally we used the top 20 percent buyer profile to target prospects and reduce acquisition costs.
We have since applied this model to the food services industry, where we captured external customer information for buyer profiles to determine the total volume potential of each customer/prospect. In fact, we have included trawling the blogosphere and appropriate social media communities for dialogues between the company’s key decision makers and the chefs in the kitchen of your favorite eatery.
We complemented this external information with customer transactional data to create highly predictive propensity-to-purchase models.
The next step: Upgrade or replace the food services company’s CRM system because it lacks integrated marketing and sales applications. Nor does it have a powerful enough workflow engine to move data seamlessly between marketing and sales personnel.
Is all of this effort worth your time? Yes, because whether you are in fashion, food services, or another business, winning companies have put into place processes and technologies that support the simple equation: marketing + sales + CRM = big impact.
Barton Goldenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president and founder of ISM Inc., a consulting firm that since 1985 has applied CRM, social CRM, and social media to successful customer-centric business strategies. He is the publisher of The Guide to CRM Automation (17th edition) and author of CRM in Real Time: Empowering Customer Relationships (Information Today Inc.).