Anyone who knows about CRM management understands that clean data is profitable data. That said, a good marketing team should have at least one individual responsible for managing the data as it enters into the system. Below are quick tips these "lead catchers" can use to push leads trapped in the pipeline and maneuver them to a close.
Understand and embrace the sales process. Map out what happens when a lead is entered, where it came from, and how long before it becomes an account. Understanding this process will allow any marketing department to determine the appropriate touch points for this contact. Moreover, companies should integrate each step of the sales process into the CRM system to ensure optimal functionality in lead management -- otherwise, it can be very difficult to align the sales and marketing functions of the organization.
Look for habits. Habits are noticeable trends that can usually be tracked, such as the number of sales meetings necessary to close a sale, or the number of proposals needed to land a deal. Habits like these indicate the successes or stumbling blocks salespeople tend to experience throughout the lead lifecycle. A good CRM strategy encourages sales representatives to log their interactions with customers in order for management to gauge progress and clearly identify obstacles. Without a log -- especially if leads are not being properly tracked during a marketing campaign -- it is very easy to miss out on new business opportunities.
Encourage sales teams to provide status updates. Aligning marketing with sales is crucial. Marketing professionals should know what type of leads are in the pipeline and how can they help position those leads for the ultimate sale. Sales can contribute to this much-needed visibility by providing critical status updates on a prospect, such as:
- concerned about cost;
- shopping around;
- first-time buyer;
- waiting to hear from decision maker; or
- no contact 30 days after sales meeting.
Having the sales team update the status of every lead using clear phrases like these will help marketing tailor-fit programs that can influence leads to a close.
Create personalized marketing programs that sell value. Once marketing is able to gauge where leads stand in the pipeline, it can create more personalized messages. For instance, a lead flagged as "concerned about cost" might respond very well to an attractive direct mail piece extending a competitive offer or discount. In addition, the offer may include an expiration date to motivate prospects to respond promptly. Timing is critical when it comes to courting a prospect and when used effectively, the CRM system can help marketing be highly responsive to consumer trends and habits.
Track campaign effectiveness using CRM. Partner with a print company that is able to tie direct mail to e-marketing. There are commercial printing companies that offer clients an integrated solution that incorporates personalized URLs into direct mail campaigns. Personalized URLs allow marketers to cross sell to existing customers or prospects. In addition, the trackability of user visits to a PURL allows marketers to measure the effectiveness of a direct mail campaign. Marketers can even view detailed reports of the prospect's activity while on the site. It is also common for commercial printers to log the visits on the company's CRM system to ensure timely followup from the sales team.
Having a company-wide appreciation for CRM can lead to a competitive advantage, especially in sales and marketing. Oftentimes, however, these departments do not interact as much as they should, causing a gap in performance among two key sales generating departments. A good way to begin aligning marketing with sales is to evaluate the specific activities the two functions play in the organization: determine areas of opportunity that address poor communication, inconsistent followup with leads and/or customers, and inefficiencies found in the sales process. An effective CRM strategy can align both functions to ensure each plays an aggressive role in new and existing business development.
About the Author
Emmanuel Trenche (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the marketing and communications director for Rex Three, a commercial printing company headquartered in Sunrise, Florida. His success in aligning sales and marketing has been directly attributed to a proper CRM implementation strategy.
Please note that the Viewpoints listed in CRM magazine and appearing on destinationCRM.com represent the perspective of the authors, and not necessarily those of the magazine or its editors. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top.
To contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.
To subscribe to CRM magazine, please visit http://www.destinationCRM.com/subscribe/.
If you would like to submit a Viewpoint for consideration on a topic related to customer relationship management, please email viewpoints@destinationCRM.com.
For the rest of the September 2009 issue of CRM magazine please click here.