By: Barton Goldenberg
As we emerge from the challenging 2008-2009 recession, ISM’s best-in-class customers are beginning to spend time and money reviewing their customer-centric strategies. Their goal is ensure that proper customer-facing business processes and technology are in place to drive new sales and secure long-term customer loyalty. There are two areas these customers are focusing on: ensuring that marketing + sales basics are in place and leveraging state-of-the-art technology in support of marketing + sales basics.
Ensure that Marketing & Sales Basics are in Place
Good target marketing followed by solid sales follow-up is a proven success formula. It starts with your marketing personnel utilizing today’s simple data analysis tools (well, actually not enough of these tools are simple) to gain valuable customer and market insights from transaction and other customer/market data that your organization has compiled (more on this below).
These customer/marketing insights help your marketing department to create campaigns that target the right product/service to the right customer that get created and launched from within your CRM system’s marketing campaign module. In a well thought-out CRM system implementation, both marketing and sales modules are linked and accessible from the same CRM platform. Using workflow tools provided by the most CRM software vendors, marketing campaign “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 now have real-time awareness of marketing efforts that they in turn can follow-up on during their customer calls/visits.
Assume for a moment that the customer positively responds to your targeted marketing campaign and your rep secure new business. Your rep next logs this “win” into their opportunity management/order entry application that is contained within their CRM system. Because marketing and sales are on the same CRM platform, marketing has immediate access to your sales rep’s “win”, and via workflow this win automatically enters into your CRM system’s market campaign module that is set up to track the ROI for the marketing campaign. This “closed-loop” process is critical to marketing personnel because based on this ROI insight they are able to more easily evaluate whether or not to repeat this type of marketing campaign in the future.
Leverage State-of-the-Art Technology
Needless to say, technology plays a core role in this marketing + sales scenario. While there have been meaningful advances in both marketing and sales CRM applications (see our CRM Software test results) , by far the most important advances have taken place in gathering internal and external customer/market information, analyzing this information and putting it to use to optimize marketing and sales campaigns. Gone are the days that a company launches a marketing campaign with the hope of achieving a 3% response rate. With proper planning, response rates of 15+% have become the norm.
At one of our global fashion and apparel customers, we brought together meaningful demographic, lifestyle, wealth and other information that offered deep insight into the buyer profile of their Top 20% customers. We modeling the Top 20% customer group and noted two clusters, one purchasing almost twice as much as the other. Upon further examination, we identified several key characteristics (e.g., at what point in a new collection the buyer made their purchases) that helped predict buyer behavior. We used this information to send targeted promotions to Top 20% customers, whose purchases were below where the model predicted they should be, to drive new sales. We next used the Top 20% analysis to target customers who were in the Lower 80% that displayed profile characteristics similar to the Top 20% but were not purchasing at the level of Top 20% customers, again to drive up new sales. Lastly we use the Top 20% buyer profile to cost-effectively target prospects and drive down acquisition costs.
All of this marketing + sales information moved automatically through the retails store’s CRM system to their sales reps located in company stores, who received this information in easy-to- read dashboards. To date, the results of this well-executed marketing + sales + CRM have had a BIG impact on this company’s top and bottom lines.
We have since taken this repeatable business model to the food service industry, where once again we have been able to identify valuable external customer information to create meaningful buyer profiles and to determine total volume potential at each customer/prospect. In fact we have gone one step further to include trawling the blogosphere and scrapping meaningful social media community dialogs that are taking place between the this company’s key decision makers– the chefs in the kitchens of your favorite restaurant. We complemented this external information with customer transactional data to create highly predictive propensity to purchase buyer-behavior models. The next step: either upgrade or replace the food service company’s CRM system since at present the company’s CRM system does not have integrated marketing and sales applications nor is does it have a powerful enough work flow engine to move data seamlessly between marketing and sales personnel.
Is it worth your time to go through all this effort? Yes, because whether you are in the fashion business, in the food service business or for that matter I any other business, winning companies have put into place processes and technology that supports the simple equation: marketing + sales + CRM = BIG impact. Isn’t now the time for your company to embark on this proven path?