Growth Insights for CEOs

CRM and Marketing Automation Role in Day-to-Day Business

Posted by The Chief Outsider

What's In It for Me?

How many times have we all heard the following questions about a new initiative – “What’s in it for me?” “Why do I have to change the way I am doing things?” “I am already successful, so why change what isn’t broken?”

These types of questions tend to arise in greater frequency whenever an organization is looking to establish, modify and/or automate business processes and obtain better decision-making data. Having been at the forefront of driving this type of change, it is important to note that gaining organization buy-in for “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) is critical to success.   

During one of my most recent leadership roles, I had responsibility for developing and implementing a CRM strategy across the business. One of my first days I heard all about the challenges and the why nots but never about the reason why the business had actually made the decision to pursue such a strategy. What daunted me even further was the fact that one of the C-level executives told me to steer clear from this initiative so that it didn’t leave any negative impact on my reputation. I took this challenge head-on (with a twist), as I am not one to shy away from a difficult challenge, plus the company had already made a significant investment in the CRM strategy.

To maximize buy-in and usage, I had my team re-orient its approach to this effort and establish all of the WIIFMs for each of the key constituents in the following order: Account Managers, Sales Leadership Team, Business overall and the Marketing team.

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence to Drive Business Actions:

  • Pipeline management
  • Closed/won and lost business for trending and key insights
  • Easy access to key information for pre-call preparation
  • Key business metrics for dashboards and other business reporting
  • Single view to all customer relationships across all locations and product lines, including servicing and marketing (acquisition, nurturing and cross-sell) contacts
  • Task management for billing issues, credit management, lead generation and servicing issues, to name a few…

Once we were able to demonstrate that there was value at all levels of the organization, (Read more Driving CRM User Adoption -- the Carrots and the Sticks) additional work needed to be undertaken to make the system usable, as most systems are cookie-cutter in nature:

  • Making it easier to use
  • Alternating ways to enter data that fit the nature of the AM process flow, e.g. mobile, VR
  • Trusting the quality of the data
  • Integrating it into the day-to-day business processes -- both a home run and a challenge as we integrated Salesforce (SFDC) into our proposal/ pricing management systems. We couldn’t risk slowing down this process as pricing in our industry is extremely time sensitive.

Some were quick-hits. Others required a bit more time and resources. As each of these initiatives was delivered, every part of the organization began to rely upon the data coming out of SFDC to help drive the business forward. 

Feedback Loop

  • Pipeline management
  • Goal discussions amongst the sales team
  • Competitive opportunities and threats
  • Based upon actual won/loss data including pricing, not just anecdotes
  • Market share and growth plans, lead generation/ cross-sell performance results

As these business decisions began to materialize, it was clear that we were ready to take the next step in our CRM journey -- extending it to Marketing Automation. As the B2B buyers' process changed, it was important that we provided relevant and differentiated content throughout the buyers' journey – marketing automation enabled us to have greater throughput to support and enable the Sales effort to nurture the buyer during their decision-making process with a multi-touch approach.  Historically this had been extremely manual and cost intensive. Marketing automation systems help to provide streamlined processes, greater insight and automated differentiated actions based upon buyer interactions and profiles, leveraging SFDC and our customer-facing website.

Marketing Automation helps to put the face of the company back in the hands of Sales, while Marketing does all of the work, ensuring high quality leads are provided in a streamlined and
cost-effective manner.

Marketing AutomationRead More about Marketing Automation and Key Elements of Good Marketing Automation. It helps mitigate the gap in the middle of the funnel, where B2B customers have expressed some level of interest but not taken action to solidify a relationship with a company – historically too difficult to address due to the manual nature of the process.

Initial implementation provided us with tools, templates and analytics that needed to be integrated into our day-to-day processes, similar to the initial foray with SFDC. We are now able to deliver a greater amount of targeted programs to smaller segments throughout the buyers' journey with differentiated content and positioning – and the results are bearing fruit.  Key consideration: Identify a dedication CRM/Marketing Automation administrator who knows the ins and outs of the systems – let them take the lead in working with the rest of the organization on the content.  

Start maximizing your resources -- people and marketing investment dollars. Improve your operating efficiencies through new tools and techniques – determine the best tool based upon your business needs.  Remember you don’t need the tier 1 version to yield the best result for your business. Now get rockin’. 

Topics: Marketing Automation, B2B Marketing

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