June 25, 2010
Marketing Effectiveness with Microsoft CRM
Whether your company has a mature CRM program fostering growth and managing relationships or your company has recently decided to add a CRM solution to support your business model, we are finding that customers are starting to increase their focus on marketing capabilities. Microsoft CRM provides users with a great starter set of tools for everything from managing marketing campaigns, to building dynamic marketing lists, to tracking and analyzing the productivity of your efforts. I am not going to write about the individual feature sets within Microsoft CRM for marketing, but instead I am going to focus on some guided stages to ensure marketing success when coupled with an effective marketing management solution.
At their basic cores, Marketing and Business Development, work to ensure that your brand awareness is high, prospects and customers are educated on your offerings and your sales teams have a steady flow of potential business to win. Marketing departments work to cover as many customer touch points as possible - this often includes outbound marketing efforts like email marketing, direct mail, print or television ads, social media communications and trade show attendance. All of these activities are meant to drive customer interaction to your company –through your website, an inbound sales phone number or a social media forum. The vast majority of these touches are designed to gather information about potential revenue targets. Another evolving area of marketing is social media and its impact on brand awareness management. This topic in and of itself is a rather complex and ever evolving set of processes to be discussed later.
The success of most marketing efforts is based on an individual interaction’s ability to achieve an end goal. For example, in an email marketing effort, the end goal may simply be to inform your potential customers about your brand or introduce a newer, better version of a legacy product to your existing customer base. In the example of the new product introduction, there are many steps to this process. We will walk through the business processes to manage this type of a campaign while mindfully visiting a successful CRM roadmap for marketing success.
Step 1 - Determine the Marketing Effort
Before you do anything in any CRM application, you need to understand your marketing effort and the desired goal or direction. This likely includes the scope of the effort, budget, start and end dates, expected response or success measurement and who is the target. In Microsoft CRM, the out-of-the-box Campaign Management functionality is a good place to start. You can find numerous articles and posts on how this functionality works in Microsoft CRM. Microsoft CRM is a great tool, out of the box, to track these efforts - including strategic direction meetings to content task definition, ownership and review.
While Planning Tasks allow you to track, manage and maintain the campaign direction and planning execution, Campaign Activities outline the tactical execution of the marketing campaign. These activities include email communication execution and scheduling phone calls for account managers. Again, there are numerous places to understand the unique uses for each of these items. One key component to marketing campaigns is marketing lists. All of the time spent within the organization to build and maintain your CRM database comes into play at this point. The Advanced Find functionality is a key component of marketing list creation and administration. Be sure to spend time working with and understanding the intricacies of Advanced Find and the subsequent marketing lists. These skills are required to communicate with your target audience whether that is through email, direct mail or voice.
One additional item to take into account when planning your campaign relates to effectiveness. It is important to spend time documenting what will constitute a successful campaign. Be sure to address success metrics like response rate, budget, leads cost versus pull through or many other analytical items. You should ideally put yourself in the position to know if a campaign has been successful. If you have expectations that an email marketing campaign is going to have a 15% response rate, be sure to capture that metric up front. You have a lead generation marketing campaign that targets a specific set of unqualified suspect records in your CRM database. It is important to know the source campaign of an opportunity (pull through from the lead to a qualified sales opportunity). Be sure to differentiate lead or contact record source campaign tracking for a lead versus the pull through of a lead to an actual sales opportunity.
Once you have identified your marketing efforts, campaign tactical steps, target audience and success metrics, you are ready to launch your campaign. The basics of marketing management are achieved with the out-of-the box functionality within Microsoft CRM. You can extend the information you are capturing at the various points, which is not a difficult extension to perform. In the next article, the topics will include different integration options to bolster your Microsoft CRM marketing management - like email marketing, social media and web analytics.