The bond between marketers and technology is growing year on year. Getting the most out of your company’s CRM can help take your marketing strategies to the next level.

Customer support and sales have a well-defined space within a CRM system, marketing less so. This CRM Guide will help marketers cement their place within their CRM system, in turn improving their output.

How to Measure ROI More Effectively

Effective use of a CRM could offer you a way of quantifying your work, in a way that appeases your superiors and helps you measure your department’s ROI more effectively. Having access to your work’s results isn’t just beneficial for justifying your actions; it is also crucial for helping to recognise what you are doing right and wrong, allowing you to then alter future campaigns accordingly.

  • Dashboard
  • The most straightforward way of giving your superiors what they want, in terms of reports and figures, is to introduce them to the dashboard within the marketing functionality of your CRM.
    Modern CRMs such as Microsoft Dynamics offer easy to use, visual representations of your work.
    Graphs and charts offer a simple, jargon-free means of communicating the efficacy of your previous campaigns.

    For future campaigns, it’s worth taking note of these graphs for your department’s sake. Identifying which campaigns were more fruitful helps you pick and choose elements that made them successful.

  • Work with CRM – not against it
  • The first step to tracking ROI on your marketing efforts is to create a Campaign for every area of investment the marketing department would like to track. You can also track ROI by creating Campaign Responses related to your Campaigns. ROI is tracked when Campaign
    Responses from new contacts are converted to a Lead and, subsequently, an Opportunity.

  • Take advantage of all the information you have
  • With clear visibility of the outcome of your marketing activity, a CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics allows you to identify the work that generated the best results.

    Knowing what is working allows you to invest in the right places to help increase the return of your marketing campaigns. Whilst this is crucially important to proving ROI, don’t dismiss the information available on your less-successful campaigns. This insight can be just as valuable, allowing you to identify what didn’t work and why, and ensuring that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

    If you can easily leverage your data for rapid insights, you can make informed strategic and operational decisions. Real-time intelligence from your website can help ensure that you can surface the right campaign to the right customers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM help you to empower your sales and marketing teams with the appropriate intelligence to build lasting customer relationships.

  • Lead Source
  • Tracking lead source, a function offered by CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics, is crucial to effectively measuring your efforts. Identifying which campaign enticed a lead into your CRM can help you measure the worth of the lead, if and when he becomes a customer. Viewing it conversely is, perhaps, even more important.

    Knowing how many leads are brought in by one campaign or source, helps you accurately pinpoint the ROI of that source. Divide the cost of running the campaign, once again a figure you should have stored on your CRM, with the amount of leads produced from it and get your lead ROI for each campaign.

  • Track Lead to Customer
  • Having confirmed how many leads each campaign brought into your CRM, track these leads until they become customers. Sales will have continued to fill in the CRM details, meaning that you can track the revenue created from one of your leads. The revenue brought in divided by the cost of your campaign gives you your revenue based return on investment. It’s true that Sales will also have put some work in to get the sale, but the lead is a direct result of your work, and using your CRM correctly will help you prove this to your boss.

  • Reports
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM is capable of creating detailed reports to cover a variety of key metric variables, at the touch of a button. The Campaign Performance report functionality that comes as standard with the Microsoft Dynamics system pulls in campaign cost, budget, estimated and actual revenue as well as value of orders placed. This allows marketers to visually present and, most importantly, prove the ROI of their efforts to the board.

    The reports come littered with charts and pictorial representations to make the results easy to consume. In conjunction with the dashboard these reports can be created in real time, even if you’re currently mid-campaign.

  • Track ROI
  • CRM’s ability to accurately measure your department’s contribution in sales and profit could help to alleviate some of this pressure and prove your worth to the board. Minimising pressure in this way will undoubtedly help you think more creatively and give you the space to create even more engaging content, increase brand awareness and attract new leads.

    What’s more, the high level of analytics provided in a CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics means that you can accurately assess which customers are more profitable, which targets are at which stage of the buying cycle and even which customers have mentioned your business on social media. This, in turn, allows you to harness that information in your content, ensuring that it’s customer-focused and relevant.

Customer-Focused Innovation

Custom Content

Customers are beginning to expect custom content with ever more companies implementing using automation campaigns to deliver this. From a customer point of view, “78% of consumers believe that organisations providing custom content are interested in building good relationship,” and good relationships equate to better sales figures.

Using an adaptive CRM gives you the ability to do this.
Microsoft Dynamics has the power to allow you to segment elements of your database and in turn send more bespoke content to them via email. A shift away from sending out default content towards custom content to specific groups poses a more creative challenge for your marketing team.

Implementing such a model allows a marketing team to flex their nuanced understanding of the
English language by reworking subjects for different demographics – all the while providing customers with relevant, engaging content that cuts through the noise.

Refine your work

Having outlined how you can use a CRM such as Microsoft Dynamics to help create custom content and measure you contribution to your company, learn to use it to refine your work.

Microsoft Dynamics, for example, allows you to view how well email campaigns have played out. Valuable data such as open rates helps you measure the interest in a particular marketing campaign, allowing you to add elements that have been particularly successful whilst removing negative or neutral aspects from future campaigns.

Dynamics CRM also integrates with all of the most popular social media channels, giving you the edge when it comes to comparing data and gleaning useful insights.

Using the aforementioned data on lead source and source campaign in comparison with leads closed, you can begin to create a picture of your most successful campaigns and your most successful means of communication. Having compared your most successful campaigns, what traits do they share? How could you go about replicating this work to yield even more results?

It’s safe to say that the campaigns which have had the most effect on your company’s profits are those which have its pleased customers the most. Make sure that future content shares some, if not all, of these traits that made previous campaigns such a success.

The breadth of avenues that the right CRM can explore means that you can expand into new content platforms, which allows you to widen the sales pipeline. Even if this widening is simply on a temporary basis, a CRM system allows you to experiment with new avenues of marketing at a relatively low risk – and subsequently provide accurate data on the effectiveness of it.

Taking Your First Steps Towards Complete Automation

There are two major areas where the automation tools embedded within your CRM are of benefit; automating internal processes and automating your company’s marketing activity.

The list of benefits from having a fully automated CRM is staggering. Some of the major benefits include:

  • Continuity – This is beneficial both in aligning company departments and policies but also in the way that you deal with customers. Customers will become more comfortable as they become aware of the familiar uniform processes that underline all interactions with the organisation.
  • Minimise errors – If work is constantly carried out the same way, which is guaranteed by an algorithm, you should see a drop in human error.
  • Increase in productivity – Using the system to deal with smaller admin issues frees up time for your staff to concentrate on what they do best.

So how do you take the first steps towards a more efficient, productive – and profitable – workplace?

Establish Workflows

The ability to create workflows is built within Microsoft Dynamics CRM, covering both complete automated workflows as well as those controlled and manipulated by the user.

If used effectively, workflows can massively ease the burden for sales staff. No longer does your sales team need to know exactly where each of their leads lie within the sales funnel; workflows can be put in place to send alerts and reminders to users when leads reach a certain point in the funnel, signalling to sales teams that they need to take action. Workflows can also be used for the next step in the process with the development of detailed call scripts to keep your telesales staff clued up and on the right track during a call.

Basic & Complex Workflows

Begin by using basic workflows to automate basic processes, such as:

  • Emails automatically notifying your sales team that a lead has been created
  • Routing external emails regarding a certain subject to a specific member of your team

Previously, you may have had to manually forward these emails to relevant departments. Whilst this may not have been the most demanding of tasks, having to spend time doing so on a regular basis can quickly add up – and it relies on you remembering to forward that email in the first place. What if you don’t happen to have access to your emails? Or you’re off sick? Does that email simply sit in your inbox without any attention? Workflows take away that hassle (and fuss) in an efficient and effective way.

Moving forward, comprehensive CRMs tend to have complex workflows to boot. More complicated workflows help overcome more demanding issues, such as processes with multiple steps, splits and logical loops. Complex workflows should be put in place for relevant processes that require a significant amount of manual work to complete or regular attention.
They’re particularly viable for sharing lead data on Dynamics with third party software, especially if the information needs to travel back and forth from both applications.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation offers the chance for marketers to coordinate the release of their material with more precision and really harness the benefits of lead nurturing. Marketing automation adds a large element of personalisation to your standard email marketing by segmenting your database and allowing you to send bespoke content to specific people. Then, based on how receptive and engaged leads are, it continues to automate their following correspondence. It’s the next step in email marketing.

Microsoft Dynamics is currently leading the way in marketing automation-centric CRM systems, investing millions into creating a CRM that is more focused and friendly towards marketing users. Once you master marketing automation you will free up a considerable amount of time, previously spent on admin issues, to focus on the creative side of your role.

How to Overcome CRM Problems

More than once have we noticed that CRM adoption by marketer’s lags behind other areas of the business community. Many of our clients often mention the hurdles their marketing departments perceive, but it’s a trend that we can’t quite grasp. Having used our CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, for marketing purposes we now only see the positives in doing so.
So what are these perceived issues that prohibit marketers from fully embracing the technology and how can they overcome them?

High Failure Rate

Failure rate or poor ROI is a common complaint by companies. In large part, this is down to poor planning but that’s not to say it’s solely the company’s fault, your service provider should point out any potential pitfalls. A CRM can only work effectively if there is an adequate strategy in place and sufficiently trained staff to use it. Long before you decide on the CRM, or even supplier that suits your needs, you should outline where you see the CRM taking the company and how each department will benefit.

Further ways to minimise potential failure:
• Consult the department personally and help them visualise improvements by using a CRM
• Pick the brains of your supplier; it’s down to them to do all in their power to make sure that the implementation isn’t a failure.
• Many companies out there offer bespoke training for your marketing teams on CRM to guarantee better results.

Viewing CRM as a Technology Fix

Surprisingly often a CRM is brought in as a fix rather than as a change in processes. These systems have a lot of benefits and they will help you overcome many hurdles but they aren’t a short term technical fix. It is a change in your business mentality, a refocus that shifts all business processes through the system to monitor the pipeline of your entire company. To start with it will require you to put more in than you get back and work towards the long term benefits of the system.

Integration Issues

Quite often marketers find that their work is limited rather than honed, by their CRM. This is usually because of poor compatibility with additional software required to perform their duties. Once again this solution requires forethought; research several CRM systems to see which is best suited to your needs. If your content is largely created using the Office package and communications are heavily reliant on Outlook, it could be worth choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. MS Dynamics fully integrates with the Office suite and shares a similar UI, ensuring that you jump straight into your work.

Poor User Adoption

CRM Systems are famed for their ability to refocus companies and unite departments internally, on occasions when this doesn’t happen it’s worth observing the levels of user adoption. Even when marketing teams are keen to use the system it can be limited by other departments failing to contribute relevant data.

Ensure that all departments are sufficiently trained and happy to use the software, without other departments supplying sufficient data, Marketing’s output is going to be severely limited.

Suspicious Data

Are your marketing campaigns having less of an impact than you had imagined since you adopted a CRM? It may be worth questioning where your data came from. In an ideal world new leads entering your funnel would come from your own doing, but in reality this isn’t always feasible. It’s difficult to be self-sufficient with lead generation.
Have you recently purchased data? Was it from a reputable source? Although cheap data is…cheap, there is quite often a very real reason for this. Cheap data will cost your organisation more in the long run. This is particularly true if your marketing department is spending thousands on their campaigns only to have the resultant content sent to dirty data.
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