Chris Guido can talk CRM – anytime, anywhere! As Senior Business Software Consultant at Miles Technologies, Chris provides consultation and recommendations to clients across a wide variety of industries for improving business processes, company analytics and reporting, and software and technology optimization.Highly respected for his expertise, Chris performs advanced analysis of client business operations, identifying areas of need and implementing technology solutions. An Advanced QuickBooks Pro Advisor and SalesForce Partner Administrator, he works with clients to identify and implement packaged software solutions for improving the overall efficiency of business operations.
Focusing on his CRM (Customer Relationship Management) expertise, Chris provides project management and strategic business analysis to clients of Miles Technologies – deploying a host of successful projects and programs. Chris always stays cutting edge on the latest CRM technologies while engaging project stakeholders in a truly collaborative experience.
So, what are the big CRM trends Chris is all over these days?
Let’s find out!
Chris, what are the biggest trends currently in CRM – and what are CMOs most looking to achieve with CRM today?
One of the biggest trends that is starting to come to the forefront is the necessity for cohesiveness between the marketing team and sales team. The collaboration between these two teams is vital in understanding what is working, what is not working and how marketing and sales efforts can be improved.
CMOs need to gather feedback from the sales staff to understand whether they are targeting and capturing QUALIFIED leads, that is leads that are worth pursuing and provide the largest return on investment as it relates to marketing expenditures. A CMO wants to know if they are spending money on the right campaigns, marketing through the correct channels (email marketing, Social Media, Adwords, etc.), and they want to understand whether or not they are attracting buyers appropriately to products and services.
The other significant trend that is showing up is the ability to instantly access and produce valuable data. Data analytics is becoming more and more prevalent for all businesses and is becoming its own area of expertise. The ability to dig through data and identify trends and themes provides valuable insight to today’s marketing efforts. CRM applications and many other analytics tools are becoming available for marketers to utilize. These utilities allow users to dig in and get their hands dirty with all of this information. A major benefit is that these tools are able to provide ad hoc reports that can be produced with a simple click of the button rather than going through and manually compiling data.
How can businesses optimize mobile CRM and social CRM in their marketing campaigns?
As the technological world continues to advance and the demand for instant access to information increases, businesses must be prepared to embrace this rather than shy away from it. When exploring your options for choosing the appropriate CRM application, both mobile access and the platforms that it can glean information from are crucial to consider.
Regarding mobile access, this has become more of requirement than a ‘nice to have‘ feature. Sales staff used to travel with notes and business cards with critical information regarding their prospects and customers. Now they travel with smartphones, tablets and laptops. With the ability to immediately access data comes the expectation that they should be able to instantly access data. Many developers of CRM applications are becoming increasingly aware of this and are either providing completely web-based applications or web-based components which tie-in to their CRM database.
One major piece that is often overlooked when choosing a CRM application is whether those sites are responsive and work well regardless of which type of mobile device you are utilizing. Having a web-based CRM system is all well and good, but if it is difficult to input and access data then it will be less likely to be utilized. Having a responsive CRM application that is easy to access and simple for data entry will accelerate adoption and increase usage.
Regarding social media, it isn’t going anywhere and is becoming more and more prevalent in the marketing world. They all provide paid ads and are a great opportunity to get in front of millions of potential customers. A CRM application that can capture information from social media and track key pieces of information can be an extremely powerful tool. In the earlier days, users were much less likely to click on those “You could win a million dollars” banner ads. As the interfaces have changed those ads have become more welcoming and have noticed a significantly increased click through rate from the past. Do not ignore social media in your marketing and sales processes; business owners have LinkedIn, marketers have their own Twitter accounts and accounting staff use Facebook. As of 2012, 33 percent of users currently follow a branded social media account. That was over a 100 percent increase from 2010.
Neglecting metrics? Ignoring user requirements? What are the biggest CRM mistakes impacting businesses today?
There are two major mistakes I see many business makes regarding customer management:
Take advantage of those leads you get. Businesses pay a lot of money for each lead that comes in the door and it is foolish to let those slip through your fingers. Between paying for marketing efforts, such as Adwords, marketers salaries, content creation, and paying for sales staff each of those leads costs a pretty penny. To not fully nurture those leads can be extremely detrimental to your own pockets. It is critical to ensure that you have a crisp sales and lead nurturing process in place. Prospects and customers in the past typically expected a response within one business day. If that is still you’re philosophy then you are in trouble. A recent poll indicated that 33 percent of consumers now expect a response time within 1 hour (9 percent expect it within 5 minutes!!). I presume this number will continue to increase. If a prospect does not hear back from you quickly, they may have already moved on to the next vendor and you have lost that lead. A CRM application will ensure that you are able to implement processes to streamline the handoff, responsiveness, and to provide pricing in the most timely manner.
Not taking advantage of your current customer database. There is a gold mine in the customer database you have already built up. By analyzing the purchasing trends and habits of your existing customers you may be able to identify additional areas for cross selling, upselling and reselling to them. This can benefit your marketers efforts greatly and assists in identifying many new potential opportunities.
Three-quarters of CMOs believe that marketing will undergo fundamental changes over the next five years. Yet 79 percent of those responding to the 2014 CMO Insights Survey from Accenture Interactive do not feel their company is prepared for the digital shift. What are your thoughts?
Prepare, prepare, prepare. The most successful companies out there have knack for forward thinking, and not dwelling on the past, what worked yesterday, may (read probably) not work tomorrow. Take a queue form some of the largest companies out there, Google, Amazon, Apple. They continue to evolve and try new things. They have their failures, but they ultimately have learned from them and have adjusted their approach. But one thing that is common is that they perform their research and execute or reassess their approach. Small and medium size business can do the same without the billion dollar budget. Talk to you peers, see what other business like yours are doing, view demos of new applications and marketing approaches. Knowledge is an extremely powerful tool and will provide you with a leg up in the advancement of marketing efforts.
How can marketers ensure that their business is delivering an effective customer experience?
Your most valuable feedback comes from the one person that matters most – your customer. With the advent of social media and the exposure that it provides, you can now gather valuable information regarding how your customers feel about your company and products. If you are not utilizing social media (and you should be), you can always utilize a customer survey request as well, but either way you should be getting feedback and input from your customers. This allows for two things. The first is the ability to truly understand how your customers feel about your company and products. This should not be dismissed, and don’t just pay attention to the positive and ignore the negative. Remember, one bad review cancels out 10 good reviews. The second is that it allows a company to put a personality behind their business name. Customers resonate with a company and are much more likely to buy from them when they feel like they are working with other human beings, and being treated as such, rather than just another sales figure.
CRM systems have largely evolved independently of other enterprise systems such as ERP and business intelligence. But with more and more data being required for customer analysis and the repercussions of error rippling across the organization, CRM can no longer stand alone. What are your thoughts?
This is true, CRM has always been somewhat of an afterthought to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems and CRM systems typically do not concern themselves with all of the other applications a business is using. This can no longer work, your customers are an integral part to your business – obviously. They tie in with just about everything that your business does: Accounting, Inventory Management, Marketing, Collections and so on. What is the purpose of keeping these systems separate?
When identifying applications, and this really applies across software applications, it should always be explored as to whether these systems can be integrated together or housed under a single application. Many of the old concerns included thinking such as ‘Well I don’t want John Salesman having access to critical accounting data‘, or ‘I do not want Sally Marketer getting access to inventory information.’ The truly powerful applications will allow for segmentation of user roles and grant access to only areas of the system that they need. When considering a CRM and ERP, and any other software applications, always consider the totality of the application and not just the sum of the parts.
Ah, one of my favorites and one I am truly a sucker for at the moment! As someone who grew up in the golden age of video games and competing for high scores this is a really cool marketing effort that is increasing the use of websites and applications. Gamification is the concept of providing users with a rewards or a trophy for completing a defined task or set of tasks, and really, who doesn’t like having a shiny trophy to show off to people. Gamification can be applied in a number of ways such as checking in at certain places, purchasing certain items, referring a certain number of people and the list goes on.
Marketers can really be extremely creative with this approach and has provided many existing companies with a significant rise on customer growth and site activity. This approach takes advantage of a person’s inherent nature to want to feel accomplished or reach a particular goal. People take pride in this as it is typically a very high motivator for most individuals. In short, people like to be rewarded for the effort they put forth. The term gamer goes well beyond the video game realm and can be an amazing approach for marketers to attract and maintain customers.
When it comes to CRM, some brands are finding that content can be four times more effective than a traditional marketing campaign. These same brands are driving content niches that they feel they can own – sometimes even in niches that may have little direct relation to the products they market. Companies that are leading in content include Nike and Red Bull. Do you agree that content is driving CRM strategies?
That is a really good point. Old marketing methods used the ‘hey, look at me and my products’ approach. I believe that many consumers do not like this and feel as those you are attempting to force your product upon them. Consumers like the idea of choice and free will. This is where strong content comes in to play. Allowing people to search for you is a skill that comes with practice and can be a valuable asset. With the constant bombardment of information and incredible access we have to information today, searches are being performed – it is critical that your business shows up when people are searching. There were 1.2 trillion Google searches in 2012, yes trillion!
Getting relevant content out on the internet is extremely important. We have new stories and current events every single day that people flood to and are then gone in an instant. Being able to quickly produce content as it relates to something important that is going on in society or your industry can provide a massive swell of site traffic and new prospects – if you time it correctly. Every day I think about what is going on and what I am searching for and what I imagine others are searching for too. You should do this as well and think about content pieces that can be quickly produced and published for public consumption, as content is an integral component in effective online marketing and CRM strategies.