5 Ways A Converged CRM Can Support Your Marketing Efforts
Gone are the days when customers get impressed by bloated product features and gimmicks. This is the age of the customer. Customers now have a myriad of options and can influence a company’s success in a matter of seconds. Now, more than ever, it’s essential for businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors and keep a clear line of communication with their customers – relationships are key.
According to Forrester, customers are looking for a complete and effortless customer experience. Considering the fact that marketing is the first introduction of the customer experience, it’s essential to align your marketing strategy to with the desired outcome – a great customer experience.
Implementing the right CRM is half the battle when it comes to providing an excellent customer experience. There are many CRM solutions on the market – silo applications, pre-“integrated” applications and then there are the converged applications.
You may be wondering what the difference is between the different type of CRMs. The difference is HUGE depending on your business needs.
Silo applications only give you a piece of the pie – for example, some silo applications only include the sales automation piece. They package is together and call it a full-featured CRM when in actuality it’s only a piece of the pie. Then there’s the pre-“integrated” CRMs that put bits and pieces of different acquired CRMs together, package it up and call it a full-featured CRM. Problem is – the usability issues take years to fix because the application took different modules of other CRMs and put them together (they don’t have the same behavior and thus make it harder for you to use). Also, many times it’s still not the whole CRM they’re selling you (not the original promise of a CRM).
Then, there’s converged.
Converged CRMs deliver on the original promise of what a CRM was originally supposed to do – one single system to manage all departments. They streamline customer data from all touchpoints into a centralized, easily accessible, common repository. Converged CRMs can help you implement a killer marketing strategy because they’re customer facing but still have strong backend for you to be able to manage your process flow and automate your campaigns.
Here are 5 ways a converged CRM can help you with your marketing efforts:
It Can Create A Phenomenal Customer Experience
According to Aberdeen Group, nearly 150 million emails are sent every minute. Out of which, two-third is considered to be spam.
In such a scenario where customers are overwhelmed with marketing messages, you need to ensure that you send relevant and properly-timed offers. They need to be conversational and not spammy in nature.
Take a look at your customer base to figure out which marketing message might work best. Typically, customer data is stored across multiple siloes.
Marketers spend countless hours trying to tie customer data together from multiple overlapping databases which often have error-prone and out of date information.
As a result, marketers run campaigns based on inaccurate and incomplete customer data. Marketers promote products and services that customers already own or would never buy. They also send duplicate emails which further aggravate the situation.
Customers don’t want to respond to meaningless noise and simply hit the unsubscribe link. Ouch!
These plights are avoidable when you get complete and accurate customer data from ONE platform. And that’s precisely what converged CRMs do. They provide a full picture of each customer that enables you to create innovative, highly personalized offers that grab attention immediately and don’t get lost in the crowd.
All your marketing campaigns have higher conversion rates because they:
- - Are built considering customer’s preferences
- - Are properly segmented based on customer data
- - Are received by the right person at the right time -- marks the beginning of an engaging customer experience.
It Can Help You Make Decisions Based On In-Depth Analytics
Silos of information limit what you can do as you have a constricted view of customer data. Even after running some of the best designed campaigns, you’re left clueless about how to proceed further.
For example, you compile information and run a campaign. Great! But what’s next? How do you know if that campaign was successful? What are you basing your decisions off of? Some questions that would need to be answered are:
- How did the campaign perform?
- Should a similar campaign be run again? Or something different? If yes, then what should be the new concept?
- Which customers should be targeted? Same set or different? If different, how should that be decided?
In spite of developing highly segmented and personalized campaigns, you may not know how to proceed further.
The real concern comes after the campaign has ended – what should happen now?
A converged CRM lets you run marketing campaigns from within its platform. And just for that additional advantage, it provides real-time analytics to help you understand the performance of all your campaigns. With a converged CRM, your marketing team can track:
- - Number of email recipients
- Number of people who’ve opened the e-mail
- Number of people who’ve opted out
- Number of people who’ve clicked on the link
- Number of invalid e-mail id (if any).
This rich information fuels marketing intelligence and visualization. For instance, you can evaluate your campaigns to truly understand customer behavior. You can strategically answer the following questions:
- - Which campaigns were most preferred by customers?
- Which type of campaigns triggered the customers to buy?
In other words, your team can understand which series of promotional events and interactions resulted in conversions. Undoubtedly, these crucial insights empower you to develop highly segmented and personalized campaigns in later stages, which result in higher conversion rates.
Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns
Converged CRMs offer multiple broadcast mediums to further increase your chances of engaging with your customers. Here are some of the broadcast mediums offered in most converged CRMs:
E-mail marketing: You can send engaging emails to your contacts. From monthly product updates, newsletters and special offers to personalized follow-up emails – you can send it all. You can choose from a set of pre-defined templates or use the editor to customize the email templates specific to your requirements.
FAX Marketing: You can use fax to connect with your customers and prospects and send time-sensitive coupons and special promotions. You can create, personalize, send and analyze fax campaigns from within converged CRMs without ever touching a fax machine.
SMS Marketing: SMS is one of the fastest growing and most popular marketing methods. Text messages are likely to be opened within just five minutes of being received and are highly effective for reaching out to customers. You can run SMS campaigns through converged CRMs for limited-time contests and coupon promotions.
Voice Broadcast: Through converged CRMs, you can send out personalized and interactive voice broadcasts. You can create voice messages promoting specific products and services; upload a spreadsheet with the targeted phone numbers into the software and the CRM will do the rest of the job.
Social Marketing: You can use all social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for relevant promotions of their products and services. Whether it’s tweeting about a new offer or posting a promotional message about the products, you can do it all without having to separately log into your company social media profiles.
Through converged CRMs, you can build and run campaigns across different channels to increase the chances of bringing in more leads. Further, you can measure the campaign results to acknowledge the most fruitful ones and identify those that need improvement.
You can analyze and compare customer behavior across multiple channels, build a customer-oriented marketing strategy across all channels to provide consistent offers and experiences, and build valuable customer relationships.
Nuclear Research has reported that 95% of companies experience two main benefits from marketing automation:
- - Increase in marketing staff productivity by 6.9%
- Increase in sales productivity by 4%.
This shows the need for marketing automation. Converged CRMs offer marketing automation functionality which you can use to streamline and automate lead generation, lead segmentation, lead nurturing, lead scoring, cross-selling, up-selling, and more. This helps you increase productivity and revenues much faster.
There are many standalone marketing automation platforms on the market. However, they’re just a piece of the pie – a silo application.
Why invest in a standalone platform when converged CRMs offer the marketing automation piece along with many other features that help you run other parts of your business and connect all departments together?
You can automate all types of campaigns through converged CRMs and experience conversion rates as high as 50%. Consistent usage of marketing automation within converged CRMs provide three core benefits:
- - Streamlined processes
- Increased productivity
- Increased revenues
Marketing automation combined with a converged CRM allows you to connect the dots across all promotional campaigns – past, present and future.
Marketers strategize and run different campaigns to attract prospects.
As you know, customers usually don’t buy from you the first time around – they have to know, like and trust you first, this takes time.
Consumers do comprehensive research and thorough evaluation before they buy anything nowadays, especially premium-priced products and services.
According to Gleanster Research:
- - Only 25% of leads generated are ready to buy
- 50% of the leads generated are qualified, but not ready to buy right now. 80% of them plan to buy in the next 24 months
- 25% of the leads generated are totally unqualified and won't ever buy
With that being said, lead generation is the first half of the job for most marketers while making them nurturing is the rest of the task.
And this is precisely where lead nurturing comes into play. It’s the process of developing relatioships with prospects to make them move from interest to action (purchase).
Converged CRMs simplify the task of lead nurturing. Using a CRM, you can study customer behavior and preferences, listen to their feedback at different touchpoints, provide the information they need while establishing and nurturing relationships.
Targeted email marketing is the most successful way of nurturing leads.
Statistics suggest that targeted lead nurturing emails get 4 to 10 times more response rate compared to other marketing campaigns.
Converged CRMs allow you to plan out the 5 stages of lead nurturing along with the associated content for each:
You can send top-of-the-funnel content that introduces the company, its offerings and aims to build interest within the leads. In this stage, leads determine if they have a need for the product and service or not.
You can send content that provide more detailed information about the brand and its products and services. This could include product USPs and features. Demos and free trials of product/service can also be offered.
Leads evaluate the pros and cons of dealing with a company and surf for alternatives to decide which one is best. You can send out content focused around the company, its key strengths, principles and awards and recognitions.
By this stage, leads are almost prepared to take the plunge and want reassurance of the product/service quality. Customer testimonials can be sent as they validate the quality of the products and services.
You can share guides about best ways to use the product/service. You can inform your customers about new product/service offerings and increase revenue with up-sells.
Great customer experiences start and end with great marketing.
Successful marketing campaigns need to be based on the complete customer view.
Using converged CRMs, you can not only connect to customers but also create more meaningful, one-to-one experiences to encourage them to move to other stages of the buying cycle.