If a CRM tool is on your holiday wish list, this post is for you.
We have worked with quite a few marketers who don't have access to one of the most important tools available to them - a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. CRM software helps track prospects through the process of becoming customers, and customers through your relationship with them as they grow from first-time buyers to (hopefully) lifelong super-fans.
With a CRM, you'll know how, when, and how often to communicate with these folks.
But without access to a CRM, marketers too often spend a lot of money broadcasting to a mass audience that isn't necessarily the one they're targeting. They fail to capture information about the folks who are interested in their product or service. And they don't have a good way to follow up with those people and maintain a healthy relationship over time.
And what's really frustrating is when an organization has implemented an expensive CRM tool, but they've limited its access to their sales people - cutting off their marketing department.
How can we begin to change all this?
If you're a marketer, this post is designed to help you make the case that you need CRM support - whether it's funding to implement a tool or access to a tool someone else in your organization is already using.
Step 1: Ask yourself a lot of questions.
How are you capturing leads right now? Who's coming to your website, and how often? Who's opening your emails, and what are they clicking on? Who's filling up their online shopping carts with your stuff, but abandoning the cart before they can pull the trigger on a purchase?
What are your customer segments, and how are you differentiating your marketing messaging to them? How are you onboarding new customers? Do you have a loyalty program? If not, would you like one, and how will you manage it? What about former customers? Do you have a way of trying to get them to return? How about customers who are dissatisfied? Do you know who they are, and are you reaching to them to make things right? What about people who showed interest in your product at one point, but the timing wasn't quite right? How do you know when the timing might actually be right? Do you remember to stay in touch with them?
Think about your customers and potential customers, and make a list of all the possible questions you can come up regarding your relationship with them.
This will be your grounds for building a business case around a CRM tool.
Step 2: Organize your opportunities.
Take a look at the list of questions you developed. Organize them by three buckets - immediate revenue opportunities, possible later potential, and threats to business. For example:
Frequently abandoned shopping carts are immediate revenue opportunities.
One-time interest with bad timing are possible later potential.
Dissatisfied customers are threats to business.
Step 3: Build a business case.
Now that you've bucketed your opportunities, work with your sales managers, IT department, e-commerce folks, and finance teams to estimate a dollar figure for each one. This will likely require analyzing multiple data sets in order to develop an educated estimate. For example, your e-commerce team may know how much revenue is lost in abandoned online shopping carts, while your IT team may be able to pull a data set of former customers and their annual spend.
This process may be frustrating*, but it's the most critical step in determining a business case for CRM support.
Once you estimate a dollar figure for each opportunity, you'll be in a good position to make a case for why you need the support of CRM software. But first, you need to show how a CRM tool will help you capture those opportunities you've mapped out.
Step 4: Create a marketing plan.
For your biggest opportunities, develop a plan for leveraging them.
Is it a win-back campaign soliciting former customers with an email offer? A digital campaign re-targeting those shopping cart abandoners? A lead-nurture newsletter series using relevant content so that those once-interested prospects remember and trust you when they're ready to buy?
You're a marketer. This is where you shine.**
Step 5: Pick your tool.
Now that you have a business case and a plan, you're ready to find a CRM tool to help make it happen.
Some common solutions include Hubspot (you're reading this blog on Hubspot!), Salesforce, and Marketo. There are also countless industry-specific CRM tools for fields like healthcare and financial services. Also worth noting is that - depending on what you're trying to accomplish - your email service provider may be an effective tool in place of a traditional CRM.
But before you do a ton of research, be sure to ask around inside your organization to find out if colleagues in another department are already using something. It's sometimes the case that the sales team is using a CRM, but the marketing team doesn't have access.
Not sure where to start?
You can contract with a consultant to help you find the right CRM solution, or you can DIY your research. CRM companies will certainly not charge you to talk to you about their product capabilities, though keep in mind they have a natural bias when it comes to making a recommendation. Most marketing agencies and tech companies will not charge you for making a CRM recommendation, though they may want to pitch you later on implementation or running campaigns.
Step 6: Win your case.
Regardless of how you come to the decision, make a decision about the right tool, figure out the pricing for it, and then present your case to the powers that be.
At this point, it's up to the higher ups to pony up.
But since you've told them with a dollar figure how much the organization stands to benefit, and you already have a plan in place to make it happen, you're in a great position to get what you want.
We can totally help you do this.
*Remember that part about it potentially being a pain in the you-know-what to figure out how much the company stands to benefit from each of your opportunities? Well, data insights like this are totally our jam. Give us a call and we'll do the heavy lifting on this part.
**Although you're a marketer and totally fluent in building marketing plans, you may not have the time or expertise to generate a particular type of program (such as an onboarding campaign or a lead-nurture). Want some help? We do this all day long and would be thrilled to help.