Customer Relationship Management is pointless with customers. Getting customers is the result of two efforts: Marketing, to generate interest, and Sales to close the deals. We have previously discussed how CRM manages Sales; in this post, we will explore how CRM can help with the first step: Marketing.
We talked about Leads previously; basically leads is a big bucket of contacts, that may, or may not, be prospects for your stuff. There are two things you need to be doing with the Lead bucket; trying to fill it, and trying to empty it. So how do you keep this bucket full? The first thing is to keep the bar low at this level. We will develop a process for qualifying later, for now we want everyone we can get into this bucket. Pour in every lead you have from your various contact lists, spreadsheets and other silos. Make sure your website is properly setup to have any leads that fill out contact forms, etc., automatically added to the lead bucket. Pick up a card scanner (they are cheap) and scan every business card you have, and collect in the future, into the bucket. Go export your LinkedIn contacts and suck them into the bucket. Exchange contact lists with people you work, but don’t compete, with. Join some organizations and get their member lists or go buy some lists and pour them in. Whew! Depending on the size of your organization, you may consider a dedicated person, whose job is to fill this bucket.
Like I said, emptying this bucket is just as important as filling it, but let’s start by organizing it a bit first. Okay, so we got a full bucket of who knows what. Depending on the sources we probably have varying degrees of information for each lead. For some we have a lot of data, for others, maybe just a name and email, or phone number. We need to sort these into some groupings in order to act on them appropriately. Dynamics CRM handles this task with Marketing Lists. You can create as many Marketing lists as you want, and Leads can be associated with multiple marketing lists.
For example, Horatio comes back from the Atlanta trade convention with a fist full of cards. He creates a Marketing list called “Atlanta Convention”. He scans all these leads into CRM and associates them all with this list. Let’s say that of these leads, some are private companies and some are government. He creates two more lists, “Private” and “Government” and further associates the appropriate leads to each. Horatio can get very particular if he wants, he further creates two more lists called “Large” and “Small” and further associates the appropriate leads to each of these. Note that, once these lists are created, they are available for all to use, so he may not have had to create them if they already existed. Think of your list of Marketing lists as “Attributes”. You can apply multiple known attributes to your leads. Why would you want to do this?
When you start to “Qualify” these Leads, you may be using several methods, but in any case the message you use will be different depending on the attributes of the lead. What you may want to convey to a large government lead will probably be significantly different from what you might want to say to a small private lead. Using the advanced filtering capabilities of CRM, this is a snap.
For example, let’s say Horatio wants to send a monthly newsletter to his leads for top-of-mind awareness and to pave the way for a future phone call. As he starts drafting his newsletter, he quickly realizes that is going to be quite lengthy in order to cover all of the bases. Plus his newsletter may result in the appearance of his company as an EIE. An EIE is an “Expert in Everything”. Most people do not believe in the concept of an EIE, and even if they did, they would prefer to deal with an EITB, “Expert in Their Business“. So instead of one lengthy newsletter, how about a couple of shorter ones. Horatio creates one newsletter for “Government” and another one for “Private”. He then creates two more Marketing Lists: “Government Newsletter” and “Private Newsletter”. Horatio can go into the advanced filtering of CRM, identify all of the Government leads and associate them with the “Government Newsletter” list, and likewise for Private. Multiple newsletters are pretty easy. It may be that 80% of the content is the same, but 20% is unique. You can get as granular as you want; maybe you want to create 20 targeted newsletters; great, create 20 newsletter lists, search your leads by “Attributes” (other lists) and add the targets to the right newsletter.
This process for newsletters can work just as easily for direct mail campaigns, outbound calling, event invitations, Christmas cards, or anything else you may be doing to get your face in front of your leads.
Like every other aspect I have written about so far, this post only scratches the surface of the Marketing features. Hopefully it peaked your interest. In the next post we will step outside of the box into the word of XRM.