I just read an interesting article in Direct Marketing News about the proliferation of CRM systems, sales automation and marketing automation.
The hypothesis is given the increase in complexity and data, more companies are relying on technology and automation for their sales and marketing.
Gartner predicts the CRM market will be worth $36 billion by 2017.
Spending on sales force automation is projected to be $7 million in 2014.
Spending on marketing automation is projected to be $5 billion by 2015.
According to a study from the Harvard Business School, 95% of the typical workforce doesn't understand their company's strategy.
Based on my experience of working with more than 80 companies, less than 90% of management teams are in alignment with regards to the vision, mission, values and strategic positoning of the firm.
I'm a big believer in CRM software, sales automation and marketing automation.
However, I also know they are not a silver bullet. There is no "set it and forget it."
The implementation and use must be agreed upon, and supported by, the entire management team. And the software must be used on a daily basis by members of the sales and marketing teams to become familiar with it and understand how it can be used to help the company achieve it goals.
I think marketing automation software is a lot like learning a foreign language. The more you use it, the more proficient you become.
Before spending money on CRM and automation, make sure everyone is in alignment with regards to:
- Strategic positioning -- what makes you "different and better"
- The sales process
- The buying process
- When a marketing qualified lead becomes a sales qualified lead
- Does everyone understand why we do what we do?
- Is our brand story clear, focused and well defined?
- Do employees know "what's in it for me?"
- Are employees telling a consistent brand story to customers and prospects?
- Does everyone in the organization understand the importance of providing an excellent customer experience so customers will buy from you again and tell their family, friends and colleagues about you?