A Great CRM Is Critical For A Great Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Jul, 06, 2016 @ 09:07 AM



Moving forward I believe successful companies will positively differentiate themselves versus the competition by providing an outstanding customer experience. Zappos started the trend online and Amazon was smart enough to acquire them and learn from them. Ritz Carlton continues to lead the way in the brick and mortar world.

The key to providing a great customer experience is by giving everyone in your company a 360-degree view of the customer - their wants, their needs, what they've bought from you in the past, what they've returned, what questions they've asked, what issues they've had.

In order to provide this holistic view of the customer, you need a customer relationship management (CRM) database that captures this information and lets your employees access it in real-time. 

The benefits are myriad:

  1. It's a great central repository for all of your customer data that all of your employees can access and update across all devices.
  2. All team members can see what actions have taken place with a particular customer in the past and know what actions need to take place in the future based on your sales process and customer relationship management process.
  3. All team members can see all of the interactions with the clients enabling them to provide more relevant help thereby making the customers' lives simpler and easier.
  4. Your CRM can be integrated with calendars and marketing automation software for appropriate follow-up after the sale or lead nurturing marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads.
  5. The CRM provides real-time metrics so you can see where prospects and customers are in the sales, post-sales follow-up, or problem/resolution cycle.
  6. You can scale your business in an organized way. In order to do so, everyone needs to be encouraged to keep the data clean and up to date.

Having worked with a number of companies over the course of my career, it's interesting to see the lack of emphasis put on the CRM, its adoption and use, and the cleanliness of the data, given that it is a keystone to providing an outstanding customer experience.

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Tags: outstanding customer experience, customer experience, CRM, customer relationship management

Questions to Ask When Evaluating Marketing Technology

Posted by Tom Smith on Sat, Feb, 27, 2016 @ 09:02 AM



Having evaluated and implemented a number of marketing technologies over the course of my career, I've compiled a list of questions based on an article in Marketing News on the questions you should ask vendors before and after buying any sort of marketing technology.

Hopefully you'll find some of these questions useful as you are evaluating an implementing different martech solutions.

Before you buy:

  1. What’s the integration level required? What integrations are required? Do you integrate with other marketing and sales tools?
  2. Who’s responsible for customer success? Who will my contact be?
  3. Are our mutual long-term goals in alignment?
  4. Is your solution a point solution or a platform suite?
  5. Does your staff understand marketing (or community or knowledge management)?
  6. How long have you been providing this solution and for whom?
  7. What are the top three significant advantages you offer versus the competition?
  8. How will you help our business meet our objectives?
  9. If I were to randomly call three of your client, what would I expect to hear?
  10. Can you help me translate my data into customized and actionable content?
  11. How vast is your platform and are you nimble?
  12. Do you support omnichannel campaign management and execution?
  13. Can I test site functionality like new releases and search algorithms?
  14. Do you provide strategic advice for optimizing our digital business?
  15. How much of my testing program can I automate?
  16. Do you provide a scalable, flexible marketing database that my team can control?
  17. Do you provide an automation or orchestration engine to drive behavior-based individual interactions?
  18. How strong are your multichannel marketing capabilities?
  19. Does this technology help me achieve a comprehensive view of my customer beyond digital marketing?
  20. Is the technology scalable? Can you scale and adapt to my business needs?
  21. What is the track record for innovation?
  22. What are our core marketing objectives and KPIs?
  23. Will your marketing cloud give us a clear view of our customers?
  24. How flexible and agile is the marketing cloud?
  25. What percentage of your clients are using your technology or services for more than two channels?
  26. Can you help me augment my data to create a deeper customer profile?
  27. How can your offering take what we’re doing today to the next level?
  28. How much control will I have over changing search results?
  29. What kinds of analytics and actionable insights does your site search platform deliver?
  30. What types of content can I include in a search experience?
  31. Do you understand my business?
  32. Can I rely on you for data expertise?
  33. Is your system flexible?
  34. How clearly does your solution correlate to revenue or other KPIs? How will your platform help me prove ROI?
  35. Are your analytics predictive, prescriptive or explanatory?
  36. Where does your methodology tap into human curiosity and intuition?
  37. Are your services answering the right questions and solving the right problems?
  38. What are the actual outputs from the analytics and are they clearly actionable?
  39. What should a marketer consider in a virtual commerce platform?
  40. What’s your product roadmap?
  41. Do you offer solutions that provide full call attribution, as well as ways to proactively convert callers into revenue?
  42. Do you offer a full platform to all aspects of the call?


After you buy and implement you might have these questions:Is 24-hour support available?

  1. What are your training options? Can I get more training?
  2. Who will be our account manager?
  3. Do I have the right functionality?
  4. Can my team fully use the power of the technology or do I need to access outside support?
  5. How can we further leverage this technology?
  6. What should I be using that I’m not? What’s the best feature that nobody uses?
  7. Who is my primary support contact?
  8. When is your next webinar?
  9. What’s your ability to provide cost, operational and campaign efficiencies?
  10. How comprehensive is your campaign reporting, measurement and attribution solutions?
  11. How do you keep pace with updates to digital print technologies and data-driven marketing?
  12. How many metrics am I keeping track of per test?
  13. How much site latency is my test adding to the customer experience?
  14. What parts of the customer experience am I not testing? Why?
  15. What are you going to do to ensure that I’m successful with your platform?
  16. What programs do you have to get me started?
  17. What ongoing programs do you have to keep me current on new product capabilities and industry trends?
  18. Am I putting the customer at the center of everything I do? Are we putting the customer first?
  19. How can I integrate data-informed actions and decisions into every step of the marketing process?
  20. How can I work to ensure that agile marketing practices are part of my company’s DNA?
  21. Are we measuring success across the entire consumer journey, both offline and online?
  22. Is our marketing department accepting of a data-driven culture?
  23. Are we achieving test results and extending insights to other teams?
  24. Can I store data from multiple channel in a single source?
  25. How does your technology integrate with other tools that inform omnichannel strategies?
  26. Do you offer strategic consulting, support and services that help to make the most out of my investment in your technology?
  27. How much revenue am I getting out of my search box?
  28. What are my colleague’s best practices?
  29. Is my algorithm effective?
  30. Are we able to deliver relevant content at the right time?Are we failing enough?
  31. What are my blind spots and how does data illuminate them?
  32. How will I make sure I focused on the right questions?
  33. What barriers to action do I face internally?
  34. How do you continually improve analytics results?
  35. Are we prioritizing data-driven insights when executing marketing campaigns?
  36. Are we using analytics in every way we can?
  37. What do my customers care about?
  38. Do we offer easy distribution points to non-social channels?
  39. How can we pull in all of the images that depict our products, as opposed to just consumer images?
  40. Are we tracking call extensions?
  41. Are we optimizing multi-location technology?

What am I missing? What other questions should we add to this list to help others?


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Tags: CRM, marketing automation, marketing technology

10 Ways Marketing Automation Benefits IT Companies

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Oct, 08, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

marketing automation in information technology







I've been using marketing automation since 2009 when I went through HubSpot's Inbound Marketing University and became convinced of the benefits of inbound, content, marketing in conjunction with outbound marketing.


Here are the 10 benefits I've found using marketing automation:


  1. Save time by creating campaigns and posts ahead of time and schedule them for a time, event and target persona in the future. This ensures the right message is being delivered to the right person at the right time.

  2. Provide personalized, targeted relevant information of value. If I know what you are looking for and am able to provide the answer to your question or a case study that addresses your situation, I'm simplifying your buying process and your life.

  3. Improve marketing staff efficiency. One employee can create complex and ongoing campaigns that can connect with many more customers of prospects than is possible to do manually.

  4. Improve marketing operations efficiency as you define and document processes, technology, best practices and measurements so that you are constantly refining and improving rather than "reinventing the wheel."

  5. Ensure consistent messaging across all channels (traditional, digital and social) with regards to content, time and branding. This is critical since consistent messaging builds trust, while inconsistent messaging breeds confusion and distrust among customers and prospects.

  6. Access detailed reports on the performance of each campaign across each channel so you know what's working and where improvements are needed.

  7. Field A/B tests on different elements of your marketing campaign including -- subject lines, from addresses, primary messages, images, offers and calls-to-action. One marketing automation platform even enables you to execute A/B/C/D tests.

  8. Score and nurture leads so you can differentiate between marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs). This enables you to continue a lead nurturing campaign with MQLs while the sales team pursues SQLs.

  9. Learn more about your customers and prospects via progressive profiling whereby you ask them to provide additional, relevant, information based on the information you have already collected in your CRM. This is also a great way to ask customers and prospects to verify the information in your CRM which atrophies at the rate of 33% per year.

  10. Improve business results per the Aberdeen Group: lead conversion up 107%, average deal size up 40%, team attainment of quota up 20% and forecast accuracy up 17%.
IT companies are the most aggressive users of marketing automation.
It's easy to see why with the benefits they are realizing.
Is you IT firm using marketing automation?
Not sure, which platform is right for you and your team? 
Give me a call and I'll help you identify the right platform as I've done for several other firms.
Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: consistent messaging, CRM, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, MQL, SQL, marketing automation, integrated marketing, call to action

How to Nurture Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Leads

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Sep, 04, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

lead nurturing








I've worked with a lot of companies that are driven by sales, and only sales.


If a lead doesn't express interest after one of two calls, the sales person deems the lead to be poorly qualified, gives up and moves to the next.


There are a lot of studies showing how many touches a company must make with a prospect, before the prospect buys.


It takes patience and a good CRM to implement a lead nurturing program that will help you maximize the close-rate of the leads you've worked hard to acquire.


It's important to grade leads based on the buying cycle of your customer.


To know the buying cycle of your customer, map all the steps your customer goes through before buying your product or service.


Once you've mapper the buyer's journey, share it with several customers to make sure you aren't missing any steps.


As you learn how your customers evaluate and buy your product or service, you'll also begin to learn the difference between a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL).


Once marketing and sales have agreed on the lead scoring that differentiates an MQL from an SQL, you will want to develop a lead nurturing program to help convert MQLs to SQLs over time.


Here's what a lead nurturing program could look like that results in 16 touches over the course of 12 months:

  • Month 1 = weekly touches (4)
  • Months 2 – 4 = 2 touches per month

  • Months 5 – 12 = 1 touch per month


Prototypical schedule of touches:

  1. Month 1/Week 1: Letter or video (no more than 90 seconds) from CEO or V.P. of Sales sharing a story why we believe our product or service is right for the prospect.
  2. Month 1/Week2: Dimensional mailer with case study exemplifying a problem your product or service has solved.
  3. Month 1/Week 3: Email flyer on how others have benefited from your product or service.
  4. Month 1/Week 4: Snail mail article reprint from industry publication validating the success of your product or service.
  5. Month 2/Week 2: Email flyer answering the most frequently asked question for your product or service.
  6. Month 2/Week4: Snail mail flyer/postcard answering the second most frequently asked question.
  7. Month 3/Week 2: Dimensional mailer with another example of a problem solved.
  8. Month 3/Week 4: Email flyer providing educational information about how your product or service has been used to simplify a customer's life.
  9. Month 4/Week 2: Email video testimonial from earlier adopter (no more than 90 seconds).
  10. Month 4/Week 4: Snail mail flyer/postcard answering the third most frequently asked question.
  11. Month 5: Email with information of value relevant to the prospect.
  12. Month 6: Email new testimonials (up to 3).
  13. Month 7: Snail mail flyer/postcard answering fourth most frequently asked question.
  14. Month 8: Email flyer with information of value about your product or service.
  15. Month 9: Snail mail most relevant case study.
  16. Month 10: Email video testimonial of another user (no more than 90 seconds).
Marketing and sales need to stay in close communication to know what's working and what's not working to nurture MQLs to SQLs.
It's very possible to create different lead nurturing programs based on the persona, or other relevant data, of the MQL.
What is key is to monitor and measure what's working and to keep the lines of communications open between marketing, sales and recent customers so you know how to refine your lead nurturing program.
Have you been successful nurturing MQLs to SQLs?
What's been most effective for you?
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Tags: CRM, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, MQL, SQL, nurture leads

ISO Opportunity to Use Analytics and Insights to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Aug, 22, 2014 @ 06:08 AM

use data to accelerate sales







In reading the latest edition of Direct Marketing News, I came across the following statistics:

  • 80% of CMOs cite a lack of in-house talent to implement an effective omnichannel strategy.
  • 85% of CMOs attempting to implement omnichannel marketing are challenged by lack of access to data and inadequate tools/technology.
  • 82% of CMOs say inability to measure cross-channel performance is interfering with implementing an effective strategy.
  • 75% of retailers rate omnichannel fulfillment “very important.”


During a recent webinar, an executive from Adobe noted the lack of experienced marketing professionals with: 1) business logic; 2) buying cycles; and, 3) marketing automation skills.


During a meeting with the Triangle AMA Marketing Automation Special Interest Group (SIG) this week, I met a young man who’s been in marketing for four years.


He expressed concern that the companies for which he has worked did nothing to help him understand how his email marketing, social media marketing and marketing automation were supposed to be integrated with the rest of the firms’ marketing efforts.


While these skills appear to be lacking in many companies, they are skills I have personally employed successfully for numerous clients.    


I have used analytics to solve business problems throughout my career.


I’ve been using, and evaluating, marketing automation software for the past five years.


I have ensured that traditional, digital and social media marketing were all integrated and communicating a consistent message to prospects and customers.


Are you and your firm using the data you have to create buyer personas, understand and map the buyer’s journey and create a sales and marketing process that will generate more awareness, traffic, leads and sales?


If not, give me a call. I can help.


Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: consumer insights, VoC, voice of the customer, accelerate sales, CRM, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, MQL, SQL, customer relationship management

Marketing Automation Accelerates Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Aug, 20, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

marketing automation accelerates sales







I just completed an evaluation of nine marketing automation platforms for a client.


Having been involved in marketing automation for the past five years, it's very interesting to see the evolution in the industry and the solutions.


You need to understand your business and marketing objectives to help determine which marketing automation platform is best for your business.


A company committed to increasing traffic, leads and sales via inbound marketing will need a very different platform than a sales-driven firm who wants to score leads and get them to sales reps for immediate pursuit.


Marketing automation is a subset of customer relationship management (CRM) that focuses on scheduling, segmentation and tracking of marketing campaigns.


It's important that your marketing automation platform is tightly integrated with your CRM since there will be an ongoing exchange of invaluable information between your CRM and your marketing automation platform.


The use of marketing automation makes processes that would otherwise have been perfromed manually much more efficient and makes new processes possible.


Ultimately, marketing automation enables marketers to align their marketing process with the customer's buying process by providing relevant information of value to the customer when and where they want it.


Marketing automation reduces repetitive tasks assosciated with the marketing process (e.g., automated thank you emails, confirmations and drip marketing campaigns).


There are two key tasks the software handles: customer segmentation and campaign management. This enhances relationship building, enables the customization of content, smarter engagement and provides predictive analytics.


Marketers use explicit data such as sex, age, geography, and product/service needs to divide and classify customers and segment them so they can deliver relevant, information of value.


Relevance improves trust and responsiveness.


Marketing automation software has become the best solution for developing and delivering relevant email marketing and sales campaigns that drive revenue.


A typical closed-loop marketing campaign powered by automation will include:


  1. Building targeted lists

  2. Creating information of value

  3. Executing marketing campaigns

  4. Measuring email and website behavior and activity

  5. Segmentation based on activity and lead scores. 

  6. Entering qualified leads into the CRM

  7. Nurturing Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) until they become Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

  8. Analyzing marketing and sales performance and refining the process


The benefits of marketing automation are significant as determined by Aberdeen Group:


  • Improves lead conversion by 107%

  • 40% greater average deal size

  • 20% higher team attainment of quota

  • 17% better forecast accuracy


There are additional benefits which will improve the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing efforts:


  • You will know more about your prospects and customers enabling you to deliver more relevant information in a more timely way.

  • You'll be able to know who is downloading information of value from your site and how they are interacting with your site.

  • You will be able to see how a visitor that clicked on a link in an email or newsletter progressed through you site to buy something completely different than what your communication was discussing, thereby providing greater insight into the buyer's journey.

  • You will have the opportunity to more fully engage customers and prospects by asking them about their experience and then using their feedback to improve their future experience. 
I have identified five keys necessary to successfully implement a marketing automation platform:
  1. Create buyer personas -- think about who you are talking to as people rather than demographics. Look at everything you do and communicate from the perspective of the customer or prospect. Consult internal stakeholders. Review CRM, survey, web and social media data. Interview real buyers.

  2. Map the buyer's journey -- know how customers come to find and buy your product or service. Talk to your customers to verify that you know their buying journey -- don't assume you already know it.

  3. Map, and track lead flow -- know how many leads you need to convert to a marketing qualified lead, to a sales qualified lead, to a closed sale to achieve your goals.

  4. Create a process map/workflow of your marketing process. This needs to align with the buyer's journey and consider serving the customer after the sale as well. 

  5. Inform rather than sell -- educate, provide information of value, answer questions before they are asked, simplify lives. As Guy Kawasaki says, "The internet rewards those who share information and penalizes those who hoard it." 
Once implementation is complete and you are realizing the value marketing automation can provide, test everything. 
Virtually every marketing automation platform enables A/B testing, so test subject lines, from lines, days, times, images and channels to constantly refine and improve your marketing efforts.
Use the analytics from your marketing automation to evaluate hypotheses and predict future behavior that will enable you to generate more leads, accelerate the sales process and realize more revenue, more quickly.
Are you using marketing automation to accelerate sales?
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Tags: accelerate sales, CRM, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, MQL, SQL

3-Step Process to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Aug, 18, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

process to accelerate sales








I just saw a report from Pursway that says 77% of marketers are under pressure to make better use of existing marketing and CRM data?


I wonder how many of these companies have a valid, written, well-defined marketing and sales process in place?


Following is a three-step process you may want to consider:


  1. Generate more leads.
  2. Optimize lead flow.
  3. Close more deals.

You can plan and execute marketing campaigns that generate demand by doing the following:

  • Capture all leads from all channels: website, search, email, online ads, social ads, social channels, partners, blog posts, events, tradeshows and P.R.

  • Website visitors from organic search, paid search and email response.

  • Web forms from "contact us," free trials, event registration, content download, offers.

  • Inbound calls from yellow pages, search engines, Google maps and word-of-mouth referrals.

  • New leads from organic search, paid search and those captured in your CRM.

  • Use marketing automation to: capture leads and respond automatically; score leads by geography, opportunity size and product of interest; and, assign by lead score, geography and buying stage.


Optimize lead flow by creating a closed-loop follow-up process for all leads establishing a lead qualification process to differentiate marketing qualified leads (MQLs) from sales qualified leads (SQLs) and ensure sales reps use the same methodology, as follows:


  • Track open leads and set up different views to manage leads by type, size, MQL/SQL, geography, etc.

  • Ensure that all leads are deduped and properly formatted before going into the CRM since this is the source of your 360-degree view of the prospect, and ultimately, the customer.

  • Work the leads with a series of predefined touches. This can be automated with marketing automation software.

  • Establish contact with the prospect keeping track of all touches whether it's lead nurturing MQLs or sales calls on SQLs.

  • Qualify all leads by learning their current situation, their product or service of interest, their timeframe for decision/purchase and whether or not they are a decision maker, influencer or researcher. This is information will help determine whether a lead is an MQL or an SQL.


To close more deals, faster, have a single CRM for tracking a prospect's status, deal information, key opportunity milestones and recording all interactions.


Analyze the sales pipeline to identify and eliminate bottlenecks by tracking:


  • Open opportunities prioritized by lead score.

  • Initial presentation by sales.

  • Objections and questions.

  • Additional presentation(s) by sales.

  • Proposal

  • Negotiation

  • Won/Loss

  • New customer on-boarding process with sales, support and marketing.


Keep measuring, testing and discussing what's working and what isn't and refine the process as you get smarter about what does and does not work.


KPIs at each step might look like:

  1. Generate more leads = campaign ROI, top search terms, leads by source, lead quality as defined by score

  2. Optimize lead flow = leads by geography, lead conversion percentage, leads converted by month and top-performing sales reps.

  3. Close more deals = top 10 deals each month, month-to-date trends, closed business by month/quarter or year and top-performing sales reps. 


Do you have a valid, well-defined, written sales process that works well for your firm?


What steps are we missing and how can this be improved upon? 


Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: accelerate sales, CRM, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, MQL, SQL

How to Deliver Smart Customer Service for a Great Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Jul, 10, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

customer experience = customer engagement










Thanks to Scott Hays of Kana, Ann Ruckstuhl (#annruck), Kai Petzalt of SAP and Tim Pickard of New Voice Media for sharing their thoughts on delivering smart customer service.


Smart customer engagement leads to better customer service and a better customer experience.


An experience is something you have. Engaged is something you, or your customers, are.


To optimize customer engagement, you need to:

  1. enrich customer interactions;

  2. improve processes; and,

  3. optimize and empower your workforce to provide great experiences that will result in an engaged customer.


Customers expect personalized treatment. Personalization requires context -- "know me, work with me."


Customers are constantly connected via smart phones, tablets and PCs. This has resulted in a fragmented customer journey.


Touchpoints are neither integrated, nor leveraged. Each customer interaction lacks the context of an entire journey. There's tremendous dependency on historical data.


26% of a CSR's time is spent looking for relevant data. This results in an inferior customer experience.


The solution is customer journey management whereby you collect, detect and engage with the customer in real time. 


A better CSR experience leads to a better customer experience, which, in turn, leads to greater lifetime value of the customer.


Smart business insights are gained by having actionable insight while engaged with the customer on the phone, via online chat, via email, on social channels. You must integrate all of these channels to provide an outstanding customer experience.


Today's customers have more choices and they are more open to making changes if the level of service is inferior.


Social media is driving awareness of customer service levels and the "wow" customer experiences people are having.


Going forward, we can expect companies to be more proactive and better informed in order to improve the customer experience.


This is especially true for millennials who have grown up with technology and smart phones.


Companies must recognize that for millennials, the customer experience is part of the product/service, as well as the brand.


Key Takeaway: Provide customers with choice and make it simple and easy for them to do business with you digitally. 


Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: trust, customer experience, customer satisfaction, be reliable, be responsive, VoC, voice of the customer, empower employees, CRM, customer service

Marketing Automation is NOT a Silver Bullet

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Apr, 07, 2014 @ 10:04 AM

automation is not a silver bullet








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:

  1. Vision
  2. Mission
  3. Values
  4. Strategic positioning -- what makes you "different and better"
  5. Personas
  6. The sales process
  7. The buying process
  8. When a marketing qualified lead becomes a sales qualified lead
As part of your due diligence in buying new technology and automation ask your management team and staff the following questions:
  1. Does everyone understand why we do what we do?
  2. Is our brand story clear, focused and well defined?
  3. Do employees know "what's in it for me?"
  4. Are employees telling a consistent brand story to customers and prospects?
  5. 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?
Let me know what I can do to help you get more out of your technology and automation investments.
Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: customer experience, alignment, vision, mission, values, CRM, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead

Curate Insights to Provide Information of Value

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Mar, 13, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

Consumer insights accelerate sales










Knowledge of the customer is key to providing information of value to the right person, in the right place at the right time.


Marketing and IT need to work together to have a digital biography of your customers -- personas, demographics, psychographics, digital journey, social media habits, interactions with your company in person, online and at tradeshows.


In order to maximize marketing effectiveness, companies need to ensure every interaction with a customer or prospect provides more awareness of the products and services that match the needs, attitudes and expectations of the customer.


Ideally the interaction is captured in the CRM which is integrated with the marketing automation software.


Most companies lack the full range of skills and capabilities to apply internal and external data to build effective targeting models. Identifying people with these skills, or training them, will be critical as customers become more sophisticated and have higher expectations of their product and service providers -- B2B and B2C.


Sending untargeted, nonpersonalized email is asking to be deleted, or worse, unsubscribed. You're better off not sending any email than sending untargeted email. Untargeted email will cause your subscriber list to shrink and make a bad impression on the recipient.


Response/conversion rates are 10% higher for prsonalized messages versus non-personalized.


Every communication does not have to sell one of your products or serivces.  Provide information of value to earn trust.


Road Runner Shoes always sends me a promotion on running shoes. They would earn my trust and respect by sending me information on nutrition or warm-up/warm-down that has nothing to do with shoes occasionally.


What information of value can you send your customers and prospects they will find useful and therefore think more highly of you because you're looking out for their best interest rather than just trying to sell them another product or service?


The trust of your customer is hard-earned and easily lost. Send them enough email and snail mail that's not relevant and you'll lose their trust.


Engage in a dialog with your customers to know how you are doing. A great way to open the dialog is with a three-question Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. This survey has two open-ended questions that let you get voice of the customer feedback that you can respond to and that will give you insight into customers' needs and wants.


Once the customer has completed the survey, make sure you thank them for completing the survey and for their valuable feedback.


In all cases, look for client needs and determine how you can meet those needs.


For "promoters," those that gave you a 9 or 10, reach out to them to thank them for their feedback and ask if they are willing to provide a testimonial, serve as a reference, provide referrals or share their thoughts about you on their favorite social media channels.


For "passives," those that gave you a 7 or 8, thank them for their feedback and delve into what you can do to address their concerns so they will continue their relationship with you and give you the opportunity to provide a better experience than they currently perceive you providing.


You need to reach out to "detractors" immediately. Thank them for their feedback and let them know you're very interested in addressing their concerns. You don't want to lose their business and you don't want them sharing their negative experiences with you on social media.


The more you know about your customers, the more you are able to identify inflexion points at which time certain communications or offers should be made. 


Based on a study IBM conducted, the return on investment for tools that enable a highly personalized experience for the customer can reach 600%.


How are you curating insights from analytics and qualitative data to communicate more effectively and efficiently with your customers and prospects?


Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: consumer insights, dialog, information of value, CRM, promoters, passives, detractors