- The C-suite doesn't care much about marketing activities or vanity metrics. That's why revenue marketers shift marketing performance from being measured by activities to revenue contribution.
- CRM software can be extended to help marketers achieve this much more strategic goal. In fact, it's nearly impossible for marketers to drive revenue generation without CRM.
- CRM optimization techniques can advance marketing goals, including the most important marketing outcomes of acquiring more qualified leads to grow the sales pipeline, driving more revenue contribution for the company and expanding the company's brand reach and recognition.
4 Ways to Advance Marketing by Advancing Your CRM Software
For many companies, their Customer Relationship Management system or marketing cloud has been configured for simple email campaigns. In fact, the Marketing Transformation Report found that 61% of marketers use their marketing cloud only for email distributions. So, it's no surprise that these marketers incurred high bounce rates and low response rates.
The report also found that 72% of marketers don't score acquired leads, and 56% of those that do use a single, broad lead score calculation. That leads to sending unqualified leads to the salesforce, drives lead leakage and renders many campaigns ineffective.
But here's the upside. These marketers have the technology to do better. So, pursuing a technology optimization effort can be done with little investment and return an extraordinary payback.
CRM optimization is the process of using more of your existing technology to drive improved business performance. Here are 4 ways to optimize your CRM application or marketing cloud to accelerate the most important marketing outcomes.
Extend CRM to Grow the Sales Pipeline
Marketing grows the sales pipeline by acquiring more leads that turn into sale opportunities. Lead optimization is the best practice to acquire and advance leads into qualified opportunities. But it's not a single process.
Lead optimization consists of up to eight integrated processes that include lead acquisition, lead scoring, lead enrichment, lead qualification, lead nurture programs, lead transfer to sales, lead governance (i.e., SLA) and lead analytics.
CRM technology can provide the data management and workflow automation for each of the above lead optimization processes. It can also link them together for a continuous flow. And when that happens, marketing drives higher lead conversions and delivers significantly more and better leads.
Sales leads grow the pipeline. And the better the lead optimization process, the bigger the pipeline.
Use CRM to make Revenue Generation Predictable
Revenue Engineering, also known as Prescriptive Revenue Analytics or Revenue Performance Management, brings visibility and predictability to the lead-to-revenue progression.
It's generally illustrated as a sales funnel that shows the sales stages, conversions and velocity for all leads as they navigate from top to bottom. Because the lead data is measured, it permits What-If analysis, pro forma modeling or the manipulation of leads with marketing programs to improve or accelerate funnel conversions.
It calculates the sales stage conversions and durations of leads and opportunities pursuant to many variables (i.e., customer type, product or solution, opportunity type, salesperson, region, line of business) so it can identify stalled leads, illustrate the factors that impede or accelerate lead progress, and show the levers that will improve or optimize funnel throughput and top line revenue growth.
The CRM system and marketing cloud have the necessary data, and the CRM system has the PaaS or low-code tools to construct the model. And when marketing has an interactive model like this, revenue generation can be engineered and become deterministic.
Use CRM to Achieve Sales & Marketing Alignment
The salesforce wants more and better leads. Marketing wants revenue attribution credit. They both get what they want when they achieve sales and marketing alignment. This best practice is facilitated when the CRM application integrates the lead acquisition, lead management and lead conversion processes for both marketing and sales organizations.
When CRM software calculates lead scores, automatically transfers sales-ready leads to the salesforce, measures lead-to-opportunity duration and conversions, returns stalled leads to marketing for nurturing and measures both sales and marketing performance results pursuant to a Service Level Agreement, companies reduce the hidden but very real lead leakage problem, grow the sales pipeline and increase sales conversions.
And they grow company revenues. Forrester Research reports that companies with aligned sales and marketing departments achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth while less aligned companies reported an average 7% revenue decline.
“B2B companies inability to align sales and marketing costs 10% or more of annual revenue.”
Use CRM AI for Improved Campaigns
Research findings published in the Marketing Transformation Report revealed that the Best-in-Class marketing leaders (i.e., the top 15 percent) used Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their CRM system (i.e., Salesforce Einstein, Azure Machine Learning) or marketing cloud (Adobe Sensei) 2.5X more frequently than their lower performing peers. That's a significant difference that should not go unnoticed by marketers seeking revenue growth.
Artificial Intelligence is an underlying marketing technology that improves both the efficiency and effectiveness of almost every marketing program.
The most successful marketers are defined by their ability to collect and curate accurate customer and campaign data, transform that data into actionable insights and prescriptive recommendations, and apply those insights with every customer communication, offer and message.
It's a complex undertaking for sure, which is why those who succeed will achieve competitive advantage over those who don't.
The Point is This
Customer Relationship Management 2.0 applies techniques and best practices to advance the application for continuous improvements to user objectives such as productivity and personal performance outcomes; customer objectives such as improved customer experiences; and business objectives such as increased customer acquisitions, share and retention.
The four examples in this post are intended to show how optimizing your CRM application can deliver significant and sustained marketing performance improvements. But these are only 4 examples. There are dozens more to explore. Things like social marketing, conversational marketing, buyer intent signals, dynamic customer segments, omni-channel customer engagement, internal collaboration tools and predictive analytics to name a few.
That path to expand your CRM system is to identify and then prioritize those advanced use cases that deliver the biggest business outcomes.