Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Marketing Automation — Save 50%
Implement effective marketing strategies using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 with this book and ebook
In this article, by Alok Singh and Sandeep Chanda, the authors of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Marketing Automation, you will be introduced to the present day marketing and learn how the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are playing a key role in bringing in automation and helping organizations realize their marketing objectives.
(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)
Present day marketing
Marketing is the process of engaging with the target customers to communicate the value of a product or service in order to sell them. Marketing is used to attract new customers, nurture prospects, up-sell, and cross-sell to the existing customers. Companies spend at least five percent of their revenue on marketing efforts to maintain the market share. Any company that wants to grow its market share will spend more than 10 percent of its revenue on marketing. In competitive sectors, such as consumer products and services, the marketing expenditure can go up to 50 percent of the revenue, especially with new products and service offerings.
Marketing happens over various channels such as print media, radio, television, and the Internet. Successful marketing strategies target specific audience with targeted messages at high frequency, which is very effective. Before the era of the Internet and social networks, buyers were less informed and the seller had better control over the sales pipeline by exploiting this ignorance. However, in this digital age, buyers are able to research beforehand to get enough information about the products they want and, ultimately, they control the process of buying. Social media has turned out to be a great marketing platform for companies, and it hugely impacts a company's reputation with respect to its products and customer services. Marketing with social media is about creating quality content that attracts the attention of the social platform users, who then share the content with their connections creating the same effect as word of mouth marketing. The target customers learn about the company and its products from their trusted connections. The promotional message is received from user's social circle and not the company itself. Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are constantly working towards delivering targeted ads to the users based on their interests and behaviors. Business Insider reports that Facebook generates 1 billion in revenue each quarter from advertisements, and Twitter is estimated to have generated more than 500 million in advertisement revenue in the year 2013, which clearly shows the impact of social media on marketing today. Buyers are able to make well-informed decisions and often choose to engage with a salesperson after due diligence. For example, when buying a new mobile phone, most of us know which model to buy, what the specifications are, and what the best price is in the market before we even go to the retailer.
Marketing is now a revenue process that is not about broadcasting the product information to all, it's about targeting and nurturing relationships with the prospects from an early stage until they become ready to buy. Marketing is not just throwing bait and expecting people to buy it. The prospects in today's information age learn at their own pace and want to be reached only when they need more information or are ready to buy. Let's now explore some of the challenges of present day marketing.
Marketing automation with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
CRM has been passively used for a long time by marketers as a customer data repository and as a mining source for business intelligence reports as they perceived CRM to be a more sales focused customer data application. The importance of collaboration between the sales and marketing teams has inevitably evolved CRM into a Revenue Performance Management (RPM) platform with marketing features transforming it into a proactive platform. It can not only record data effectively, but also synthesize, correlate, and display the data with the powerful visualization techniques that can identify patterns, relationships, and new sales opportunities.
The common steps involved in marketing with Microsoft Dynamics CRM are shown in the following figure:
Important marketing steps in Microsoft Dynamcis CRM
CRM can help in filtering and selecting a well-defined target population using advanced filtering and segmentation features on a clean and up-to-date data repository. It can select the prospects based on demographic data such as purchase history and responses to the previous campaigns, which will profile campaign distribution and significantly improve campaign performance. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 can be easily integrated with other lines of business applications, which can help create intelligent marketing lists in CRM from various sources. For example, it can integrate with ERP and other financial software to segment customers into various marketing lists that target very specific customers and prospects. Work flows and automations supported by most of the CRM platforms can be used to build the logic for segmentation and creation of qualified lists. Targeting with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 can help create groups that are likely to respond to certain types of campaigns and help marketers target customers with right campaign types.
Automation and execution
The CRM applications can help create, manage, and measure your marketing campaigns. It can track current status, messages sent, and responses received against each member of the list and measure real-time performance with reports and dashboards. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 systems can be used to plan and establish the budget for a campaign, track the expenses, and measure ROI. The steps involved in campaign execution and message distribution can be defined along with the schedule. Message distribution and response capture can be automated with CRM, which can help in running multiple promotions or performing nurture campaigns.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 can help perform marketing tasks in parallel and track which prospect is responding to which campaign to establish the effectiveness of a campaign. With powerful integration with other marketing automation platforms, marketers can create and customize the message, create landing pages for the campaign within CRM, and then use the built-in e-mail marketing engine to distribute the message, which can embed tracking tokens into the e-mail to capture and relate the incoming response. Integration of CRM with popular e-mail clients avoids switching applications and errors in copying data back and forth. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 system can capture preferences, advise on the best time and channel to engage with the customer, and provide feedback on products and services.
Close loop marketing is a practice of capturing and relating the responses to marketing messages in order to measure the effectiveness, constantly optimize the process, and refine your message to improve its relevancy. This, in turn, increases the rate of conversion and ROI. This also involves an inherent close looping between the marketing and sales teams who collaborate to provide a single view of progression from prospect to sale.
The division between the marketing and sales departments leads to lack of visibility and efficiency as they are unable to support each other and cannot measure what works and what does not, eventually reducing the overall efficiency of both teams put together. Close loop marketing has gained great importance because companies have started perceiving the sales and marketing teams together as revenue teams who are jointly responsible to increase revenue.
Close looping enables us to compare the outcome of multiple campaigns by multiple factors such as the campaign type, number of responses, type of respondents, and response time. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 can track various parameters such as the types of messages and the frequency of marketing, which can be compared against prior marketing campaigns to identify trends and predict customer behavior.
In order to achieve close loop marketing, we need to centralize data. This can bring together the customer's profile, customer's behavioral data, marketing activities, and the sales interactions in one place, so we can use automation to make this data actionable and continuously evolve the marketing processes for the targeting and nurturing of customers.
CRM can be the centralized repository for data and can also automate the interactions between the sales and marketing teams. Also, the social CRM features allow users to follow specific records and create connections with unrelated records, which will enable free flow of information between the teams. This elicits great details about the customer and supports actionable use of information to increase revenue efficiently without resorting to marketing myths and assumptions.
Revenue management by collaboration
The marketing and sales teams together are the revenue team for an organization and are responsible to generate and increase revenue. It is imperative to align the sales and marketing teams for collaboration as the marketing team owns the message and the sales team owns the relationship. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 offers an integrated approach where the lead can be passed from the marketing team to the sales team based on a threshold lead score or other qualification criteria agreed upon by both the sales and marketing teams. This qualification of the lead by the marketing team to the sales team retains all the previous interactions that the marketing team had with the lead, which helps the sales team understand the buyer's interests and motivation better by getting a 360 degree view of the customer. CRM tracks the status, qualification, and activities performed against the lead. This provides a comprehensive history of all the touch points with a lead and brings in transparency and accountability to both the marketing and sales teams. This ensures that only fully qualified leads are sent to sales, resulting in shorter sales cycle and improved efficiency. This strategic collaboration between the sales and marketing teams provides valuable feedback on the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns as well as the sales process. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 can enable interdependence between the marketing and sales teams to share a common revenue goal and receive joint credits for achievement to become the organization's RPM system.
To summarize, as a marketing automation platform, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 can create marketing campaigns, identify target customers to create marketing lists, associate relevant products and promotional offers to the lists, develop tailored messages, distribute messages by various channels as per schedule, establish campaign budget and ROI forecast, capture the responses and inquiries while routing them to the right team, track progress and outcome of the sale, and report the campaign ROI.
CRM has evolved from being a passive data repository and status tracking system to a tactical and strategic decision support system that provides more than just a 360 degree view of the customer, which is not limited to just tracking opportunities, managing account and contacts, and capturing call notes. CRM can be one of the key applications for an active marketing and revenue performance management that can help relationship building with customer by personalized communications and behavioral tracking, enable automation of marketing programs, measure marketing performance and ROI, and connect the sales and marketing teams to let them function as one accountable revenue team. We will now explore the stages involved in the progression of a lead to customer using a lead funnel.
Lead scoring and conversion
The sales and marketing teams together come up with a methodology for lead scoring to determine if the lead is sales ready. Scoring can be a manual or automated process that takes into consideration the interest shown by the lead in your product to assign points to a prospect and ranks them as cold, warm, and hot. When the prospect rank reaches an agreed threshold, it is considered to be qualified and is assigned to the sales team after acceptance by sales. The process of lead scoring can vary from company to company, but some of the general criteria used for scoring are the demography, expense budget, company size, industry, role and designation of the lead contact, and profile completeness. In addition, scoring also take into consideration various behavioral characteristics to measure the frequency and quality of engagement, such as the response to e-mail and contacts, number of visits to website, the pages visited, app downloads, and following on social media. Lead scoring is a critical process that helps align the sales and the marketing teams within the organization by passing quality leads to the sales team and making the sales effective.
In this article, we saw the present day marketing and common steps involved in marketing with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, such as targeting, automation and execution, close looping and revenue management by collaboration.
Resources for Article:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Overview [Article]
- Introduction to Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics CRM [Article]
- Overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 [Article]
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About the Author :
Alok Singh is a senior consultant for CRM at Neudesic, a Microsoft National Systems Integrator and Gold Certified Partner. He is a specialist on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and has been consulting with Fortune 500 clients on the technology for the past several years. For more than five years, he has been involved in creating various CRM-based enterprise solutions spanning multiple industries and domains such as sales and marketing, telecom, retail, and finance. In addition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, he has been working on several other Microsoft technologies, including .NET, Azure, and SharePoint. His areas of interest include gamification, Internet of Things, mobile development, smartphone ecosystems, and haptic devices.
Sandeep Chanda is the Director of Solutions at Neudesic, a Microsoft National Systems Integrator and Gold Certified Partner. He has been working on several Microsoft technologies (including but not limited to .NET, Azure, BizTalk, SharePoint, and Dynamics CRM) for the past ten years, building large-scale enterprise applications spanning multiple industries. He is a technology enthusiast and speaks at various corporate events and public webinars. He has authored several articles on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in DevX, and is the author of Microsoft Windows Identity Foundation Cookbook, Packt Publishing and Beginning ASP.NET 4.5 Databases, Apress. Recently, he has been involved in evangelizing aspects of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and developer collaboration using Team Foundation Server, and has been the speaker on these subjects at the Great Indian Developer Summit since 2012. He holds an M.S. degree in Software Systems from BITS, Pilani, and his areas of interest include service-oriented computing, cross-platform mobility, pervasive computing, haptic devices, and cloud computing. He is also a blogger for the DevX Issues column at DevX (http://www.devx.com/blog/dev_issues).