In many companies, a CRM (customer relationship management) system is strictly for the use of sales and sales management, and marketing is left “out of the loop”. But in this digital age of lightning-fast commerce, it is becoming more and more a fact that companies operating this way do so at their own peril, leaving a lion’s share of potential marketing wealth untapped.
The Many Facets of Marketing
While the term “marketing” is thrown very liberally about, it is one of the most loosely defined terms in the business world. Simply put, marketing is that series of activities that creates want for a company’s product or services. It can be directed to the public at large, selected fields of prospects, prospects at various stages within the sales pipeline, or former buyers.
Marketing includes—but is certainly not limited to—advertising, blogging, social media, promotional videos, designed presentations, trade shows and more. An effective marketing department always has its finger on the pulse of its intended audience, monitoring its needs and wants and speaking to them. At the same time, marketing is intimately familiar with its company’s products and services so that promotion is conducted with truth and confidence.
Marketing people never cease in their search for channels of communication through which to reach their audience or audiences, and are always trying to uncover and then exploiting new sources of leads.
Marketing and CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Taking a look at the intelligent use of a CRM application, it is hard to imagine how a marketing department could exist without using it. If CRM is set up for the proper recording of data on each stage of the sales pipeline, it is a plethora of information on prospects and customers, and their patterns, thoughts and wishes. That information can then be customized for a broad variety of promotional efforts.
If CRM accurately reflects the sales process, marketing campaigns can be targeted at each stage of the pipeline, speeding the progress to the close. CRM can also be utilized as a source of leads for promotion. For example, what previous buyers would qualify for a different product or service offered by your company? Salespeople can be instructed to “prospect at the close,” so that future prospects can be recorded right in CRM for marketing to mine and promote to.
The possibilities for the CRM-marketing relationship are factually endless.
CRM Implementation Must Take Marketing Into Account
From the moment of the decision to implement a CRM system, marketing should be taken into account. Just as one would interview sales reps and sales management at length to understand how the CRM would dovetail with their activities, so should it be with marketing. As the CRM tool is implemented and used, this consultation should be continued.
A company choosing a CRM application should evaluate any potential CRM product with an eye to marketing use. How easy will the new application be for marketing personnel to access and understand? Will they be able to quickly create reports that can be used to create directions for their efforts? Will salespeople be able to record the kind of data that marketing will need?
When marketing is not included in CRM selection and implementation, marketing—which is actually the vanguard out in front of all your sales efforts—is treated as an afterthought. Since marketing is looked upon to create the desire and reach for a company’s products and services, that kind of treatment is rather foolhardy.
Make sure your CRM (customer relationship management) system fully takes marketing into account—and is able to mine all the possible gold that is there.
Watch for further articles in our series on CRM (customer relationship management).