If your account reps could sell more, marketing could target better, and customer service was more responsive to key accounts, life would be great, wouldn't it? It may not be as hard as you think using CLV with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM.
You’ve probably heard that it costs less to keep and grow an existing customer than to acquire a new one. And it’s true. But, for many organizations this truism seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as companies still spend a large amount of their time and resources on chasing after new, potential clients. Even then, their efforts can be fragmented and the results less than desirable. This is hard to understand because keeping and growing current customers, and finding new ones like them does not have to be hard.
What an interesting week we had. It just underscored how important it is to approach working Dynamics 365/CRM from a process and change management vantage point rather than as a technology. We saw the following:
Most customers who have, or are looking to purchase a Dynamics CRM system are looking to achieve basic results which boil down to two frequently stated objectives: retain current customers and acquire new customers to power growth. Both of these objectives rely on extensive understanding of customer relationships grounded in business data such as account details, sales history, end use information, industry assessment, response to campaigns, etc. If the business does not win through the transformation of time-sensitive management of this data to systems that provide not more data, but useful information and insights, they will lose to competition who are leading in this strategic approach. If your customers are not moving to this new business reality, then they are falling behind.
Marketing Automation software serves a company's marketing department beyond what a Dyanmics CRM system does, and a CRM system serves sales and other departments. When integrated, Marketing Automation and Dynamics 365 CRM tools enhance each other, resulting in even more and better-qualified leads and, ultimately, more sales and satisfied customers. If you have one of these productivity tools, here are reasons to have both, in a single, centrally located, easy to use, integrated system.
How many opportunities in your world today are decided by a single decision-maker? I suggest that many are not. It also is highly likely that the sales process of your clients is running the same as they work to build a trusting relationship with multiple decision-makers or decision influencers. A recent study found that there are 6.8 people involved in the average B2B buying decision, yet a LinkedIn study reported that 78% of sales professional are connected to either only one person or not connected at all into accounts they’re trying to close. Are account managers communicating with the other 5+ people in the decision-making process? Are they helping all the people involved get the background information they need to help make an informed decision?
Most software ROI calculations are built off of two tenets: sell more or cut cost. The problem that most organizations run into is that they have no solid numbers to address either; “sell how much more”, or “save how much time” are elusive concepts.
I suggest that there are three fundamental business objectives that sales, marketing and service must focus on: find more customers like our best ones, keep the ones we want, and increase profitable transactions. The way to justify a Dynamics 365 CRM system is to start by asking: "What is the cost of inaction in effectively supporting and measuring progress associated with these three fundamental business objectives?"
The most fundamental requirement for growing a business is having sound sales processes that can be tracked, measured, and audited. Such processes must be written down and followed closely, not shared through word-of-mouth like an urban legend. A documented sales processes allow your clients to create a repeatable blueprint for success.
So where do they keep such data and monitor their results?
I am often asked by managers how to improve the user acceptance of their Dynamics 365 CRM system. In the eyes of the questioner, the answer lies in how to encourage, or even make, users use the platform more, in order for the organization to achieve their established expected benefits of investing in Microsoft CRM. That’s the wrong focus. The issue is not how do we get the user to use CRM, but rather, is the Dynamics CRM itself designed to be useful to the user so that they want to use it. Although the difference is subtle it should not be overlooked.
As reported in DestinationCRM.com, the most recent “CMO” Spend study by Gartner showed marketing budgets falling from a high of 12.1% of company revenue in 2016 to 11.3% in 2017. While cuts have varied across industries, retail and manufacturing were the hardest hit. While retail is going through some major changes, the study suggests that “manufacturing is adapting to emerging yet complex B2B2C opportunities”.
Leads can come in many ways; website, referral, trade show, direct mail, email drip and even an account rep prospecting. But if we don’t know the sales return from each or the cost of each, how do we evaluate where to invest a limited marketing budget?
The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Internet of Things (IOT) world is steadily moving into the sales, marketing and customer service applications. Sentiment and emotion analytics market is set to explode, from $123 million currently to $3.8 billion by 2025 according to a report from the research firm Tractica. (Customer Relationship Management, May 2018).
The report states that the top three use cases for sentiment and emotion analysis will be customer experience, product and market research, and customer service. An example offered of affecting the customer experience would changing the in-store LDC displays in response to the emotions detected on the faces of shoppers walking the aisles.
Some B2B companies run their sales and marketing activities with Excel because it is easy to use and well known by employees. However, to more efficiently manage and profitably use data, other B2Bs use a relational-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management). A CRM consists of a database and a user-interface with which you can easily create, update, manage, process, share, and report data across the organization.
While Excel spreadsheets are great calculators, they are not good as a shareable database. That is because, in part, Excel has no relational tables and limited interface capabilities. Excel becomes cumbersome and difficult to manage with thousands of items.
I was reminded this week of how much fun this business can be working with clients. As I met with three different clients on their Dynamics Roadmap for the next few quarters, it reminded me of why I am in this business of strengthening customer engagement.
Each of the clients has been with us for some time and each understand the value of CRM to the organization’s profitability and growth. However, it was good to hear that they also view CRM as a tool to strengthen a deeper relationship with their clients for all the various touch points that they have with the client. CRM is a tool to guide existing and new users in their behaviors while getting everyone in marketing, sales and customer service on the same page with the client needs.
Experience unprecedented productivity by seeing exactly where your best customers and prospects are located in relation to where you are calling, all without leaving CRM.
InfoGrow recently released its most popular CRM mapping solution with enhanced desktop functionality and new mobile capabilities, enabling account managers to schedule more appointments and make more sales.
A well-executed Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Implementation will change the way you do business by transforming your relationships with prospects and customers, and by refining and revamping internal processes. But for Dynamics CRM to achieve its full potential, it must be embraced and actively used by all stakeholders.
Resisting change and clinging to what’s familiar are part of human nature, even when such resistance works against us. What can you do to improve user adoption and ensure Dynamics CRM success? Use value selling techniques to convey Dynamics CRM’s worth to employees, just like you do with prospects and customers!
Here’s the beauty of integrating Dynamics 365 for Sales with a CRM mapping application: raw CRM data comes alive on an interactive map so you can quickly visualize what would have taken hours to analyze in a spreadsheet.
What value does this have for sales reps? It helps them see exactly where their best customers and prospects are located so they can plan more-productive sales trips and close more sales, all without leaving CRM.
A Tiered Approach to Dynamics CRM
Another way of looking at the issue of overhauling your Dynamics 365 CRM is a three-tiered approach. The first tier is technical. How well is Microsoft CRM actually working in your technical environment? This is often the lowest tier because with most well established CRM systems the technical side is a non-issue overall. However, one spot of concern at this level does linger. How well is Dynamics CRM aligned, technically speaking, with your mobile strategy? Do you have a mobile strategy? Or are your users beating you up to make Microsoft Dynamics CRM work with their tablet or cell phone du jour?
Marketing Automation's False Start
At first sight, marketing automation is a very tempting and enticing tool. A platform that gives you the ability to reach your best prospects with the right message, at the right time, without manually having to kill yourself to do it! Seems like a no-brainer, so you sign up especially when linked to Dynamics 365 CRM. However, once the system gets installed and after a few email blasts are sent, a landing page is built, and the results come back mixed (and they often do), one of two things usually happens:
It’s not hard to see why your CRM data, made up of customers, prospects and influencers is your most important marketing asset. After all, how can a marketer be successful without the right data? And how can a marketer discover or fine tune a message without insight into behaviors and their service needs? But, keeping this data organized, current, and easily accessible for every relevant team member, throughout an organization, can still be a massive challenge.
I have written before regarding the sales growth value of getting your sales and marketing teams on the same page. This is an effort that can’t be left up to sales or marketing alone, it is too important to the organization and must be monitored at the CEO level.
InsideView does an excellence job in the following infographic to highlight what current leaders are doing to get things right. Point number 6 – “Align on Pipeline” is the element I like the most. By emphasizing the sales pipeline you should expect alignment on lead and nurturing campaigns throughout the sales process. This approach will help drive greater cohesion between both team leaders, as well as provide account reps with advanced insight into the contribution of the marketing team.
The idea that the customer is in control when it comes to the modern buying paradigm just gets stronger. Today's buyer often kicks off the process of considering a purchase with a web search to gather basic information on a product or service. As their knowledge and interest continues to grow, they often follow that initial action up by researching reviews put out by peers, checking social media for advice, and in some cases visiting forums to submit questions. All of this can happen quickly and almost always occurs before they ever reach out to, or look at your company, directly.
Microsoft recently acquired Incent Games Inc., the developer and owner of FantasySalesTeam (FST), an innovative sales "gamification" platform that plugs into Dynamics CRM to help companies boost sales productivity. CRM user acceptance among sales teams has always been a challenge. This is especially true dealing with a highly effective senior rep. What benefit does CRM really provide him/her?
Many companies don’t appreciate the value of a CRM system until they understand its pivotal role in closing more sales. CRM’s virtues are not always apparent unless one is intimate with the ins and outs of how business gets done in the organization.
Accurate sales forecasting is essential to growing revenue and managing your business effectively. When you know the timing and amount of incoming revenue, you can plan and focus on the right business initiatives; budget and allocate resources appropriately; set organizational goals; and provide teams with priorities and guidelines for how they spend their time.
Volumes have been written about customer engagement, which is an increasingly vital part of boosting sales, increasing membership, and satisfying both customers and prospects. While successful customer engagement requires a multi-level strategy, it doesn’t have to be complex... just thoughtful and complete.
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