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?
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.
You’ve seen the ads. The CRM software is free, forever or on a trial basis. Installation takes seconds. Learning takes minutes. Enter some contacts, play around with reports, and voilà! Within hours, everyone is tracking leads, analyzing pipelines, and monitoring customer interaction.
CRM can provide significant benefits to any sales-driven organization that’s focused on customer service. And it can have a profoundly positive impact on internal processes and performance, both individually and organizationally. Despite CRM’s inherent ability to boost profits and deliver insights, there are some things that CRM simply can’t do on its own.
When you implement a CRM solution, you naturally anticipate greater sales productivity and ultimately, more sales. When this doesn’t happen as quickly as you expect, poor user adoption is likely to be a major culprit.
In the state of Ohio, there are roughly 5,000 mid-size businesses in operation, with a mid-market business being defined as an organization that brings in between 10 million and 1 billion dollars in annual revenue. These companies also account for nearly 2 million employed workers statewide, with 74% adding new workers at an average rate of 6.3% in 2014-2015. In comparison, mid-sized businesses nationally only grew their work force by 3.2% - (National Center for the Middle Market.)
Today's CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is better than yesterday's because: (a) CRM systems can now deliver greater productivity returns and (b) vendors' software usability is much improved. These advancements (and others) mean less time and lower costs to implement a CRM system. And the more people in a given company who use a CRM system translates to more benefits and a higher ROI on a CRM investment. Research notes that for every dollar a company invests in a CRM system, it earns $5.60.