Workbooks News

Mar 31,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be a big success factor for consumer-facing companies. But in order to get the most out of a CRM, you need to make sure your employees—especially your sales teams—are using it.

The CRM market has certainly grown in recent years, and is valued at over $18 billion by research firm Gartner. But implementing a CRM system or migrating to a new one is never something you should take for granted. Despite the success of the overall market, CRM initiatives have suffered from failure rates of up to 63 percent. These “fail stats” are admittedly sometimes prone to exaggeration, but their mere existence indicates an alarming weakness in what is still a flawed process. 

Reasons for Failure

There are a number of ways a CRM initiative can fail to gain traction among a sales team, the most obvious of which is simply choosing the wrong product in the first place. Maybe it lacks the right features for supporting your sales workflow. Maybe it has too many features, causing reps to find it complicated or frustrating. Maybe it doesn’t integrate with some of the productivity apps already in use, like file sharing or email.

A CRM can also be a dud if there are no measures in place for tracking usage and return on investment, or if it doesn’t receive support and enforcement from key leaders. No buy-in, no pay out.

Ways to Boost Adoption

CRM adoption isn’t about forcing software down people’s throats; it’s about showing them the value it adds to the sales process and equipping them for successful use. Here are four strategies for doing just that:

  • Pick the Right CRM Software: This one is a no-brainer, but it’s also one of the easiest places to make mistakes. The procurement process should be driven by experts and stakeholders to ensure an informed, balanced decision. The large majority of business software purchases involve at least three decision-makers. The product that’s best for your company’s needs will largely be determined by features, integrations, scalability, price point, and any industry-specific needs you might have.
  • Upper-Management Buy-in: When most software buyers think about increasing adoption, they think about finding ways to make sales reps use the dang software. But end-users aren’t the only target audience for CRM projects. It’s equally important to get upper management (CIO, Director of Marketing, CFO, etc.) on board. Leadership plays a pivotal role in “selling” CRM to the rest of the company and enforcing standards for use. If you’re implementing an enterprise-scale solution, you might even consider appointing a dedicated CRM project manager.
  • Employee Buy-in: Intrinsic motivation is almost always more effective than extrinsic motivation. Instead of pressing a new CRM onto your reps from the top down, get them to make a personal investment in the initiative. One way to do this is simply by getting their input before you commit to a particular product. What do they like or not like about the current system? What features would be most valuable to them. After installing the software, encourage adoption by providing rewards or recognition to top performers, or reps who enter the most data, close the most sales using the new system, or other metrics.
  • Provide Pre-emptive and Ongoing Training: For the average sales rep, the prospect of learning a new system can be intimidating. The old system might have had its problems, but they had it down. Part of the training process will involve showing users how the new system is more intuitive (hopefully) than the old, what advantages it has, and how to navigate through menus and dashboards. Some vendors even offer their own training tools online, through video tutorials, webinars, and troubleshooting guides. Beyond initial training, make sure sales teams have access to ongoing support tools, updates, and best practice information. If you’re implementing an enterprise system that causes a drastic change in workflows, you might try breaking implementation into multiple phases to allow a more gradual acclimation. 

When adoption doesn’t stick, a lot of business leaders tend to blame their sales reps or the software itself, but these are only two components in a larger shift that should take place. The rest of the picture—in fact, the bulk of it—is about building an infrastructure of training and reinforcement, from top to bottom, from before you select a product to long after you sign the contract. Sure, the system you buy makes a difference, but the success or failure of a CRM adoption depends, more than anything, on the workplace culture that surrounds it.

Author

Aleks Peterson

Technology Analyst

Technology Advice

Connect on LinkedIn

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Mar 24,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

There is often a misalignment of sales and marketing in many organisations. This can result in tension between the teams which can impact the ROI of your lead generation activities.

Combining marketing automation and CRM can aid with bridging the gap between your sales and marketing departments but there are a number of other considerations you need to make to ensure they are on the same page.

1. Defining & Identifying

Sales and marketing can be working towards the same goals e.g. lead conversion, but often have different ideas of the definitions of those goals. If you were to ask a sales rep for their definition of a qualified lead it may be very different from what a marketing rep may suggest. These definition differences can lead to tension, especially when there is pressure for marketing to deliver more leads and sales to convert at a higher rate.

Agreeing common definitions will enable sales and marketing to be on the same page. You can start by focusing on defining elements that relate to your sales funnel e.g. what does a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) mean? What qualifies a lead as an MQL or SQL? It is important to identify the sales criteria of a perfect lead.  This makes it easier to identify which leads should be developed and in turn increase the amount of leads moving through your sales funnel.  

2. Metrics

If your sales and marketing teams are misaligned they may be working on different metrics e.g. a focus on quantity rather than quality. Sales may have a bad quarter as they have not met their conversion target but marketing may have had a good quarter as they have produced a high number of leads. But if these leads were not the right quality then they were no use to sales. Since both sales and marketing benefit from closed deals it is important that they work to a common goal.

Mutually, both teams need to agree the metrics that they will be measured against. A win for sales should be a win for marketing.  For example, it may be better to target your marketing team on the leads they have generated that have actually converted into the pipeline. This will ensure your marketing team have more incentive to pass over quality leads rather than quantity.

Communication between your teams may be the first step to aligning your sales and marketing departments but technology can also play a big part in easing this tension. Technology is driving sales and marketing departments together.  If you have a good communication strategy between the two departments you can integrate marketing automation and CRM to boost your revenue machine. Creating a standard for lead qualification, lead nurturing and accurate reporting is a vital step in sales and marketing alignment.

3. Lead Qualification

The administrative burden of updating a CRM can often overshadow its value. Updating notes and qualifying leads can be a time consuming task for both sales and marketing reps. Marketing automation systems can streamline these processes by taking over a lot of these administrative manual tasks automatically. Integrating marketing automation and CRM can take over filling out details of company information, recent activity and lead interests etc. Not only does this automation save time allowing sales to focus on closing deals, but it also allows sales to get a holistic view of a prospect so they can tailor their approach when following up.  

Marketing automation collects all of the interactions with a lead and automatically qualifies your leads against the lead definitions that were agreed mutually between your sales and marketing teams.  Lead scoring and grading eliminates any disagreements in lead quality. It also allows your teams to focus on the higher quality leads and nurture leads that are less qualified to help them move through the sales funnel.

4. Lead Nurturing

You can easily miss out by not nurturing the leads that are not ‘sales ready’ yet. They are often passed over to sales in the same way that ‘sales ready’ leads are. This frustrates sales reps and inevitably these leads are often neglected in favour of the higher quality leads. However, with marketing automation you can create a lead nurturing program that will help with moving these leads through the buying cycle until they are ‘sales ready’. This frees up sales to focus on the hotter leads that will result in a higher conversion rate. Non-‘sales ready’ leads can be added to drip campaigns where they will automatically be sent relevant information that is useful to them at their particular stage of the buying cycle.

5. Reporting

Integrating marketing automation and CRM aligns your sales and marketing teams. They can work together from the same definitions, towards common goals and common metrics. The two tools sync in both directions. The closed loop reporting you get from integration allows you to get a holistic view of the whole sales cycle, it also increases accountability for both sales and marketing.

You can track closed deals all the way back to where the lead originated from allowing you to replicate success and improve your marketing strategy.  Marketing will now be able to see how their campaigns and lead generation activities have resulted in revenue.

aligning sales and marketing ebook image

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now. 

Download Now

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Mar 18,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

At Workbooks, we believe that sharing knowledge is crucial to success, and we want you to enjoy using our software to enable you to complete your day-to-day role with ease. Workbooks Wisdom is here to save the day bringing you monthly tips and tricks to enable you to do just that. See below for March's tips.

Accounting Periods

With the end of the financial year coming up, have you got your Workbooks accounting periods ready for 2015/16? You won’t be able to create new accounting documents without them! So it’s well worth checking that they’re set up in Configuration - for more information click here.

MailChimp Integration

Design eye-catching emails in MailChimp to send to your Workbooks Campaign members with our MailChimp integration. The key marketing metrics such as opens, clicks, hard bounces and unsubscribes are seamlessly synchronised from MailChimp to Workbooks. Not only does this save you time by avoiding manual data tasks but it enables you to track the ROI from your marketing campaigns and improve on their performance.

Reminders

Don’t miss an important activity. Remind yourself by making use of our Reminder checkbox - that way you will receive a notification at the time specified with a convenient link straight to the record. Note that reminders are set for yourself, not the user the record is assigned to. Click here for more.

Marketing Automation for small businesses

Smaller sized businesses (SMBs) are reaping the rewards for adopting marketing automation technologies. SMB owners are highly focused on the ROI they are getting from their marketing. Newer technology advances are allowing this to become possible. Find out more.

Remember, you can find more useful information about all of the Workbooks features on our Knowledge Base.

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Mar 03,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Smaller sized businesses (SMBs) are following in enterprise-sized businesses footsteps and are reaping the rewards for adopting marketing automation technologies.

In today’s financial climate, SMB owners are highly focused on the ROI they are getting from their marketing. Newer technology advances are allowing this to become possible. And those adjusting quickly are reaping the rewards.

How does a lead become revenue?

Where does a lead come from? Marketing creates campaigns that generate interest with an audience. This ‘Demand Generation’ often comes in the form of engaging content, which can come from various marketing sources e.g. email campaigns, your website or events.

Sales reps actively engage with these leads and filter down a number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and work them through the sales pipeline until some purchase the product or service. 

In terms of revenue, the Cost per Lead (CPL) is worked out by dividing the cost of the campaign by the number of leads generated. The conversion rate is worked out by looking into how many of the leads resulted in a sale and then an Average Sale Price (ASP) can be calculated.

The technology

In SMBs, owners are often required to be experts in multiple roles, including the ability of understanding marketing ROI. Marketing automation technology helps SMB’s to keep overheads low whilst still growing their lead volume and inevitably their pipeline.

Here are 4 reasons why SMB’s are adopting Marketing Automation:

  • Simple Technology - SMBs need to adopt the growing IT needs of their company and advances in technology have provided simpler solutions that owners can get to grips with fast.
  • Staying ahead of the game - Unless you want to fall behind the competition, you have to keep up with the fast pace of changes in your industry. Owners need technology that is simple to use, easy to set up and can quickly prove ROI.  The quicker these technologies are adopted by SMBs, the higher the value they produce for the business.
  • Excellent Customer Service - Competition has resulted in marketing automation technologies improving their customer support. Not only does the technology need to be great for SMBs, but they also need great customer service when things go wrong. If you are looking for marketing automation technology, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you get dedicated customer support.
  • The answer is in the ROI - SMBs are becoming more comfortable with the risk of implementing marketing automation as they are becoming savvier to the benefits it can produce. Marketing automation is proving to have real ROI for SMBs and with technology advances, it is becoming easier to determine what the actual ROI is.
     

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now. 

Download Now

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Feb 17,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Reading, England, (17th February 2015) - Car Benefit Solutions (CBS), a leading provider of car benefit schemes has selected Workbooks cloud CRM system to roll out across its business. Workbooks CRM was selected after a market comparison and was shortlisted and selected over Maximiser, Sugar and Gold-Vision systems.

Martin Greenhalgh, Business Analyst of CBS commented: “We were using a home grown system, email and spreadsheets , but found this limiting and increasingly administration heavy, particularly when we wanted to pull sales data and reports.” 

Martin continued: “We identified a need to create a central source of customer data which was easily accessible to the Sales and Marketing teams and this in turn would provide opportunities for cross and up selling. We sought a system that was easy to use, affordable and where we felt we could gain a business partnership instead of a technical supplier. With Workbooks we feel we have the best solution for all of these needs."

Ian Moyse, Workbooks Sales Director commented: “We are proud at our high selection rate against such other CRM systems and that leading firms such as CBS select us after considerable diligence and comparison.”

About Car Benefit Solutions (CBS)

CBS was formed in 2002 by the current Management Team who believe that customers are best served by having car benefit arrangements specifically designed to meet their objectives rather than having to take a vanilla product.

In addition to ensuring that employees have the right tool for the job where appropriate, the car benefit is seen by many as the most important element of their remuneration package after salary and is a key differentiator for recruitment and retention purposes. It is therefore essential that your car benefit is designed and delivered to meet your corporate needs.

The CBS Management Team were integral to the development and implementation of the first Employee Car Ownership Schemes (ECOS) in the 1990's with some of the largest corporate fleets in t

About Workbooks

Workbooks.com delivers world-class CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business. Unlike traditional CRM solutions, Workbooks.com extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price which is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Netsuite. 

Our customer base spans many industry sectors including Finance, Professional Services, Insurance, Not-for-profit organisations, IT, Telecommunications, Construction, Transport & Logistics and Manufacturing. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding levels of customer commitment and customer service to all our customers. As a UK based company, with our engineering team working alongside our support team, we are on hand to respond quickly and efficiently to any questions that may arise.

For more information visit www.workbooks.com.

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols

Senior Marketing Executive

0118 3030 100

marketing@workbooks.com

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Feb 13,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

In the last decade, cloud innovation and new development strategies have brought a significant increase in customer relationship management (CRM) software to the market. As a buyer, it’s easy to be lured in by marketing language, the promises a vendor makes, the reputation they have, or the way their product makes you feel.

But CRM software is a critical investment that customer-facing organizations can’t afford to take lightly. An uninformed, un-curated purchase will inevitably lead to buyer’s remorse. As recently as 2013, CRM initiatives have suffered from 63 percent fail rates, and hasty software buying accounts for a large part of that.

It’s important to dig deeper than the product website and determine how your relationship with a software provider will actually play out, from setup and installation to the availability of future updates and support. This information (and more) is spelled out in the software contract - yes, the one that many businesses don’t fully read. 

Not only should you thoroughly read the contract, but you should also decide which points aren’t working in your favor and try to negotiate them. Believe it or not, most CRM providers are willing to negotiate, but only if you make your needs known. 

You can start by paying specific attention to these three key areas:

Fee Schedules

Whether you’re looking at cloud-based software (sold on a recurring subscription) or on-premise software (requires a larger up-front purchase), pricing is always more complicated than meets the eye. The fine-print pricing and fees information will be detailed in the contract. Comb through it and identify hidden charges or penalties and the conditions that can trigger them, both to help you minimize total cost of ownership and to determine if any are unfair. Common examples include early termination fees and data migration fees. 

Product Lifecycle

A well-written CRM contract will give you a clear roadmap for your relationship with the product, beginning with installation, allowing for growth or reduction in the middle, and ending with contract completion, renewal, or early termination. If it’s important to your business that initial set up be completed within a certain timeframe, ask that the contract clearly spell out who is responsible and how long it should take. Be wary of language that may trap you in a continuous renewal cycle; it’s almost always better to manually renew, as this keeps the reins in your hands. You’ll also need to know the procedures for adding or removing users, in case the scope of your needs changes. 

Data Ownership

If the products or services you deliver rely on proprietary customer data, make sure the contract limits data rights and ownership to your company. This is less challenging with on-premise software, since it’s housed on your own servers, but the software-as-a-service model (which has permeated 41 percent of the CRM market) can easily complicate data ownership. A vendor has the right to restrict access to their software in the event of a dispute, but your data should never be held hostage. Make sure you’ll have immediate access to your company’s data at all times. Furthermore, if the vendor has promised compliance with certain industry data regulations, make sure that compliance is guaranteed in the contract. 

There are countless other aspects of CRM contracts that will affect your satisfaction with both the product and the vendor. Your safest bet is to carefully read the entire contract—even let other members of your procurement team look it over. Here are few more final considerations/questions to address before you sign:

  • Does the vendor charge a data retrieval fee in the event of service cancellation?
  • Does the vendor provide free, regular updates as part of your subscription or license cost?
  • Is the vendor willing to provide a service level agreement?
  • Have you conducted a software demo or free trial before committing to purchase?

Although contract negotiation can sometimes make blood boil on both sides of the conversation, it doesn’t have to be a battle. Think of the contract as a treaty—an agreement that will define and preserve your relationship with the software provider so you can spend more energy managing relationships with customers. 

Author

Aleks Peterson

Technology Analyst

Technology Advice

Connect on LinkedIn

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Feb 04,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

Reading, England, (4th February 2015) – Workbooks.com is pleased to announce that we have become a 2015 Hi-Visibility sponsor for the Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA). James Obermayer, SLMA founder, commented: “Workbooks.com is one of the fastest growing providers of web-based customer relationship management (CRM) and business applications.  Its applications are designed for small-to-mid-size organizations and are delivered via Software-as-a-Service.  The company, and its director of sales Ian Moyse, has been a champion for sales lead management best practices and we welcome them into the worldwide SLMA family.” 

Moyse commented: “As a cloud CRM solution, we are inherently in the business of helping customers improve their sales effectiveness and managing all aspects of leads, from creation to tracking and KPI (key performance indicator) reporting. Partnering with SLMA makes total sense as the lead membership organization focused in this area. We are pleased to contribute thought-leading content to the SLMA, and welcome members to take advantage of a free demo or trial of our service to find out why we won CRM of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and are rated #1CRM for customer satisfaction.”

About Workbooks

Workbooks delivers award-winning CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business.

Unlike traditional CRM solutions, Workbooks.com extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price that is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite.  For more information, visit www.workbooks.com.

About the SLMA

The mission of the Sales Lead Management Association is to help companies become successful in the critical business process of managing sales leads.  The SLMA has 8,454 worldwide members and offers a membership directory, member-to-member discounts, and a website with 300-plus articles from 60 industry authors. 

Levels of SLMA Sponsorship

There are four levels of sponsorship for the Sales Lead Management Association; the Hi-Visibility Sponsorship is just one option.  Starting at $750 annually, SLMA sponsorship offers significant exposure of 50,000 to 140,000 impressions per year to companies interested in reaching the sales lead management community.

The SLMALive Channel: Live Programming and Podcasts

The SLMALive Radio Channel produces marketing and sales shows for at-work listeners, and the weekly SLMA Radio program. SLMA internet radio has interviewed 348 executives on 249 programs.  Podcast replays of SLMA Radio and programs on the SLMALive Channel number in the thousands each month. For more information about SLMA, call Jim Obermayer at (360) 933-1259.

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols

Senior Marketing Executive

0118 3030 100

marketing@workbooks.com

SLMA Media Contact:
Sue Campanale
(360) 933-1259

0118 3030 100

scampanale@salesleadmgmtassn.com

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Feb 04,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

I recently came across this blog post which suggested you should build your own CRM system and frankly I just thought it was just daft advice, so I’d like to offer a different opinion.

It’s also a question which occasionally comes up from prospective customers, especially those who already developed their own in-house application and are looking for the pros and cons of ‘build versus buy’.

So is it a good idea? On the face of it, adding a few fields to your existing application to give your sales team some CRM functionality can’t be that complex right? “Surely, we just need some fields to track activities, the value of potential sales and maybe some notes. In principle that sounds fairly simple, so why would I invest in a commercial CRM?”

You might think ‘we don’t need all the features that a commercial CRM platform offers’ but you would be surprised how quickly your users will demand new functionality especially if they’ve used commercial CRM systems before.

Let’s take a step back and ask: Why are you investing in CRM in the first place? Typically it’s for the following reasons:

  • Increasing revenues, by improving sales and marketing execution;
  • Reducing operational costs, by streamlining business processes;
  • Improving your customer services;
  • Tracking key performance indicators, so you can measure progress and make better business decisions.

If you really want to deliver these benefits you need to deliver a solution which enables your staff to be more effective, not less. Let’s look at some of the common requirements we see from clients in nearly all implementations:

  • Email Integration: We want to be able to send emails from Outlook (or Gmail) and have these stored in CRM, and it would be nice if we could synchronise contacts, meetings and tasks. By the way, we are moving from Outlook 2007 to Office365, so you need to support all these environments.
  • Email Marketing: We want to send marketing emails to all our prospects and customers; it would be good if we could integrate our CRM with an email marketing tool. Actually it would be cool if the data synchronised automatically and opt-outs were managed correctly. Thinking about it, can we track open/clicks and bounces in the CRM so the sales executives know which people to follow-up?
  • Import Tools: We need to import lists of contacts from Excel, so we need an import tool that the marketing folks can use, that doesn’t require them to write SQL. Also, can your import tool manage duplicates? 
  • Reporting: We would really like to report on the CRM data, so do you have a reporting engine, which can be used by non-technical people? What about charts, some of our users want pictures? It would also be nice if we can export the data to Excel, but I need some security controls on that, because I don’t want a salesperson downloading our entire customer base.
  • Quoting: The sales executives say they would be much more productive if they could generate quotes directly from the CRM, can you do this?

Hopefully you get the idea. Once you begin to look at how you can really improve the effectiveness of your business, the ‘basic’ CRM requirement quickly becomes much more complex. Developing even these basic features is very expensive, not to mention the fact that your developers are unlikely to be CRM experts.

If you’re still not convinced you shouldn’t develop your own, then think about some of the more advanced features you are likely to want: 

  • A Mobile App for people on the road;
  • Workflows to automate common tasks;
  • Multi-currency and Exchange rates;
  • Order Processing & Invoicing;
  • Advanced Security rules;
  • Dashboards;
  • Social Media Integration.

Lastly, you should know we have invested $10m (£6m GBP) in developing our core CRM platform at Workbooks. So choosing a commercial CRM solution and integrating it into your in-house application will not only be a lot less expensive, but will deliver a better outcome. 

Find out how your business can move with the times and evolve its sales processes using online CRM to increase leads. Click on the button below to download the full eBook.

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Jan 30,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

By integrating sales and marketing data, both teams can benefit from deeper customer insights - helping everyone become more productive. 

Using Marketing CRM techniques sounds as though it oversteps the traditional boundary between sales and marketing. However, sales and marketing alignment brings benefits to the business as a whole which cannot be ignored.

Here are just a few of those benefits…

Improved Data Sharing

  • Two-way data flow thanks to sales and marketing alignment ensures everyone understands your customers, regardless of pipeline set-up. 
  • Shared data in an integrated sales and marketing CRM system prevents the creation of “silos” – data that is kept within business units, inaccessible, unshared and frequently inaccurate. 
  • Data sharing between sales and marketing business units paves the way for greater data access across the business. 

“It’s the integration of marketing automation with CRM which creates a complete revenue picture and process.” – Debbie Qaqish, destinationcrm.com

Better Understanding of Customers

  • Integrated sales and marketing CRM systems provide lead return functionality, allowing the sales team to return a lead to the marketing department for further nurturing. 
  • Customer segmentation based on preferences and purchase history can create finely tuned marketing campaigns. 
  • Historical records of preferences, purchases and communications allow for personalised service offerings in future. 
  • Tailored services foster better relationships with customers, helping to create greater brand loyalty.

“The primary reason driving our company to integrate sales and marketing efforts is to have marketing determine who our target customers should be so we can empower and direct our sales team to focus their attention on those opportunities.” – Curtis fisher, CEO, ProContent.

Enhanced Automation Capabilities

  • Knowing and understanding customers allows for the creation of automated pipeline triggers and moves prospects along the sales pipeline.
  • Automating sales and marketing functions frees staff to focus on activities which require a human touch.
  • Automating sales and marketing functions often prevents leads from going cold and potential sales being lost.

“36% of best-in-class companies use sales automation technologies, but the industry average is just 27%.” – Sales and Marketing Alignment: The New Power Couple, Aberdeen Group.

Takeaways: What do you get from closer integration?

Closer integration between departments allows your business to share knowledge and experience to provide a better service to customers, new or existing. Keeping customers happy is crucial if you are to generate repeat business. Combining sales and marketing CRM also has a demonstrable positive effect on your company’s bottom line:

“Best-in-class businesses that integrate sales and marketing function noted a 20% average growth in annual company revenue. The industry average was just 7% average growth. The worst performing third of business recorded a 4% average decline in annual revenue.” – Sales and Marketing Alignment, Aberdeen Group.

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now. 

Download Now

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Jan 20,2015 by cheryl.nichols@workbooks.com

When we say closed-loop we mean tracking sales back to the marketing initiative that created them, thus ‘closing the loop’. To really prove the ROI of your lead sources you need to be able to track every lead, customer and investment back to its origination.

There are 4 steps to closed-loop marketing:

  • Visitor arrives on your site
  • Visitor browses your site
  • Visitor converts into a lead
  • Lead becomes customer.

Let’s look into each of these steps in more detail.

Visitor arrives on your site

The best way to close the loop is to direct all lead traffic through your site. When a visitor arrives at your site a cookie is set which refers to their lead source. As this lead moves through your sales cycle the cookie monitors the interactions and you can track the lead back to its original source whether that is email campaigns, organic search, referral traffic, direct traffic, or social media etc.  You can analyse the reports to see the value of your sources and improve ones that are underperforming. A tracking URL is used which is created through your marketing automation tool and a unique token is added to the URL showing the campaign source. 

Visitor browses your site

When a visitor browses your site the cookie tracks the behaviours of your visitors e.g. the pages they view or the content they are interested in. This behaviour analysis helps sales to tailor their follow up later down the line. All of the hard work of behaviour analysis can be done for you using a marketing automation tool.

Visitor converts into a lead

You have directed your incoming traffic to a landing page with a lead-capture form. This lead-capture form typically asks the visitor to provide contact information e.g. their name, company information and contact details etc. Once the form is submitted the visitor is converted into a lead and you collect their information, growing your lead database.

Lead becomes a customer

Which of your marketing channels provided you with the most customers? How can you optimise your marketing channels? Closed-loop marketing allows you to answer these question and determine the value of your lead sources.

To close the loop you need to look at your sales and track them back to their marketing initiative. The best way to do this is to integrate your marketing tool with your CRM. The purpose of a CRM is to synchronize the activities from your sales, marketing and customer support teams. The purpose of a marketing automation tool is to record your marketing data and learn from the analytics to improve your campaigns and lead conversions. To close the loop you need the two systems to interact, otherwise you just have 2 separate databases. Integration allows the two tools to talk to each other so when a deal is closed as won in the CRM a trigger updates the record in the marketing automation tool. Therefore you can trace the sale back to its marketing initiative.

Understanding your sites conversions allows you to identify your most influential pages and content. You can replicate success an improve underperformance. You can implement assignment rules, lead scoring and lead nurturing campaigns that increase the ROI of your marketing initiatives. Integrating marketing automation and CRM helps to align your sales and marketing teams rather than them working as separate entities.

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now. 

Download Now

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