All posts in CRM Integrations

A New Cycle of Marketing

Only data-driven marketing teams who work collaboratively can consistently create the ever-changing combination of message and media necessary to attract and nurture modern customers.

Historically, even in the most advanced organizations, the division of marketing responsible for lead generation efforts has had a rather fragmented process. Leads are generated from marketing activities such as events, pay-per-click and other targeted audience sources, but delays exist in getting these leads over to the team responsible for outbound, follow-up messaging. At some point, these leads need to be handed to a sales function after being matured and qualified through nurturing efforts. This sales function can be a person (as in many B2B cycles), or an ecommerce portal, often seen in direct B2C products sales. Pressure to follow-up in a timely and personalized manner has driven the requirement for automation technology to assist.

The underlying concern with the current methodology is the disjointed environment in which it is expected to thrive. Nurture campaigns and other similar initiatives are under pressure to constantly innovate and resonate, but little support exists to enable a ‘quest’ for this utopia. In order to succeed, it is critical to create an environment where large teams can work collaboratively to achieve the ever-changing, required message and media combination to truly attract and nurture customers.

A major contributor to this problem is how technology has been introduced to assist the process. The abundance of marketing technologies has created a need for job roles within the organization focused specifically on system implementation work. These system deployments, integrations and general configuration changes within those systems are generally driven by a separate group of people from those who have a focus on the message and medium. Further, strategically, these activities are largely driven by suggested configurations (‘best practices’) developed by software vendors holistically for a broad set of users across many companies and industries.

Secondly, the results data which is produced by campaign initiatives is generally stored, but rarely used. Again, the disparate roles and skills required to manage and analyze this data vary widely from those who develop messaging and content. The most successful organizations are often mid-market and have found a small group of ‘growth hackers’ and ‘full-stack marketers’ who can embrace all of these skills. The truth is that these people are very rare and larger enterprises are not able to retain and scale their efforts around these unicorns. Even as the skills of the traditional marketer evolve, the need for focus and scale is critical for large enterprises, rather than evolving, scalable strategies based on specific marketing goals.

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In this situation, it is unrealistic to expect that truly personalized, relevant messages can be delivered to an audience on a regular, ongoing basis – but the customer demands (and deserves) this level of interaction. Individual attempts can be successful, due to extraordinary people and teamwork, but even those groups cannot be expected to repeat their feats time and time again. As soon as a competitor’s message can resonate more than another’s, market share will begin to shift.

A simple shift towards cohesion of marketing efforts can have a significant impact. Marketing leadership must change the environment to support the ongoing efforts made by marketing teams:

  1. System implementation efforts must be driven initially by best practices, but then evolve to be influenced and driven by the need to scale successful campaign efforts across product lines, channels and geographies.
  2. Campaign planning must include hypotheses that are proven (true or false) and these results must be shared and accessible globally. This data along with traditional KPI’s must be leveraged in future campaign planning to avoid duplication of efforts.
  3. Marketers need to be empowered to experiment and innovate in controlled environments in order to ‘bubble’ up the most successful attempts.

Ironically, these changes often present themselves as a cost savings to an organization. For many, it immediately becomes a value add. Consider the enterprise with marketing efforts occurring across multiple product lines and customer geographies. These customer audiences are usually very similar and can be influenced by the same ideas. Yet, since no mechanism exists to support collaboration across the marketing groups, successes are not shared and assets, efforts and failures are reproduced. Further, without an understanding of what is working for everyone, systems are not regularly ‘tuned’ to support them. The system changes are instead driven by standardized best practices that no longer resonate with the buyer and are already being improved upon by a competitor.

Building a cyclical process and allowing these three functions to continually feed each other is the hallmark of an innovative marketing group. With every effort, regardless of outcome, the organization learns and enables itself. This combined learning then serves as a foundation on which to experiment. Even in the case of successive failed attempts, a marketing group would be more empowered than ever to plan the next campaign towards success. The company would be truly ‘listening’ to their audience. In turn, their systems evolve to enable the data, workflows and assets of a campaign to be widely reused, and brands would move one step closer to being truly customer driven.

Exploring the Marketing Technology Landscape – Part Four

Carrying on in our discussion of integration in marketing technology, let’s look again at Scott Brinker’s “Marketing Technology Landscape” graphic. In exploring the subject headings used, the sizes of various categories and the companies in each category, we can tease out a few interesting correlations, but we also raise some interesting questions. Continue reading →

Empower Sales with CRM

EmpowerSalesWithCRM

There is nothing quite as fundamental to the success of business as a good understanding of clients and their needs. This is especially true when engaging in customer acquisition: everything from lead nurturing campaigns to engaging with customer on social media sites can empower companies to reach wider audiences and perfect customers.

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Client Imagine Canada Realizes Payoffs of Automation based on New Approach to CRM & Accounting System Integration [Case Study]

ImagineCanadaCS

C&A is proud to release a new case study detailing a successful custom CRM and accounting system integration for Imagine Canada, a national charitable organization. C&A integrated Salesforce.com with Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains accounting software using a custom-built interface, giving visibility to users of accounting and CRM functionality, respectively. The Director of Finance at Imagine Canada predicts to see a saving of at least 16 hours per month through this change alone.

Click here to read the full case study!

Four Benefits of System Deployment

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1. Transforms Your Entire Business

It is important to understand that a systems deployment will change the entire face of your organization. All your business processes, all your data standards, and key performance indicators are going to take new effect – this is exactly what you want to accomplish. With the right system deployment you can leverage the power of new standards in every nook and cranny of your organizational process.

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