Best of CRM: December 9th

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Every week, we recount some of the best buzz around CRM and data integration. We’ll review our favorite articles and share the most pressing findings or key takeaways from each.

Interrupting Business as Usual: What’s Next for the Cloud?
By: Lou Guercia (@LouGuercia)
Four months into the Cloud Leaders series, Scribe’s own CEO, Lou Guercia, shares his takeaways from some of the top contributors to the program. Based on insights from Clint Oram, Dana Gardner, Donald Farmer, Matt Quinn and Umberto Milletti, the article describes the cloud as a force that is blurring lines at the C-level, moving companies towards disposable software, transitioning information models to data on demand, increasing the focus on business outcomes and turning cloud services into commodities. As Lou writes, the cloud is “not only empowering line-of-business executives to take on a bigger role in a company’s IT direction, but also elevating the role of CIO to a strategic function, while highlighting the need to break down data siloes – both technology and culturally related – for ubiquitous data access.” The cloud is acting as a major transformative force, and businesses will need to adapt to the continually increasing speed of technology.

Calculating the ROI of CRM – A Business Leader’s Guide
By: John Cheney (@johncheney)
With $18 billion/year on the line for CRM investments, calculating ROI from the systems is paramount. John Cheney notes that the ROI is there, as Nucleus Research found when done right, CRM generated over $5 for every $1 spent, but without aligning a CRM implementation with specific business requirements, companies miss out on this ROI. Five common mistakes that often lead to CRM failure include failing to break down siloes when implementing a new CRM system, a lack of reconciliation between the goals of marketing and sales, managers failing to delve into CRM reporting for valuable insights, ignoring CRM insights on customer conversations and implementing a CRM system without actually incorporating it into daily business operations. However, John writes that “all of these can be avoided by careful planning, which should start before you even think about calculating your ROI. In many cases, what’s required is a return to basics.” To succeed with CRM, he advises planning and considering CRM in the context of cutting costs, saving time, streamlining IT, the real cost of your investment, the price of disruption, ongoing overheads and the ripple effect.

6 Steps to Boost Holiday Sales per Customer with CRM Software
By: Ramon Ray (@ramonray)
The bottom line is always a primary driver of business, and one clear-cut way to improve it is by growing the sales per customer. In this holiday-focused article, Ramon starts by grounding us in reality: whatever advertisements we’re getting bombarded with this month should only be an extension of prior months’ marketing efforts. He explains how CRM can be used to personalize campaigns, using himself as an example: “I buy a lot of shirts from men’s clothier Charles Tyrwhitt, both online and from their retail stores… every retailer can leverage their CRM system to send very targeted and personalized emails or other digital communications to customers.” To leverage personalized messages, Ramon gives us the steps needed, starting with analyzing past sales and segmenting customers. Next, companies must create specialized messaging for individuals or segments, followed by nurturing and educating them. The final step is to send an offer and enjoy the subsequent sales.

What the Wizard of Oz Can Teach Companies about CRM
By: Sara Angeles (@sara_angeles)
In an interview with Nikolaus Kimla, CEO and founder of Pipeliner, Sara relates Nikolaus’ thoughts on how CRM solutions have changed over the past few years. With the growth of smaller cloud-based CRM solutions solving for very specific business needs, “instead of being the ‘top-down’ enforcement onto sales that it always has been, CRM becomes an empowerment to sales, allowing them to fully control their sales pipelines and thereby meet and exceed their quotas.” When choosing a CRM system based on business criteria, Nikolaus recommends businesses remember the following points: sales teams are paid to close sales, not enter data; companies must find a solution that optimizes their salespeople’s potential; and the opinion of sales should be valued regarding marketing campaigns and other issues that affect them.

4 Ways to Improve Your CRM
By: Tracey Wallace (@TraceWall)
CRM, both as a technology and a business practice, should focus on building and improving relationships with customers. To do so, Tracey recommends planning CRM around fostering word of mouth conversations, using customer feedback to improve UX, engaging with honesty and keeping track of your customers. CRM can benefit companies across the board, from increasing sales to improving design output with user feedback. Tracey also notes the importance of combining business systems, stating that “Your CRM will be taken to the next level when combined with marketing automation.”


We hope you had a great week! We’ll see you again soon with a roundup of all the movers and shakers in CRM and data integration news.

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