Best of CRM: August 10th


Share on LinkedIn

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.

Stale CRM Data can Stall Sales
By: Christopher Bucholtz (@Bucholtz)
The role of sales no longer consists of hard and soft-selling – successful salespeople now work to become their buyer’s trusted advisor, and to do so they need relevant and timely data on that customer. This data may not be perfect, as Christopher writes “CRM data is to the prospect what a painting is to a photograph. It’s not a perfect reflection of the prospect – it’s an impression based on aspects those collecting the data chose to emphasize.” One way to ensure sales is armed with the most relevant data possible is to frequently update customer records in the CRM system, which means sales must engage in more “listening” and less “selling” than ever before. And as an added bonus, integrating the CRM system with other business systems will further flesh out this customer record, ensuring a more complete and up-to-date view of the customer.

What CIOs Need to Know about Marketing’s Data Needs
By: Loraine Lawson (@LoraineLawson)
With marketers continuing to gain importance for enterprises, they require more data than ever before. Unfortunately according to a survey by Gleanster, the CMOs of many midsize and large B2C organizations lack this much-needed data, hindering revenue-driving tasks like customer segmentation. According to Loraine, “the study shows that overall, not even half of the marketers were satisfied with their data capabilities,” with a key highlight showing that 86% of marketers believe they could drive more customer revenue with a better 360 degree view of customer attributes. Of note to us is the finding that under half of marketers surveyed were satisfied with their customer data integration, demonstrating an easy way to being moving towards that full customer view. The study provides four recommendations to improve the situations, which include breaking down silos and allowing real-time data access, shifting data from campaign-centric to customer-centric, creating an integrated multi-channel approach, and connecting analytics, strategy and creative.

Which Tools do you Use?
By: Denis Pombriant (@DenisPombriant)
This piece covers Denis’ new marketing study on how marketers analyze data like cost per lead, cost per program, etc., along with what systems they use for processing data. Denis found that “the big dog was CRM with a 54 percent share. Next came marketing automation with a full third, and last was business intelligence with 22 percent.” While the data commonly collected is useful, the problem comes more from the data not collected, with under 10 percent of marketers collecting critical performance data such as time stamped marketing events, deal velocity and average lead time for each marketing stage. To leverage marketing as a weapon rather than a cost, marketers must measure and utilize these data points to move the needle for their company and gain a deeper understanding of and more control over the leads going into their sales funnel.

More Social CRM Companies to Watch
By: Drew Robb
“According to Gartner, few sales organizations are experiencing much success using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites to drive opportunities, leads and transactions… (but) that doesn’t mean social CRM won’t ultimately help sales organizations with leads and more traditional sales functions.” This article brings to attention some unique social CRM companies to watch, including LexisNexis InterAction, Messagemind, Artesian and Ni3. Law-centric LexisNexis will come out with a major upgrade to its social CRM capabilities later this year, while Messagemind works to learn from CRM and social activity to consolidate contacts and map relationship networks. Artesian’s secret sauce allows for easy access from a variety of sources and personalized output to each business user. Lastly, Ni3 straddles traditional enterprise applications, business intelligence and social network analysis and seeks to map hidden/informal relationships and power dynamics within networks of people. All of these social CRM systems offer something unique, and we look forward to seeing how their use-cases evolve as companies attempt to go beyond branding and loyalty to directly increase leads and transactions from social.

Outsourcing CRM: The Pros and Cons
By: Alan Earls
CRM is often thought of as the system needed to gather and make use of customer data, but customer relationship management goes beyond software to encompass the entire business of the customer experience. This interview with Peter Perera of the Perera Group discusses the benefits and challenges of outsourcing a key component of the customer experience – the call center. When considering outsourcing CRM, companies should consider their own people, the outsourcer’s people, and their customers or prospects, working to determine why their company can’t manage the call center itself, then testing the outsourcer’s people before handing customer service over to them. When evaluating the actual CRM activities, Peter explains the processes at issue, which he breaks down into four areas: “the first is the customer-interfacing process; the second is behind-the-scenes sales, marketing and service operational processes; third is the data management processes that undergird automation; fourth, and most important, is the customer journey process.” When looking at these processes, researching the outsourcer’s ability to integrate data bi-directionally should also be taken into account. In the end outsourcing will almost always cost less than managing contact centers in-house on the surface, but whether or not companies should choose that route depends on a mix of internal capabilities, the cost/benefits analysis of how personalized their customer relationships are, and their ability to find the right outsourcing partner.

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.

Peter Chase
Peter founded Scribe Software along with Jim Clarke in the beginning of 1996. As Executive Vice President, Business Development, Peter is responsible for establishing and growing partnerships with other leading technology companies in support of Scribe's overall market and product strategy. Prior to founding Scribe, Peter held senior positions in sales, product marketing, and finance at SNAP Software, an early pioneer in CRM software that was acquired by Dun and Bradstreet. He has published numerous articles and whitepapers and is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here