CRM & Marketing Automation
Customer Relationship Management
CRM is essential to your online marketing mix
We talk a lot about the “Internet Marketing Ecosystem” and how an effective online marketing strategy is made up of many components. Usually, we think of your business website as the central online marketing channel. It certainly is a critical element, but a well planned customer relationship management system, or CRM, can be even more important.
Since we are an Internet marketing agency, we approach CRM from the perspective of lead generation, marketing automation and lifetime value. This avoids the tendency to use CRM as an address book with better note-taking ability.
Before getting into details about how we build your online marketing campaign, let’s lay the groundwork about what CRM actually is, and why it is such a powerful Internet marketing tool.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for customer relationship management. Sometimes, you’ll hear “client relationship management,” “customer retention management,” etc., but these all mean the same thing.
If you think about the best experiences you have doing business online, CRM almost always plays a role. At the very least CRM is a database that contains all of the details related to every client or customer you have. It also keeps track of future and potential business. As an example, sales teams often use CRM to track leads and make sure nothing is overlooked along the buyer’s journey leading to a close.
CRM and Marketing Automation
A typical CRM can automatically send order information, or important product or pricing updates. It can send birthday greetings or remember important dates and update your calendar. CRM can assign tasks, send surveys and automatically segment your customer list.
In short, CRM can do all the things you intend to do, but rarely have time for. But, because CRM can do so much, many business owners have now idea where to begin. When asked about CRM, a common response goes like this. “Well, we have a CRM, but we don’t really use it.” Or, “We use it for contacts, but I know it can do a lot more.”
It’s understandable, because getting CRM right involves hundreds, or even thousands of details. If you are trying to learn your CRM at the same time as you deploy it, you’re bound to be frustrated with the outcome. It’s like learning to use tools by building an apartment complex. There’s a certain order of things, and missing a step or two can make life very difficult later on.
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What types of businesses need CRM?
For the most part all organizations need CRM. Possible exceptions are street traffic businesses, like corner mini marts. However, even those can benefit by developing personal relationships with customers.
- Any company or organization that requires a defined sales process
- Any business with a sales team of 1 or more
- Companies that ship products
- Companies that sell products
- Companies that don’t ship products
- Businesses that do things for people
- Businesses that do things for other businesses
- Businesses that make things to sell
- Any business with customers or clients
- Small businesses
- Big businesses
- In-between businesses
- Businesses that care about competing or growing
CRM, for lead generation and lead management has no equivalent tool. No matter how good you are with spreadsheets, or how well you manage your inbox, CRM is better for several reasons.
What can a CRM do?
First, CRM doesn’t merely store information—it can act on it. That means you can commit essential business functions to the magic of automation. Let’s look at the buyer’s journey and examine the role of CRM throughout each phase.
CRM and The Buyer’s Journey
- Online forms feed your lead funnel by directly populating your CRM
- Leads from other sources, events, workshops, cold calls, referrals, etc. are addd automatically and manually
- All leads are segmented by source, interests, demographics and other criteria you define
- Internal and client facing information remains up to date a visible
- CRM manages broadcast email campaigns and other marketing strategies to reach prospective customers efficiently
- Auto-response emails and other communications are managed conditionally by segment, source and interest
- 2-way communication paths evolve over time as customer needs and interests become better known
- Calls to action, closing emails, final offers, etc. may be triggered conditionally or manually, based on the needs of your specific business
- Closing data throughout all your pipeline stages contributes to more timely delivery of critical information as the decision is being made
- Keep track of decision-makers and key factors leading to every close
- Sales history is stored indefinitely and may be filtered in infinite ways
- Advanced segmentation takes only minutes
- Related products or future needs may be anticipated based on purchasing activities by related consumers
- CRM can send, track and analyze customer satisfaction surveys
CRM is an Essential Business Management Tool
Properly developed and customized to your business, CRM can lead to vastly increased first time sales, as well as a major boost in lifetime value. Unfortunately, implementing a CRM in business can be difficult. Your success with CRM depends on your ability to translate critical business processes into data and workflows built into the CRM itself.
Most business owners are very good at the daily operation of their companies. Many, however, don’t have the time or expertise in process and workflow management to devise a CRM strategy that will translate to genuine increased profit.
How much does CRM cost?
The typical per seat monthly cost for a major CRM is $200-$300. That means if you have 10 users, expect to pay that times 10. There are CRM providers that charge much less, but adding features and customization tends to push the price up very quickly.
One of the biggest issues with that kind of licensing model is not so much the cost, but what happens when you need to make a change. Most CRM systems allow you to export and import data, but continuity goes right out the window when you attempt to do so. Basically, changing CRMs is an expensive, miserable, frustrating experience that you don’t want to deal with.
We don’t work that way. In fact, we don’t directly charge for CRM. Since CRM is so central and essential to your marketing and sales efforts, we build it into virtually every project. So, in terms of cost, CRM with us is essentially free. What you do pay for is OCG’s online marketing services, which include organic SEO, landing page optimization, CRO, email marketing, marketing automation, website design and a host of other services. The CRM component ties all of together the entire online marketing ecosystem, and is always included.
To find out more, or to discuss the specifics about how to implement CRM in your business, please contact us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org call our office at (775) 324-1644, or fill out the above form. We are also available during most business hours via online chat in the bottom right corner of this window.