Business

The problem with your ‘CRM’

This sponsored post is produced by Decisions.com.

CRM, marketing automation, support desks, Web analytics, and other services are emerging every day that are designed to capture precious data about your customers. Businesses are armed with more data than ever before about leads and customers. But how do you leverage that data to drive more revenue? Let’s explore the problem with your “CRM.”

Marketeers at some of the largest CRM companies have done a great job of spinning the definition of a CRM in their favor. Instead of bickering over the true definition, let’s simply categorize the following as examples of CRM solutions that you might be using: SalesForce.com, Zoho, SugarCRM, and Microsoft Dynamics. Or you may have a custom CRM solution. In any case, the “CRM” is usually ran by sales. They are the interface between your organization and your leads/customers. However, with the recent rise of other software solutions that encompass the broader customer lifecycle, a turf battle is brewing.

  1. Prospecting tools (marketing): Google Analytics, Omniture Site Catalyst, HubSpot, InfusionSoft, Pardot, Eloqua, and many others have features that tell you about website traffic and what happens before the first conversion event.
  2. Lead nurturing and management tools (sales and marketing): Zoho, HubSpot, MailChimp, InfusionSoft, Pardot, Eloqua, Microsoft Dynamics, and SalesForce.com. These types have features that track interactions between your organization and the lead.
  3. Invoicing and contract management (sales, finance, management, legal): Quickbooks, PeachTree, Sage, PeopleSoft, SalesForce.com, and others manage documents and transactions between your organization and the customer.
  4. Customer success (sales, support, marketing, management, finance, legal): Companies like Totango and Tri Tuns have software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for this phase, but many organizations use a combination of the previously mentioned tools along with some custom built tools to facilitate the customer success effort where everybody is involved.

How do you get data from system to system? Phase to phase? Silo to silo? Manager to manager? With Workflow Software! See: How workflow software could be the backbone of the future web.

This is a classic workflow problem. Multiple teams, with multiple systems needing access to the same data upon which they want to automate processes that will ultimately drive them to the next phase.

When you start to put these pieces together, you start to see our vision for Web 3.0, where a single object, in this case the customer, is taken through multiple systems or services in an automated, efficient, and revenue producing fashion. So how is it done?

Basic steps to implement your customer lifecycle workflow

  1. Get systems talking to each other in one place. (Managing disparate systems is hard enough, you don’t want to manage disparate connectors.)
  2. Define rules for interaction. (Example: If contract approval is OK, send to customer for signature.)
  3. Apply role-based access to the data. (Support reps can see subscription level, payment method, account manager information, etc.)
  4. Configure notifications. (Who should be notified when certain events take place?)

From there you have a solid framework upon which process templates can be built, deployed, modified, reused, and optimized.

Is your “CRM” fitting into the broader customer lifecycle?

Kevin Lindquist is a Crocker Innovation Fellow from Brigham Young University who is currently serving as Director of Sales and Marketing at workflow software vendor Decisions.com. You can find him on Twitter @GrowthHackerGuy or @DecisionsTweets


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