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CRM 101: A Guide for Marketers

As customers demand more personalised experience, CRM software is proving a critical tool for marketers to deliver tailored campaigns with proven ROI. 

As digitisation continues to accelerate at pace, marketers can no longer apply a “one size fits all” approach to customer engagement. To fully understand their needs and deliver tailored interactions, marketers must have a cohesive and comprehensive view of their customers.

With customer relationship management (CRM), marketers can create the seamless, connected and personalised experiences their customers expect at every stage of their journey. 

Here we explore how cloud-based CRM technology should be a critical ally for every marketing team.

What is CRM

With CRM, businesses can collect, store and view all their customer data in one place using cloud technology. That might include the basics like phone numbers and email addresses, along with records of their interactions with the business across every platform, insights into their preferences, and where they are at in the customer journey at any given moment. Think of it as a complete, 360-degree view of your customer. 

With that unified view, you can manage your relationship with your customers or prospects more effectively, so every interaction counts. Teams can work collaboratively, accessing real time updates to ensure every communication is informed and relevant.

How marketing teams can use a CRM

Marketers can use a CRM to see exactly where every opportunity or lead sits in the pipeline. At any given time, they have a complete picture of what information a customer has received, what messaging is relevant to them and, sometimes more importantly, what messaging is not relevant to them. With customers more demanding than ever of personalised experiences, bombarding them with irrelevant content is a sure fire way to lose them. 

The insights available to marketers via a well maintained CRM software mean they can move away from the cookie cutter campaigns of the past and deliver the finely tuned and tailored messaging that today’s customers will respond to.

What CRM looks like in action

With a CRM marketers can:

  • Segment audiences, create customised content for each segment and track its success.
  • Measure responses to campaigns via metrics like email open rates and unsubscribe rates.
  • Measure ROI through metrics such as conversion rates and customer lifetime value.
  • Automate processes such as follow-up emails with triggers based on certain metrics or conditions being met. Automated communications can ensure customers are properly nurtured at each stage of the journey. 

Take the example of North Collective where Robert Lopez, Brand and Digital Innovation Manager, used CRM to allow the business to tailor their messaging to each segment of their customer base. When the data showed a shift from retirees to young parents and professionals comprising typical membership, North Collective changed its communications to suit. 

“We are now able to look at our historical data and sort people into persona groups based on data points such as age and gender, or who purchased a kid’s meal or attended a kids’ show in the past 12 months,” Robert explained.

“The next step was sending them the right messages, like making sure they knew that kids eat free on Wednesdays. After that we got a little more advanced.

“Our ‘What’s On’ newsletters went from trying to simultaneously talk to the entirety of our diverse range of customers to being quite granular. If the Wiggles are coming, for example, our parents will hear about it and our retirees won’t.”

And with campaign open rates nearly doubling since the CRM platform was introduced, the personalised approach is clearly working.

Salesforce research shows that CRM is the most popular data management solution and 51% of high performing marketers plan to increase their use of CRM over the next year. 

Critical to the successful deployment of CRM is the alignment with other business departments. Currently, 63% of marketers use the same CRM system as sales and service departments. It’s a figure that will need to increase if businesses are to succeed in a market where data sources are multiplying but data management remains fragmented. Creating shared buyer profiles and aligning goals is key to discovering and nurturing qualified leads. 

Learn more about CRM

Our CRM Handbook will help you decide whether your marketing team should invest in one.

Salesforce Staff

The 360 Blog from Salesforce teaches readers how to improve work outcomes and professional relationships. Our content explores the mindset shifts, organizational hurdles, and people behind business evolution. We also cover the tactics, ethics, products, and thought leadership that make growth a meaningful and positive experience.

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