“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half,” said marketing pioneer John Wanamaker in the early 1900's. That is why CRM software was invented and why it is used by every serious marketer. In today's "Big Data" World, enterprises are making not just marketing decisions, but almost ALL decisions based on data analytics.
"Big Data holds the potential to describe target customers with an accuracy and level of detail unfathomable only a decade ago," said Jean Spencer on the SalesForce blog, who is a Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft and was previously the content marketing manager at Kapost. "While old-school marketing efforts were limited to things like tracking returns on direct mail campaigns, or number of subscribers to newsletters, modern marketers can have data on people’s exercise habits, digital clicking behavior, time spent on various sites, purchasing history, personal preferences based on social media postings, time awake, time spent in the car, caloric intake, and almost anything else you can imagine."
SalesForce is at the epicenter of data, marketing and sales. They offer this overview of the concept:
Using Data To Make Better Marketing Decisions
A report by the Aberdeen Group says that 44 percent of executives are dissatisfied with the analytic capabilities available to them and that they often make critical decisions based on inaccurate or inadequate data. That was in 2014 and fortunately CRM has improved dramatically since then and executives are now typically integrating CRM solutions into their marketing platforms.
"No longer do we rely on conclusions based on vague and imprecise relationships such as “we advertised last week and sales increased so it must have worked” or the common one that I’ve heard many times, “the objective was awareness and clearly many people are now aware of us”, said Gerald Chait who is Director/CEO of Marketing By Objectives. "In today’s world, this just does not cut it anymore."
Chait added in a blog post, "Gone are the days when we would define roughly segmented target audiences and place an ad hoping someone would purchase something. Today’s marketing enables us to identify who to work with to make a sale, right down to the individual level. What’s more, we can personalize and customize our advertising and messaging to each specific person, no matter how many people there are. We can even customise and personalize website pages depending on who’s viewing them."
It's often referred to as predictive marketing, gathering data to learn what is working and what isn't using precise analytical strategies and technologies in order to finely tune your marketing.
"Predictive marketing is the application of predictive technology to the entire marketing process, across the entire buyer’s journey, and across every channel of communication," says Eli Snyder, Associate Technology Director of Strategy at Intelligent Demand. "It means not only having predictive insight into the future through predictive analytics, but also using that insight to make better decisions about who and how to engage, and then build better content, campaigns and programs."
"In order to execute your marketing strategy in the most effective way, you’ll need your business management platform (or CRM) and marketing automation tools to work together seamlessly; using one to generate leads, and the other to maintain them, so you can get a complete picture of your business," said Mark Sokol who is the VP of Product Marketing and Branding at ConnectWise.
The Intersection of Marketing & CRM is Leads
CRM and marketing are now tightly integrated in order to make marketing more efficient and and successful. "In the past, the marketing campaign stops here in the CRM software system and the rest is carried out externally," said Denise Holland, VP & Senior Analyst of Genesys Advisory in the CRMsearch blog. "In today’s world, the right customer relationship management system can create the message, compile your target list, distribute your messaging pursuant to an automated schedule, capture the replies and inquiries from these marketing placements, route them to the right sales person or department, track the sale opportunity progress, record the successful sale event and calculate the campaign ROI."
"This CRM system can also advise the best time to call or email your customers, what type of messaging will illicit the best response, if your customer is really serious or just shopping around, how you can improve your products and services, and what new products and services your R&D department should focus on next," he says.
"CRM has one common component to help you make marketing decisions, Leads, says Joe CRM on the PowerObjects blog. "Lead data allows you to gauge how healthy your marketing is, what works and what doesn’t, and lets you understand lead quality. In today’s post, we’ll provide some lead data sources from CRM you can use to help make marketing decisions."
Joe at PowerObjects says you need to know where your leads are coming from. "Some examples of lead sources include outbound cold calls, email, chat, website form submission, and events," he said. "Keeping the lead source simple lets you use a different field, source campaign, to describe the lead source in more detail as needed."
He says that knowing where leads come from drives marketing decisions such as:
- Number of employees needed for the inside sales team
- Budget disbursement for paid advertising
- Landing page success
- P&L for events attended
Create a Data-Driven Culture
"To cultivate a data-driven culture within your organization, it’s important to remember that without data, you’re simply another person with an opinion," commented MeetMe CTO Jonah Harris on the NGDATA blog. "All too often, with valuable data and insights in hand, people remain invested in their own hunches and intuition."
"Transitioning to a genuine data-driven culture is a challenge for many organizations, but one of the ideal first steps is to start leveraging the data your business has to guide evidence-based decision making," added Vaclav Shatillo of Business Intelligence at Clutch. "When data reinforces or, better yet, contradicts the gut feeling, the conversation around the importance of a data-driven approach is bound to begin."
- How to get/collect the data,
- Specifically what data to use,
- How the data will inform business decisions,
- At what frequency the data is needed to make actionable decision, and
- How to package the data so it can be easily digested, analyzed and reacted to.
Find other great advice from a variety of experts quoted about how to create a data-driven culture here.
Darren Catalano, the CEO of HelioCampus offers some great tips on building a data-driven culture that can be applied to any business:
Data is Marketing Gold
"Data isn’t an overwhelming set of facts and figures," said Megan Totka is the Marketing Director for ChamberofCommerce.com. "It’s marketing gold. It shows you what your customers want and how to get your customers to buy from you."
Joe CRM says that the "data you receive from leads that turn into opportunities and then end up as customers is a goldmine." He says, "This data alone can give your company direction and help you find your niche. That’s why when you use your closed as won accounts it should be for a macro view of your marketing processes. This is the data executives want to see from marketing because it helps prove ROI or that the money spent was worthwhile."
Data that can power your successful marketing strategy is sometimes found in places that you don't expect. "New marketing technology, measurement platforms and other advances have greatly expanded the sources that marketers can sift through for nuggets of information," said Eva Rohrmann, the director of solutions and customer lifecycle marketing for PR Newswire. "
Rohrmann says that the "most useful data that will turn strategic, positioning and tactical efforts into gold oftentimes is hiding right under your nose: with other teams within your organization." She believes that ideas and data are "streaming" from many directions, "from sales to product to customer support."
"Every team within your organization has a treasure trove of actionable marketing intelligence waiting to be discovered," she says.
The marketing landscape is changing and that should make every CMO's job easier because they are using justifiable logic instead of just gut intuition. In order for a company to reach their maximum sales potential they must utilize data-driven CRM strategies.
"Marketing is currently undergoing a metamorphosis from a once qualitatively measured art towards a quantitatively driven science," said Eamonn O'Raghallaigh, the Managing Director of Digital Strategy. on the company's blog. "This paradigm shift will indeed lead to significant impacts on the competitive landscape; with the bias towards companies who adopt and embrace a data-centric culture within their organization."