You may be your company’s CRM administrator, but the strategy for your CRM system is not always your own. In many organizations, different departments fight for priority and try to dictate how they believe CRM should run. It’s frustrating, it makes it hard to accomplish anything and it’s simply not effective.
In order to be successful, a CRM admin today needs to become more of a prescriptive business partner and less of an order-taker. One of the most effective ways to do that is by being a partner with other areas of your organization, and one of your greatest opportunities for partnership is marketing.
Marketing automation is often at the core of marketing technology investments and it is also a common add-on technology to Microsoft Dynamics. This presents tremendous opportunities for CRM admins to add value to not only marketing, but to their entire organization. It also maximizes the ROI of Dynamics and can help increase user adoption as the system’s functionality becomes more relevant to a broader range of roles.
As a CRM admin, you may not be the most likely or traditional source for a marketing automation discussion. However, as CRMs evolve, so too must companies in order to maximize the benefits they reap from this core business technology and those that integrate with it. Approach these conversations from that angle to reduce resistance, increase buy-in and facilitate collaboration. Below are four questions to ask marketing stakeholders to ensure that everyone is on the same page in the marketing automation solution selection process.
1. What are their technology pain points? Start by identifying the pain points that your marketing team faces with their current tools and technology. This will give you a jumping-off point to see how marketing automation applies to them.
Ask them questions so that you can pick out the pitfalls they run into repeatedly. Are features segmented, causing a disjointed workflow where they must hop from one platform to another? Are they missing key data or information that they could use to do their jobs better?
In this sense, your discussion really begins with listening. You must hear out your marketing team when it comes to the challenges they feel are holding them back. Once you have a list of pain points, prioritize them and see how a new solution could address them.
2. What features do they need? Email is a major player in marketing today, but it isn’t the end-all, be-all for marketers. Modern marketers must diversify their approach to connecting with audiences and that often involves more than email.
Find out if they use automated campaigns, forms and landing pages, web intelligence, social media, SMS marketing, surveys, events and other related marketing initiatives. This will help you better understand their needs and ensure that the marketing automation solutions being evaluated meet them.
Also, be sure not to solely focus on the present with this question. Ask them what features they would like for future marketing endeavors, giving them room to grow with their marketing technology.
3. Is their data flowing seamlessly back into CRM? Every system used at your company related to marketing and sales should be tied together. Yet again, this links back to the importance of true integration. Having a fully native feature set will ensure no delays in reporting and, more importantly, no missing information.
Your sales and marketing teams get real-time insights into the actions of prospects and customers, which makes for greater efficiency and effectiveness for both functions. That puts your company in the ideal spot to review and optimize every part of your system and workflows.
4. Can they report on everything they need to report on? In addition to ensuring that the data all flows into the same place, you need to make sure that reports can easily be pulled from that place. Everyone should be able to get the reports they need, whether it’s a report with all the essential numbers for a quarter or a report for a particular campaign.
Compiling these reports shouldn’t take a substantial amount of time, either. In fact, it should be nearly instant. When you reach this level of complete integration, reporting is no longer a hassle. Reports can be pulled at a moment’s notice, segmenting a small amount of information or encompassing thousands of data points in an easy-to-comprehend way.
After you have had a chance to ask your questions, the primary question your marketing team is going to want answered is simple: “How will it impact me on a daily basis?” What they’re really asking is, “Is this going to make my life harder?” Take care to ensure that the selected system answers that question in the negative.