Everywhere a CMO turns these days, technology is popping up. There are email marketing tools to manage your email correspondence with buyers. There are social media solutions to help automate and track your social media interactions. There are marketing analytics tools to extract insights from your data. There are CRM systems to capture a 360 degree customer view. There are marketing automation platforms to help manage multi-channel lead nurturing efforts. This list is over simplified. And has barely scratched the surface of technology available.
My bet is this week some hot new marketing technology will pop up that you have never heard of before. Is this new technology real or another fad? Is it worth investigating or a distraction for your marketing team? Today’s CMO needs a technologist on their staff to answer these questions. The person filling this role needs to bring together all the business, marketing and technology requirements.
Remember the not so distant past of having to work all your technology requests through IT? That was painful, right? You now have full control over your technology decisions. And can move at your pace, not IT’s. But with this power comes a growing risk. You may be creating a marketing silo of technology/data that is not connected to the rest of the organization. If you fall into this trap, you will hurt your efforts. And those of your peers.
What is the fix?
Building your marketing technology roadmap begins by placing the customer at the center of your data model. You do this by making your company’s CRM system the hub of all of your marketing technologies. Your CRM system should be capturing a 360 view of the customer. And be used by every key customer facing team in your organization.
Systems and data silos are death for organizations today. If you look at many new marketing technologies, each solves a painful niche problem. But few really integrate into the rest of the technology ecosystem. An easy way to determine if a new marketing technology is worth exploring is to ask if it integrates with your CRM system. By integrate we are not talking about displaying a few fields in a CRM web form. We are talking about passing back and forth meaningful data that drives how each system behaves. Only then can you have a singular view of the customer. Only then can the systems operate contextually. Only then will you have all the information needed to make meaningful decisions.
Why do you care?
Think about the customer experience. If your technology is not integrated through CRM, you cannot effectively hand leads over to sales. If I’m a buyer who has been to the website, read some digital assets, spoken to someone at the company, etc, I expect the next person I speak with to know who I am. Today’s buyer is completing 60+% of their journey before interacting with your sales team. Requiring your buyers to bring a sales person up to speed introduces friction into their buying journey. Don’t introduce this sales objection. Instead help sales by answering the following questions for them:
- Where did the lead come from?
- How often has the lead been interacting with your content?
- What have they consumed?
- What are they interested in?
- What does your predictive analytics suggest to be the next steps for the buyer?
Your technology interactions with sales does not stop with the handoff. As a marketing team, you need know what happens after the handoff takes place. Assuming your sales people are power users of CRM, everything that happens post handoff is recorded in that system. You need access to that information. You need to analyze what is taking place. This will help you answer questions like:
- Were our predictive analytics accurate? If not, how do we need to change them?
- Was this lead sales ready? If not, how do we change our qualification criteria to introduce sales at the right time?
- If the lead did not buy from us, can we recover? If so, how do we nurture the lead to re-position ourselves for a future buying decision?
- Did the content shared by sales make an impact? Are changes required to serve up the content that will repeat success while avoiding failure?
Providing an omni-channel experience for your buyers is the only way to live up to your brand promise. It will improve your chances of turning marketing investments into revenue. This will only occur if you prevent your technology architecture from becoming a functional silo. Your CRM system is your bridge to the rest of the organization.