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CRM, Metrics and the B2B Marketer

Marketing is transforming. We’re aligning closer to sales, owning more of the revenue pipeline and being held more accountable. To be a successful marketer we need understand our customers’ and potential customers’ needs and behaviors so that we can respond effectively with appropriate messages about our products and services. CRM systems allow us to do this. The data housed inside a CRM system can help close sales faster, retain customers, find new customers, and offer superior customer service – all things that ultimately increase revenue. So why is it that  less than 50% of executives are fully satisfied with the business benefits of CRM? How can we ensure that at least for marketing that we are maximizing the investment in our CRM tools and leveraging them to drive the right kind of engagement with customers and prospects?

In a word – metrics. Established and used correctly metrics enforce the discipline needed for CRM success. According to a recent report from Forrester, “Executional discipline is what sets CRM winners apart from failures, and establishing the right metrics is part of the path to success.”  

But which metrics are important? The proliferation of social media  has definitely broadened the scope of metrics that we need to pay attention to. The ever increasing usage of social media and social listening technologies brings the “voice of the customer” front and center for most companies. Harnessing the rich  social sources of information on customer sentiment and translating this into data you can act upon from a marketing perspective is not necessarily an easy feat.

Let’s consider the interrelationship of CRM and marketing. CRM helps companies:

  • Acquire new customers
  • Retain existing customers
  • Maintain customer satisfaction
  • Helps drive profitability
  • Helps to increase market share

Imagine if one of your business goals is to increase revenue from new prospects. The strategies you might employ include

  • increasing the percentage of opportunities that close
  • increasing deal size
  • improving acquisition targeting

Marketing impacts all of these. Marketing tactics may include:

  • Targeting your best customer “look-a-likes”
  • Improving the lead prioritization and qualification before handing off to sales.
  • Marketing solutions versus individual products.

Imagine another business goal to increase the revenue from existing customers. Strategies employed here my be to:

  • Increase penetration within existing accounts
  • Upgrading existing customers
  • Improving retention of customers

Utilizing tactics such as  using best customer profiles to target and upsell other accounts and  targeting more profitable customers for retention focused programs can help achieve the business goal. However it requires data housed in your CRM system be accessible to marketing.

Your CRM system should not be viewed simpy as a data repository. Data is what helps to focus our marketing efforts, allows us to be more targeted and ultimately more successful.  If you don’t establish specific business goals for your CRM solution and shy away from defining specific measurements against these goals, success will be based on happenstance. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Your customer relationship management program should be tightly linked to your business goals, focus on benefits to the customer, clearly identify the proceses that will be affected and specify the associated information and functionality needs. The right metrics will provide the required discipline that will lead to success.

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