Posts Tagged ‘CRM’


February 25, 2017 Leave a comment

As I have mentioned before, your contact database is your gold.  And it needs to be organized and prioritized.  It needs to be maintained and added to.  But it is not only customers or prospects that you need to keep track of.  You need to have Relationship Management (RMs) systems for anyone that you need to be in contact with.


Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – it has been proven that your customers (or clients) are your best repeat business.  Stay in contact with them, normally with an email newsletter.  To do this you need to keep track of their information.  An issue to consider is if the information is also in your financial system (Quickbooks, MS Dynamics, etc.) then who is the information owner and how do you keep them in sync.
  2. Marketing Relationship Management (MRM) – this is for your marketing prospects that you can do nurture marketing campaigns and inbound marketing campaigns to.  Sometimes these contacts are in your Marketing Automation solution like Hubspot or Marketo.  An issue to resolve is the connection between the MRM system and the CRM system when a contact turns into a sales opportunity and usually moves over to the CRM system.
  3. Partner Relationship Management (PRM) – you have all types of partners – resellers that sell your products/services, companies that you sell their products/services, associations you are a member of and maybe even vendors that you depend on.  You might consider having a regular email newsletter to partners (especially their sales team) so you can easily keep them up to date.
  4. Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) – there are many that influence your marketplace that you sell into.  Keep track of the individuals that influence your potential buyers. For example, if you are a law firm, influencers could be other lawyers in your area that could recommend others to use your firm’s services.    These could also include bloggers, consultants in your industry who might recommend your organization and members of the media.  Additional information to keep on influencers are Twitter id, blog URL and Instagram id.
  5. Hiring Relationship Management (HRM) – if you hire a lot of individuals you might want to keep track of individuals that you could hire someday.  This might be in your HR system of the people that you have collected resumes from.  In some cases you might hold networking events to attract talent to your organization.  Then you will be glad you had a database of their email addresses.  LinkedIn profile id information would also be helpful for these individuals.
  6. Employee Relationship Management (ERM) – if you are a big firm you might want to maintain a database of your employees (more than just in Outlook) so that you can provide information to your employees.  Make sure your employees get the same message you send to partners, customers, influencers and prospects.

Sometimes all of these contacts can be maintained in a single database with the same software.  If so, then separation of types can be done in reporting and measurement efforts by a type field.  Sometimes they are in specialized solutions just for that type of individual.  There are advantages and disadvantages to having all the information in one solution.  Depends on who using and how communicating.

No matter what software solution you use, make sure your staff is well trained on its use.  Especially best practices, terminology and naming standards.  As in any database, garbage in is garbage out.  Constantly remind your staff of the importance of an accurate relationship management system.

All of these databases should include at the minimum the following on each contact: first name, last name, job title, email address, organization, phone and location (usually state and country).  If you do mailing campaigns then the physical address would also be necessary.

Your database is a big asset.  Keep the necessary information you need on the people you should be contacting.  Let me know how you maintain your relationships.  Feel free to leave me a comment.

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Prioritize, Divide and Conquer Your Contacts

July 21, 2016 Leave a comment

ACrowds a sales person or a marketing person you have many contacts assigned to you or you have to worry about.  You have limited time.  Make sure in your CRM or your Marketing Automation systems you have decided upon on who to contact.  I am a firm believer that Sales needs its own sandbox (CRM) and Marketing needs it own sandbox (Marketing Automation such as HubSpot).   Contacts reside in both systems.

You need to touch the contacts that are the most important to your organization (prioritize) and you do this by dividing them into groups and focus on these groups at the right time.

Marketing people need to think like a prospect or customer but also need to think like a sales person.  I was in sales and I would like to think that my sales experience makes me a better marketing person.  Marketing needs to education Sales on terminology and processes regarding contacts.

Sales team members need to help the marketing team members by helping fill in  missing information such as state, job titles and email addresses for the contacts they know.  Also make sure that names are spelled correctly and not all uppercase.  Personalized emails look bad when names are misspelled or in all caps.  Not a good 1st impression.  Also if you know someone has retired or left the organization, please update the database.  An accurate database help Sales, Marketing and the organization.  Not every organization has a CRM administrator that maintains the CRM database.  Therefore, everyone needs to assume the role of administrator.  I know that Sales Representatives do not like updating CRM systems.  But the better the data is and the better they know how to use the CRM system the better it will be for everyone.

I suggest that all contacts be split into 3 areas (A-high priority, B-medium priority and C-low priority).

Sales needs to focus and follow up on the high priority contacts which includes:

  • Opportunities that came from Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).  These are Bottom of Funnel (BOF) leads
  • SQLs that came from Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and referrals.  These are Middle of Funnel (MOF) leads
  • MQLs that Marketing sent to Sales and probably came from multiple sources and multiple touches
  • Others such as partners, consultants, friends that might influence prospects or provide leads

Marketing needs to focus on enhancing the community by sending out newsletters and holding user conferences.  And Marketing needs to focus on campaigns that will generate MQLs for the sales team.  Marketing will also be dealing with Top of Funnel (TOF) leads until they become MQLs.  And Marketing needs to separate the contacts by buyer persona and campaigns.

Sales team members need to be time efficient and focus 1st on the high priority contacts and only when completely done with those contacts do they spend time on the medium priority contacts which includes contacts that have engaged with the organization but the individual sales representative has not contacted yet by email, phone or face-to-face.  Get the conversation going.  Make sure that Marketing is informed of any communication with contacts by updating the CRM system with the activity.  It is best if the CRM and Marketing Automation systems are integrated so a change in one such as a name gets updated in the other system automatically.

Only when high priority and medium priority contacts have been followed up on should Sales work on low priority contacts which are contacts assigned to the individuals sales person and have had no engagement with your organization.  Normally these contacts should be worked on by Marketing.  Sales can also work on housekeeping items such as database cleanup.  This is a low priority but does need to be done probably at least once a quarter.

In most systems, the Contact record has a field called “Next Activity Date”  which signals to the Sales or Marketing person when that contact needs to be touched again with an email or phone call.  The system will not forget about this contact.

It is important that Marketing operations and Sales operations are in sync on definitions, integrations, processes, databases and activities.  You might have thousands of contacts in various stages.  I suggest that you divide your contacts into groups, prioritize the groups to be be engaged with so that it is will be the most beneficial to the organization.

I wrote another blog post on contacts titled “Your Contact Database is Gold“.  Check it out.

Let me know your best tips on handling contacts.


Your Contact Database is Gold

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

You collect contact information such as names, company, email address, phone number, etc.  all day long.  If not you should be.  You get business cards.  You get emails.  You read business journals.  You get phone calls.  You go to networking events.  You attend trade shows and conferences.  Put this information to good use.

Get it into your database whatever that is – either a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Marketing Automation Solution (like HubSpot), Outlook, Constant Contact contacts, Quickbooks accounting system, spreadsheets (least preferred) or whatever.  These are the people you are going to market to.  The cleaner it goes in (no missing info) the better it will be in the long run.

Collecting is great, but use what you collect.  Email marketing is still important.  You need to communicate to your customers (clients) and prospects.  And don’t forget the media, your partners, your vendors and your employees.  You can’t communicate if you don’t have their information.  Again your contact database is gold.


Your Email Database

In most cases, your email database contacts are different than your CRM database contacts or your customers in your accounting system.  You need to periodically (preferably after every email blast or email newsletter that you send out) clean up the database.  Most email systems such as Constant Contact have reports that will show you the bounced email addresses.  Make sure that you clean up the email database and the database that this information came from.  You need someone at your organization that is responsible for cleaning up and adding to the database.

Your Customer Database

Don’t forget to look at your database of customers (clients) periodically.  You need to retain your current customers.   Analyze your customers by size, market, location (such as state), money spent with you, product/service lines, etc.  Guaranteed you will discover something that will help your organization.  Update your customer entry immediately if you receive a change of address form or hear that someone has left their employment.

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)

Your social media networks are databases.  You need to clean these databases as well.  Search for new people to follow or connect with.  Remove followers or connections that do not add any value to you such as someone on Twitter that does not follow you and has not Tweeted in over 30 days. If possible get the people that are following you in your social networks into your email database so that you can communicate with them in ways other than social media.

I Know It is Not Fun

Cleaning up your database is like weeding the garden.  Not enjoyable, but absolutely needs to be done periodically.

Develop a system for tracking all incoming leads

Once a lead comes in (over the phone, at an event or on your website), someone has to be tasked with keeping track of the lead status so leads do not fall through the cracks.  Get the lead into your CRM system or Marketing Automation system (like HubSpot) quickly.  Lost leads are lost opportunities.  Lost opportunities are lost money.  Quick response is often necessary or that lead will go somewhere else.  So often great marketing campaigns have no or little sales follow up.  That’s wasted money and effort.

Converting leads into customers is how you grow your organization.  And for you to followup on leads you need a good contact database that is accurate.  Your contact database is gold so take care of it.

Check out my other blog post on divide and conquering your contacts.

Let me your thoughts on controlling your contact database.