Companies have seemingly always outsourced right-brain marketing activities to advertising agencies then, later, web and app development firms. The reason is simple - most business owners are focused on engaging their customers and increasing their profitability and don't have the in-house marketing resources to attend to everything at once.
The last ten years, though, have seen a real change in what gets outsourced. Now companies of all shapes and sizes are outsourcing a lot of the left-brain marketing analytics in addition to seeking outside social media managers and brand strategy services.
At the same time, an uptick in the sheer amount of marketing and sales data at your disposal in the age of Big Data means that there are more marketing metrics and key performance indicators that need to be considered before every move.
Things like email marketing automation and customer relationship management systems can help ease the load, yet many companies still want most or all of their marketing's information management to be outsourced to professionals.
Outsourcing Your Marketing Information Management
Today's economy is increasingly winner-take-all - or, at least, a winner-take-most layout in which those who master Big Data, analytics, customer engagement and lead nurturance gain the lion's share of potential customers and enjoy even greater brand recognition and economies of scale.
The challenge is staying ahead of data at it proliferates in ways that keep marketing and sales constantly on their toes: the amount of data worldwide is increasing at an annual rate of 40% or more. There are more customer trends to spot ahead of time and more customer behaviors to make sense of than ever before.
Customer Relationship Management and Marketing
If you're still using Excel and Outlook to manage an email list totaling thousands of customers, then you're not getting the most out of technology.
You're probably doing a lot of the legwork yourself when a customer relationship management (CRM) system can apply better segmentation, automation, and project management that even a unified marketing and sales department could muster together.
This isn't to say that fledgling technologies threaten to crowd out marketing and sales professionals. On the contrary, customer service representatives will still be there to answer questions that haven't already been addressed and the traditional sales representative isn't going anyway. Customer relationship management software actually makes their jobs easier and more effective.
Your market segmentation should be broken down by demographics (e.g., age and gender) as well as psychographics (e.g., customers' interests and hobbies). Marketing segmentation also needs to take into account a customer's previous buying activity or a prospect's position in the sales funnel to be fully effective.
Having a constant handle on which customers want which kinds of data by embracing segmentation from the start will almost always result in higher open rates and much more customer engagement.
Essentially, if you’re not already segmenting your customer base based on salient criteria, both your inbound marketing and retention rates take a hit since customers are receiving content and promotions that don't, or only vaguely, apply to their current situation.
Customer relationship management software allows you to go about segmentation in a much smarter way. A CRM stores and analyzes customers' preferences, buying habits and personal characteristics so that when you send (potentially automated) content to your customers, it's on-point and relevant to their current needs and position in the sales funnel.
This means that customers will receive relevant promotional offers from the media source (e.g., social media) that they like most. If you're still unsure what customer are after, then you can provide them with a survey that inquires a little deeper and store the results in your CRM database.
Most customer relationship management software will also allow you to automate marketing processes and send, for instance, qualified leads promotional offers right when they're ready to pull the trigger. To avoid any waste and duplicate efforts, CRM software typically also includes sales force automation that tracks every interaction salespeople have with their customers.
Salesforce automation, sales forecasting and marketing automation also seek to reduce the number of marketing leads that don't ultimately get converted to sales - a whopping 79% of leads. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the majority of companies (65%) are working without any kind of lead nurturance process at all.
Marketing Automation for More Conversions
One of the biggest perks to working with a CRM is that all of your contacts are in one place and your leads can be easily managed.
You can even automate your lead qualification and assignment based on real-time lead scoring that ensures that only the most promising marketing leads get passed onto sales.
When you can have all of your contacts in one place, automate your sales and marketing processes and track all the results, your company wins out.
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