The modern day digital marketer understands that data is the oil of the 21st century and knowing how to refine that crude raw data into a usable form will not only fuel business growth, but develop a sustainable competitive advantage, leaving their less active competitors trailing in their wake.
We spoke with Ricky Lowe, CEO of Kumos Consulting about how integrating CRM tools can help marketers use data to prove ROI at all points in the customer journey.
Can you give us a brief overview of your background and experience?
I started working with Salesforce in 2012 before my final year at Durham University studying Electronic Engineering. I only started to appreciate the full potential of Salesforce after working with it as a Salesforce Partner. It’s not just a database, It has a huge range of valuable features and functionality which are often overlooked. Over the last seven years I have worked across many industries including Travel, Utilities and Financial Services.
What are the main benefits of a CRM?
Great question! Having a properly integrated CRM will give you a 360 degree view of the customer and can inform you of their intent. This is invaluable when making business, marketing and sales decisions. It’s about having the information and knowing how to use it. This is where I see a huge skills gap in many B2B industries. Salesforce can help you know your customer inside out and empathize with their motivations.
Salesforce is a multi-billion-dollar company that is less than 20 years old - Why has it been so successful?
In the same way Apple weren’t the first to market with the mp3, Salesforce weren’t the first with a CRM platform. Early CRM tools such as ACT and Siebel started in the mid to late 80s. SalesForce took a good concept, listened to what the customer wanted and made it better.
They have a strong partner development community which drove the ecosystem around it and allowed them to expand quickly. One of the major advantages of using Salesforce is the ability to integrate with lots of other systems very easily.
Why has the cloud-based software industry boomed over the last decade?
The overheads and resources that come with maintaining your own server is the main reason why cloud-based software is on the rise. Companies like Amazon, Salesforce, Google, have made cloud computing more readily available to developers.
How have integrations between website analytics platforms and CRM systems affected the way modern businesses operate?
Integrations between analytics platforms such as AZoIntel or Hubpot and CRM systems allow a more targeted and seamless sales follow up in real time. One of the main questions all marketing managers face on a daily basis is – What was our ROI on X,Y & Z?
The relentless pursuit to prove if a campaign is providing and influencing direct revenue to the business has helped carve out this new industry. A very famous quote by John Wannamaker highlights the issue many B2B marketing teams face - “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” Integration between analytics and your CRM closes the loop on every marketing dollar spent.
Techniques such as real time lead scoring, automated lead rotas, sales dashboards, and marketing automation can all be achieved by the successful recording and use of data about your prospect and clients.
Can Salesforce be used for more than just a CRM tool?
Although the name suggests this is simply a sales tool, it couldn’t be further from the truth. At the fundamental level, Salesforce provides a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that developers, like me, can build apps on top of. Salesforce has built the following on their own platform:
- Sales Cloud - the typical CRM - Lead management, forecasting, Account management etc.
- Service Cloud - adds support cases to the main CRM. Includes Case deflection tools such as Knowledge Base and Einstein bots - an AI supported plugins to manage things like Live Chat
- Community Cloud - provides a portal to allow customers and partners to engage with
- Salesforce CPQ - Cost Price Quote. A tool that helps with complex pricing structures including tiered pricing and prerequisite products.
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud - adds customer journeys that include email, SMS and mobile push notifications to keep the customer engaged.
- Salesforce IOT - connect millions of devices to enrich the customer with key telemetry data.
- Salesforce Einstein Analytics - visualise massive amounts of data and drill into key areas of interest.
- Field Service Lightning - an offline mobile app geared towards service/maintenance agents who could be working off the grid.
Are there any common issues or trends that you’ve found yourself working on with clients over the years?
One of the main problems I've seen is distributing new leads in an effective but fair manner. The first step is to find out what characteristics of new leads are important to the client and assigning an associated score to each characteristic respectively. Once the scoring is established it is then about identifying who the leads need to go to. Luckily, Salesforce has some great tools to help achieve these.
What is the most complex function which you have developed for Salesforce?
For a utility company, we delivered a complex pricing model that included:
- Tiered pricing including discount offers
- Manage payment methods, payment reminders, hardship agreements and payment extensions.
- Manage custom Bill Messages depending on factors on the Customer record such as payment method.
Where do you see CRM platforms having the biggest impact on B2B business in the next few years?
I think the biggest impact in the future will come from the Internet of Things (IoT). Having customer information alongside telemetry data in your CRM will give individuals the ability to make informed decisions when it comes to things like support. With the number of connected devices expected to grow to 10 billion by 2020, companies like Salesforce are investing more into IoT on their platforms.
Integrating your Marketing Data
If you have any Salesforce architectural issues or would like to learn more about how AZoIntel can integrate seamlessly with a range of CRMs including Salesforce, Hubspot, ACT-On and Microsoft Dynamics, contact us today.