I saw a somewhat interesting article on TMC Net about “Marketing and Lead Generation” in a down economy. It was interesting because, for the most part, I did not see anything “new” in the article. basically, the author points out the importance of continuing to invest in demand generation and CRM, especially in a recession.
The article stuck with me mainly because of something Paul Greenberg said in his SugarCon keynote about retaining customers in a down economy. Essentially, according to Paul, these are not things we are going to do in a recession, and then immediately stop the minute the horns sound and the end of the recession is declared across the land. These are things companies SHOULD be doing ALL THE TIME.
Also, these core marketing principles in the article are no different. These are fundamentals.
But I am continually surprised by how long-time users of CRM systems ignore the marketing side of things, instead focusing on what they feel is “sales productivity” – whatever that may mean. I am more amazed at how many companies, before implementing CRM have absolutely no marketing controls set in place.
Marketing as a portion of the CRM triumverate is still the last bastion to be conquered in many respects. Even companies that “track” marketing in their CRM systrems tend to do so in a somewhat articifical or inorganic manner: they dump “leads” into the system (where they came from – who knows?…who cares!), flow them to sales people and then promptly cross their fingers.
Now, if organizations use the CRM system in an organic and cyclical way – leveraging web-to-lead forms to better track a true lead-to-prospect-to-opportunity-to-close process, they gain an amazing amount of insight. By cultivating true relationships, not simply buying leads and dumping them into a system, you not only better understand how and why customer buy from you, but you actually engage in a very authentic dialog with them.
There is still an amazing amount of potential for increasing loyalty and satisfaction that begins well before a sale is made. The marketing automation tools in products like SugarCRM can unlock this potential, if used properly.