tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/marketing-automation Latest Marketing Automation content from Econsultancy 2016-11-22T13:30:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68532 2016-11-22T13:30:00+00:00 2016-11-22T13:30:00+00:00 The case for chatbots being the new apps - notes from #WebSummit2016 Seán Donnelly <p>I counted 23 bot related companies exhibiting at the early stage (Alpha) area at Web Summit last week.</p> <p>These included bots for different kinds of services as well as bot building platforms. A year ago, this area might have been taken up by start-ups working on mobile apps.</p> <p>Is this a clear sign that bots are about to move beyond the nascent stage? Perhaps.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1501/web_summit_bot_start_ups-blog-flyer.png" alt="Start Ups exhibiting at Web Summit 2016" width="470" height="364"></p> <h3>What is a bot?</h3> <p>We’re actually a lot more familiar with bots than we might realise. Think of Apple’s Siri or Microsoft Cortana. They’ve been around for a while but until recently, haven’t really gained traction for various reasons.</p> <p>Search engines may be considered as a type of bot. A user types in a command or request in the form of a search query and the search engine returns a number of results based on that query. </p> <p>Or let’s go even further, remember Microsoft’s paper clip virtual assistant? That was discontinued years ago but bots have been taking off again recently as advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence make them more accessible and versatile than before.</p> <p>In terms of the more recent bot experiences, brands are starting to use them for more personal, proactive and streamlined interactions with people. In this sense, a bot is just a new type of user interface.</p> <p>According to Ted Livingston, CEO and founder of messaging app Kik, speaking on the digital marketing stage at Web Summit, "people think bots are about chatting. They're just a better way to deliver software. It's just a user interface.”</p> <p>Chatbots are just automated computer programs that can simulate conversation with people to perform tasks or answer questions. </p> <h3>How sophisticated are bots?</h3> <p>There is a scale of complexity when it comes to bots. At the most sophisticated level, a bot is an artificially intelligent creation capable of understanding complex interactions.</p> <p>At the lower end of the spectrum, a bot is just a simple interface that can respond to a limited number of pre-programmed commands.</p> <p>For an idea of how basic bots can be, there is a plethora of basic bot-building platforms online. I created Seanbot at robots.me. It’s not going to do my work for me anytime soon. </p> <p>As basic as some bots may seem, Kik’s Livingston says “calling bots basic today is a bit like calling websites basic 20 years ago”. We’re going to see bot sophistication increase far more quickly than we did for website functionality. </p> <h3>Why are bots getting popular so quickly?</h3> <p>According to Ted Livingston, one answer might be the growth and use of messaging platforms which is providing some of the infrastructure for delivering bot interfaces.</p> <p>Back in April 2016, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67799-facebook-s-f8-updates-mark-shift-from-screens-to-experiences/">Facebook opened up its Messenger platform</a> to developers at its F8 developer conference. That means that brands that want to reach people on mobile can build bots to share weather updates, order pizza, confirm flight reservations or send receipts after a purchase. </p> <p>For example, Mark Zuckerberg presented the use case of ordering flowers by chatting with the 1-800-Flowers.com bot, ironically bypassing dialling the telephone. As of July 2016, there were more than 11,000 bots on the Facebook Messenger platform. </p> <p>Also in April, Kik launched its own bot store, which according to Livingston, has already attracted more than 20,000 bots.</p> <p>He told users at Web Summit that in China there are more bots launched on TenCent’s WeChat every day than websites added to the Internet. In other words, according to Livingston, “WeChat is the Internet” in China. </p> <p><em>Kik bot store</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1502/kik_bot_store-blog-flyer.png" alt="Kik Bot Shop Interface" width="470" height="193"></p> <p>Google revealed its chatbot strategy in May. Unlike M, the virtual assistant in Facebook’s Messenger, the Google Assistant will respond to voice queries and not just text input.</p> <p>Microsoft also has its own open source bot builder. Unlike Messenger and Kik bots, these bots can be deployed on other platforms.</p> <p>Amazon has also opened up its bot building platform, Echo, to developers since 2015.</p> <h3>What do bots mean for the future of apps?</h3> <p>Chatbots can be delivered via website interfaces for managing basic customer service queries.</p> <p>There could be a time though when instead of visiting an ecommerce site, we simply message the relevant stores bot on Facebook Messenger which would ask us what we are looking for and we simply tell it. </p> <p>If we think about mobile apps, there are a number of reasons why bots may in fact be the new app.</p> <h3>Why might bots succeed apps?</h3> <p><strong>1. Difficulty getting cut through on mobile app stores</strong></p> <p>If we examine mobile, according to Livingston, three quarters of American smartphone users download zero apps per month. Also, research suggests that users only use 3–4 apps on a regular basis. </p> <p>Getting cut through in the app store and then retaining users is also incredibly difficult. Bots on the other hand are available via some of the most popular messaging apps and so can provide a new way to manage frictionless interactions with consumers. </p> <p>Livingston says that if you can create a great bot experience, that experience can spread virally.</p> <p>"The problem with the app store is that they (apps) can't go viral. The top 50 apps take up the majority of downloads. Bots make it easy for experiences to go viral via mentions which allow bots to be put into conversations”.</p> <p>He gave the example of a fun chatbot Kik built called Roll that went from 0 to half a million users in 30 days.</p> <p>95% of the user base came by being shared peer to peer. It now has 1 million users.</p> <p><strong>2. Ubiquity of messaging apps</strong></p> <p>Considering the incredible growth in the number of bots available via Messenger, Kik, WeChat and other platforms, then according to Livingston "if you are a developer at this point and you are still building an app, you are crazy”. </p> <ul> <li>WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is the most popular messenger app in the world with 1bn monthly active users (Source: Statista).  </li> <li>Facebook Messenger takes second place with over 900m monthly active users (MAUs). This number has been consistently growing since 2014 when it had 200m MAUs.</li> <li>Chinese company Tencent’s instant messenger QQ isn’t far behind with about 880 MAUs (ChinaInternetWatch).</li> <li>Tencent’s WeChat is also on the list with 806 million monthly active users as of October 2016 (Statista). </li> </ul> <p>Further, the number of mobile messaging app users is forecast to nearly double between 2014 and 2019 (Statista). That means a projected total of 2.19bn people using mobile messaging apps by 2019.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1503/900_million_people_using_facebook_messenger-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="260"></p> <p><strong>3. There is less friction using a bot than installing an app</strong></p> <p>To make user of a bot, a user just needs to search for the bot within their preferred messaging app and start “chatting”. Because you are interacting via your installed messaging app, the bot will have access to your identity.</p> <p>This contrasts with searching for an app, installing and creating an account. This may be problematic if you are outside a wifi zone and don’t want to use data to download the app.</p> <p>I tried using 1800 Flowers this morning. While I didn’t actually order anything, connecting with the bot and starting the interaction was quite easy.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1505/1800_flowers-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="275"></p> <p><strong>4. Bots may be better options for businesses that don’t have an immediate business case for an app</strong></p> <p>Users can add a bot to their contact list rather than downloading an app.</p> <p>What this means is that small businesses or companies that don’t have a clear use case for downloading and keeping an app on your phone may benefit from a bot instead.  </p> <p>Think of hotels or your local hairdresser / barber. To spend the time, effort and money to build an app for these services wouldn’t be worth it but there may be a long tail in having them in your contact list to make bookings etc. </p> <p><strong>5. Bots don't use up valuable memory on users smartphones.</strong></p> <p>Enough said.</p> <h3>Use case - how KLM is starting to use bots for customer service</h3> <p>At Econsultancy’s Festival of Marketing 2016, KLM’s Social Media Manager Karlijn Vogel-Meijer discussed the airline’s approach to customer service via social media. </p> <p>KLM has been a poster child for using social media as a customer service tool. Karlijn told FoM attendees that KLM has 235 agents dealing with social mentions around the world, 24/7.  </p> <p>To put it into context, the KLM team responds to 15,000 social mentions per week in 12 different languages.</p> <p>They used to have a 60 minute promised response time but in reality, most customer don’t want to wait that long. These interactions are managed manually but the volume of interactions is increasing year on year. </p> <p>For this reason, KLM is exploring AI and bots to help reduce the strain, whilst working to maintain a human feel.</p> <p>KLM added in a Facebook Messenger chatbot in March. Since its launch, it is receiving 5 questions per hour via Messenger. This number can increase to 13 in a peak hour.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1504/klm_social_mentions-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="KLM’s Social Media Manager Karlijn Vogel-Meijer speaking at FoM 2016" width="470" height="368"> </p> <p>The brand is using Messenger for automated updates around checking in, potential delays and sending boarding passes. However Karlijn was clear that if a customer has a more complex question, a KLM agent will still get involved. </p> <p>Bots right now may not be in a position to interact in a personal way she says. In that sense, KLM’s social customer service strategy hasn’t changed. They’ve just added a layer of technology to support common requests.</p> <p>KLM is exploring adding more functions to Facebook Messenger and expanding its chatbot to other platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat. These are expected to roll out within the next year.</p> <h3>Learn more about bots </h3> <p>Econsultancy has published a number of posts and reports about bots and artificial intelligence in the last year. In particular, readers may find the following helpful: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/">How KLM uses bots and AI in ‘human’ social customer service</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-in-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/">Marketing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68507 2016-11-15T14:36:49+00:00 2016-11-15T14:36:49+00:00 Which vertical sector is the king of the hill for email marketing? Henry Hyder-Smith <p>In addition, 10 years of increased integration between the technologies and channels used now means better segmentation, increasingly sophisticated personalisation and customer-driven marketing.</p> <p>However, in order to make such a tactics and strategy analysis more useful for marketers it’s important to drill down until we reach the sector level.</p> <p>This way marketers can learn from each other and even cherry pick (and test) good ideas that already work in other sectors.</p> <p>Using data collected for the Adestra/Econsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2016 – a survey of over 1,100 digital marketers around the world - we looked at the top six sectors: Retail/Mail Order, Print/Publishing &amp; Media, Charities/Government &amp; Non-profits, Financial Services &amp; Insurance, Travel &amp; Hospitality and Technology &amp; Telecoms.</p> <p>We analysed each sector to see which are producing the best return for the budget they spend on email, the tactics and strategies they use, the time spent on them, how they focus on mobile and implement automation, and finally their outlook on the future.</p> <p>I’ve picked three sectors from the report which are notable for being best performing, most improved and showing most growth potential.</p> <h4><strong>Print, publishing &amp; media</strong></h4> <p>Yet again, the Print, Publishing &amp; Media industry has produced consistent results across the board. Publishers have seen email performance shoot up since last year (see fig.1), and they top the chart for total sales attributable to the email channel.</p> <p>They make use of the broadest number of ESP services and lead the pack in optimising email for mobile. It’s not surprising then that there is no other sector that feels more love for their ESP.</p> <p><em>Fig.1 How do you rate the performance of your company’s email campaigns? (Results show Excellent or Good)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1327/2016_email_performance_sector_census-blog-flyer.png" alt="Email performance 2016 Sector Census" width="470" height="376"></p> <h4><strong>Charities, Government &amp; Not-for-Profits</strong></h4> <p>From mediocre results last year, the sector with the biggest turnaround has to be Charities, Government &amp; NFP. Their ROI is consistently higher (and now tops the chart at 84%, excellent/good ROI – see Fig.2), email performance has skyrocketed and more time is now spent on strategic activities.</p> <p><em>Fig.2 How do you rate the email channel in terms of return on investment? (Results show Excellent or Good)</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1329/2016_roi_sector_census-blog-flyer.png" alt="Email ROI 2016 Sector Census" width="470" height="329"></em></p> <h4><strong>Retail/ Mail Order</strong></h4> <p>ROI has grown considerably from last year for the Retail/Mail Order sector, and email performance is just keeping above the overall email industry average.</p> <p>Retailers also score above the industry average for mobile optimisation strategy. While they are keeping time spent on tactical activities down, they have however lost a little focus on strategy.</p> <p>Their use of tactics overall has dropped back since last year, however firms have seen modest improvements in success when implementing automated email programmes. With an eye on the future, retailers are the most innovative sector (see Fig.3), and feel most strongly about innovating with creative behavioural triggers.</p> <p><em>Fig.3 How do you intend to innovate with email in 2016?</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1328/2016_innovation_sector_census-blog-flyer.png" alt="Email Innovation 2016 Sector Census" width="470" height="339"></em></p> <h4><strong>And the king of the hill is…?</strong></h4> <p>Publishers have produced the most consistent results across the board, while charities have shown a huge upswing in both return and performance as they get to grips with more email tactics and strategies. Travel firms too have upped their game as they adopt more email tactics, data services and mobile optimisation techniques.</p> <p>Retail performance is largely middle of the road, however the sector has a great future potential if it can focus its efforts. While finance firms have experienced a rise in email performance, they are let down by not embracing email tactics or ESP services, and have low email optimisation strategies.</p> <p>Similarly, with few highpoints, tech companies are often trailing the pack in terms of how they use email and (predictably) the return it produces.</p> <p>While we can still highlight individual improvements across the board, some sectors need to use the experience and successes of their peers and look at the opportunities, services and tactics available to really make the email channel work harder for them.</p> <p>It might seem an uphill battle, but experimentation and testing are the name of the game.</p> <p><em>Subscribers can download the full <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">Email Marketing Census 2016</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68431 2016-10-28T14:06:05+01:00 2016-10-28T14:06:05+01:00 How to combine attribution and segmentation data to achieve marketing success James Collins <p>Ultimately, being shrewd about how you segment your marketing data gives you the opportunity to become more effective at targeting the right people at the right time.</p> <p>Here, I share just some of the ways you can use attribution and segmentation to unlock even more value from your marketing efforts.</p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0493/different-customer-groups-shopping-online.jpg" alt="Different customers shopping online" width="800" height="500"></strong></p> <h3>Understand the journeys of converting <em>and </em>non-converting users</h3> <p>As the name suggests, the data captured by traditional CRM systems is based on <strong>customers</strong>: On people who have completed a conversion.</p> <p>However, there will always be far more people browsing your products and services only to walk away.</p> <p>It’s here, in these non-converting journeys, that marketers are able to uncover where their efforts are falling flat.</p> <p>Effective user journey analysis and attributed reporting provides you with not only an understanding of the behaviour of people who buy from you but also those people who come to your site and do not purchase.</p> <p>Armed with this information, you can identify the marketing channels that aren’t helping attract or convert your chosen customer segments well enough.</p> <p>You can then experiment with cutting back spend in those areas and reallocating budget to other more effective channels.</p> <h3>Discover what activities attract new customers</h3> <p>One of the most common uses of segmentation is to provide a <strong>distinction between new and existing customers.</strong></p> <p>Segmentation allows you to distinguish between these two types of customers, while attributed reporting and user journey analysis helps you understand their typical behaviours.</p> <p>This combination then gives you the power to experiment and discover which channels are most effective at attracting each type of customer.</p> <p>How might user behaviour differ between these two segments? You might expect that new customers are exposed to your brand through channels like display and non-navigational search.</p> <p>On the other hand, existing customers might visit your website more often directly, through <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">email marketing</a>, or a branded, more specific, search.</p> <p>Once you have the data to prove (or disprove) these assumptions, you’ll have an idea of where to focus your marketing efforts.</p> <p>For example, if you want to attract more new customers, you’ll know which channels, and which combination of channels, to test first.</p> <h3>Reach your different customer groups in the most effective ways</h3> <p>Effective segmentation should also allow you to <strong>determine between different groups of customers based on their demographic or behavioural characteristics.</strong></p> <p>Analysing your attributed reporting data by customer segment allows you to formulate and test marketing campaigns specific to your different customer groups, rather than put out an ineffective ‘one-size-fits-all’ campaign and hope for the best.</p> <p>To give a simple example to put this into context, say you’re a travel company and you’ve identified two of your common customer types:</p> <p><strong>Active Retirees</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Description:</strong> older holidaymakers who have the free time and money to enjoy travel.</li> <li> <strong>Relevant products:</strong> cruises, package holidays, tours.</li> <li> <strong>User journey:</strong> don’t regularly use social media, conduct a lot of online research before making final choice, often complete purchase offline.</li> <li> <strong>Effective marketing campaigns: </strong> display advertising, affiliate partnerships, email marketing campaigns well in advance of peak booking time offering in-store discount.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Affluent Singles</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Description: </strong> spontaneous decision makers with money to burn.</li> <li> <strong>Relevant products: </strong> last minute group holiday deals.</li> <li> <strong>User journey: </strong> impulse purchasers with short lead time, engage with social media regularly.</li> <li> <strong>Effective marketing campaigns: </strong> targeted social media advertising offering limited-time group discount.</li> </ul> <p>In this example, ‘Active Retirees’ tend to have more touchpoints in their path to purchase than ‘Affluent Singles’.</p> <p>Given this data, you can then try targeting your Active Retirees well in advance with an in-store discount across the various platforms that work for them.</p> <p>At the same time, you can test cutting back on the number of different touchpoints used to engage with Affluent Singles, who convert last-minute regardless, to see if you get better results.</p> <h3>Learn how to market to customers with high lifetime value</h3> <p>Segmentation can also allow you to <strong>group customers based on their purchasing habits.</strong></p> <p>For example, one-time purchasers, occasional purchasers, and regular purchasers with a high lifetime value.</p> <p>Using the Active Retirees example again, let’s say that your attributed reporting shows that a retargeting campaign had only a minor impact on these customers’ decisions to purchase their first holiday.</p> <p>In this way, it doesn’t appear to be a profitable a campaign.</p> <p>However, when you analyse the attributed data over an extended period of time, you may find that these same customers come back to make additional purchases further down the line, making them fall into your high lifetime value segment.</p> <p>You may also find that they return using what we might call ‘free’ channels (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">SEO</a>, email, or direct), interacting with fewer touchpoints each time.</p> <p>When judging the value of the initial retargeting campaign across the entire lifetime value of these customers, the associated ROI becomes much greater.</p> <p>Only by using segmentation and attribution in combination can you gain this insight and judge the performance of your campaigns effectively.</p> <p>This then gives you the power to experiment and get better at targeting the right people in the right ways.</p> <h3>Use attribution to unlock the value that’s right under your nose</h3> <p>By <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66996-the-three-stages-of-attribution-that-are-crucial-to-success/" target="_blank">harnessing the power of attributed reporting data</a>, marketers can better understand the intricacies of the true value of their efforts.</p> <p>By segmenting that data in astute ways, marketers are given the opportunity to test, evaluate, and ultimately get better at targeting their most valuable customers.</p> <p>When talking about attribution, the conversation is immediately drawn into the algorithm, with little regard as to the additional benefits it can bring to all of your marketing channels.</p> <p>The advice I’ve provided here hopefully demonstrates that using the data to enhance insight presents a huge opportunity for marketers.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68339 2016-10-04T15:19:07+01:00 2016-10-04T15:19:07+01:00 Will marketers be automated out of a job? Patricio Robles <h3>Hello, Watson</h3> <p>In 2014, IBM is estimated to have spent $53m on digital display ads.</p> <p>Earlier this year, it was revealed that the company had been experimenting with Watson, its cognitive computing platform, to see if it could help Big Blue better manage its online ad buys.</p> <p>After nearly a year of testing, <a href="http://adage.com/article/digital/ibm-s-watson-programmatic-yielding-big-returns-ibm/304946/">it had an answer</a>: yes, it can, and pretty darn well.</p> <p>'Cognitive bid optimization', as IBM calls it, reduced the company's average cost per click by 35%, and by as much as 71%. </p> <p>Even fractions of dollars and cents "really matters to us," IBM's VP of marketing analytics, Ari Sheinkin, explained, "because of the volume and the dollars involved."</p> <p>Given the potential for savings, IBM decided to hand over all of its programmatic campaigns to Watson by the end of this year.</p> <h3>Einstein gets into the act</h3> <p>Watson is named after IBM's first CEO, Thomas J. Watson, and CRM platform provider Salesforce named its recently announced AI platform after a pretty smart guy too, Albert Einstein.</p> <p>Einstein, which Salesforce bills as "AI for Everyone," aims to make "Salesforce the world's smartest CRM" by "enabling any company to deliver smarter, personalized and more predictive customer experiences."</p> <p>The technology is being applied to all of Salesforce's Clouds, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing and Analytics Cloud.</p> <p>Marketing Cloud Einstein, for instance, <a href="https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/09/intelligent-marketing-and-analytics-salesforce-einstein.html">will offer</a> predictive scoring, predictive audiences and automated send-time optimization.</p> <ul> <li>Predictive scoring "gauge[s] how likely it is that customers will engage with an email, unsubscribe from an email list, or make a web purchase.</li> <li>Predictive audiences builds segments of audiences who share common predicted behaviors.</li> <li>Automated send-time optimization delivers a message when recipients are deemed most likely to engage.</li> </ul> <h3>Wither the marketer?</h3> <p>While Salesforce is pitching Einstein as a way to make its staff, including marketers, more effective, some are starting to ask if the days are numbered for many marketers.</p> <p>It's a somewhat complicated and sensitive discussion for obvious reasons.</p> <p>A strong argument can be made that marketers aren't going anywhere. After all, as Marketing Land's Barry Levine suggests, "the marketer is the liaison with reality."</p> <p>There are still a lot of areas in the marketing process in which human involvement is required and/or desirable.</p> <p>For example, banner ads and emails don't design and write themselves, and there are always "black swan" events that humans will need to respond to, at least for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>There is also the ever-important strategic layer of marketing that can't be distilled into a science. </p> <p>But that doesn't mean that the role of marketers won't change, or that marketing jobs won't disappear.</p> <h3>Thanks, programmatic</h3> <p>With more and more digital ad dollars being spend through <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68323-getting-started-with-programmatic-here-are-some-tips-from-the-experts/">programmatic</a> channels, the online ad market today is looking more and more like a stock exchange.</p> <p>Years ago, the trading floors of stock exchanges were filled with traders.</p> <p>Today, many are practically empty. Part of that is the result of the 2008 financial crisis, but part of it is the fact that the world needs fewer traders thanks to technology. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Living in the next CT town, sad to see what's become of once-largest trading floor in world <a href="https://twitter.com/UBS">@UBS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/biancoresearch">@biancoresearch</a> <a href="https://t.co/XKYkBO8Q6C">pic.twitter.com/XKYkBO8Q6C</a></p> — Liz Ann Sonders (@LizAnnSonders) <a href="https://twitter.com/LizAnnSonders/status/772562669559840769">September 4, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>As programmatic continues <a href="https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Mobile-Fueling-Higher-than-Expected-Growth-of-Programmatic-Ads/1014521">to take over</a>, there will be greater opportunity for businesses to hand over the reigns to computers like Watson and that will obviously have an impact on many marketers' jobs.</p> <p>In some cases, it could even eliminate them.</p> <h3>Don't blame programmatic</h3> <p>But if technology and the automation it can provide ultimately results in a need for fewer marketers, technology shouldn't shoulder all of the blame.</p> <p>No, marketers themselves will have to take some responsibility for the situation.</p> <p>In a scathing opinion piece, Marketing Week's Mark Ritson <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/09/26/mark-ritson-facebooks-erroneous-video-metrics-show-no-one-has-a-clue-about-digital/">argues</a> that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68332-should-marketers-be-more-concerned-about-facebook-s-video-metrics-faux-pas/">Facebook Overstategate</a> shows that marketers are in many cases clueless:</p> <blockquote> <p>...this little debacle once again confirms that nobody actually knows what the fuck is going on with digital media. Not media agencies, not big-spending clients and not armchair digital strategists.</p> <p>From the shadowy box of turds and spiders that is programmatic to the increasingly complex and deluded world of digital views, the idea that digital marketing is more analytical and attributable than other media is clearly horseshit.</p> <p>Sure, it has more numbers and many more metrics but that does not make it more accountable, it makes it less so.</p> </blockquote> <p>While marketers could be forgiven for the fact that Facebook is effectively a black box, it is somewhat amazing that apparently nobody noticed Facebook's major faux pas, which overestimated average viewing time for video ads by 60% to 80% for two years.</p> <p>But marketers can't blame the black boxes either. Examples of problematic behavior in digital ad land <a href="http://digiday.com/agencies/confessions-social-media-exec-no-idea-pay-influencers/">are everywhere</a>, and it often occurs when dollars meet hype, inexperience and bad judgment. </p> <p>And let's be honest: marketers, in many cases, don't have any incentive not to misbehave, get lazy or recognize their own limitations.</p> <p>In fact, they actually have more of an incentive to ensure that their budgets stay the same or grow.</p> <p>Fortunately for them, digital provides no shortage of metrics to justify those budgets.</p> <p>Ultimately, however, digital was sold as being far more accountable, and it should be. Technology will eventually be called upon to help restore that promise.</p> <p>The marketers who plan to remain marketers should embrace that.</p> <p>The marketers who don't are far more likely to become former marketers in the years ahead.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68236 2016-09-14T11:00:00+01:00 2016-09-14T11:00:00+01:00 Three big problems with marketing automation rules (and how to solve them) Andrew Davies <h3>Is marketing automation delivering?</h3> <p>As marketers, we live in a world where the number of choices that we have to make to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time is increasing exponentially.</p> <p>Marketing has moved from mass advertising where you sent one message to everyone, to segments where messages are sent to a limited number of people, to now having to understand individual <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-the-customer-journey/">customer journeys</a>.</p> <p>Marketing automation has emerged as a supposed panacea to this problem, yet despite years of propaganda from vendors promising the world, many B2B enterprises that have bought <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-automation-best-practices">marketing automation</a> are finding that it is not quite the silver bullet they expected. </p> <p>The Annuitas 2015 B2B Enterprise survey of over 100 B2B enterprise marketers from organizations with annual revenues that exceed $250m revealed that only 2.8% of respondents believed demand generation campaigns achieve their goals.</p> <p>Similarly, Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census-2016/">Email Marketing Industry census</a> surfaced that only 7% of respondents deemed their in-house automated campaigns to be “very successful”. </p> <p>The truth is that even if you avoid marketing automation mistakes (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67250-seven-avoidable-marketing-automation-mistakes/">such as these</a>), you are still lumbered with the task of using marketing automation rules and decision logic to select and deliver campaign messages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9143/Screen_Shot_2016-09-14_at_09.19.22.png" alt="marketing automation success" width="615" height="518"></p> <h3>Three big problems with marketing automation rules</h3> <p>At the heart of all marketing automation technology and outputs are the rules used to tell the marketing automation platform which content or message to select and send to which particular contacts in your database.</p> <p>This structure necessarily leads to three big problems for B2B organisations:</p> <p><strong>1) Marketing automation rules cannot cope with complex buyer journeys</strong></p> <p>All marketing automation relies on preset logic (“If this X happens then do Y”, “if X does not happen, then do Z”) and traditional purchase-funnel theory to architect marketing campaigns and trigger communications.</p> <p>The problem is that the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66322-do-companies-understand-the-customer-journey/">B2B buyer journey is much more complex</a> than marketing automation vendors would have you believe. </p> <p><strong>2) Rules cannot adapt to changing contexts</strong></p> <p>The nature of marketing automation rules is that once they have been activated they remain active until you manually deactivate them.</p> <p>This mean that they are not adaptive and they cannot learn from a campaign’s results, only repeat them.</p> <p>Sure, you can create a rule that says: IF [Marketing Automation score] [increases] [+5] THEN [remove from] [LISTNAME] AND [add to] [NEW LISTNAME], but rules cannot cope with the reality that prospects are continually evolving in their <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67121-the-lead-data-hierarchy-for-busy-sales-people-savvy-b2b-marketers/">interests and needs</a>, not just their sales stage or marketing automation score. </p> <p><strong>3) Marketing automation rules mean more - not less - staff</strong> </p> <p>As counterintuitive as it sounds, marketing automation often means having to bring on more – not less – staff.</p> <p>As well as a marketing manager, a database manager, a demand gen exec, a content strategist, you will most likely need a marketing technologist who is able to help you get the most out of your new system.</p> <p>All of these people have input into creating the rules that are used and the cost of hiring will ultimately prolong the time it takes to see positive ROI on your marketing automation purchase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9141/marketing_automation_complexity.jpg" alt="complexity of marketing automation" width="615"></p> <p>As soon as you begin to understand the three big problems with marketing automation rules, it all becomes clear why <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66882-how-to-fix-the-50bn-problem-in-b2b-content-marketing/">60% of content in B2B organisations is wasted </a>and why one of the biggest issues in demand generation is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63400-interest-abandonment-coming-to-a-purchase-funnel-near-you/">interest abandonment.</a></p> <h3>What are the solutions to the marketing automation rules problem? </h3> <p>As the co-founder of a B2B technology company, and having spent the past few years refining our demand generation process, I know just how powerful a good marketing automation system and practice can be - but I am also cognisant of the above problems.</p> <p>This has led us to try the following solutions:</p> <p><strong>Create more rules

</strong></p> <p>It’s true - one way to address the problem of imperfect marketing automation rules is to create more marketing automation rules to try and meet every kind of conceivable customer journey, context or need. </p> <p>However, you can only create so many rules. It is perhaps feasible when an organisation has a limited product portfolio or few content assets, but when you are a high-volume publisher with a wide variety of products and customer types (such as a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67419-how-to-make-content-marketing-easy-for-wealth-asset-managers/">wealth and asset management firm</a>) this is impossible.</p> <p>The problem is that although the number of choices is increasing, the number of rules that we can make (to make the decisions to govern those choices that we can create) is very limited. </p> <p><strong>Hire more people

</strong></p> <p>We can only create so many rules whilst retaining the same number of marketers before the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in.</p> <p>The next option then is to increase the number of rules and increase the number of marketing staff to create and manage these rules.</p> <p>The problem here is that number of available marketers is finite and the number of marketers that one can afford is even more finite, so CMOs that are on a hiring spree will still ultimately be faced with this fundamental gap between the number of choices they need to make and the number of marketing automation rules that their team can can create to make those choices. 

</p> <p><strong>No More Rules - use predictive machine-learning

</strong></p> <p>This leaves us with a third option - eschewing marketing automation rules altogether by turning to predictive, machine-learning technologies that use algorithms to make decisions, rather than rules.</p> <p>Although some marketers may baulk at the idea of turning over marketing decisions to artificial intelligence, it is becoming an<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/"> increasingly common and accepted practice</a>.</p> <p>The benefit of using predictive machine-learning is that it can learn from new information and quickly decide what the next best action is for an optimal outcome.</p> <p>Machine learning is well-suited to environments where CMOs face complex buyer journeys, constantly evolving user profiles and myriad pieces of content that need to be categorised and structured before being served across multiple channels.</p> <p>Better yet, these technologies can be integrated <em>with</em> your marketing automation platform. </p> <p>Rather than relying on restrictive rules-based logic, a ‘no more rules’ approach adapts to the unique signals and interactions of each buyer and automatically decides the best message, content or product to send to them.</p> <p>It’s an approach that saves both the prohibitive operational costs of hiring more staff and time-intensive stress of having to create rules that can govern every scenario in the ever-complex B2B buyer journey.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68256 2016-09-06T14:06:47+01:00 2016-09-06T14:06:47+01:00 RIP innovation: How your company culture is killing marketing creativity Chloe Young <p dir="ltr">In a fast-moving marketing landscape where new channels and platforms appear almost monthly, do marketers run the risk of losing opportunities because they haven’t yet been proven?</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What are the barriers to investment in digital marketing?</h3> <p dir="ltr">An <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-budgets/">annual study by Oracle Marketing Cloud and Econsultancy</a> asked marketers: “What is preventing your company from investing more in digital marketing?”</p> <p dir="ltr">The 2016 results showed clearly that, along with restricted marketing budgets, inability to measure ROI, short staffing and company culture were top obstacles.</p> <p dir="ltr">Crucially, the drive for strict ROI impacts the other factors, as without concrete figures decision makers are unwilling to increase budgets.</p> <p dir="ltr">This impacts staffing and forces continued reliance on traditional marketing, creating a vicious cycle.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8792/marketing_budgets.png" alt="" width="639" height="437"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Is your company culture risk-averse or innovation-friendly?</h3> <p dir="ltr">In a risk-averse culture, innovation is stifled by the overwhelming need to demonstrate ROI. But innovation requires people, and hiring the right people requires budget.</p> <p dir="ltr">With budget hanging on ROI, you find yourself stuck in limbo, unable to bring innovators into the team who can explore new channels, and bring positive change.</p> <p dir="ltr">Your organisational culture should enable, support and catalyse change.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/effective-leadership-in-the-digital-age">Research</a> has shown that digital leaders see clear differences between companies with a digital culture and those without in their ability to adapt, innovate and create.</p> <p dir="ltr">To gauge the current state, Oracle Marketing Cloud and Econsultancy asked marketers to agree or disagree with the statement: “We reserve a proportion of budgets for more innovative but untried marketing activities.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8793/agree_with_these_statements_.png" alt="" width="700" height="467"></p> <p dir="ltr">At one extreme, a third (33%) of respondents disagreed with the statement, with 8% replying ‘strongly disagree’.</p> <p dir="ltr">These companies can be said to have risk-averse marketing strategies with little room for innovation.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the other end, 35% agreed to some extent that there was room in their budgets for trying new marketing activities, with 3% replying ‘strongly agree’. The remaining third (32%) were neutral.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s clear that newer marketing opportunities are not always enthusiastically grasped and explored.</p> <p dir="ltr">But by relying too heavily on what has worked in the past, marketers run the risk of falling behind in today’s fast-moving marketing landscape.</p> <p dir="ltr">What worked yesterday may be no good tomorrow. Ongoing marketing success requires an open mind and the ability to adapt.</p> <p dir="ltr">That’s why it’s essential to set aside time and budget for charting new frontiers.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">New channels pose a challenge to ROI reliance </h3> <p dir="ltr">Some channels are perceived as more measurable than others. Established formats like email and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">PPC</a> win out over newer disciplines like mobile, personalisation and video. </p> <p dir="ltr">This illustrates the danger of being driven purely by ROI. All indicators now point to mobile and video as the current and next big things in consumer consumption. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mobile now counts for 25-29% of consumer time on media, and yet our survey of marketers found that respondents are spending only 4% of their digital marketing budgets on mobile marketing.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP advertising group:</p> <blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Underinvestment in mobile... is due to a lack of clarity around the measurement of mobile advertising, particularly in the ‘walled garden’ ecosystems of Facebook and Google.</p> <p dir="ltr">Creativity on mobile is one thing, but measurement is another; people are not sure of the ROI.</p> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Only 18% of respondents said their ability to measure ROI was good for mobile marketing for acquisition, and 15% for mobile marketing for engagement/retention.</p> <p dir="ltr">Between them, Facebook and Google have 70% of marketing share, with a higher penetration than desktop.</p> <p dir="ltr">So it’s clear that marketers must put more budget into these emerging channels. A lack of innovation here will quickly see brands falling out of step with consumer behaviour. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">Shop Direct case study </h3> <p dir="ltr">Investing in mobile doesn’t have to be a stab in the dark. As the channel matures, clear examples of brand success are beginning to emerge.</p> <p dir="ltr">Shop Direct, the UK’s second-largest online retailer, ploughed budget into Facebook’s suite of advertising products for its Black Friday campaign.</p> <p dir="ltr">It moved customers through every part of the funnel, from awareness (via Instagram and Facebook videos), to consideration (through retargeting video viewers), to conversion with Facebook dynamic product ads.</p> <p dir="ltr">The results speak for themselves: a 20x return on investment, and Shop Direct's most successful sales day ever.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">What next: ROI vs Innovation?</h3> <p dir="ltr">The good news is that marketers are a dynamic and forward-thinking bunch of people.</p> <p dir="ltr">Already, over a third of companies have room in their budget for innovation, with a core 3% leading the pack.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, there is still much room for improvement. Perhaps due to restrictive budgets and risk-averse company culture, mobile, marketing automation and personalisation are yet to make it into the top ten priorities for budget increases.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the industry is waking up to the importance of other new approaches like social media acquisition and video advertising; 60% and 58% plan to increase investment in these channels, respectively.</p> <p dir="ltr">The marketing landscape and consumer behaviour continue to rapidly evolve. The field will belong to those who can maintain established ROI-led activities, and exploit rich new opportunities as they unfold.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Takeaways</h3> <ul> <li> <p>Commitment to ROI is crucial but can be a dampener on marketing innovation.</p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr">Restricted budgets, lack of staff and a risk-averse company culture are the key obstacles to investment in digital marketing.</p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr">Your organisational culture should enable, support and catalyse change.</p> </li> <li> <p>Newer channels like video and mobile are forcing marketers to innovate in order to keep up with consumer behaviour.</p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr">Ongoing success relies on ability to balance 'safe' ROI-driven activities with innovation and new approaches.</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Find out how marketing budgets are changing, and how to extract maximum value from yours!</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Download: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-budgets/">Marketing Budgets 2016: Part of the Modern Marketing Actionable Insights Series</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68093 2016-07-28T12:43:06+01:00 2016-07-28T12:43:06+01:00 Three surefire ways to maximize your CRM’s effectiveness Shaun Haase <p>While some features are overly complex or not fit for every business, there are key components that can deliver tremendous value if you can get your sales team over the initial learning curve.</p> <h3>Create automated actions </h3> <p>Automated actions allow you to easily set up, assign and manage tasks for your sales team.</p> <p>These simple actions can help streamline the collaboration between different team members while eliminating the tedious process of checking in throughout the day for status updates. Rather than having every team member update the system manually, a CRM can help automate these actions to create a more seamless workflow.</p> <p>In addition to internal task management, sales teams also engage in external communications when liaising with customers or partners. One critical part of this process is the follow-up.  </p> <p>With task automation, team leads can set reminders that will ensure that these follow-ups take place at exactly the right time – but in a way that’s not overly distracting.</p> <p>During times when everything seems like a priority, sales teams have to juggle multiple tasks. To prevent them from dropping the ball, team leaders can help by creating reminders for each step of the process to better organize and prioritize tasks.  </p> <p>A few examples of rules to set for your sales team may include:</p> <ul> <li>Reminders to send out collateral materials to a customer after speaking on the phone;</li> <li>Scheduling an in-person meeting after communicating with a lead more than three times; or </li> <li>Following up to make sure everything is OK if the lead goes silent for a week.  </li> </ul> <p>You can set up tasks and reminders for every step in the sales cycle that would automatically initiate the action that you want your team to take.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7538/Screen_Shot_2016-07-28_at_12.29.14.png" alt="reminder" width="450"></p> <h3>Use tags to quickly retrieve information</h3> <p>Tags are custom labels that can be applied to CRM contacts and sales leads. You can add as many tags as you wish to an entry, and the goal is to make it easier to search for and retrieve contacts based on a specific filter such as regional leads, future opportunities or top customers.</p> <p>If location plays a big role in your sales and marketing strategy, you can add tags like: Southwest, Northeast, Midwest, etc.</p> <p>For instance, a sales manager working in a swimsuit business might find value in being able to extract a list of existing or potential customers based in the Southwest region to better target them during the fall.</p> <p>Alternatively, if you’re in a highly saturated industry where competition is high, your CRM can help identify opportunities where the stakes are lower. By using your CRM to help focus resources on lead generation, you’ll be able to convert more customers and make more sales.</p> <p>Top customers can also be labeled with appropriate tags such as “VIP”, “power user” or “early adopter”. These tags can come in handy when trying to quickly identify customers who may be inclined to beta test your newest feature update or take an early look at an upcoming product release. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7539/tags.jpeg" alt="tags" width="225" height="225"></p> <h3>Manage customer inquiries with the sales pipeline feature</h3> <p>A sales pipeline can be great for tracking new or open deals. Alternatively, it can also be used to manage inbound inquiries and requests by customers or partners.</p> <p>If a customer sends in a detailed product inquiry, you can easily input it into the CRM and assign it to a new sales pipeline.</p> <p>Rather than going through your typical sales oriented stages, you can add relevant milestones such as “under investigation”, “responded” and “resolved”.</p> <p>As part of a sales team, you’ll likely also receive requests from customers about new product features that they want and could help improve their business. With a CRM, you can treat these requests as you would a new business opportunity.</p> <p>If enough customers request similar types of features, you can add this to a development pipeline to take action that will support the development of the requested feature or product. </p> <p>Finally, it’s inevitable that your customer will switch to one of your competitors. If this can be identified early on using a CRM, team leads can build in a strategy for retaining customers and rewarding them for their loyalty. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7540/pipe.jpeg" alt="pipeline" width="259" height="194"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>CRMs provide a wealth of features that can optimize the operation of your team.</p> <p>While these features may seem overwhelming at first, sales teams who can commit to learning will reap the benefits that come with organization and foresight. </p> <p><em>More CRM implementation tips:</em></p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64905-crm-implementation-tips-from-the-experts-part-one">CRM implementation tips from the experts: part one</a> </li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64910-crm-implementation-tips-from-the-experts-part-two">CRM implementation tips from the experts: part two</a> </li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67979 2016-06-23T14:27:54+01:00 2016-06-23T14:27:54+01:00 The five steps to an effective and repeatable sales process Shaun Haase <p dir="ltr">The most important thing to remember is to establish clearly defined goals early on to ensure that your sales team is on the same course of action as you.</p> <p dir="ltr">By developing and implementing a strategy that’s consistent across all of your customer segments and touchpoints, your sales team becomes a well-oiled machine that offers the same impeccable service and experience that is in line with your company’s bottom line.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here are five steps to help you get started:</p> <h3 dir="ltr">1. Segment your leads</h3> <p dir="ltr">Organizing your leads is the key to success. Business is done by people, and as such, there is enormous value in noting the unique attributes and preferences of each potential or existing customer.</p> <p dir="ltr">From the industry they’re in, to their communication preferences, remembering the specific needs of each lead helps establish your sales team as more personable, relatable and thoughtful.</p> <p dir="ltr">This level of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66576-why-make-it-personal-personalisation-vs-contextualisation/">personalization</a> can only be achieved by segmenting your customers, either based on their industry, opportunity or other variables.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6380/segment.jpg" alt="" width="545" height="362"></p> <p dir="ltr">Lead segmentation can also help reduce the number of emails sent, increase the open rate for each message and help your sales team gain valuable insight into what does and doesn’t work.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sales teams will be able to cater to customers in a more personalized way, which can lead to higher conversion rates because they feel like a person is reaching out to them, not Mailchimp.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">2. Start with the full cycle in mind</h3> <p dir="ltr">Initiate the sales cycle with communication that’s warm and inviting.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first point of communication should bring awareness of your product to the customer; it’s certainly not the time for a hard sell, though the time for this will surely come.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you jump too early, you’ll be putting yourself at risk of alienating the potential customer even before they’ve had a chance to learn about what you have to offer. </p> <p dir="ltr">Use the first touchpoint to get to know the customer. When you better understand their desires and pain points, you’ll be able to craft a relevant message that speaks to their exact needs.</p> <p dir="ltr">More importantly, see this first step as part of a larger story that’s weaved together through multiple touchpoints.</p> <p dir="ltr">What is the key message you want to convey to this customer? Be brief, to the point and think carefully about a messaging tactic that will resonate with your target audience. </p> <p dir="ltr">You may also encounter customers who are familiar with your product and have already shortlisted you as a viable solution. Don’t be too pushy but do try to feel customers out.</p> <p dir="ltr">Give every customer the opportunity to take action with a simple call-to-action that empowers them to move forward if so desired. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">3. Utilize feedback to refine your pitch</h3> <p dir="ltr">Customer feedback can dramatically enhance the effectiveness of your messaging and communications.</p> <p dir="ltr">By analyzing email open and response rates from previous campaigns along with a customer sentiment audit, you’ll be able to uncover valuable insights on customer interest or lack thereof.</p> <p dir="ltr">If the messaging you’re using is not hitting your engagement targets, take the time to evaluate the issue and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64116-a-b-testing-software-recommendations-from-four-ecommerce-experts/">try A/B testing</a> different variations of your core message.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6381/alphabet.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="472"></p> <p dir="ltr">You might even find that you need to expand your predefined customer segments to ensure that all customers are being ushered down the most effective sales path for them. </p> <p dir="ltr">Utilising existing feedback on your outreach is important when optimizing your sales strategy.</p> <p dir="ltr">You’ll quickly learn which types of messages and approaches work best on each group, and you’ll also be able to better identify which customer segments are proving to be the most valuable.</p> <p dir="ltr">By regularly monitoring and adjusting your communications, you’ll create a much more efficient and lucrative sales pipeline.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">4. Connect with your warmest leads</h3> <p dir="ltr">Once you get further along in your conversations, you’ll have a better sense of which leads are the most promising.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s now time to connect personally with each of your warmest leads. Offer to connect over a phone call or in person.</p> <p dir="ltr">By doing so, you’ll be able to directly address any potential questions/concerns while creating a deeper connection with each lead.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you’re lucky enough to generate many warm leads and haven’t done so already, you need to be <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64545-what-is-crm-and-why-do-you-need-it/">utilizing a CRM</a> to track and manage these relationships.</p> <p dir="ltr">A CRM becomes increasingly important as the sales process progresses so it’s best you implement one early on.</p> <p dir="ltr">The right CRM will ensure that you are maximizing the conversion potential of your warmest leads. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">5. Don’t be afraid to use incentives</h3> <p dir="ltr">Now that you’ve established rapport with potential customers, it’s time to close the deal. Start by sending a follow-up reminder with the key benefits and solutions of your product/service.</p> <p dir="ltr">At this point, your lead should have all pertinent information about your product/service so keep it short, simple and to the point.</p> <p dir="ltr">If they’re still on the fence, try presenting them with a limited-time promotion to give them an immediate incentive to convert right then and there.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rather than dwelling on the lost revenue from the promotion, consider the potential lifetime value that customers can provide.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p dir="ltr">Creating a scalable and repeatable sales process is a relatively straightforward endeavor but the true challenge is remembering to continually adapt your processes to the needs of your customers.</p> <p dir="ltr">When you have a clearly defined process in place, it becomes much easier to scale your sales team and keeps them focused on what they do best: close deals.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67912 2016-06-08T11:58:37+01:00 2016-06-08T11:58:37+01:00 Five reasons your CRM isn't actually increasing sales Shaun Haase <p>On the other hand, a recent survey by Software Advice revealed that 74% of companies using the right <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64545-what-is-crm-and-why-do-you-need-it/">CRM</a> for their business say that it has improved their access to customer data, therefore allowing them to improve lead conversion and ultimately increase sales.</p> <p>If your CRM is not working for you, here are five common reasons why:</p> <h3>1. No overarching strategy with relevant sales goal metrics</h3> <p>It’s critical that sales and marketing teams work closely together to set an overarching strategy with specific sales goals that can be tracked using a CRM, for example: lead conversions rates for specific sales pipelines.</p> <p>Often times, companies don’t have a clear strategy or a system for tracking metrics like these, instead using their CRM as a glorified contact management system.</p> <p><em>Stock photo of a pipeline</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5818/pipeline.jpg" alt="" width="843" height="468"></p> <p>If you don’t currently have predefined goals and metrics, then you might be losing out on one of the key features of your CRM which should be providing a clear overview of your sales pipeline progress.</p> <p>In order to keep your business on the track to sales growth, make sure that you set aside time to establish a clear strategy, define which sales metrics will be relevant and have both marketing and sales teams meet regularly to track progress through your CRM. </p> <h3>2. Not utilizing CRMs effectively</h3> <p>According to a research report by BuyerZone, 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use CRM software and have great initial intentions for getting the most value out of them, yet after their teams utilize it for the first few months, usage wanes.</p> <p>Many times, sales teams stop using CRMs altogether as they find it tedious to have to constantly update contact information.</p> <p>Sales professionals often complain that inputting data into CRMs takes time away from pursuing opportunities. CRMs should be used to enable your sales teams, not hinder their productivity.</p> <p>If CRMs are a drain on your team’s time, reduce complexity by utilizing tools that make it easier to input data, or find a new CRM that provides automated data entry, better functionality and seamless integration with other enterprise software.</p> <h3>3. Too complicated &amp; too expensive to maintain</h3> <p>Companies often use the same CRM software that successful large enterprises use in order to be competitive.</p> <p>Unfortunately, these popular CRMs can be very difficult to integrate due to their complex design, and are therefore not ideal for every type and size of company.</p> <p>These CRMs often require a lot of money and time, since you must also hire third-party vendors to customize the system for specific business needs as well as train your teams to use them.</p> <p>If you use one of the more popular CRM systems out of the box, there’s a good chance it may have been configured incorrectly and it could be costing you both time and money as your teams will not be able to fully utilize it to its full capacity. </p> <p>CRM software should be simple to integrate and easy to use from the beginning.</p> <p>If your CRM is still giving you problems even after customizing it and your employees are constantly having to ask for assistance on how to do specific tasks, it may be time for you to seek out a much simpler CRM solution. </p> <h3>4. Using a stand-alone CRM</h3> <p>Stand-alone CRMs are a holdover from many years ago and are very inefficient at transferring disparate data from the different tools that businesses often use, such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-buyers-guide/">email marketing software</a> for managing outbound communications.</p> <p>A better solution – which many companies are using these days – is a fully integrated cloud-based CRM, as it presents a much more efficient way of integrating into the tools you regularly use.</p> <p>Six years ago, only 12% of businesses used cloud-based CRM while today this number has increased to 87% and continues to grow every day.</p> <p><em>Some clouds</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5819/clouds.jpg" alt="" width="846" height="483"></p> <p>The benefits of fully integrated cloud-based CRMs are plentiful: they allow everyone on your team to easily access important information anywhere, transfer data from different programs and often automatically update data other sources.</p> <p>All of this then leads to a speedier workflow and always up-to-date sales and contact data. </p> <h3>5. Living with poor data quality</h3> <p>Data migration, integration and management are critical for a well-run CRM.</p> <p>If your data is not aligned correctly or you have information in the wrong place, then your sales team will lose out on potential leads with missed follow-up appointments or incorrect contact information.</p> <p>For this reason, it is important that someone regularly checks the data within your CRM system to remove duplicates, update contact information and standardize content.</p> <p>Data inaccuracy is one of the biggest problems with CRM systems, but at the same time is also one of the easiest to fix if time is dedicated to maintaining it on a regular basis. </p> <h3>In summary...</h3> <p>Here we’ve highlighted a few of the potential reasons why your CRM might not be helping increase your sales. If you suffer from any of these factors, it is time for you to take action now.</p> <p>Create a plan for improvement or find a CRM solution better tailored to your company’s needs.</p> <p>A CRM is a great tool for helping you increase sales but also one that must be continuously refreshed and utilized in the most appropriate manner to reap the greatest benefit.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67895 2016-06-01T11:44:43+01:00 2016-06-01T11:44:43+01:00 How Wish uses 'aggressive' automated email in ecommerce Ben Davis <h3>Day three: basket abandonment</h3> <p>Below is the second email I received (the first on day one was a welcome email and chiefly for email address verification). It points me towards an item I left in my basket.</p> <p>One slight problem with Wish's time sensitive offers is the fact that here is a product <a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5259/instant_2.PNG">I had viewed at £8</a> when I used the app a few days ago. Now Wish is pushing it back to me at £9.</p> <p>Granted, both prices are fairly reasonable, but it does show a potential downside to the discount model.</p> <p>Elsewhere in the email, it's interesting that Wish has attached a YouTube haul video. The video shows a makeup haul, which isn't best suited for me.</p> <p>Wish knows my gender, it asked me during the signup process, but has likely added this video to all such emails, regardless of gender.</p> <p>The retailer may well be promoting its YouTube content here to re-emphasise its value proposition. The haul videos stress that the products are cheap but their quality is adequately good.</p> <p>For a new(ish) platform with a slightly unusual UX, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> is important to tempt first-time users back into the app.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5482/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_13.43.45.png" alt="wish email" width="450"></p> <h3>Day four: browsing follow-up</h3> <p>I had browsed a range of trainers on the Wish app, so was slightly surprised this follow-up email focused on sandals. Indeed, the showcased products seem to be mostly shoes.</p> <p>Despite this slight confusion in categories, I liked the format of the email, with simple product images that are all individually linked to product pages, or the option to see the full collection.</p> <p>Notice the email subject tackles the topic of 'creepiness' head on, telling me what I've been browsing. This is smart - recognising the elephant in the room means Wish mitigates any customer unease.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5483/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_13.46.59.png" alt="wish email" width="450"></p> <h3>Day four: trending products &amp; recommendations</h3> <p>On day four Wish also sent me the email below, which I've split into two images.</p> <p>It's a classic bit of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">email marketing</a>. Some gender-specific products are surfaced (the wallets category), as are recommendations similar to my wishlist (where I had liked a watch strap) and links to other categories are provided.</p> <p>The footer promotes the Wish app, which by day four I had deleted.</p> <p>As far as I'm aware, there's no way to find out if a user has deleted an iOS app, but I can't rule out Wish having some kind of work-around here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5500/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_14.23.20.png" alt="email from wish" width="300">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5494/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_14.23.42.png" alt="wish email" width="300"></p> <h3>Day six: more trending products and recommendations (effectively a non-open resend)</h3> <p>Another recommendation email next.</p> <p>Though I didn't engage with the first email, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63747-why-more-emails-at-christmas-almost-always-means-more-money/">studies have shown email resends to non-opens</a> to be a successful tactic, so Wish obviously sees the same with its testing.</p> <p>This isn't a resend per se, but the email layout and half of the content matches very closely to day four's email.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5503/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_15.06.30.png" alt="wish email" width="300">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5502/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_15.06.54.png" alt="wish email" width="300"></p> <h3>Day six: wishlist reminder</h3> <p>I had added a watch strap to my favourites and six days later Wish sent me the email below.</p> <p>The delay was smart, being time enough for me to have potentially bought the watch strap. Sending a reminder too soon may have put me off.</p> <p>The email subject line is impressive, personalised to the product I had favourited.</p> <p>If these <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64878-45-words-to-avoid-in-your-email-marketing-subject-lines/">subject lines</a> are automated, there must have been extensive copywriting or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/">a machine learning algorithm</a> involved in the original setup.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5504/Screen_Shot_2016-05-31_at_15.13.54.png" alt="wish wishlist reminder" width="450"></p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>Though I have called Wish's automated email 'aggressive' I don't think that's a bad thing. The retailer's whole strategy is about encouraging time in app as well as impulse buys.</p> <p>As we know from some studies, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62997-send-more-email-make-more-money">more email means more money</a>. </p> <p>It's an effective channel that, though it may serve to annoy the one-off customer, does much to encourage <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64481-finding-your-best-customers-with-the-rfm-matrix">high-value customers</a> to purchase.</p> <p>From a marketing automation point of view, it's great to see a retailer investing heavily in this area given that many <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67815-why-marketers-are-failing-to-make-the-most-of-automated-emails">marketers are failing to make the most of triggered emails</a>.</p>