CRM Solution Software

CRM Software Solutions

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CRM software blueprint
An Executive's Guide to CRM Software

An Executive’s Guide to Understanding Marketing Systems

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Marketing may be the most nebulous aspect of business development and it is often the one department which separates the goats from the sheep. Marketing involves identifying, targeting, qualifying and converting members of a population into qualified sales prospects which ultimately become clients and then increasing customer share and retaining those clients. What drives a consumer to purchase a Toyota over a Ford? Although price is a factor, the critical deciding factor tends to be consumer perception. Perception is as tangible as Tinker Bell, and the variation in perception from one customer to another, virtually indefinable, is effective marketing.

Think about it. The flavors and different definitions of the term marketing are as varied as the patterns of a kaleidoscope. Pundits breakdown these further into such distinctions such as perspective marketing, concept marketing, nurture marketing, etcetera. Each marketing type is further delineated by marketing programs such as branding, advertising, telemarketing, email campaigns and more. Another division commonly articulated is the separation of competitive marketing from strategic marketing.

Marketing information systems organize, manage and automate the processes required to achieve customer acquisition objectives. Not only do marketing goals vary, but the procedures associated with them vary greatly by industry, country, business size and individual company culture. For instance, some companies thrive on gorilla marketing while others gasp at the concept.

An Internet based company by its operations may choose specific online communication channels and processes for its marketing activities, while a restaurant may pick a menu of more traditional channels such as newspaper, radio and billboards. Clearly the Golf Channel will utilize different business processes than FTD, Dole, or Omaha Steaks. While for profit companies may share a broad range of similar activities, Not for Profit entities by nature utilize more singular approaches.

Marketing activities are inherently creative and morph with technological innovation. The iPod, for example, is both a technological advancement and a new channel for marketing processes, as are cell phones. These types of new found improvements also affect current marketing theory. The Internet is a perfect example, having introduced the concept stretching marketing from an internal, one-lane road into an interactive multilane highway.

Clients and prospects personalize their experience with the marketing organization with each purchase, each inquiry, each service request.

The complex, diverse nature of marketing involves constant change and evolution, and Marketing Information Systems on the market today cover the gamut of this multi-faceted business function. A Vice President without an IT division may opt to narrow the choice to hosted marketing or SFA systems thus avoiding incurring the costs of acquiring internal IT resources and additional hardware and software. Hosted SFA and marketing solutions offer the minimum capital outlay for software, but remaining expenses associated with installing a marketing system must still be considered, such as consulting or software customization. However, with hosting or on-demand SFA and marketing applications, several intangible productivity gains occur because there is no time lost with maintenance, trouble-shooting or upgrading to new versions.

Almost any marketing software performs the routine demand generation functions such as a centralized database, activities sequencing, target market profiling, list management, campaign management, lead management, email distributions and the like. Knowing the key lead generation factors for a specific company can reduce the list of prospective vendors. A simple differentiation such as identification of a particular vertical industry can restrict the choice available significantly.

The data source for a specific entity may limit the selection of a marketing information system. If the business relies on imported lists, it may be wise to restrict vendor selection to software designed for that specific database. If an accounting system is already in place for the company, integration issues are significantly reduced if the marketing software is based on the same type of database.

Another straightforward separator is campaign delivery methods utilized, such as snail-mail, email or full fledged call centers. Organization size and complexity also delineates selection criteria as does the project budget. Automation of process flow tends to point to more sophisticated marketing systems, but even some of these functions are features of hosted, inexpensive systems. Because process process automation and workflow are a vital aspect of a successful deployment of a Marketing Information System, these features are often the criteria for selecting one particular software solution over another.

 

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CRM Introduction Real World CRM Executives Guide to SFA Marketing Automation Customer Support
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