The days of succeeding with email campaigns while sending a generic message are done. No one disagrees with this point. Everyone sees response rates dropping. The answer? On this point, people in the know also agree: The answer is segmenting your audience and sending a targeted message. The debate approaches when discussing how to accomplish segmentation.
Much has been written recently on Account Based Marketing (ABM). Simple concept: determine as many attributes you can about your target accounts. Use those attributes to pick the best companies to reach out to. Great! This IS segmentation, however, there is a brilliant opportunity here, within reach, that is being overlooked.
The opportunity is segmenting your prospects (and clients) titles to more effectively target market with them. Again, no one disagrees that this should be done, but how is it currently being done?
Currently we see people building lists of 100’s (or more) phrases to match and segment. Example: “Marketing” OR “Marktg” OR “Mrktg”. These lists get long and have some inherent flaws:
- The lists are NOT comprehensive. Their will always be exceptions. There are some amazing, talented, consultants that have their “golden list” of match phrases like this. The problem is that you will need consultants to maintain and modify if you need changes. Not sustainable or efficient. This is a brute force approach.
- If you segment on a department like Marketing, you will miss the title level, such as VP. Conversely, if you segment on level, like VP, you miss the department. If you try to segment on both, now you have multiple lists of 100’s of phrases that again, it grows into the 1000’s if you want it to be comprehensive.
- Analyzing connected relationship becomes unmanageable. For example: Knowing that you have a VP of Marketing that influences two Directors of Marketing? You can’t establish this connection without multiple attributes that have been pre-calculated.
- Having a single attribute like Title Level OR Department makes the logic crazy complex. Trying to build a campaign that includes the “Top Marketing Contact”, “Top Sales Contact” and “Top Operations Contact” is only a dream when you only have a single segmentation bucket.
- It’s not fun. Complexity should be hidden and the average campaign manager should be able to set up brilliant campaign. Democratize it.
After 14 years of data mining and working with massive amounts of contact data, I’ll fast forward and give the answer: If you segment on both DEPARTMENT and TITLE LEVEL, you can accomplish, I’ll say it again, brilliant, segmented, campaigns that are easy to execute. Watch the video for a nice visual walk-through of the concepts.
Do you remember your first time? I do. How could I forget? I was in love. The anticipation of being alone, just the two of us, was something I had been thinking about for weeks. When we all met our new team member, it was like every sales rep in the company was distracted. I couldn’t get any one-on-one time. Finally a holiday approached and I planned to be in the office, long after everyone had left. We would be alone.
The egg-nog was gone, the lights were dim and the office was empty. I opened up my browser and we were alone. Just the two of us: me and my salesforce.com
The first thing I noticed, my new love was unhappy. We had transferred all our data from a old Siebel CRM. My beautiful Salesforce was full of non-standard data and tons of duplicates.
So I took action. Here are the steps I took:
1. Develop a Normalization Plan.
(In the past I’ve called it a Data Plan), but the phrase has evolved. A Normalization Plan is a set of standards for your data. For example: for job titles, do you want them list verbose, such as “Vice President of Sales” or compact like “VP Sales”? Removing extraneous spaces and punctuation is also something to decide upon. Do you always go with “Incorporated” or “Inc”?
2. Normalize your CRM
Don’t even think about deduping your data before normalizing. This is a mistake of the uniformed. If a consultant wants to dive right in and dedupe, they are not skilled in the art of loving their CRM.
Dedupe without normalizing first is akin to putting underwear over your pants.
3. Pick your dupe matching rules
It’s got to be the right time and you must do some testing to make sure you’ve got it right. Use one of the tools from RingLead that provides customizable dedupe logic to match your business requirements. RingLead is a pro at removing Salesforce Duplicates.
It’s not the first step, it’s the last. When you really love your CRM you take care of everything else first. At this point, you’ll have a plan, you’ll know about all the little nuances and dedupe will be natural and successful.
What and when to automate and when to intervene is one of the most far reaching decisions you will make on the journey to a clean CRM. In fact, this automation vs. intervention decision quandary will impact all processes in your business. Instead of an in-depth how-to-clean your CRM tutorial, I thought I’d share some simple axioms that I base my decisions on when bringing efficiency and automation to a process.
#1 Don’t confuse automation with efficiency
Efficiency is how fast and how cheap a process can be done. Automation is applying non-human processes into a system. It is a subtle difference and that is why people get confused. For example: lead assignment can be automated, but if it is being done poorly or incorrect, it is not efficient. This is a natural lead in to #2.
#2. Never automate an unsuccessful process.
People can make mistakes, but to really screw up you need a computer. Make sure your processes work correctly, regardless of how fast. Once you have your process down, then apply automation.
#3. Automate a single process at a time.
There are exceptions and sometimes you can’t avoid doing a few things at once. The reason for this is immutably tied to #4.
#4. Measure what you automate.
Define what success is so that you can recognize it when it happens. When successful, automate something else and measure again.
#5 Complex systems are constantly redesigned
No one that I know can design a complex CRM system that stays 100% to the original design. Why do major software implementations fail and go over budget? Simple, the initial design did not encompass the complexities of the real world. Balance design with diving in and checking your premises. Be agile, be creative and get user feedback at critical milestones.
There is the common, but false belief that a successful CRM implementation is complete once users are up and running and the technology replaces the manual tasks of tracking prospect/customer information. That is certainly a milestone, but not the end of the CRM implementation journey. Invariably, real-world usage leads to requirements not foreseen in initial CRM planning. Salesforce.com pioneered the AppExchange™ and solved the challenge of the second implementation. Thousands of apps, ready with tested business logic, encompassing millions of lines of code can seamlessly plug into Salesforce to complete the second implementation. Before the AppExchange, companies would find themselves with a total re-engineering effort or CRM failure. Well done Salesforce!
What is the Third Implementation?
Today, the focus now turns to the third implementation; and it is all about data. Unless specifically addressed, every CRM has a problem with dirty data. Regular de-duplication is NOT the solution. De-duplication treats a symptom of the dirty data disease; it does not cure the disease itself. To cure the disease, you must stop dirty data from ever getting into the CRM. Dirty data can enter a CRM via a user, application or the system. Each source of data needs to be addressed.
Enter the CRM Data-Plan
A CRM Data-Plan is a single-point-of-truth for treating data across an enterprise. It consists of a robust set of rules that details standards for treating data. Amazingly, less than 3% of CRM administrators have a CRM Data-Plan.
The challenge for CRM providers is that they cannot solve the issue with a one-size-fits-all solution. The business requirements of some companies call for verbose data, while others may prefer a high usage of abbreviations.
A good CRM Data-Plan ensures that company names, titles and all forms of CRM data are normalized to a single standard. With a systematically applied Data-Plan, gone are the days of searching for a company in your CRM five different ways. Multiple sales reps no longer work on the same account listed under several different company name formats. Marketing has the ability to segment markets and get a stronger perspective on customers and prospects. CRM data augmentation is no longer a nightmare. With a strong CRM Data-Plan, you no longer have to fear importing new data in your CRM and hearing the word “foobar” from your CRM administrator. The efficiencies gained are tremendous.
Enforcing the CRM Data-plan: Introducing CRMShield™
Without a method, an unbreakable method to enforce your CRM Data-Plan, the plan is a paper tiger. Broadlook’s CRMShield™ empowers CRM administrators to seamlessly create a CRM Data-Plan and enforce it for users, vendors and administrators.
Using a single global standard crafted by your CRM administrator, CRMShield™ protects and cleans your CRM in real time. Say goodbye to duplicate and dirty data. The CRM Data-Plan is saved in the cloud, at a single location, therefore the entire enterprise, small or large is protected. Changes made to the CRM Data-Plan propagate to the enterprise so all data, even from different silos, conforms to a single standard.
Take the Dirty Data Quiz
The Dirty Data quiz serves as a report card. How does your company rate? Do you have a CRM Data-Plan? Is your CRM administrator helping or hurting? What are the steps you need to take to keep your CRM clean? Visit: www.broadlook.com/dirtydataquiz
Free Tool: Create your own CRM Data-Plan
Every company should have a CRM Data-Plan. With this free website, you can get started on the road to a clean CRM system. Visit: crmshield.broadlook.com
There is a new commodity in the high tech world.
Ask any of the iPad user that got one in the early days. Unlimited bandwidth is no longer available on the iPad. I am one of the lucky users. With a combination of my travel schedule, high Bandwidth using applications like Netflix and Broadlook’s Profiler, I regularly top 12-15 Gigabytes per month in data transfer. Data plans today cover 2GB which means I am using 6-8 times the bandwidth that new iPad users get.
I am a bandwidth hog. I am one of the 2% of people that use the majority of the bandwidth and I’ve got a message for AT&T…I’m keeping my plan…forever.
Why blog about this? It is a warning for the uninformed.
Guess what? Very soon you will be a bandwidth hog. AT&T, Verizon and the other carriers understand this. It is the nature of technology. More and more applications, business logic and media rests in the cloud. Now Apple and Google each want to offer streaming music services. No longer will you have your iTunes on your desktop, laptop or iPad. Nope. They want all your music in the cloud. Why? Apple gets a piece of the service fee that you pay AT&T for your iPhone or iPad. Bandwidth is the new electricity.
This is reminiscent of 2002–2008 when every idiot said that you must make your software offering SaaS (Software as a service). SaaS is mostly good for service providers since it gives them reoccurring revenue, but it is not always the best solution. Don’t get me wrong, I am huge believer in SaaS, but it is not a panacea.
Now they (the same smart zealots who want your $$)…are saying that they want all your stuff in the cloud. Why? Simple, if you store everything : backups, music, CRM, etc in the cloud then you need bandwidth to access it.
At the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference, Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle talked about the cloud NOT being a single set of servers but a flexible appliance. Thank you Larry! He gets it. Most don’t.
The Flexible Appliance
What is it? My iPhone is a flexible appliance. In a recent talk at the MRI Worldwide conference (The Near and far Future of Recruiting), I demonstrated on stage the advent of the mobile web server. My laptop connected to a website that was hosted on my iPhone and one person in the front row said “that’s cool!” out loud. Not the response I was hoping for, but it sunk in to enough people that had time to think about it. It inspired some great conversations about the future of recruiting.
I used an iPhone app called ServersMan that makes your iPhone a web server. Being able to run a web server on a mobile phone has huge implications.
If you want to test the vision of a technical leader ask them this question:
When mobile devices (iPhones, iPads) can act as functional web servers, what does that mean for the technology landscape?”
They should be stunned, they should be wondering, they should be smiling. If they don’t, then they lack vision. The advent of the true flexible appliance will bring:
-Massive bandwidth usage. Via your mobile flexible appliance/personal web server, you will be connected to everything
-Downfall of Facebook. News to Zuck. The future social networks will be controlled from the pocket.
-movement from “their” cloud to “my” cloud.
When I have proposed the above, among tech folks, they remind me that some sort of middleware needs to facilitate one mobile web server finding and connecting to another. This already exists, it is called dynamic DNS and their are a bunch of companies that offer this. With DynamicDNS, my iPhone web server could very quickly connect to 200 of my friends and update my status on their mobile devices. No cloud, no Facebook needed. The only limitation is bandwidth and mobile processing speed.
The above scenario will happen once people realize they don’t want Facebook storing everything about them. Due to the nature of the beast, they will continue to violate the privacy of their users. Eventually it will go away. Don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook. It gives me a way to connect with grandma and show pictures of the kids. Facebook may change and become the king of the middle, middleware the ties everything consumer together. But do you trust them? I don’t.
It’s all about the middleware.
As I look at SaaS (Software as a Service) and then PaaS (Platform as a Service) combined with the advent of the flexible appliance, I realize that my previous thinking was limited. In the mobile future, the mobile is the cloud, the flexible appliance. For consumer apps like Facebook, people will eventually prefer to keep their personal data in a place they control it. However, for business applications like CRM and ATS (Applicant Tracking), I see a new class of business. Middleware as a service (MaaS).
Middleware as a service will balance the load between the cloud and the flexible appliance. Unlike the limited browser-based applications today, MaaS systems will balance the rich interface and local power of flexible appliance with the security, flexible business logic and data storage in the cloud. It will be interesting to watch it evolve.
With all this stuff in the works… if you get an unlimited bandwidth package, read the contract and if you can, never give it up. Providers will offer unlimited bandwidth as a promotion and then like AT&T/Apple, try to get you to downgrade from $30 per month to $25 per month to relinquish your unlimited package.
Did I mention that once you get it, never give it up?