What should I look out for and what are the real benefits?
As the event and campaign season comes back into swing our email comms ramp up; gone are the days where we had to force our email system to talk to our CRM they are now coupled up quite happily – well for most of us they are (I’m one of the lucky ones!). A couple of clients have recently been asking how we manage to keep on top of our data management and reporting with so many campaigns and events with such a small team – the fact that our email and CRM are compatible is a massive help.
Long gone are the days where we export and import lists between our CRM and e-marketing solution saving us many man hours from long-winded tedious tasks. You need to make sure your CRM and email system is attuned, if it’s not, you will simply be wasting time, resource and company budget. Most reputable CRM providers will have a recommended list of e-marketing solutions which are proven to work with one another.
It goes without saying; we have Lexis® InterAction® for our CRM solution and having an e-marketing tool which plugs into our CRM results in a number of benefits.
With our e-marketing solution we run our list searches in InterAction do the usual checks and when ready to send the email there’s no exporting or importing just a drop down menu of all my lists, click and it’s loaded and ready to go. This has dramatically reduced the risk of human error and means lists are more accurate and up to date, not to mention the time spent on each email being cut by about a third. We have also set up a number of rules within InterAction to also contribute to the accuracy of our lists; this again, has time saving efficiencies.
Operating in this fashion also means ALL responses / activities whether it’s an open, click, unsubscribe, bounce back, registration or reply is logged within our CRM so our wider team can see exactly what our clients / contacts have received and how they are responding. Previously, we logged registrations and nothing else due to the manual time taken to transfer data – we have so much intelligence now!
Our solution also has forms, I’d highly recommend you opt for a solution with forms; forms allow you to ask more questions and will make it easier for the end user to manage. We use forms for marketing preferences, event registrations, surveys and contact information – and you guessed it, all automatically fed back into InterAction. The use of forms also means our data is kept up to date as it’s a quick and straight forward way for our contacts to update their information rather than having to email separately (or us not knowing at all!) …. easier for the contact and easier for us!
As mentioned above its important the e-marketing solution feeds back unsubscribes, it is also important that the system automatically filters out any unsubscribes. Although this sounds really simple it saves a lot of embarrassment if someone forgets to include the unsubscribe list.
Overall, your systems MUST talk to one another, if they don’t you are simply one for punishment… why struggle uphill when you can glide downhill?!