New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Archive for the tag “CRM for SME”

Launching Anwesha CRM

The last couple of months have been hectic; however, this month promises to be worse 🙂

Finally gave enough shape to the Anwesha website to be able to launch it. The primary focus of Anwesha Customer Relations Marketing Pvt Ltd, Anwesha CRM for short, is to offer the tools and processes that an SME needs in India in sales and marketing; the very same tools that the MNCs use to be successful.

I will continue blogging here. However, you can also catch me blogging on the Anwesha company blog. My focus here will not change; it will continue to be on CRM for small business.

The next month will be focused on the launch preparations for our flagship CRM product for the Indian market called Salesgenie CRM++. We are positioning this as the “Essential Salesforce” minus the frills. So, all you need to log customer interactions, initiate engagements, campaigns and manage them are there. As are the sales processes like recognising a lead or a deal, qualifying them through the sales cycle and closing.

Salesgenie CRM++ has real innovations like recognizing a real lead automatically based on pre-defined criteria (set by you). This is like a magnet picking out iron filings from dust and will be a real boon to harried sales managers and executives wanting to prioritize their sales efforts.

Salesgenie CRM++ allows you to send customized e-mails for invites, newsletters and such right from the tool.
Salesgenie CRM++ allows you to configure quotes, complete with taxes, discounts etc and send them off on email as a pdf.
Salesgenie CRM++  has smart selection tool for targeting customers for marketing campaigns or sales promotions. The intelligence built in the tool is directly proportional to the ease of use.
Salesgenie CRM++ has lead scoring and prioritization algorithm built-in which allows you to prioritize the sales leads for follow-up.
Salesgenie CRM++  has easy to use reporting built right into it.

And, to top it all, it is easily customizable, often by the user herself.

All the above makes it the most comprehensive sales and marketing management software for the SME sector in India. And, this is important- the MNC price-tags and the heavy process overheads and ramp-up- are absent.

Thank you for your support.


CRM for whom?

Get customers first.  Investment in CRM systems can follow.

CRM softwares are great “farming” tools. The deeper your engagements are till date, the more insights you have in his needs.

Among engagements, the best ones to base your judgement on are the paid ones. So, a customer may have attended seminars and responded to emails and asked for quotes. But, the only time she has actually backed her actions with money is when she has paid money for goods and services. As the electorates vote with their finger on the button, customers vote with their money.

When we target customers for our marketing messages, we tend to rely on profile based targeting. That is, we use information related to her department, seniority, industry, size of the company and so on to tailor messages for her. While this will continue to be used, the need is to make far greater use of behavioral data (related to actions the customer may have taken in the past) to target her. Actions speak louder than words. And, among actions, as I said earlier, actual purchase in the past  is a great validation of what her profile or other behavioral history is leading us to believe.

CRM systems are only as good as the data you log about the customers: their profiles and behaviors and engagements in the past. Their true power is the ability to harness the past data to build compelling marketing campaigns for the installed base. So, couple your investment in CRM systems with robust processes for logging customer interactions and keep the profiles updated. And, ensure you have a sound analytics and reporting engine coupled with your CRM to drive action based on all that data.

Hunting, Farming and CRM

We all know the mindset difference between hunters and farmers. “Hunters” have a strictly “one-time engagement” model with their prey as to salesmen or companies who have modelled their business on hunting. “Farmers”, on the other hand, cultivate their customers, their accounts and take a long term view of every relationship.

Both are useful. And, at different stages of the company, one role is better suited than other. It is however safe to say that as in the history of human evolution, farming follows hunting. And, it is a rare business model and in my opinion, even rarer to find a successful one, which stops at hunting.

Closed loop marketing: it takes a lot of effort to convince a customer to buy from you the first time. As you move the customer from a state of non-awareness to indifference to active interest to trial and purchase, it is important to understand that each purchase is potentially the door-opener to another, future opportunity.

So, even if you are a month old start-up to whom new business from new contacts is life-blood, I hope you treat your first sale as an opportunity to gain a customer for life. And, what better way to do that but to invest some little effort to log what you know about the contact, about his/ her employer, about the transactions that you have with her and her company in a systematic, easily retrievable way?

Memory is short; you are better off trusting a computer program to do that. That, in a nutshell, is all there is to CRM. A CRM system/ software is an important facilitator to close loop marketing. Happy farming.

Developing an automatic “lead recognition” algorithm

Why automate lead-logging in a CRM system?
We have made the following points repeatedly in this blog:
1. Marketing and sales need to feel that they have joint ownership of the entire business process, from creating awareness in the prospect to generating and capturing prospects’ interest (lead and opportunity) to taking it to close.
2. The primary job of a sales or a marketing guy is not to spend time on the CRM system in use. Their primary focus is the customer and the support systems like the CRM systems should track the customer activities that are relevant to be pursued.
3. A lead happens because of the efforts (some seen and some unseen) of many people in the organization and many activities performed. From the client side, more than one person is involved and their roles in the purchase process need to be logged along with the lead that they influence; preferably automatically.
4. Customer activities are the activities that are more relevant; different activities have different weightages, as any seasoned sales manager will tell you.

A lead is NOT an individual or a contact.
However, a lead arises out of actions taken by one or more contacts working in a buyer organization (account).
There are 2 parts of the lead-scoring algorithm:

(1)     Fitment score: Assigns a score to the appropriateness of the target market, account and contact. For example:
(a)     If your product is primarily sold to the automobile industry (let’s say you make automobile painting machinery), then enquiries received from a related industry (lifts, washing machines) will not have a high score.
(b)     Let’s say you make forklift trucks of capacity appropriate for large structures (100 tonnes or above). If a small building contractor called you, you may give that inquiry very low score.
(c)     If your product is primarily sold after a long evaluation cycle by first working with your customers’ R&D department, then cold inquiries received from the purchase department will get a low score vs a high score if someone from the R&D department made the initial contact.

A fitment score is usually arrived at from the “profile” data of the target account and contact. In the absence of the “Interest score”, this is of use only to determine usefulness for targeting these contacts through marketing activities.

(2)     Interest score: Assigns a score to the logged activities of contacts pertaining to a product/ product category, within an account.

FS:  score of industry  (related to the product/ category) * score of account * score of contact profile

FS is a static score, based on profile of the account and contact related to the particular product/ category.

IS: (Interest score) is the sum of the scores of all activity scores related to a product or product category in a particular account.

For an account, we have to count as lead for a product or product category if IS is greater than a certain threshold provided FS is not less than a certain threshold.

Now, for a lead to be counted, we have to define necessary and sufficient threshold values for both FS and IS. This will most probably vary from company to company and will need to be defined and refined per actual situation and experience.
Some definitions:

Activity: Something that the customer does which we log into our system. Each activity is pre-defined and has a value assigned in our system.

Campaign activity: Activity initiated (typically by marketing department of company) targeting multiple contacts over multiple accounts to get them interested in a product or product category.

Sales activity: Direct contact by sales executive or his boss with any contact in an account.

Why activity value: A customer through his actions demonstrates his propensity to buy. It is rarely one action, but many actions which add up to a strong “buying signal”. There are activities, as experienced sales managers know, which are strong buying signals and there are those which are weak or even negative buying signals. In real life, if a customer sends a lot of signals, then the probability of a deal is high. So, we assign values to significant activities undertaken by the contacts.

Relative weightage of activities: Customer activities have normally more weightage than any activity done by us. However, there could be some activities done by sales which may have overriding weightage.

What do you think? Makes sense?

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