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Blog posts from our experts

Sirocco’s updated website!

Sirocco has now a more social network build website. With a swedish and english translation. Soon to come in arabic language.

Marketing Automation Magic – for sales(!)

Recently I was invited to do a keynote speech at an event hosted by Liana Technologies  to speak on the topic of Marketing Automation (MA).

lianaevent

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Marketing Automation, it is a brilliant tool for automating your communications with your leads, contacts and customers.

In a solution for MA you would typically have the following features available to you:

  • Landing Pages
    • A webpage that you direct people to through your social media, website or other channels
  • Web tracking script

    • A script similar to Google Analytics that allows you to track the behaviour of your leads and contacts on your different pages of your website. This information can then be used for lead scoring, segmentation etc.
  • Surveys
  • Web forms
  • Email automation
    • Send emails to a database of leads, contacts or customers
      • Track who opens your email
      • Track who clicks on any links or pdf:s you might have attached to your email


So, the main aim of marketing automation tools is to implement an effective marketing strategy, allowing full control of the flow of information and segment and target based on lead or contact behaviour rather than “I know what people want!”.

When preparing for my keynote presentation I wanted to talk about MA integrated with CRM from a slightly different angle; how can we leverage these tools to enhance our sales process?

leads

Leads:

As a business, you receive leads from a number of different channels, for example:

  • social media
  • website registration forms
  • events
  • word of mouth
  • phone
  • email


What most businesses tend to do is then simply hand these leads to your sales team(s) which will then qualify these leads and hopefully turn some of them into business.

What if I could show you some magic that would mean that your salespeople could actually spend more time selling, and less time qualifying leads?

  Think inside the box!

So, you’ve invested in an MA solution, which is actually a brilliant toolbox for leads qualification.

Let’s take the following example:

As a business, you are currently running a marketing campaign on social media, where you are asking people to register in return for a brilliant e-book you’ve published.

From this campaign you get 1500 leads, so a very good result, and you have 10 sales people in your sales team.

You quickly distribute these 1500 leads over your 10 sales people, meaning they now have 150 leads each to approach, great! Or is it…?

A common problem within many organisations is the low engagement level of sales people in terms of CRM usage. One main reason for this is that if you give me 150 leads out of which I only manage to close 2 pieces of business, I’m not going to be very excited the next time you give me another 150 leads.

This, in turn, means that I might not be too bothered to contact these leads quickly enough, and we all know how time-critical lead information is; someone could get in there before us if we wait too long and a lead that is hot one week can quickly go cold the next week.

The Magic!

So, what is this sorcery I speak of?

It is quite straight-forward actually, MA solutions have a great feature that we can use to pre-qualify our leads called a Nurture Program.

Nurture programs are mainly used for keeping cold leads “alive” by sending them some sort of communication every month or so, and if and when a lead reacts to this communication we can then segment them and include them in different marketing activities for example.

But, if we look at what nurture programs actually do, it is something along the lines of:

  1. Send email to Marketing List A
  2. If a lead opens the email
    1. Check if the lead clicked the link in the email
    2. Based on the above, move the lead into Marketing List B, to be included in Campaign X, notify the account manager for this lead etc.
  3. If a lead does not open the email
    1. Keep the lead in Marketing List A, so that they stay in our nurture program
 

This “machine” can just as easily be used to pre-qualify leads before we give them to our sales team.

So, remember our 1500 leads we received from our e-book campaign? Now, instead of giving them to our 10 sales people, we instead do the following:
  1. Send an email out to Marketing List X – New Leads (this is where we will automatically put all our new leads)
    1. If a lead opens the email
      1. Remove the lead from Marketing List X
      2. Automatically Assign the lead to one of our sales people
      3. Automatically create a follow-up activity for this sales person so that in his or her dashboard, they will have a phone call activity to follow up with this pre-qualified lead
    2. If a lead does not open the email
      1. Move the lead from Marketing List X to our Marketing List A, to now be part of our nurture program
    3. If our email bounces
      1. Remove the Lead from Marketing List X, add to Telesales list A for phone followup
 


So, what just happened?

With the above lead qualification machine we just built, we are doing a few things:

  • We only give qualified leads (at least more qualified) leads to our sales people
    • This will increase their excitement when receiving leads and increase their engagement and usage of CRM
  • We can automatically disregard a certain number of leads instead of wasting our sales peoples’ time on leads with poor quality
  • We are able to give our Marketing people early feedback on leads from a certain campaign or activity so that they can revise or change their marketing strategy quicker instead of having to wait to see how many of these leads became business (=ROI)
    • “For Campaign A, we received 1500 leads, but we were only able to pre-qualify 10% of these by means of our qualification program“.
  • We have a machine into which we can “dump” practically any lead that we have an email address for
  • We have a much more scalable situation, we can handle a higher number of leads without necessarily needing to hire more sales people.
 

Agree? Disagree? Want to hear more? Get in touch!

  //Niklas

 NIKLAS WIKSTRÖM

Vice President, Middle East

| +971 55 980 7067 UAE |

 siroccomini

Sirocco Arabia| 

DMCC, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai UAE

www.siroccoarabia.com

CRM – what’s in it for me?!

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One of the main challenges when implementing CRM or making changes to your existing CRM processes or tools is user adoption.

So what is the magical recipe to get around this common problem?

To increase your user adoption with your current CRM platform or if you are looking at a new / changing your platform, you need these three legs to stand on:

Strategy

User involvement

Carrot/Stick

So, what the @&% does this mean? Let’s have a look at each of the three legs

Leg number one: STRATEGY

When talking about CRM strategy you need to carefully look at what you are looking to achieve with CRM, don’t just “get one because you should have one”.

You might have heard of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timebound) acronym, which can be applied here to good effect.

For any project, and for CRM projects especially, don’t bite off more than you can chew; aim for an initial phase limited to some (all if you can fit them in) of your biggest pain points.

Define your pain points as tightly as possible, along the lines of “By end of July our lead to opportunity conversion time needs to be below 2 days on average. This will be done through workshops to define what to measure in order to understand what the bottlenecks are”.

Leg number two: USER INVOLVEMENT

So, with our brilliant strategy outlined above, we need to involve the appropriate users. Appropriate in terms of which users have the most impact on our achieving the goal set out in the strategy. This could include sales team managers, sales people, telemarketers etc.

Don’t be afraid to involve “the little people”, they are the ones we need to deliver the “what’s in it for me” factor to!

Leg number three: CARROT / STICK

Carrots are much tastier than sticks, we all know that. So, how can we make reaching our goals that we set out together with our users as, we did not impose these goals, which is a very important difference.

A buzz word flying around lately in all sorts of contexts is GAMIFICATION, now what the @&% is that?

Gamification can be used very effectively in a sales or customer service environment, wherein you create tough but achievable goals for your team, and then devise a clever way of scoring activities, sales numbers, number of calls or whatever it is we want to measure and incentivise.

Instead of a big whiteboard in the middle of the office with sales quotas and a bell you ring every time you bring in some business á la 1989, there are platforms available to bring healthy competition into the 21st century.

A very fun example of this is FantasySalesTeam.com, which is a company that Microsoft recently acquired that delivers exactly what we are talking about above.

fantasysalesteam.jpg

So, you setup the metrics you want to look at, assign the different positions of your sales / customer service team, create prizes (movie tickets, dinner, cold hard cash, whatever) and select how to score your players.

Now that we are set up, let’s play!

Each player will have access through a website or tablet/mobile app to see how they are faring up on leaderboard.

fantasysalesleaderboard.png

You can see how Lisa in this example can see her “rank”, how far she has to go to reach the next rank etc.

Another view for the players themselves is badges and trophies which you can also define.

fantasysalesbadges.jpg

Now, the fantasysalesteam is not limited to the people involved in the game, you can allow anyone to “bet” and build their own fantasy team from the sales / customer service people who are “playing”.

fantasydraft.jpg

In summary, I hope the above gives you some inspiration on how you can get user adoption to the next level, and that with careful planning and exciting tools you can ensure or at the very least promote your team members to focus on spending their time doing the right things and keep them engaged in your business.

  Game on!

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niklas.wikstrom@siroccoarabia.com

CRM is not technology (!)

desktop

Hello World!

The topic of this my first blog post is the need of business development tied into Customer Relationship Management.

A lot of companies have had bad experiences with CRM projects in the past, mainly due to poor consultancy (or complete lack thereof) of the implementing partner and looking to technology and tools to solve your business problems for you – not a good approach!

CRM isn’t technology – now what the @#%! does that mean?

Let’s see, CRM can mean many different things depending on the organisation looking to benefit from it. As an example, let’s look at a sales-driven organisation.

Sales-driven organisations:

If you are primarily a sales-driven organisation with a medium-to-large sales force, a high volume of leads coming through your pipeline and quite a short sales cycle it means you want to make sure that your sales people are spending their time on the right things.

In this case CRM is typically about sales force automation (SFA) and your main priority and benefit of CRM is probably to correctly measure and control your sales activities.

In order to benefit from any CRM solution (beyond the obvious perks of having a central database of leads, opportunities, accounts and activities) you need to model the processes you use to find leads, convert them to opportunities, convert opportunities to won business deals so that you can segment your data accurately each step of the way.

Basically this should start out as a whiteboard exercise where you outline your current processes, try to identify potential bottlenecks, decide what KPIs to measure and how to segment your leads/opportunities/customers.

whiteboardgroup

Once this exercise (which is great fun!!) is over you will have an embryo of your sales process in place.

The next step should then be to try to identify which parts of the process that could potentially be automated.

For example, is there any step in the lead qualification process where a machine would be better at performing the initial qualification rather than one or more people sifting through hundreds of leads per day to try to figure out which leads should be considered as qualified.

leadarrows.jpg

Once you have identified what you think you could potentially automate, in our example it might be the initial lead qualification process, this is where technology can assist us.

For example we can imagine using a nurture program, most marketing automation solutions include this feature, we can let the solution send out an email to our leads, and based on their actions we can then start qualifying/disqualifying and segment our potential customers.

nurtureprogram

The example above is from ClickDimensions which is a marketing automation solution (www.clickdimensions.com)

This automated process will then keep spitting out qualified leads that you can work on turning into opportunities and business!

What I wanted to highlight with this post is the fact that technology in and of itself does not solve our problems or give us the edge over the competition, and that properly modelled processes adapted to and implemented through the technology is what we should be looking for

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niklas.wikstrom@siroccoarabia.com

Celebrating our employee’s birthday

Timmy, our newest developer, was celebrated with chocolate cake.

Meet our newest member, Project Manager Stefan Ericsson!

  Stefan Ericsson has spent over 20 years working as a Project Manager, backed with experience in both business development and the telecom industry. For the last 6 years, he’s been a consultant working with both smaller start-ups and implementations of large systems. Stefan is a true family man at heart, but often finds himself spending the majority of his free time cleaning up after his 10-month old puppy’s exciting adventures. We are happy to welcome Stefan as part of the Sirocco team! 

Sirocco making the news in the United Arab Emirates

  We continue to make our presence noticable in the Middle East and now in this magazine article. Our new VP Middle East Niklas Wikström is interviewed: http://issuu.com/resellerme/docs/rme-sept-15 

Sirocco acquires a Pro – Welcome our newest member Katarina Elisson

  Katarina is an experienced project manager with passion for CRM. She enjoys working both on a strategical and operational level. Katarina is a devoted golfer and enjoys spending time outdoors either running or on the mountainbike. She joined Sirocco earlier this year and her experience from both smaller and larger scale CRM implementations will be great contribution to the Sirocco team.