What is your Data Flow telling you?
Data is your best friend

Data Management is not always top of mind for all businesses, but it’s such an essential part of an organisation to operate effectively…especially when it comes to CRM. Maybe it seen as an IT requirement, or deemed a technical aspects of certain systems…either way data surrounds us and it’s too precious to ignore or hope for the best.

Something as simple as the formatting of addresses can lose you potential business opportunities.
For example – having address data as a single field can lead to the following issues:

  • More difficult to segment
    • If you want to target specific Towns, Cities or Postcodes
  • Variation of user inputs
    • Part/full address details
    • 3 Park Avenue | 3 Park Ave. | 3 Park Av
  • Additional work to cleanse, especially if dealing with thousands of records

That’s just a sample on a single field…the problem multiplies with every field of data captured.

Good data management is the foundation of great CRM

A Definition of CRM
“A management approach that enables organisations to identify, attract and increase retention of profitable customers by managing relationships with them.”

Hobby, J. (1999) Looking after the one who matters. Accountancy age, 28 Oct, 28-30

Data is the Achilles Heel of most CRM strategies, exposing flaws in operational workflows, impacting on marketing campaign effectiveness and driving customer dissatisfaction with poor data management practices.

Whether being a ‘Start-up’ with 50 records or an established business with 50,000 records, working with poor data will cause issues with communications, restrict visibility of potential opportunities and produce inefficiencies in business processes. Three questions can provide the framework to having better Data Management:

  1. Where does your data comes from?
  2. How is the data collected used?
  3. Which operations use the data?

Mapping the Flow of Data

“In the fields of observation chance, favours only the prepared mind”

Louis Pasteur, University of Lille (7 December 1854)

To gain a full understanding of where your data comes from, how it is used and which operations use it, an exercise must be carried out to map the flow of data through the organisation. Carrying out this mapping provides your organisation with the guidelines to form good Data Management and gain operational efficiencies. You and your organisation will have visibility of:

  • Duplication of work
  • Data format issues
  • Unused legacy data fields
  • Operational pain points
  • Bad data handling practices

The example below shows the results from mapping the flow of data for Enquiry Management in an Higher Education Institute (HEI), but could apply to most organisations.

Working with stakeholders across the HEI, information was gathered around data collected and required for prospective students interested to study. It was found that there were more common data fields than different – making it feasible to have under a single database, giving stakeholders have single view of a prospective student. The benefits are:

  • Stakeholders dealing with real-time data instead of spreadsheets
  • Reduced data mishandling
  • Quicker and more effective reporting
  • More efficient processes with reduce duplication of work
  • More timely/relevant customer communications

Marketing campaigns delayed by gathering records from other systems?
Reports and analysis way behind current operations?
Data processing being duplicated across the organisation?

Good Data Management will resolve this!

CRM – All the Gear, but No Idea
CRM - All the Gear, but No Idea

CRM platforms for gyms across the country always get hammered in the New Year as a rush of new members act upon resolutions to lose weight and be more active. 

Before a foot has been set in the gym, there will be several new members that have spent more money and time on styling their outfits, accessories and supplements over checking more important factors such as:

  • Opening times and class schedules fitting in with lifestyle and commitments
  • Availability of the personal trainers
  • Size and cleanliness of changing facilities

This lure of style over substance can be seen in many consumer markets from sporting apparel to cosmetics – aspiration brands that use celebrity endorsers and/or sponsorship as powerful persuasion tools.

The same takes place in B2B as well.  We are still consumers and use similar search evaluation criteria, so endorsements from sources that we recognise and are familiar with success make us feel that the risk of a purchase is diminished, making us deprioritise other key evaluation factors, increasing the risk of failure.

I have heard many stories of organisations being led astray with implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms that did not fit the business nor fit for purpose.

How did they get as far as implementation?

It’s the obvious question…one that many organisations ask themselves when it’s too late!  A massive source of frustration when internal stakeholders have bought into the change.

Some of the reasons I have witnessed are:

  • The supplier is looking to enter the UK market and offered a cheap initial price that pleased the FD
  • The supplier presentation and demos showed all the functionality required, but half was in development so was not available at implementation
  • Not all stakeholders included to reduce opposition
  • The supplier is market leader so it must be good

Isn’t CRM is supposed to make things easier?

Implementing CRM software into your business does not bring instant success.  CRM is a marketing tool to understand more about your customers, target prospects more effectively and operate more efficiently. Like with any tool, whether it be an expensive cloud system or Excel spreadsheet, you must learn how to use it properly, integrate CRM as part of business operations or mistakes can be costly and could be unrecoverable.

There’s an interesting article by Chuck Schaefer on Customer Think website highlighting the top reasons for CRM failure, with the top 3 being:

  1. Poor Objectives
  2. Poor CRM Strategy
  3. Scope Creep

Did you notice that none of these reasons relate to poor CRM platforms?  Mostly it is about preparation and process, laying good foundations to build a robust CRM platform across your business.

With so many supplier options, it is easy to get drawn into the “bells and whistles” – losing focus of what your main objectives are, not setting up the strategy to match your business objectives and missing vital process components out of your project scope. 

This is where you need CRM guidance, which I can offer.  With my experience of implementing CRM into organisations I can help advise on platforms, help you integrate it seamlessly into your operations, or even configure your current platform to operate more effectively for your business.

So before investing in a new CRM platform, get in touch on +447791 284542 or solutions@cymermarketing.co.uk

CRM Integrated Solutions

Anyone can do ‘Marketing’!

I joined a group on Facebook last week where a variety of UK small business owners discuss issues they have, search for answers or promote their services.

A new member posted the following message:

I was reading through some of the responses – lots of marketing services being proposed and some members sharing their own experiences. One response, pictured below, caught my attention:

So forgetting about the typos, I had to find out more about this member’s view on ‘Marketing Gurus’ and what advice was being given to resolve the ad-spend returns issue.

What the member meant is that through researching about how Facebook advertising is setup and strategy of paid social media advertising, any person can do it themselves without paying scamming ‘Marketing Gurus’.

Why pay someone else?

This is true…as it is for almost any service. If my boiler breaks down and needs replacing, I have some options:

  1. Have National supplier replace and install it at £3,600 within a week
  2. Have local maintenance company replace and install it at £1,000 within 2 weeks
  3. Go on a Gas Engineer training course, then buy a boiler for £400 and install it myself

Option 1 costs a lot, but gets the job done quickly with a long term service plan.
Option 2 is cheaper, but as they smaller it will take a little longer to complete.
Option 3 is going to cost £4,000 to access the training, 16 weeks to complete training, but I’m prepared for the next time it needs replacing. Although my family may have left me (or frozen!) by the time I complete the course.

Yes the example is a little OTT, but my point is that sometimes there is a very good reason to use a “professional” from a particular field of expertise. In some cases, Option 3 works well and is best for the long-term, but only if your business can operate without your focus on other tasks that you’re responsible for.

What if you get the wrong training? You could end out of pocket with your business gaining nothing for your new skills. There is lots of information available on all matter of marketing subjects and disciplines, but who is it aimed at? What marketing background should you have?

Going with Options 1 or 2 offers you expertise that provides many solutions to resolve a problem, usually including access to their supplier networks. You also gain their experience, both bad and good, to form solutions that have been known to gain results.

“Marketing Gurus” are scammers

Marketing Gurus
Marketing Gurus standing by to scam you

My response to this is every industry has scammers.

Maybe the group member has had bad experience with 3rd party marketing support, but such a sweeping statement shows a lack of understanding of marketing professionals. That could be the very issue causing this view of marketers.

In several places that I have worked, marketing has been dubbed as the ‘colouring in department’ – which in no way comes close to representing how much of a core function marketing is across a whole business.

Whichever route is picked, doing some of your own research is good practice so that you understand some of the language being used and feel comfortable with the solution(s) being proposed. Even if you are competent and confident enough to do it yourself, consider if doing it yourself is the best use of your time – as this is one of your most precious resources.

Marketing professionals exist to help and support your business goals. Get quotations to compare and contrast offerings – use your networks to source out recommended people, should you be worried about their integrity.

Consider how much your time is worth and the added benefits of using a experienced professional.

If you’re experiencing something similar with your marketing promotions and campaigns delivering less than expected, get in touch – solutions@cymermarketing.co.uk.

Remy Clarke
Cymer Marketing Solutions

Starting out

Monday 28 October 2019 – this is the day that I went public with my solo venture as Cymer Marketing Solutions.

Pondering about my future after redundancy, I finally took the plunge to do something different, channelling the negative situation to fuel getting this company up and running, ASAP!

I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive and understanding wife to accept the disruption starting out can bring to the household:

  • less initial income
  • more working hours
  • less socialising
  • zero employee benefits (although I know a company that provides to Self-employed/sole traders – www.pirkx.com)

Although sometimes she seems to forget that I’m trying to start a business…

“While you’re home can you do the washing, clean the kitchen, collect the kids, call the builder and make dinner?And I’ve left a shopping list on the side, thanks.”

My darling wife since i was made redundant

There is a lot to consider, putting you out of your comfort zone as those things we took for granted working for a company previously have to be taken care of on your own.

Definitely use your networks, not only to spread the word that you are in business, but also to help you with the areas that you are not familiar:

  • Accountancy
  • Legal
  • IT and Systems
  • Human Resources
  • Reward and Benefits
  • Marketing

I can scratch off Marketing, but this is a massive one off the list. All the others are important to set up the foundations correctly, but the area that deals with finding your audience, communicating with them so they respond and take actions to make your business profitable is fundamental to keep operating.

My suggestion to anyone starting or thinking of starting out on their own, you need to look at your marketing early on in the process and make proper provision in their budget to ensure you and your business get off on the right foot.

I’m offering a variety of integrated solutions, ideal for Start-ups, at a limited discounted rate starting from £150 (+ VAT). Solutions available are:

Start-up Stationery Solution

Stationery Solutions to help when starting out, from Cymer

Start-up Web Presence Solution

Web Presence Solutions from Cymer

I will help apply a marketing plan to your business, supercharging your audience reach and ensuring that you get seen, but without breaking the bank.

Visit cymermarketing.co.uk/solutions/integrated to find out more.