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Interview with Nick Baggott: ‘The Secret of Successful CRM is Not About Technology’

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Editor’s note: CRM solutions became more accessible and affordable, but the number of successful and profitable businesses is far from awaited. Obviously, companies need well-thought strategies for marketing and sales performance with the focal point on the customers. Today we present you the interview with Nick Baggott, a managing director at Navigate Consulting Ltd. and a seasoned CRM strategist and consultant.

In this interview, Nick shares his ideas about CRM, development of customer-focused strategies and data management. Also, he provides a unique view on a customer segmentation processes, as well as social media.

1. Nick, you have a well-deserved reputation of a skilled CRM adept, as well as a proficient digital and customer-focused marketing master. What attracts you in consulting and training?

I love what I do! I really enjoy the satisfaction of seeing people learn and develop skills. I also love the feedback that you get when a client tells you that they have executed your plan and it has worked. The digital and CRM worlds are evolving and merging and it is a great challenge to keep up to speed with new developments and ideas. I am intellectually curious. I guess that means I ask lots of questions and like to learn new things and then help clients to use them to help them achieve their business objectives.

2. CRM has opened the door for businesses of any size and industry, and delivered a new way of customer relationships establishment. But without a strategy, the changes on the effective performance are quite sporting. What are the essential touch points in a strategy planning and applying?

I agree. The technology has become more affordable and simple to use. However, that is dangerous. The secret of successful CRM is not about technology, it is about having a clearly defined customer-driven strategy. Technology is only the enabler. Set objectives for customer engagement as well as revenue, and measure both. Make sure you have a true insight into why customers are behaving as they are, before you develop your strategy. So, as you save money on using more affordable technology, invest in research and data analysis.

3. Due to the amount of data to proceed, many companies fall by the wayside. In your opinion, what types of reports will enhance the analysis? Are there any tips to facilitate the aligning of records from various channels?

Data is so accessible now. Digital channels provide you with so much information that it can be overwhelming. I always try to get clients focused on capturing behavioural rather than demographic data. Behavioural data is more accurate, robust and predictive. Can you track what behaviours a customer typically does before they buy or churn. For example, if you are a mobile telco, if a customer rings a competitor just before their contract runs out, it tells you that they are looking to switch. Segment and communicate using behavioural data and you won’t go far wrong.

4. Customer segmentation is vital for sales and marketing performance. What is the difference between parameters for B2B and B2C strategies? Can manufacturing and financial companies apply the same approaches to customer distribution?

B2B marketing often focuses more on thought leadership, whereas consumer marketing is more about brand and customer experience. I typically advise B2B customers to focus on developing engaging and educational thought leadership content, using channels like blogging and YouTube. When a customer is ready to start their long buying cycle in B2B, they will research first online before they contact you. Make sure that when they start hunting for information, then your content is what they find on Google or in their industry forums.

5. Social media is a new channel for building a company brand. Nick, what are the key stages of planning this strategy? Are there any particular resources or obligatory integrations?

Social media is here to stay. Google say that marketers should look at the world through a digital lens as that is what consumers do. Eric Qualman said, “Social and mobile are not emerging, they are merging”. Think mobile and social in everything that you do, whether you are B2B or B2C. To plan a social strategy, focus on the 4 stages of customer engagement. I call these acquire, participate, engage and share. This means – get their attention, get them to respond, develop an ongoing dialogue and then make it easy for them to become advocates and share your content with your peers.

6. Customer retention and loyalty depend on the convenience and relevance of the offered service. Does the process of lead generation require only online engagement? How companies can increase their customer acquisition?

Customer acquisition is about having content that people want to share and will find when they are searching. The days of mass “push” style outbound marketing are numbered. Rather than focusing on sending your message out to everyone and hoping that a few people respond, focus on inbound “pull” marketing. That means when they are ready to buy, they will find you. Digital channels are great value as you only pay when the customer clicks through to your site. Google search, social media ads and display advertising are effective as they can be targeted based on customer behaviours.

7. The effectiveness of CRM solution has a direct ratio to the level of user adoption. Can companies, which spare on the employee training, wait for the immediate ROI of their CRM initiative? Would you mind to offer few pieces of advice on improving the end-user adoption?

CRM tools are now simpler to use as well as lower cost. In the past, businesses had to adapt their business model to match the software. Now the software adapts to the way that you work. A good CRM consultant will help you through the process. However, getting results is not about using the software effectively it is about having a clear customer focused business strategy. Businesses need to invest in training their staff in understanding customers, generating insights and using digital inbound channels more effectively as well as user training to help them to adopt the software package. People will invest time to learn how to use the software if they can see that the business is getting results. For example, a sales manager will be more inclined to input their data and use the software if they are getting higher quality leads that convert. It is all about the CRM and digital communications strategy. We’d like to thank Nick for his time and expert insights on the CRM solutions and business strategy development. His detailed responses contain a lot of practical tips and examples that will help our readers in defining and planning their objectives.

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