Often when firms embark on implementing a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system, the primary motivation is to have centralized contacts and lists so they can send clients and prospects newsletters, alerts, thought leadership pieces and/or event invitations. Significant effort and expense go into choosing and implementing the right CRM, but sometimes less consideration goes into the selection of the email delivery tool, known as an eMarketing or marketing automation system. In fact, because these systems are (or should be) tightly integrated, the consideration of one system typically should not be made without the other. When exploring the two systems, here are a few features and other things to consider.
Data in the eMarketing system should be shared with the CRM via a two-way synchronization process, meaning that updates can flow seamlessly between the two. If your eMarketing system does not support bi-directional synchronization with your CRM, then you’ll be left maintaining multiple ‘silos’ of data. Each has to be updated manually, which is inefficient and can create duplicative data.
One of the most important features of an eMarketing system is the ability to create forms that can be hosted on your website, so that contacts can select topics of interest and receive related communications. In the past, organizations that had website subscription forms only received an email when someone subscribed, which then had to be manually entered into the CRM. An integrated CRM and eMarketing system will allow contact details and list subscriptions to be automatically recorded and updated in the CRM, saving time and effort.
Additionally, these types of forms can provide contacts with a method to opt out of communications they do not wish to receive. Having this information in the CRM also allows users to identify individuals who have opted out of communications so that they don’t inadvertently try to add them back to lists, which can lead to recipient frustration or even violations of privacy laws.
Subscription forms also allow you to capture and record electronic consent to process contact information, which is required by an increasing number of global privacy regulations such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It’s important to have integrated systems to properly collect, store and report on this information, because the costs for non-compliance can be significant.
For more than a decade, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM or eMarketing success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@CLIENTSFirstConsulting.com.