5 Questions to Consider Before Investing in Your Next CRM System

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ADOTAS — Many of today’s marketing organizations have made significant investments in CRM systems, analytic tools and marketing automation platforms to better identify, understand and connect with their customers and prospects. But making the most of these investments is no small task and each new platform, system or solution comes with its own set of challenges.

On top of that, the proliferation of consumer touch points – desktops, mobile devices, tablets, IPTV and radio – and the resulting avalanche of data often forces organizations seek outside help to make sense of all that information. This might be good news for third-party onboarding firms or other data consultants but even with their help marketers typically find all that data matches less than 20 percent of their users. This makes it difficult to connect-the-dots and deliver the marketing ROI one should expect.

So as a marketer, how can know you’re getting the most from your investments? How can you be sure you’re getting everything you need to reach your business goals? Here five key questions to ask before making another investment in your marketing infrastructure:

  • Does it allow for easy onboarding? Is there a simple and intuitive cross-referencing tool that allows you to use your valuable offline customer data to create qualified online audiences in an immediate and actionable way?
  • It is universally compatible? Does it allow you to link website, shopping cart and advertising click data with multi-variable offline data without compromising consumer privacy?
  • Are you able to segment your audiences? Does it provide a way to generate audience lists that can be appended with a range of attributes – from consumer affluence, home values, life stage, product ownership and social profiles to business headcount, revenue and more?
  • Does the system have strong analytical reporting capabilities? Are you able to respond to RFP’s with customized reports and audience counts and profiles? Can you create look-a-like audiences based on existing customer or prospect lists at the click of a button?
  • Are you seeing a proven success rate across all verticals? How many deployments did the technology have in the last year? What verticals has it been used in and what were the results?

If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know” or “they won’t tell me” to any of these questions, you’re setting yourself up to run into the same challenges you were hoping to avoid in the first place. Agencies and marketers need a solution that can seamlessly link customers and prospects across all online and offline marketing touch points, one that can also provides a universal key and common data framework that supports nearly every touch point, one able to provide results when they are needed and at scale every time. In addition, the solution should provide access to optimization tools for onboarding and appending data with the ability to create insightful profile reports through a single platform, all while preserving the privacy of the consumer.

If you’re finding your current options to be falling short of meeting these requirements – or potential alternatives’ ability to meet them uncertain – don’t settle. There are other alternatives; do your homework and ask the right questions to find an approach that can simplify the most challenging aspects of digital marketing without introducing new costs or greater complexity.

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