Affiliate marketing is a low cost vehicle for building brand recognition and attaining new customers. It can also be a valuable tool for companies that compete in a highly competitive market or against competitors that are larger and better known in your industry sector.
Affiliate marketing is different from referral marketing in the following way. Referral marketing comes from customers or people you may know in the industry. There is typically no financial incentive for referral marketing or one so small that it is not really an incentive at all and as a result, these programs do not deliver the results expected. With affiliate marketing the companies you engage with may be business partners, may sell a complementary product or service, or are willing to market your product to get a nice financial reward. In addition to introducing you to potential new customers these affiliates may represent your product or service on their web site, include it in marketing materials, or talk about it on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. All of this adds value to your business and can help drive the sale of new business.
The key to any good affiliate marketing program is to ensure you have a structured and well documented program in place that outlines your expectations for the affiliate and what the affiliate will receive in return for representing your product or service. If you expect to have a large affiliate program, you may want to consider using CRM software to manage it. This will enable you to manage the affiliates, their performance with regard to sales, and any royalties or incentive payments owed and paid to them.
In many organizations the marketing department operates as an independent entity often on its own island. Mid-market CRM programs are doing a good job of changing this, making marketing a vital component of building brand recognition, generating new leads and maintaining a presence with customers and potential customers.
Marketing used to be thought of as a corporate group that designed and produced product literature, brochures and case studies, but today’s marketing departments and the software available to them are enabling marketing professionals to do much more. The integration of marketing with the CRM database is making this a reality.
Marketing departments can now use the software to create what has become known as drip marketing programs whereby the CRM system will periodically send out e-mail to customers and prospects on a pre-defined timetable. Typically you would use the marketing functionality within the CRM system to send out quarterly newsletters to customers, maybe tips and techniques or to simply update them about what’s new at your firm. For prospects you may send out monthly mailers such as testimonials of others in their industry using your product or service; or perhaps a promotional program with discounts for buying within a specific time frame. It does not matter, but what does matter is that marketing has become an integral component of your business and that CRM software is now providing both small and mid-size businesses with the tools to make this happen.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How well do you know your customers? This article on b2bleadblog.com discusses the importance of knowing what customers really want: Lead Generation: How well do you really know what your customers want?
“It is absolutely necessary. Don’t base your marketing on assumptions and allow your customers to identify your success.”
– Alex Corzo, Manager of Brand Integration, Orlando Health
The case studies at Optimization Summit 2013 reaffirmed the importance of value proposition testing for me. For example, through testing, Jon Ciampi, Vice President Marketing, Business Development & Corporate Development, CRC Health, learned his customers craved trust, not luxury. He reinvented his lead funnel based on this insight, changing everything from his company’s landing pages to his team’s call scripts.
So, how can you discover your value proposition?
You can read the full article here, courtesy of b2bleadblog.com.
CRM. Marketing automation. What’s the difference? And why in the world would you ever need both?
Great questions. While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and marketing automation systems are complementary, they both serve different functions that only reach their full potential when paired together. A CRM is primarily a sales tool, focused on collecting data about existing customers and managing new customers and sales opportunities. Marketing automation, on the other hand, is the marketing counterpart to your CRM, focused on lead generation and personalized, one-to-one communications powered by the data collected through prospect and visitor tracking.
To break it down even further, your CRM is essentially a database. Marketing automation is the tool that allows you to execute on the information stored in that database. Integrating the two systems allows you to sync information bi-directionally, meaning that an update to a record in your CRM will automatically be made in your marketing automation tool as well (and vice versa). Having this steady “communication” between the two platforms is what makes this connection so powerful, while also ensuring that data is always consistent.
Learn more about how you can increase your marketing effectiveness with marketing automation and get the free Marketing Automation Success Kit. Click the link below to check it out.
Why Marketing Automation is the Perfect Complement to Your CRM | Pardot.com
Commence Corporation has always taken an active role in the university sector and has several universities using its CRM software for recruitment and other business services. Customer Relationship Management is now also becoming an important part of the educational system.
Students are learning about how the efficient management of customer relationships can play a critical role in sales, marketing and providing customer service to clients. New York University’s Stern School of Business recorded the following classroom presentation on the subject of using CRM software to improve business performance.
VIDEO: Observe a discussion about CRM systems with the Chair of the Stern Marketing Department.
Step inside the classroom and view these short samples of real Stern classes.
Image by Dennis Crowley on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
For some, the thought of controlling their marketing campaign with the same software they use for customer management may sound a little bizarre. After all, they are two completely different topics, so why would they be integrated in one platform? However, there are other people who look at the two topics and think it is a no-brainer that the two should be integrated. After all, they both have to do with your business and reaching your goals, so why not access and control these elements from one central location? Here at Commence, we happen to agree.
Customer Management Software Can Help with Your Marketing Campaign
Commence understands that to create a targeted marketing campaign, you need to have a full understanding of who your client is. Customer management software is designed to help you build and strengthen bonds, while also making the most of every customer interaction. This is why it makes sense to us to also include valuable tools in our CRM software that let you create and analyze campaigns. This allows you to run reports and see how effective each campaign is, and make necessary changes when needed.
As a manager of a large company or if you work in a large organization, you know how important it is to provide excellent customer service in all of your business dealings. Having a system in place for customer management allows your department or organization to keep track of vital customer information during the sales process so you can turn your leads into business for your company. In the university setting, for example, you can monitor your donor relationships or sponsorships so that you can market to your audiences and help achieve your business goals at the same time.
Automate Your Marketing Strategy with Customer Management Tools
With customer management tools from Commence you can automate your marketing process to make your strategy easier. Create and manage your campaigns and set budgets so that you can categorize your leads based on purchase history and potential profitability. You can also send emails to your contacts from the management software so you do not need to switch screens.
Most people are under the assumption that CRM applications only allow you to keep track of customer information. While this may be true with some CRM software, Commence is far from being this restricted. There are a lot of factors that play their roles in building and strengthening customer relations; marketing is one of them.
CRM Applications Can Help with Your Marketing Campaign
Although not all CRM applications will help you with your marketing campaigns, the software offered by Commence will. We understand how valuable a marketing budget is and how important it is that you are able to analyze campaigns individually to see what works and what doesn’t.
Our software allows you to create targeted campaigns, and track them all individually. When you can manage every aspect of them, you have better control over your expenses. With this information, you know when you need to shift your attention to a specific area, before it’s too late. This empowers you to make better use of your marketing budget.
Unless you are a huge international corporation with an abundance of profits to play with, you have to be thrifty about where your money goes, and what you invest it in. This means that you need to make sure you are closely watching all of your marketing campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t. The marketing management software we have here at Commence can help.
How Marketing Management Software Helps
Commence offers marketing management software that allows you to create targeted campaigns and closely analyze them to see what works and what doesn’t, so you know exactly what to spend your money on. You can establish campaign budgets, determine the value of individual campaigns and even rank your customers based on purchase history and profitability. This empowers you to generate quality leads, build a stronger brand and close more sales.
Lead management software can play a vital role in tracking customer behavior and in prioritizing the most qualified sales opportunities. Companies that have utilized lead management software have realized a reduction in the cost of sale along with a higher close ratio. This is due to the simple fact they their sales organization is engaged with better qualified opportunities.
Customer Relationship Management software like Commence CRM offers lead scoring and lead distribution features that automate the lead qualification process, thereby ensuring that the sales organization can be laser focused on the most promising sales opportunities. The effective use of lead qualification and scoring however requires more than just CRM technology. Companies that wish to improve the management and distribution of leads need to first invest in a formal process or methodology for identifying the prospect’s needs and buying cycle. This means defining the criteria for when a lead is a “sales ready” or highly qualified lead vs. a tire kicker.
Commence Corporation offers professional services to assist customers with defining the buying cycle criteria, establishing the scoring methodology, auditing the process and extracting measurable results that aid in marketing campaign management, demand generation and customer segmentation. Visit the attached link and video for more information about Commence Corporation’s online CRM for lead management and scoring.
Video: Online CRM for Lead Management