CRM and Marketing Agencies – The Perfect Pairing
Marketing and advertising professionals routinely incorporate technology into their businesses. Sophisticated ad technology in the form of audience targeting, data collection, analytics, marketing automation, collaboration, and production tools are widely used in agency environments. But technology has yet to make major headway when it comes to sales, business development, and ongoing client relationships,
Customer relationship management software (CRM) is not in the agency vernacular. A recent study revealed that less than half of surveyed agencies (45%) use a CRM system. Some agencies have found creative ways to incorporate a CRM to power their entire company, from pitches and campaigns to fulfillment, approvals, and invoicing. Yet the seemingly perfect pairing of agency/client relationship success and a long-term growth strategy has, for most agencies, yet to be realized.
There is a long history of responding to RFPs and pitching for new business based on close professional relationships. High turnover in agency personnel means losing valuable connections and insights. Key executive, creative, and business development talent moves often, and many times the accounts they worked on move with them. CRM software provides a crucial repository of institutional knowledge that can be acted upon long after your head of new business has moved to St. John to start a new life as a bartender.
Keeping an account for a long time is arguably harder than winning it. Providing exceptional customer service to clients is just as important to long-term relationships as creative work, execution of campaigns, and the accompanying results. Clients crave a one-on-one personal touch and the feeling that their creative partners are responsive to their concerns. An account may have one brand manager or hundreds of different people interacting with a client, depending on its size. CRM software provides information that these people need to be proactive, prevent annoying or overlapping communications that make their firm seem unprofessional, and avoid blind spots that could be potentially disastrous.
Email is still the most common platform for business communication, despite the many ways that people communicate electronically today. In essence, the state of an agency’s client relationships exists on its email servers. Imagine how valuable your own email account is. Now multiply that across an entire organization.
Tools such as Bullhorn Pulse unleash the power of a company’s email information. These sales tools bubble up actionable customer intelligence, like who in your firm is the most engaged with a client, how they are connected, and the overall health of an account (based on positive or negative trigger words). Since these tools acquire this data automatically through email or phone conversations, not through laborious manual data entry, they have a much higher likelihood of providing up-to-date, accurate information.
Although many marketing and advertising agencies need to manage their new business processes and client relationships efficiently and effectively, marketing CRM has not yet become a ubiquitous industry technology. But the opportunity is there. CRM software and sales acceleration tools enable both individuals and teams to deliver an exceptional customer experience to win new business and delight existing clients.