Recently, I have been tasked with the planning and delivery of Doextra's annual customer appreciation event. Although, I fancy myself a bit of a corporate event planning aficionado, there are always more tasks, activities, expenses and RSVPs floating around than one person can feel comfortable with (thank God for co-workers named, "Julie"). But seriously, there comes a time when technology needs to be introduced to help collect and process all of the random bits of data. Based on two months of trial-and-error in Salesforce's Campaign section, I have several recommendations for marketing people who need some tips to getting started with event planning using your CRM solution's tools.
Basic to Thorough Planning
Before getting started, it is important to discuss expectations, invite lists and budget limitations with higher executive powers.
Enter all available details into your CRM campaign as they are established. As a bare minimum, make sure to include a start and end date, number sent (i.e., total number of contacts on your invite list) and the expected cost (i.e., budget).
Having the planning in place helps you generate more complete event charts and progress updates.
Depending on the system you are using, these are generally dynamic fields. For example, as you change campaign members (or invitees) from the "Sent" to "Responded" status, the "Total Responses" field will automatically update to reflect recent RSVPs.
Planning Your Activities
Scheduling out to-do's, such as promotional communications can be vital to making sure that you are on task. For example, in my event campaign activities, I include email send-out dates and reminders for both "Sent" and "Responded" campaign members. Of course, there is a lot of additional information you may want to include, such as scheduling payments, calling guests, and confirming catering orders.
Activities is also a great archiving system, because you are able to attach documents to activities. So if there is a special document (e.g., invitation, program, evaluation sheet) that you would like to save, you can simply attach it to a task for future reference.
Completed activities are also automatically tied to campaign members' profiles.
Expenses are so easy to lose sight of in the shuffle, especially when you aren't spending out of your own wallet! Expenses with attachments are very simple to add into campaigns, plus it directly impacts and shows in your Planning figures with cost and remaining budget dollars. It is very helpful to attach invoice documents to expenses for quick storage/access.
One more little tidbit of helpful info for you: often times registration systems can be tricky and expensive to integrate with your CRM system or website. I recommend using EventBrite. It is a free, cloud-based service that you can set up unlimited events on and process registrations. Attendees are automatically emailed through the EventBrite system with a reminder a week before the event!
Image by rafeejewell.
Our Account Managers encounter it every day: a struggle to get users engaged and using a CRM solution. Beating the status quo can be an intimidating hurdle, but luckily there are several tried and true practices to help you evaluate the best way to build user adoption.
- Understand What Makes Users Tick
Spend as much time getting to know your users as you would getting to know your target market prospects. Find out what they like about their job and find a way to recreate those perks within the new system. For example, if your salespeople like networking on LinkedIn, consider integrating a free LinkedIn application like in | Force Connector (available on the AppExchange).
- Identify Pain Points
CRM solutions should be created with the goal to simplify business processes and automate tasks. Understand where your salespeople and customer service reps are having the most difficulty within the current system or what administrative task sucks up the most time. Use this as an opportunity to hone the system and create effective shortcuts.
Financial Service provider, Holmes Murphy & Associates, integrated all of their systems into one platform (read the full case study by clicking here).
- Create Incentives
This is an excellent opportunity for management to get creative. One of the best mantras we’ve heard is, “If it’s not in the system, it didn’t happen.” This encourages users to frequently input their client data, so that forecasting (and potentially commissions) is accurate and updated.
- Don’t Stop Believing (or Training)
Create a culture around CRM and offer training opportunities for new and existing users. With a comprehensive understanding of the system’s technical features, users will be able to fully leverage it for day-to-day tasks. In addition, don’t forget to lead by example, from a managerial perspective, and be accountable for your own system usage.
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Image by Roger Ferrer Ibanez.