Easily Create Landing Pages for Content Requests with CoreMotives

I just revamped my content download request routines to include a focused landing page and “Thank you” page. This was relatively easy to do and didn’t require any coding because I used standard CoreMotives functionality to create and manage the routines.

I used to just have simple (boring) forms set up so if someone wanted to download one of our whitepapers, they could just enter their name and e-mail address, and then the relevant download URL would be e-mailed to them.

Now I’ve added a customized landing page for each piece of content. Here’s an example. It includes some information about the download to assure the requester that they’re on the correct path, and looks better than a naked form:

Manufacturing Insights

I have the “Thank you” message embedded in the same page after the form is submitted. I plan on enhancing this page with other options for engagement.

This provides a better experience for the requester and provides additional options for conveying your marketing message.

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Long Term Nurture Campaign

I just finished creating a long term nurture campaign for my ERP prospects. These are prospects that entered a sales process but were not converted to a customer. I’ve got a couple of sources for these prospects that fit in nicely to this nurture campaign.

I used the workflow features in CRM 2011 along with functionality from CoreMotives to execute a workflow for selected prospects. My workflow includes these features:

  • Sends out 18 messages with copy, links to whitepapers and videos, and case studies
  • Tracks interactions to messages including opens and clicks
  • Includes an opt-out option
  • Decent looking HTML messages
  • Component messages allow me to easily adjust content without disrupting existing workflow progress

This solved one of my big problems. I was receiving leads that were not ready to make a system change. They were too early in the process. This long term nurture campaign keeps me in touch with the prospects. And when the time is right, I’ll be there.

This is a sample of what the workflow looks like in CRM 2011:

If you’re not using work flows to automate your nurture campaigns, you’re making life way too hard on yourself. Use the automation!

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Drive Revenue and Serve Customers with CRM

The CRM Software Blog has recently released a nice white paper and accompanying infographic about how companies use CRM in different ways.

The white paper includes a number of examples of how companies have used CRM to reach their goals and power their day to day business processes. Also included are a number of helpful tips about CRM implementations and use.

Two points are worth highlighting:

  • #8 Set Off Alarms – I use this feature extensively and would imagine almost anyone would benefit from the focus and discipline that is encouraged by having your CRM system remind you what and when things need to be done. We are all very busy these days and it’s easy to let things drop off your radar. CRM can easily be used to help you keep on top of the hundreds of things you need to do.
  • Tip: Don’t be afraid to automate – I automate processes in CRM as much as I can. It’s a time saver and maintains consistency in your business processes. We use CRM as the customer experience backbone for www.myGPcloud.com It runs 24 hours a day, every day.

The new white paper can be downloaded here.

The inforgraphic is located here.

Frankly, any white paper titled, “24 Wildly Creative Ways…” deserves some of your attention.

Check them out.

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Import and Export to Excel and CRM 2011

I just updated CRM contact records for changes in addresses I received from one of our data providers. I decided to use the export/import function in CRM 2011 by exporting the contact data to Excel, copying the changes into the Excel spreadsheet , and importing the changes back into CRM 2011.

These are the steps I used:

  • Created a view to select the contacts I wanted and the columns I wanted to update
  • Exported to Excel, indicating in the export screen that I would be re-importing the data
  • I used VLOOKUP to identify the records that had updated information in the source file from my data provider
  • I then copy and pasted the changes into the Excel spreadsheet
  • I saved the Excel spreadsheet (XML format – default)
  • I imported the Excel spreadsheet into CRM

Easy to do. And I only had one problem. And it took awhile for me to resolve; only because I’m so darn busy that any blip in the process gets immediately de-escalated on my priority list.

So the error was that none of my records updated. That’s a big error. The error message was, “The following column indexes have data types that have changed since the file was exported: 15″

So I looked at the XML data in Notepad and determined that the 15th column was the Zip code. Really, a Zip code didn’t import? You’re kidding me, right? No. It was the zip code. I checked to see that the cell formats were ‘Text’ and I even copied and pasted “Special >> Format”. Didn’t work.

So I looked at the object in CRM and determined that the standard field size is 20; plenty of room for a Zip code; unless there’s extra stuff that I can’t see in Notepad. Could be.

I resolved the problem by trimming the Zip code values in the source file using the “TRIM” function in Excel, and then copy and pasting into the Excel spreadsheet for import back to CRM.

It worked. Geez!

Done. On to the next task.

I still like the export/import function. Here’s a video of it in action: http://youtu.be/e6UAnSvuQHs

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Don’t Get Hung Up on the Peaks and Valleys

It’s very easy to become elated and celebrate on a peak, and just as easy to become dispirited in a valley. Peaks and valleys are a natural part of business.

We recently changed our on-line chat service on www.myGPcloud.com to allow chat slide-overs on the site. Others have had great success with this subtle change in regards to web site conversions. We initially experienced greater use of this function by site visitors, and then it dropped off. However last week we experienced three times more activity than we have ever experienced before. Yippee! It’s working. But now it won’t surprise me if activity dips. It’s a natural part of business.

I’m currently reading Harvey Mackay’s book, “The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World” and in it he relates a story of a veteran sales person Harvey met when Harvey was starting out. Harvey knew that the veteran was experiencing a slump and was surprised to see him enjoying himself at a sports event instead of pounding the pavement. The veteran explained that he realized that he was in a slump but knew that the slump would come to an end, and then he would be on the attack once again. No need to expend extraordinary energy when you’re in a slump. It will come back.

Peaks and valleys are a natural part of business.

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Guitar Center Gets it Right

Guitar Center has developed and deployed a very effective automated marketing campaign. The beauty of it can be seen in how Guitar Center responds to a single purchase from their web site.

In his article, “What Guitar Center Can Teach You About Smart Email Marketing“, Derek Halpern relays his experience following his purchase of a shock mount for a microphone.

What you can see from his experience is that Guitar Center is dynamically tailoring its e-mail marketing to each customer. This is beautiful. Guitar Center is deepening its engagement with customers and encouraging repeat business. This is so much better than just sending out generic e-mail messages.

Can you find a way to incorporate this in your own business?

  • Follow up with customers every time and follow up with a specially tailored message for each one
  • Provide additional content that is not just trying to sell another product or service

There is a lot of value in what Guitar Center is doing. You can move in that direction.

Read Derek’s full article here: http://ww.visibli.com/share/G7QXZY

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Cross Browser Support for Dynamics CRM – Finally

Almost everyone has been waiting for this feature. It is scheduled to release in the 2nd quarter of this year. That generally means it will be available June 30.

Here is a video that shows some of the new functionality: http://youtu.be/5HVqc5MthbI

Here is a Microsoft page that has further explanation of the features: http://crm.dynamics.com/en-us/roadmap

“…additional browsers and platforms will be supported as part of this update including:

  • Safari running on Mac or iPad
  • Firefox running on PC or Mac
  • Chrome running on PC

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Don’t Forget the Glass is Half Empty

I’m a “glass is half full” guy. And compared to its opposite, I much prefer to be this way. In fact, I can generally prescribe this for everyone.

But I recently learned a lesson that reminds me to not forget that the glass is also half empty.

We’ve been running an effective e-mail campaign across our target market for over three years. The response rates are what I had hoped for, the click through rates are good, and the conversion rates are certainly acceptable; enough so, to keep me moving forward with the campaign as designed and executed.

We recently looked at the annual activity from our target market and shockingly discovered that the results, the kind that show up on our financial statements, were not impressive. We immediately moved resources to support that part of our business.

On further analysis I realize that I had missed early warning signs of the problem. Because the engagement results from our e-mailing campaign were acceptable, I didn’t look much deeper into the results. I was seeing the glass as half full, and ignoring the empty half. As it turned out, I was missing the trees for the forest (another cliché turned on its head). And it happened that the trees I was missing were the trees with the small pots of gold buried beneath (oh, shoot, another cliché). This realization supports our previous reallocation of resources (good), but I should have seen it coming. I missed it (bad).

It’s worthwhile to examine the empty half of the glass from time to time.

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Why I Use Chrome

I’m a Microsoft Gold Partner, so if I use Chrome, there’s a pretty compelling reason. These are my two compelling reasons:

WordPress. I manage four WordPress blogs, contribute to a fifth, and will be launching a sixth in a few weeks. WordPress does not work well with Internet Explore 9. So Chrome is a great alternative. I can do all I want in WordPress with Chrome. It’s simple. All the WordPress functionality I use, works with Chrome, not with IE 9.

Twitter. I have been an active Twitter user for three years. I have multiple accounts I manage. I have struggled to find a good application to manage them. I started with TweetDeck on my laptop OS. No good. At the time it used Adobe Air, which had a horrible memory leak and made the application unusable, and eventually rendered my laptop unusable. I switched to Tootsuite. Fun name. Decent product, but it was slow.

Just last week I looked at TweetDeck again. To my delight they have a web based version that is a native application in Chrome. It is wonderful! Runs great! Couldn’t be happier.

Am I shucking IE? No. IE lights up certain websites in a way that Chrome just cannot. IE is my default browser.

Having more than one web browser works well for me.

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Coremotives Microsoft CRM – Mailings

Coremotives includes an e-mailing module that allows you to easily create e-mail templates, send e-mail, and track responses.

The message editor that you use to create your e-mail template is pretty easy to use. It certainly has advantages over what I was using before. There is one quirk that I succumb to on a regular basis. And that is you have to save the HTML content within the editing window. Saving the e-mailing template alone, does not do it.

You can also easily view Web Page Views associated with each mailing, and see a graphic representation of the statistics.

Here is the message editor. Be sure to click on the disk icon in order to save your work:

And what I really like is the nice simple display of mailing results. Here is an example that shows multiple mailings together so you can compare results:

And because the functionality is contained in CRM, you can use the CRM inquiry and reporting functionality to really dig into results.

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