Unleashing the Marketing Power of Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Part 1: Campaign Execution & Management and List Creation & Management

If you are responsible for the marketing initiatives of your organization, maybe you’ve wondered if there is a way to use technology to help you with your daily tasks. Being a fellow marketer myself, some of you may be asking the same questions I struggled with, such as, is there a technology that will assist with:

o Marketing campaign execution and management
o Marketing list creation and management
o Feeding sales with leads from marketing initiatives
o Tracking results of marketing initiatives

As the Director of Marketing at OTT, Inc., a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, I was able to find the resolution to these “sticky marketing areas” with Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, so basing this article on my personal experiences, I will focus on how Microsoft Dynamics CRM has become my marketing right hand. In Part 1 of this 2 part article, I will focus on how I have unleashed the marketing power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the areas of Campaign Execution & Management, as well as List Creation & Management. Part 2 will focus on how I have unleashed the marketing power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM as it relates to feeding sales with leads from marketing initiatives, as well as tracking results of marketing initiatives.

Campaign Execution & Management
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a variety of tools available out of the box to assist with marketing campaign management including campaign details, budget information, campaign status, campaign dates, etc. These tools alone can be a huge asset, but you can add even more functionality to marketing campaign management such as event location, capacity, fees, etc., using free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerators, such as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Event Management Accelerator. You can even connect Microsoft Dynamics CRM to SharePoint so you can access and manage all of your campaign collateral from the marketing campaign in CRM, or connect Microsoft Dynamics CRM to your website and provide online registration, further enhancing your campaign execution and management.

The campaigns area of Microsoft Dynamics CRM also enables you to connect targeted marketing lists to specific campaigns. Connecting marketing lists to specific campaigns and creating campaign activities, such as phone calls and emails, allows you to schedule and assign calls for your sales team, automatically send emails blasts, and much more, all without the hassle of setting up each call, or sending emails to each individual.

If you’re like me, for each in-person or virtual event you hold, you have a checklist of tasks that need to be completed, such as reserving a location, sending a direct mail piece, sending email follow ups, creating and starting call downs, sending event reminders, etc. Rather than having a growing spreadsheet to track each “due date” for campaign activities off a work-back schedule, we created a workflow in Microsoft Dynamics CRM that I can run for each campaign I mark as an “event.” That’s right, now all I have to do is mark a campaign as an “event”, and my “campaign task list” is automatically populated with my “to-do-list” based off my work-back schedule and the date of the campaign. If you run multiple events and other marketing initiatives at once, like I do, this is a life saver, as I no longer have to keep track of multiple documents manually; all I have to do is check the activities area of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and my tasks for my campaigns are displayed in one easy to view, and filter, list.

List Creation & Management
I have found that Microsoft Dynamics CRM makes list creation and list management a breeze. If you dread being tasked with segmenting your database, Microsoft Dynamics CRM might just change your mind! I have found Microsoft Dynamics CRM to be of extreme value as it relates to marketing list creation and list management.

A marketing list in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a static list of accounts, contacts, or leads from your database. Marketing lists can be created and updated in a variety of ways; whether your preference is to add individuals to your marketing list one at a time, add groups of individuals at once, or the like, it’s all possible in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. One of the benefits I see with using marketing lists in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that you can connect a marketing list directly to a campaign (as stated above), making it easy to include all individuals of a marketing list to campaign activities. Since marketing lists are static (individuals are not automatically added to them when certain criteria is met), I have found marketing lists to be most beneficial for one-offs, such as a holiday card list, a list for a client appreciation event, or a unique, single use, initiative.

If you are like me, a static marketing list is great in some instances, but in most of my marketing activities, I’ve found dynamic lists to be of much more value. Using the advanced find function in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I am able to easily build dynamic lists of accounts, contacts, or leads, for marketing initiatives that are continually refreshed and updated based on the criteria I define. Because Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be customized to track virtually any type of information that is important to your organization, it is my belief that the possibilities are nearly endless for the variety of criteria you can define.

For example, say your organization is an auto body repair center that has launched an on-going promotion where they want to target all of their SUV clients. Using the advanced find feature in Microsoft Dynamics, you would create and save an advanced find to pull all of your current clients who are listed as SUV owners. Since you have created this list as an advanced find, each time you run the advanced find, your list will update with the most current information that is available in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. For example, Sam used to be a client of yours who owned a SUV, and was therefore included in your initial promotional mailing, but has now switched to a different auto body repair center, the next time you run your advanced find, he will not be included. The reverse is also true, if Jane is a new client of yours and is a SUV owner, she will be included on your list the next time you run your advanced find.

With the ease of use and customization of both the marketing list and advanced find areas of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you just might be volunteering to segment your database even further to increase the marketing potential and begin to market on an even higher level of precision than you ever thought possible, just like me.

These are just a few examples of how I have unleashed some of the marketing potential that Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will share other ways in which I have unleashed the marketing potential of Microsoft Dynamics CRM as it relates to feeding the sales team with leads from marketing initiatives, and tracking results of marketing initiatives.

For additional information on unleashing the marketing power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, contact OTT, Inc. at [email protected]

By OTT, Inc., Minnesota Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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