email_cropIntroduction here: For the most part I have spent the last five weeks in front of my computer, listening to Sirius Radio (The Vault), eating seeds (Art’s Sunflower and Pumpkin) and deconstructing the D-Tools/Zoho CRM system.  In tough economic times sometimes the only thing you can do is to fine tune your internal business processes to stay ahead.  This has the double advantage of making your company more competitive and efficient and when the economy improves (it always does) you will be in position to immediately capitalize on it.  But before you can fine tune your processes you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job.In our case our BPM tool of choice is Zoho CRM.  With some exceptions Zoho CRM is one of those rare software products that is simple enough to immediately provide some value and sophisticated enough to scale thorough complex business process re-engineering.  But I digress…

So I spent a fair amount of time analyzing and re-engineering our lead gathering, qualifying and marketing process’s.  The ultimate goal of this was to somehow classify each lead in the system across many different areas so we could communicate more efficiently with them.  The final outcome of all this work is what I like to call the “D-Tools Email Marketing Engine”.

Email marketing is perhaps the most cost effective and efficient way to reach your audience.  However this is a not a secret technique and is also perhaps the most overused and abused form of marketing today.  To be effective in this form of marketing you need to be able target your message right down to the individual.  These days the only attention you get is the time it takes to read the subject line.  A general message will usually go right into the trash.

With that in mind I created the D-Tools Lead Marketing Engine flowchart.  Notice how the process starts general and then gets more specific through industry, category all the way down to the job function of the individual.  This way I can easily send a message about wire labels to installers in the Broadcast industry while sending a different message about estimating and proposals to sales people in the Residential AV-Automation industry from a recent trade show.

In Zoho CRM this is as easy as creating a custom list view like one above and selecting the message template.  Instantly a targeted, personalized (semi) custom message is sent out to the leads that match the criteria.  The beauty of this is that the individual SA or SC can send very personalized and topical messages to their qualified leads while the D-Tools marketing department can send general company messages to the all of the unqualified leads.  With this system we can now effectively market to our customer segments without sending out a message that would have no value to the recipient.

With this post I am finally happy with our lead gathering, qualifying and marketing processes.  I have fully documented this process here and have communicated to each member of our sales team.  Not only do we now have a rock solid process but each person on the team knows exactly what is expected of them and how to do their job.

The nice thing about automation and documentation at this level is that once it is done I can forget about it and move on to other areas.  If we need to add a someone to the sales team it is simple enough to point them to these series of posts without revisiting in detail.

The next series of posts will deal with the conversion process from a Qualified Lead to a Prospect with a Potential.

Stay tuned.