The purpose of this article is not to lecture on CRM and repeat for the umpteenth time that CRM is a company-wide business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profitability by solidifying customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. The idea of this article is rather to show what should have been obvious all along; that CRM is the central element of B2C, just as the Active Directory is the central repository used for authentication and authorization in an organization.
Yet a vast majority of companies continue to develop B2C systems by systematically integrating a consumer profile - e-commerce, newsletter subscriptions, promotional marketing, community site - we cannot count the number of systems with a consumer profile, and worse yet the number of redundant systems within an organization.
And why is this? Certainly its due to a lack of strategy in the vision of B2C activities, managing each initiative in business units and redeveloping a referential consumer for its own needs!
Of course we've seen projects centrally defining a customized consumer database. But the level of functionality and above all the integration models were so poor that it resulted in very expensive and inflexible solutions.
Here, one of the key players involved in this sector comes into play. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a broadly established and standard solution addressing all the areas required to facilitate the activities of a marketing department or one to one communication. Out of the box, the product focuses mainly on Sales, Marketing and Support, furthermore the platforms openness and customization allows for easy integration with all business systems as well as with external solutions supporting B2C activity.
At blue-infinity we have recently decided to integrate our e-marketing platform with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We proceeded step by step, as followed:
- Firstly, we integrated the enrollment process from our various marketing platforms. We thus defined the CRM as the system owning consumer data. Thanks to the CRMs customization possibilities, we quickly adapted the contact profile to reflect the specific needs of our business, and finally integrated the external platforms through the web services provided by the solution
- In the second step, we defined marketing campaigns in the CRM that reflect all our Web initiatives, promotions, games, e-commerce etc. and through the web services we were able to upload all of the activities carried out by consumers on the B2C platforms
- In the third step, the sales from the e-commerce module were integrated the same way, and for each new command a workflow is triggered, giving orders to the company making the distribution.
- In the fourth step, thanks to the different integrations, we have completely reviewed our reporting strategy, so that it is found in the CRM and no longer at the level of each initiative
We have thus quickly integrated an unrivaled consumer management tool into our e-marketing platform, offering an overview of all consumer-centric B2C activities.