SugarCRM provides a range of useful features to assist with marketing efforts, right out-of-the-box, all as part of your standard SugarCRM subscription.
So, while it is certainly possible to link SugarCRM to a range of other third party mailing solutions (such as Pardot, Marketo, Pure360, MailChimp etc) it’s probably worth taking the time to have a detailed look at what you can achieve, free of any third party charges, with the application itself.
I’m going to divide the features up into the following key areas:
- Email blasts
- Web-to-Lead capture
- Marketing Automation
SugarCRM will enable you to send rich, HTML based, email content to a large collection of people. It will let you define that target audience based on any segmentation criteria that you wish to use.
The email content itself can contain:
- Fully styled HTML based content
- Personalised content
- Tracked links
The system will not only dispatch the emails for you, but will also track how recipients engage – recording who views the email (and how many times), which links they click, whether they opt-out of further communication and so on.
SugarCRM will automatically manage “opt-outs” for you, marking the email address as “opted out” and automatically supressing that email address in any further mailings, even if accidentally included in the target list.
Finally, SugarCRM will monitor the return your campaign provides – not only in terms of “clicks and views” but in a far more tangible way – did it earn any money?
Build rich HTML emails and track the outcome of your campaigns
Because, as standard, every Lead, every Contact and every Opportunity in allows the source campaign to be set, SugarCRM can track the number of new opportunities that resulted from the campaign, and can track the revenue those opportunities went on to deliver.
In essence, this is very similar to a general email blast but with one or two important differences.
First of all, when someone “unsubscribes” from a Newsletter, they are only unsubscribed from that one particular newsletter. Their email address itself is not marked as opted out. So, the person may still receive other newsletters and campaign mailings.
Secondly, the system allows you to create multiple “messages” for your newsletter . For example, if the Newsletter campaign runs monthly, one can create a new message each month. If it runs quarterly, one can create a new message each quarter.
Strictly speaking, you can also do this with normal email blasts, but the concept is easier to explain with regular newsletter type dispatches.
Again, recipient activity is tracked – bounces, views, clicks and unsubscribes are all recorded.
SugarCRM contains a web form builder as part of its core features. This allows you to put together a web form that can be deployed to your website and used to capture details from web visitors.
There are a couple of obvious examples of how useful this can be:
- Contact Us type pages
- Call to action landing pages
An example “Web-to-Lead” form
The “Contact Us” page on your website can feed enquiries directly into your CRM system as a new lead. Workflow rules can then be leveraged to acknowledge enquiries and route them to the correct person or department.
Similarly, other forms may be constructed for specific landing pages, often accompanying particular mailing campaigns. A link in an email message, similar to, “to download our free e-book, click here” can be routed to a particular page on your website, with a web-to-lead form, which captures basic information about the visitor before allowing them to download the e-book.
The form builder’s drag-and-drop interface is very straight forward and it even adds in validation for you. The tool generates HTML code which can either be pasted directly into your website or handed over to your web team for final styling and inclusion.
SugarCRM includes a powerful workflow engine. You can configure rules which are triggered either when data changes in the system, after a period of time elapses, or on a combination of both. Some examples conditions might include:
- When a lead originates from the “White Paper” download section of the website AND no further action has been taken on that lead
- When an Opportunity sales stage has not changed for 30 days
- When a support case moves from Assigned to Resolved
These types of rules are only really constrained by your imagination.
So when a rule triggers, what can you do with it?
Well, you can update certain values automatically, create and assign related records (such as follow up tasks) or send a template based email. That email can either be internal (perhaps to a specified user) or can be direct to the prospect.
By way of example, if a new prospect downloads a white-paper, how about sending an automated follow-up a week later asking them for their views and pointing them at some other related information?
Or perhaps automatically flagging the new lead for inclusion in your news letter?
Or perhaps reminding someone that the customer needs a follow up call?
Again, your imagination is the only real constraint here.
Workflow rules can be a simple and low cost way of implementing automated marketing follow up.
A SugarCRM workflow rule to send an automated follow up email
SugarCRM includes a range of features, straight out of the box, which can be used to drive your marketing efforts and automate follow up. They enable you to better manage your relationship with your customers, from first point of contact, through the entire sales life-cycle and beyond.
I’ve only covered the power of these tools at a high level, but will be providing more details on each element in a forthcoming series of posts.