Evolving CRM…What is Digital Transformation?


The World of CRM is changing and nowadays a CRM project will be just one core component in a Digital Transformation project. Whilst this concept is gaining more and more air time and notice, this blog really attempts to identify what Digital transformation really is and what you need to consider for your business. So the four questions we want to answer are:-

* What is Digital Transformation?

* How do you go about it?

* Do you need it and why is it so topical?

* What does it look like?

In this article, I want to focus on the first two aspects…

What is Digital Transformation?

The term Digital Transformation is now gaining a lot of traction and increasingly being added to Tenders. But this really key term has come about over the last few years and from a CRM perspective means CRM and the concept of CRM remains at the heart of these projects. Put simply, without a robust and well aligned CRM system, digital transformation will either not happen or be effective. It will be like a car running on just three tyres!

How do we define it?

A good and simple definition, from Wikipedia, as good a source here as any , and a definition which is easy to relate to:-:-

“Digital transformation is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspect of human society…

The transformation stage means that digital usages inherently enable new types of innovation and creativity in a particular domain, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods.”

This last sentence appeals since it uses technology and recognises that in today’s increasingly online digital world, technology acts as a disrupter.

In essence, we see that from a business B2B perspective, this enables us to gain an end to end understanding of the whole Lead to Prospect to Customer and Customer to Advocate process and how this impacts your business in today’s digital world. From an application perspective, it is the merging of the various software vertical sectors for Marketing Automation software blended into and aligned with your Customer Relationship Management other systems such as Web sites, email marketing etc so your clients have a complete throughput of digital data from their first digital engagement as a suspect to prospect to customer.

Previously, CRM was central, but we added bolt-ons were created for tactical marketing usage such as Email marketing, Social Media integrations and now this whole process can be defined and created almost as seamless process, depending on the applications chosen.

We can see this as an outer and inner ring, with the CRM being at the centre, since at some point all contacts will be drawn to the CRM centre after qualification criteria have been defined.

Do we need it?

Digital Transformation has shown repeated success and most Footsie100 and Fortune 100 clients now have digital transformation in place or have initiated and implemented them over the last 5 years.

This concept is now rolling into the SME market where the applications themselves have evolved tremendously in the last 5 years to offer true value and with the cloud, seamless integration between and within applications.

How do you go about it? The First Step

Digital Transformation project will often go through a number of stages, buy the first stage is Awareness of the need for some sort of digital transformation strategy and plan.

So, in my view the first step is to understand and audit your existing business processes and how your clients engage with you from the initial introduction to after they become a customer.

You will probably find that many new clients over the last five years have first engaged you through some sort of on-line activity, now in 2017 this can take many forms

* Website Visit (either known visitor or tracked)

* Social Media including LinkedIn approaches

However, you may still engage through more traditional methods including trade shows and referrals, but they key concept here is that for most new clients and indeed many existing clients, they will have engaged with you in many ways through some sort of digital journey.

You need to understand or try to understand this journey and then review the ‘gaps’ in your process. Typically, for many, this could be that there is no clean line into their CRM system.

Once in CRM, then most contacts can then be tracked and followed, up but this outer rim of engagement can often involve different system which may or may not be talking to each other.

A typical engagement may be to use Hubspot, for Marketing Automation and integration with your website, an application we have used extensively since this has native (i.e. in-built link) integration with ‘best of breed’ CRM applications such as Dynamics 365 and Salesforce.

In fact, your whole website can be hosted on website or just sections such as landing pages. This integration will often act as your first point for the Client journey with information, at some point then passing through into your CRM system, possibly based on key criteria, which will talk about in a later blog.

Where to Start?

So, as a first step, prior to looking at a whole project, we recommend you audit your existing systems I use and you may be surprised, so feel free to request our Beginning your Digital Transformation project Checklist.

A future blog will then consider what happens next and explore the stages you need to go through to develop and plan your Digital Marketing Strategy?

31st August 2017


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