John Oechsle is the president and CEO of Swiftpage.
In this exclusive interview, Oechsle shares his thoughts on unlocking the full power of personalization and marketing automation.
CRM Buyer: What are some of the key trends in CRM right now?
John Oechsle: There are groups within companies that don’t want to interact with a full-blown CRM application. They want it running in the background, but they want to access it based on the functions they want it to perform. These small purpose-built apps are going to continue to evolve.
Also, people want to interact with software using voice interpretation and voice interaction. They don’t want to sit there and type. If I’m in my car or on a train or walking, I can interact with my software via voice.
Think about coming in and getting your software up and running and asking, “Hey, how did my marketing campaign go yesterday?” and it answers.
You’re going to see those types of things happening over the next years. The software interprets what you’re saying and interacts with you via voice. It’s easier, and it involves less friction. The No. 1 friction point is adoption, and one way to reduce that friction is through purpose-built apps.
CRM Buyer: What is the secret to using CRM for effective email marketing campaigns?
Oechsle: The four Cs you need are currency, correctness, consistency and completeness. If you have all four Cs, you’re going to have the maximum amount of value.
Currency and correctness are self-explanatory. If you don’t have my current email address, you won’t be able to get a hold of me. Those two go hand-in-hand, and those are the table stakes.
Consistency becomes important because in today’s world, you have many tools that have some kind of interaction with the customer. You’re capturing information about that customer outside of your CRM system, and if you’re not bringing it back into CRM, it’s not current or correct.
Completeness means that every single interaction you have with your customer, prospect or lead is in your CRM system. If I sent them an email, I know that. If I had a transaction, I know that.
Whatever it is, all of those interactions come back in. If you have all of that, you have completeness. Having all four Cs enables me to have effective marketing campaigns.
CRM Buyer: Why is personalization important in interactions with customers?
Oechsle: It’s all about understanding how to have an appropriate relationship with your customer. There are multiple generations, and you have to interact with each one differently. You can’t just interact with them the same way, because you’re going to alienate somebody.
If you try to interact with a Baby Boomer like you would with a Millennial, you’ll turn someone off. You need to segment your customer base and have detailed information about how you’ve interacted with them in the past. Then you bring that together, and that’s how you have an ongoing relationship with a customer.
I want you to continue to be happy with my product so you buy more. We have an ongoing relationship, and how we interact depends on your demographic and generation. It’s important to have that information in your system. That’s the evolution of CRM. It’s come a long way from just being an automated Rolodex.
CRM Buyer: What is marketing automation, and why is it important?
Oechsle: Marketing automation is the ability to look at your customer base, segment it, identify the strategies you will use to interact with that base, launch interactive campaigns and track them.
CRM Buyer: Does there still need to be a human component in marketing automation?
Oechsle: The software now and all the analytical tools are generating an enormous amount of information, but you need people to interpret that information and determine how to segment it.
You will still need to have marketing strategy. It’s not completely the software doing it. You need some human interaction to execute it.
CRM Buyer: What does it mean to unlock the power of everyday interactions, and why is this important?
Oechsle: You’re capturing all these interactions — through marketing, sales and other tools. If you get all those interactions, bring them back to one authoritative source, and analyze them, that’s how you unlock their power.
The whole goal is to have more interactions and better interactions. If you have better interactions, you’re going to have a transaction.
CRM Buyer: What’s in the future for CRM? How is it evolving and changing?
Oechsle: People want to interact, and these interactions are changing with voice and other apps. Not only are the next two to three years going to be wild and crazy and a lot of fun, but I believe that the most important software or platform that a company can invest in is CRM.
CRM will evolve to become one of the most important platforms that companies will need to grow.