What does a CRM team look at different levels of scale?

As an organization grows, so too does its CRM team. Several members shared their current org structure, as well as several patterns to keep in mind as you grow.

For earlier stage businesses, the CRM team will invariably begin with a single or a small number of team members. For example, one Guild member (a consumer marketplace) has a CRM team of two, focused on serving all of the needs of their marketing org. Work is divided between these two individuals based on the stage of the funnel that the work applies to. The team relies on collaboration and support from the broader engineering and product organizations. (Note: their product is a highly considered purchase, translating to long sales cycles. As a result, much of their CRM work focused on lead nurturing.)

A later stage Guild company (consumer and B2B SaaS) runs multiple funnels for four distinct customer segments: consumer, enterprise, education, and large commerce. Their CRM team is organized across specific functions: one sub-team focused on campaigns, one on email/mobile execution, and then multiple teams focused on localization across ~30 international markets. The CRM team also works with a larger platform team that is focused on building in-house technology to support their marketing efforts holistically (an audience platform, a CMS platform, and data models).

Should CRM teams sit within product, marketing, or neither?

The CMO Guild had a variety of takes on where CRM teams do sit and where they should sit -- or in fact whether CRM teams should sit within a single org or report cross-functionally. One point of general consensus: CRM should do its work with cross-functional pods that are focused on goals within the customer journey, rather than organized by function.

What do creative teams look like at different levels of scale?

For many early stage companies, creative tends to be outsourced or is executed by designers (typically reporting through engineer, product, or design.) Eventually, most Guild members end up in one of two states:

  1. Outsourced creative (more common in early to mid stages). See here for a handful of recommended shops, and let us know if you have other agencies to recommend!

  2. In-house creative with a dedicated team, reporting through a variety of functions (marketing, design, and customer experience.) One best practice to consider: an explicit separation between day-to-day design execution (say, applying an existing style guide to your next email campaign), and strategic design execution (building entirely new creative for new campaigns, new channels, and beyond.)

CRM Tech Stack Comparison

Want to see inside the CRM stacks of other B2C businesses? Full results are only available to companies that fill out the survey. Complete fmc.vc/cmo-stack to get the results. 

How much of your messaging is automated?

Most companies fell around the 50/50 mark (+/- 10 points) in terms of manual/automated messaging, but ~70% of attributed revenue tends to come from manual messaging.

One Guild member pointed out, however, that they’re hoping to move away from focusing on revenue, and more so to focusing on granular parts of the customer lifecycle (ie: how do we move a customer from purchase 1 to purchase 2?).

How are you thinking about utilizing AI/ML in CRM?

The use of AI/ML in CRM efforts is largely nascent across the Guild, but one member company (consumer subscription) shared that they have started testing their messaging platform’s predictive suite to model churn. They specifically find the tool useful in determining how to guide users to positive actions other than purchasing (open/click an email, reading a product page, etc.).

Another Guild member (media) focuses strongly on building internal machine learning capabilities. The company has a central data team that builds models looking at propensity to churn, propensity for conversion, and other factors that inform marketing efforts.

A perspective offered by a different member (media) was that they use machine learning algorithms to customize SMS and email notifications. Every email that goes out to users is completely unique to them with content that they’re most likely to read. They’re also building an algorithm that builds a custom feed for every user based on information from Iterable.

Bonus: Examples of Successful Winback Campaigns

  1. Use social advertising to target lapsed consumers: Rather than use email to try to reactivate lapsed customers, one Guild member partnered with the social team to execute a campaign. Specifically, they synched email addresses with Facebook and executed a targeted campaign, generating meaningful activity from customers who’d expressed interest as far back as 2018/2019 -- a practice that will become standard operating procedure going forward.

  2. Personalized direct mail: “[Consumer marketplace] recently did a pilot with Lob where we integrated targeted trigger direct mail into our cart abandons. It's been interesting to start to explore new channels where we can have 1:1 communications with our leads and our members, to make it a little bit more personalized. We saw a significant lift in conversions and win backs when we ran the pilot and we've just we're rolling out” as an annual campaign.

More focused messaging, specifically on offers: “Something that’s been successful for us recently is to make the offer simple, instead of trying to pair it with content.” In addition, the same Guild member emphasized that your messaging can focus on, e.g., content -- but that the landing experience you drive them to prominently features the winback offer.