11/03/21 Andrew Lowdon

Using CRM data to improve paid media performance

One of the biggest criticisms of modern-day marketers - especially among digital marketers - is being too preoccupied with tactics, rather than focussing on an overall strategy.

It’s a direct impact of modern society’s ‘now culture’, driving a need for immediate success, rather than building businesses that benefit consumers in the mid to long term. 
As a result of this, there is too much focus in marketing on the first touch metrics you see in your Google Analytics and your Facebook Ads Managers, which don’t actually tell you anywhere near the full story. To get a much more detailed understanding of not only performance but how consumers engage with a business and how you can strategically use this, you need to be looking at one of the most impactful, yet undervalued tools available to a marketer: CRM.

How to leverage your CRM

There’s a number of ways that a business can leverage their CRM to enhance their marketing performance and I’ve highlighted a couple of simple ways to do this.

1. Use CRM data to understand the true value and return of paid media activity

Marketers can get hung up on the cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS) of a specific campaign or ad. In theory, the lower the CPA and the higher the ROAS, the better the performance of the ad. However, more often than not, it’s not that straightforward. 

Let’s look at two different customers and what could be read into them.

Customer A vs B

Looking at the metrics above, with a more profitable sale and a higher ROAS, Customer A appears to be the better customer and we should go and find more of these. However, this data only takes into consideration the initial sale and not the lifetime value of the customer. 

Running Trainers are a high-value occasional purchase, with a consumer unlikely to make a repeat purchase in 12 months. However, your CRM data shows you that Customer B needed more products to support their running hobby and came back a month later to buy 2 t-shirts (£30). Then, as the weather got colder, they came back 6 months later to buy a jacket (£50), a pair of tights (£60), and a pair of trainers (£100) 3 months later. In less than 12 months, Customer B spent a total of £260, with a profit of £171. With the initial acquisition of Customer B costing £4, they actually have a much higher lifetime value and a ROAS of 64.5 and an ROI of 42.75.

Whilst media platforms can be great at showing your impact on new customer acquisition, it doesn’t show the full picture in relation to your long term relationship with a customer. 

Without this, you’re constantly relying on finding new customers who may not be your best customers. You can easily integrate your ads platforms with your CRM to build this picture and allow you to manage your media spend more effectively.

2. Understand the value of a lead and the opportunities to improve the sales cycle

For lead generation businesses where the sales process only really begins after a form is filled on a website, the goal data in Google Analytics (GA) provides very little insight on lead quality. Campaigns that drive 100s of leads may look great, but if they don’t convert through the sales cycle they’re not much use. 

A marketer can only optimise campaigns based on the data they have at hand. CRM data showing how each lead went through the stages of the sales funnel and where they may have dropped out, as well as attributing a financial value provides a greater picture of lead quality, builds shared accountability for performance between the Sales & Marketing teams. 

Linking up your media platforms and CRM allows you to see all this hugely useful information down to a campaign and keyword level. With this information at hand, you can immediately see that the high volume lead gen campaigns may not actually generate many sales qualified leads, whereas a low volume lead gen campaign generates high quality leads with great sales intent from your ideal customer with a higher sale close rate. 

As a first step, manually pulling this data will provide insights to be leveraged but a dynamic integration pushing data in reverse from the CRM into the media platforms is a game-changer. It allows you to set up the sales stages in GA as goals and see performance data as live, rather than waiting for a month-end sales report to see what drove Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). Armed with this information and a quality dataset, you can switch the optimisation point from lead to more relevant stages in the process such as Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), Contacted Leads, or SQL. 

Following this, you then use the marketing automation capabilities of your CRM to build nurturing sequences to help guide leads to later stages of the sales process, increasing the value of your paid media spend.

3. Use data to understand who your ideal customer is and build custom audiences to target them

If you’re going to run an ad campaign, you can have the best creative in the world but if you’re targeting isn’t right, it’s not going to work. Data is the fuel to high-quality targeting and whilst third-party data is useful, there is no better data than your own first-party data based on your customers. 

After analysing data to understand who your ideal customer is, you can use this data on Facebook and  Google to target similar users more effectively. 

Lookalike audiences allow you to target consumers who are similar to your ideal customer profile and in turn are likely to be interested in your brand and services. These are going to become a huge focus of marketing activity when ad platforms stop supporting cookies.

CRM data allows you to segment your existing customer base. There are a huge number of parameters you can have including purchasers, prospects, and newsletter subscribers. You could even segment this down to purchasers of a product type to gauge relevancy for complementary products and potential upsell opportunities. This then allows you to build retargeting audiences with specific messaging, offers, or new product launches that the audience is deemed hyper-relevant for.

It’s critical to maximise the efficiency of your media budget and you may not want to pay to advertise to consumers who have recently purchased from you. Do this by creating custom audiences to exclude recent purchasers who are unlikely to purchase again in such a short space of time.  

4. Reduce the churn of existing customers

Creating long-term repeat purchase relationships is ideal for all businesses but it simply won’t work like that all the time. Businesses will have an idea of the typical length of time between repeat purchases and your CRM data can confirm this for you. You will also be able to see when customers are most likely to become lapsed or at the risk of churning. This data is especially key for subscription-based businesses where growth is dependent on repeat purchase.
By understanding when different customer segments no longer follow the desired purchase or behaviour pattern, you can use this information to re-engage these users with highly targeted, relevant promotions such as special promotions, cross-sell into new products that now may be more relevant, or offer free shipping. Using this information, along with the ability to create custom audiences, allows you to put the brand back in front of your customer. 

Final thoughts

As technology advances and privacy concerns grow, a CRM is going to become a key part of a marketer’s toolkit (if it isn’t already). There are many ways to leverage the data you have on your customers to enhance your activity. Hopefully, this gave you some ideas and actionable insights to take away and start using right away.

Andrew Lowdon

Head of Strategy with over 10 years experience helping businesses to achieve commercial & strategic success in over 25 countries and countless industries.