Why should you learn tech skills as a CRM Manager? In the past, to be a good Customer Relationship Manager you needed to psychology and a few marketing skills.
Today, CRM is much more a tech game than originally. In the past, a CRM manager was more focused on how to create an email copy, a more creative-minded person. Today, a good CRM specialist is an engineer or a data specialist who has basic knowledge on how message templates might look like.
Steffen Harting, CMO of Inkitt
Nowadays, CRM is an entirely different game. To achieve marketing personalization on a scale, every CRM manager should master three areas. These include data analytics, system integration, and knowing the marketing technology toolkit (and the overview of the current market players in this area).
This requires quite a bit of technology-related knowledge. The more fine-grained level of marketing personalization you want to achieve, the more advanced experiments you need to conceive.
Advanced personalization always involves putting together high volumes of data from distributed systems. This is why a marketing automation specialist should understand how these systems talk to one another and how the data is stored and summarized.
In the last five years, the CRM Managers we have met use various software solutions (Customer Engagement Platforms, Customer Data Platforms, Promotion Management Systems, etc.) and work with one or more developer teams daily.
We've been helping digital teams bury the hatchet between developers and marketers for five years now and what we've noticed after onboarding hundreds of customers is that successful marketers or CRM Managers are the ones who understand technology.
Tomasz Pindel, CEO of Voucherify.io
The more you know about technology, the more efficient you can become at your work.
Technology lies at the heart of the CRM.
If you understand how the software you are using works, its possibilities, and its limitations, you can use it to the maximum of its potential. If you also know a bit of developer lingo, it is easier to explain and discuss your requirements with the tech team. In consequence, the communication with the development team becomes more fluent and their work more efficient. Better communication equals faster delivery of the final code and less waste of time and resources.
If you know a bit of SQL or Python, you can also save some time and run basic data queries yourself. This can be useful, especially if you need something ad hoc and your developers are in the middle of a sprint, and you do not want to bother them. Doing things yourself can speed up the data analysis process for you and let your developers focus on the big tasks they have to deliver.
Knowing tech is not a differentiator anymore for CRM Managers; it became the basic requirement.
Which Tech Skills Should You Learn As A CRM Manager?
You should know a couple of key concepts:
- Data Storage – how the data is stored, what is a record, what is a data model, and why do you need a schema? When is a data migration necessary, and how is its cost estimated?
- System Integration – you should know how moving data from one data storage to another work to be able to plan and execute such tasks with your developer team.
- Analytics – Basics of servers and customer tracking on the web.
- Retargeting – Ad retargeting and how it works.
MarTech Toolkit overview:
You should regularly check the marketing technology providers’ roadmap and release schedule. You should know what the possibilities are and whether or not your current stack is the right one. As the technology is evolving, so are the features (and prices) of different software providers.
What was good enough last year might not be the best fit this year, either because your needs have changed or because there are more options available or better prices available for the same feature set. You should stay on top of the new technologies and new providers on the market to optimize your stack.
Even if you have built your stack yourself, you should be looking for inspiration for new features or re-consider switching to a third-party vendor if the prices on the market drop and it is no longer profitable to maintain and upgrade your software solution.
Basics of SQL and/or Python:
These are the most important languages used for data analytics that could enable you to run queries yourself without asking developers for help. Learning the basics could also help you to communicate with your developers.
Where Can You Learn Tech Skills?
- Your team — this is ultimately the best source of information at your company. Your developers know a lot about the toolkit you have in place, as well as about some alternatives. While they might not know about the newest technologies out there, they certainly know all the basic concepts you need to know to work with them. Being open and asking questions will bring you up to speed, especially if you have just started working in this position (or at this company).
- Books — it might seem old-fashioned, but there are a couple of good books out there to learn the basics about CRM and CRM software. This can be a free option if you find a library (check university libraries, especially at Business Universities or Marketing or IT departments). If not, if you have a Kindle subscription (currently available in the USA), you might be able to borrow some books on the CRM topic as well within your subscription plan.
- Blogs – there are many blogs dedicated to customer relationship management (CRM) technologies. Here are some of my favorites:
- Online magazines – online magazines are somewhere in between blogs and books, providing a ton of information and also including the leading technology providers.
- 200 OK is a magazine created by Voucherify.io to help CRM Managers learn the necessary tech skills. It consists of articles explaining new technologies and technical concepts, use cases with low- to no-code tools that can be easily used by non-developers, interviews with industry experts who share their tips and tricks on how to learn the necessary skills for the role.
- Destination CRM
- Online classes – this is especially useful if you want to learn the basics of coding, SQL, or Python classes should be your first choice. There are plenty of free resources to tap in.
- Software review websites:
- Podcasts — if you like to listen to something on your commute or while drinking your morning coffee, podcasts are great! You can learn something and push your career forward without needing additional time.
- Reading the docs — you can learn quite a lot from reading the documentation of different tools that you use or might consider using. After some time, you will also learn a lot of developer-specific vocabulary from them.
- Trailhead – from Salesforce is an amazing free resource online.
Whichever is the source you prefer to start learning with, the most important is to begin. Talk to your peers, talk to your developers, do not be afraid of the technological side of things.
Voucherify.io is an all-in-one API-first promotion management software that requires minimum developer effort to integrate, offers plenty of out-of-the-box features and integrations, and is designed to empower marketing teams to quickly launch and efficiently manage coupon and gift card promotions, giveaways, referral, and loyalty programs.
Disclosure: Martech Zone has affiliate links in this article.