Saturday, December 12, 2009

Manage email campaigns efficiently from CRM

(A low-cost but more powerful solution for handling email campaigns from CRM by integrating an external emailing tool)

There are several good solutions out there which come as CRM extensions designed to manage the emailing campaigns in CRM. However, none of them seem to offer the same range of functionalities (managing, tracking, reporting etc) as a dedicated mailing tool would.

Given this reasoning, I’ve concluded that the most satisfying approach to handle this case is to integrate / automate an external dedicated tool designed to handle mailing campaigns.

A brief list of advantages for using an external mailing tool are:
- The price of a campaign mailing tool is in the same range (sometimes even lower) with a CRM extension’s price
- The list of features (especially editing, tracking and reporting) of a mailing tool is generally far wider then the features list of a 3rd party CRM extension.
- The mailing tools follow generally an evolution roadmap from its producer so that upgrading your application instance on a regular basis could get you a new set of improvements & fixes.

The custom integration of an external mailing tool should consider the following points:
- pick a mailing tool having a web-based UI
- the domain model of the chosen tool should be similar to the one of CRM’s (e.g. have the same notions of campaign, mailing list, subscribers etc)
- the campaign in CRM should have a customization (e.g. a button) to export it towards the external tool
- the campaign in CRM should be automatically updated every time when a change of its counterpart in the external tool occurs (e.g. status of the campaign, recipients unsubscriptions, campaign stats etc.)

This list of integration points above should be kept small and should not take more than 3...5 man-days to implement for a CRM developer.
Once the bidirectional integration between the two systems is up, you could benefit from all the feature of your mailing tool and have direct access to each external campaign screen from the CRM campaign editing form.

Here are some screenshots of such an integration in production. I used here a good money-for-value tool called OemPro which managed to cover a wide range of my client's requirements.

That’s it. Let me know if you find this useful.



  1. That's a good approach!
    But what is its major drawback?

  2. I guess you never tried 'ExactTarget'??

  3. Hi Flemming,

    I didn't go for ExactTarget as I alreay had an OemPro license. But here's an opinion I got on LinkedIn groups discussions:
    "Hi Adrian, while I agree with your approach there are hundreds of third party email marketing tools available. Many of them have developed pre-built integrations with but very few with Dynamics CRM. I wonder why. We integrated with ExactTarget for two customers but wouldn't recommend it."