CRM Manager: who he is, what he does and how to become one

In this blog post I will take you on a tour of the CRM Manager, one of the most in-demand professions in the digital marketing sector according to the latest market research.

As we shall see, his task is to manage Customer Relationship Management (CRM), i.e. the system of relations with potential and existing customers. This professional figure has a role as a player in reading and interpreting the relationship between brand and customers in order to implement optimisation strategies starting from remarketing campaigns and arriving at the customer loyalty phase.

To learn more about this digital job, we interviewed Roberto D’Alterio, CRM Manager of the Cisalfa Sport Group.

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Here are the points we will touch on during the interview:

  • what the CRM Manager is concerned with;
  • what its core competences are;
  • the tools it uses;
  • with which digital professionals it relates;
  • how to train and which career path to follow;
  • what the average salary is.

Who is the CRM Manager and what does he/she do?

Francesco Pompeo Roberto D'Alterio

The objective of the CRM Manager is to increase the customer lifetime value, i.e. the long-term value of the company’s customer base, by operating according to a customer-driven logic and evaluating the advantages and disadvantages underlying the relationship.

Among the positive parameters analysed are:

  • the frequency of purchase;
  • the average value of the purchase;
  • the duration of the relationship.

However, a good Customer Relationship Management Manager must also keep in check factors that can have a negative impact such as:

  • campaign costs;
  • costs of any loyalty programmes;
  • costs related to the technological infrastructure to manage the customer base.

The fundamental characteristic of this professional figure is to work on identifiable customers who represent a direct contact channel on which we can measure transactions and, consequently, purchasing behaviour.

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Francesco Pompeo

What are your duties?

Roberto D'Alterio

So, let us start first with the technical competences, the so-called hard skills. The CRM Manager must be a very analytical figure, capable of working with numbers. Analysing customer behaviour requires data analysis and segmentation skills that serve to guide the way in which the customer base is segmented. For example, one can segment using descriptive statistics or data mining models.

Analytical skills must be accompanied by the ability to read and interpret data in order to develop a relationship strategy. Last but not least, communication skills are no less important because the CRM Manager has to interact in a direct way with the customer base using different rules than the massive above-the-line communication (press, radio, TV).

The typical feature of direct communication is the presence of the call to action (CTA). Let me explain. When I send a message in Customer Relationship Management, I do not do so to generate brand awareness or consideration, but with the aim of generating a precise action involving transactional or relational feedback:

  • go and buy;
  • answer a survey;
  • answer a questionnaire.

As far as soft skills are concerned, it is crucial to be a skilled mediator between the Information Technology (IT) department and the marketing department. By IT I mean the corporate sector that builds the technological infrastructure and all processes, while by marketing department I refer to the strong communication and coordination component with the brand image and all corporate communication.

Francesco Pompeo

What kind of tools does a CRM expert use?

Roberto D'Alterio

There are two types of tools in the toolbox.

On the one hand, there are analytical CRM software for analysis and segmentation such as SQL, business intelligence systems and data mining tools. The latter help us find hidden, not immediately visible relationships between data, and are used to make multivariate segmentations and predictive models.

On the other hand, the operational CRM tools, i.e. the tools that enable the relationship and are basically those of Campaign Manager, i.e. marketing automation. These are more or less advanced tools that allow direct marketing campaigns to be set up.

When I started out, automation systems in marketing were not very advanced. There was CRM software that allowed for one-shot mass mailings. Technological evolution has led to more modern tools that allow decision hubs to be set up. I identify the target, set the decision junction, i.e. what happens if the recipient replies within three days or not, or what I do if they click on the email I sent or not. Today, it has come down to true one-to-one marketing.

These operational tools allow the sending of even a single triggered e-mail. This is not deterministic, but behaviour-based. Let’s take another example. Based on the customer’s behaviour, a certain action is performed, such as sending a new ad hoc e-mail or a push notification. As you see, the CRM Manager’s work today is done much more from a customer-driven and one-to-one perspective.

Francesco Pompeo

With which other professional figures do you relate?

Roberto D'Alterio

As already mentioned, the role of the CRM Manager lies between the marketing-sales department and the IT department by mediating and interacting with them according to the needs of the moment. For instance, he comes into contact with the marketing department when it comes to pushing sales by ‘stressing’ the database. In particular, he works closely with those in charge of email marketing and marketing automation.

This professional figure liaises with IT to acquire data needs from all business sources to build the CRM data mart, i.e. the collection of extracted data based on the criteria, themes or sectorialisation defined by the analyst or the Business Intelligence system.

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Francesco Pompeo

How does one become a CRM Manager?

Roberto D'Alterio

Firstly, a certain quantitative aptitude is needed. After this necessary introduction, I believe that the path to becoming a CRM expert can follow two paths.

The first we can call analytical in that it starts with data analysis and the segmentation process as an SQL expert. Subsequently, one can become a Data Scientist or Data Miner. Finally, after having acquired the right skills one becomes a Customer Relationship Management Manager.

The second way is where I started. I was a Campaign Manager who was in charge of campaign management assisted by the Data Analyst who provides you with the required analysis and segmentations. In this way, you have both the responsibility of managing the communication and the profit and loss account of the campaigns.

Francesco Pompeo

How much do you earn and what is the average salary?

Roberto D'AlterioI would say that the average salary for a CRM Manager starts from a minimum RAL of 50,000 euro and goes up to 110-120,000 euro. Of course, as in all professions, the salary depends very much on the size of the company and seniority. For example, with 6-7 years of experience one can quite easily earn 50 thousand euro RAL and then gradually rise.

 

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