Comparing CRM Integrated Surveys: #2 Dotmailer

January 2019 Update - the dotmailer solution has now been rebranded as Engagement Cloud from dotdigital.

In our previous post we looked at the benefits of having a survey tool integrated with Microsoft Dynamics and began this series of posts by looking at the Click Dimensions solution.

Next up, we will focus on dotmailer, and specifically its survey capabilities.

Like ClickDimensions, dotmailer's subscription plans for Microsoft Dynamics bundle surveys and forms with its email marketing features.

To create and edit surveys, and email templates, users must first log-in to the dotmailer website.

New surveys can be quickly created thanks to a series of defined templates. These cover everything from satisfaction surveys to market research and net promoter score surveys and can be adapted to fit individual needs.


Question Types

Unlike Click Dimensions, survey questions aren't treated as a separate entity as the configuration of each question sits within each unique survey.

However, similar to Click Dimensions each survey can be duplicated and edited which removes the need to configure questions from scratch.

Question types include multiple choice radio buttons, tick boxes and drop down lists.

Additional components that aren't currently available with Click Dimension's survey builder are a date / time field and a likert scale. The latter lists an integrated table of statements which respondents grade according to their view.


In the current release, dotmailer survey question type options do not include star rating or smileys.

Appropriate survey fields can be mapped to a dotmailer data field which is ultimately synchronised back to a Dynamics field. 

This creates several possibilities.

For example, survey data can be used to update specific field data on a contact / lead record in Dynamics by synchronising this from dotmailer.

Another use for this data is to hide information that you already know.

If dotmailer emails are used to distribute the survey this will pre-populate forms with the data you already have. This can include an email address and first / last names.

As an alternative to pre-populating fields, dotmailer can also be configured to hide any fields on the form for which you already hold data.

Whether you choose to pre-populate or hide fields both options help to make it easier for recipients to complete surveys and reduce data input.

Survey Designer

dotmailer has replicated the best bits from its email designer enabling users to drop in questions and other components including images and titles.

As a result, creating a survey is a simple process completed in just a few minutes which avoids the need for any technical skills.

Twelve pre-configured survey themes are available to change background form colours, typefaces and fonts but currently this does not support custom HTML or CSS.

Compared to Click Dimensions, dotmailer does not currently offer any skip / branching rules which means that all recipients will follow the same survey experience.


Publishing Surveys

One of the unique features of dotmailer is its CopyKat function.

This is a great way of including a survey in a branded web page without needing any code, or involving a web design team.

Enter a page URL and CopyKat creates a copy of this and allows you to edit the layout before placing your survey within this without it affecting your live site. The survey page is hosted on dotmailer's servers and is accessible from a unique link.

Other publishing options include embedding survey forms in a web page.

A unique survey publishing feature with dotmailer is the option to present a survey as a pop-over on a page.

This can be shown immediately on a page loading, or it will pop up after a defined number of seconds. 

The pop-up form will stop displaying when the survey is completed, or after a number of appearances.

To apply the pop up just grab the code snippet and paste into the relevant web page(s).

 

Unlike Click Dimension, dotmailer includes a control that prevents individuals from taking a survey multiple times. Also, further controls enable survey start and finish dates to be set to control the timeframe when people can post survey forms.

Survey Automation

dotmailer enables a similar range of automated actions when surveys forms are completed.

These include:

  • Send email notifications to a defined address with a link to each survey
  • Send a triggered message as an auto-responder 
  • Add respondents to a dotmailer address book which is synchronised as a Dynamics marketing list
  • Enrolling contacts into an existing dotmailer automated campaign

Unlike Click Dimension this does not include native functionality to create new activities in Microsoft Dynamics, or to add a campaign response when surveys are posted.

Further automated actions can be configured on the CRM side through Microsoft Dynamics workflows that use the survey data synchronised.

Distributing Surveys

As noted above, using dotmailer emails to distribute surveys has the advantage of being able to pre-populate or hide fields with data from Microsoft Dynamics.

If you haven't embedded the survey into a website page or used the pop up option, a unique survey URL link can be added to email, web pages and social media inviting people to take this. Simply copy and paste in the system generated link.

Survey Results

In the dotmailer web portal there are excellent reporting charts covering each survey response but in this post we are mainly interested in the integration with Microsoft Dynamics.

By deploying the dotmailer connector for Dynamics a Forms section is added to the marketing section. This includes each dotmailer survey, completed responses and survey answer listings.

Using these entities in Microsoft Dynamics, charts and dashboards can be configured to interpret and respond to survey data. As with any Dynamics data, this can also be analysed in Power BI. 


Conclusion

Dotmailer's survey forms are well established but unlike email marketing its survey capabilities have only recently been integrated with Microsoft Dynamics.

As a result, this is now a very similar service compared to Click Dimensions and in many respects the experience feels more modern and slick. 

Extra functions provide greater control over when forms can be taken and to prevent individuals from submitting multiple surveys.

A significant difference in the way dotmailer works is the need to synchronise survey data with Microsoft Dynamics. 

While the creation of a new survey form can often be created in dotmailer more quickly thanks to its templates and integrated questions, this can take longer before posted surveys appear in Dynamics, though sync timing can be easily adjusted. 

This configuration also means that marketing lists and CRM data fields need to be set for dotmailer sync which involves additional controls, albeit simple actions, that aren't required with Click Dimensions.

In our next post we close out this series by turning the spotlight on the Voice of the Customer solution for Microsoft Dynamics.


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Dotmailer Surveys & Forms Knowledge Base