Businesses which have a CRM in place should be quite familiar with the processes of managing customer relationships, tracking sales opportunities, and in general providing top-notch customer support. The traditional role of CRM in business has been to maintain customer historical data such as sales and orders, store relevant time-stamped notes, manage appointments, support Help Tickets, and to create tasks. As a standalone system, CRM provides some fantastic business opportunities, but when coupled with marketing automation, it can more than double the potential benefits.
Marketing automation specializes in processes which are more in the domain of email marketing, reporting on campaigns, nurturing of leads, and lead qualification. Since marketing automation is designed for potential integration with CRM, the power of these two systems working in tandem can provide immense benefits to your business:
To get the most out of both these systems, they should be integrated so that your business can achieve all the potential advantages described below.
It’s great that your company is able to garner a vast quantity of leads from various sources, but it’s not nearly so advantageous if the majority of those leads are of relatively poor quality and can’t be converted. When leads are gathered through marketing automation, they can be scored and graded, so that only the most promising are retained and forwarded to your sales team.
This kind of qualification identifies the lead’s potential interest in your product or service, and assigns a grade which is a reflection of prospect fit. Your company can set its own thresholds for scores and grades, so that only the best leads are given to the sales team as being most worthy of pursuit. As a matter of fact, by setting these thresholds, the entire process can be automated to ensure efficiency and fairness, and leads can then be moved through the pipeline much more quickly.
By combining your marketing automation and CRM systems, you will be able to get much more detailed behavior tracking, as opposed to being limited to basic demographic data. Knowing the details about which web pages users are visiting and the type of content which appeals to them, you can make a much better assessment of where they are in the buying cycle. Since you have such detailed information about what is of interest to leads, your sales team can generate much more focused sales pitches, which specifically target those interests.
Research has shown that most of the time, buyers have already progressed more than two thirds of the way through their product investigation search by the time they make contact with any kind of sales source. This means that a huge opportunity awaits businesses which are able to communicate with buyers at the very beginning of the sales cycle, so as to influence the outcome more decisively.
To take advantage of this opportunity, sales and marketing teams use lead nurturing, which is intended to establish and maintain contact with the lead in the period prior to when a purchase is made. Lead nurturing can also be used to yield hidden leads from cold databases, to lessen churn rates, and to maintain contact with the lead over a potentially long time, during which various purchase options are being considered by the consumer. Lead nurturing also can be very effective at avoiding wasted time on the part of the sales team, because sales personnel are not pursuing leads who aren’t purchase-ready.
A recent study has determined that purchasers desire unique and targeted content during each of the various phases of their product research, and this finding can be used to advantage when coupled with the behavioral information provided by your marketing automation tool. Since you are aware of would-be buyers’ research habits, you can send them lead-nurturing emails, and very focused messages.
These can be personalized to their specific interests, as well as to the exact phase of the purchasing cycle which they are currently at. These focused emails will be much more relevant to your prospects, and they will have greater likelihood of increasing users’ level of engagement. Click-through rates are also improved, and that in turn leads to higher conversion rates at the end of the purchasing cycle.
When you have a marketing automation system tied to your CRM, it’s much easier to conduct ROI reporting for every campaign that your marketing team conducts. Every campaign launched via your marketing automation platform can be tied back to your CRM, and this presents the opportunity to associate closed deals with the campaigns that were responsible for them.
By making these associations and closing the loop in this manner, you can identify which marketing campaigns had the highest impact on generated revenue, as well as which ones were less successful. The data provided by this kind of closed-loop model will allow you to prioritize your marketing spend in future campaigns, and streamline your pipeline process continually.
There’s another subtle benefit to combining the benefits of your marketing automation tool with CRM, although these benefits are also significant enough that they can have a huge impact on the performance of your sales and marketing teams. Because of the efficiencies gained by integration of these two powerful systems, much of the complexity of the sales cycle is eliminated or reduced, and this relieves much of the burden from your sales representatives as well as your marketing team.
Extending this idea, it’s easy to see how any company which is able to gain such efficiencies for its key departments, and is also able to streamline marketing campaigns for maximum effectiveness, can quickly get a leg up on the competition. In today’s ultra-competitive business landscape, any advantage gained over rivals can mean the difference between stagnation and real business growth.