No matter which side you are on it’s not the CRM that failed or made you wildly successful, it’s your process. No matter what CRM software you use it all comes down to your business' culture around how it is used and how it is integrated into your business systems. So many companies, even the "CRM lovers" fail to integrate CRM into the critical business systems within both sales and marketing. After all, it’s not the software that yields a return on your investment, it’s the data and how you use it.
So Little Time... So Much Data
Filling your CRM with useless data is not the answer either. To be truly fruitful you must ensure that your data is of high quality and actionable. These days everyone is tasked with doing more for less, less time, less money and less resources. This is where marketing automation comes in.
Marketing automation is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the automation of meaningful marketing tactics that when implemented properly can dramatically improve your sales leads, fill your CRM with actionable data, and perform tasks for you while you are sleeping. As defined by Wikipedia:
"Marketing automation refers to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organizations to automate repetitive tasks. Marketing departments, consultants and part-time marketing employees benefit by specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes which are then interpreted, stored and executed by software, which increases efficiency and reduces human error. Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing."
The use of a marketing automation platform is to streamline sales and marketing organizations by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions."
An example of this is the use of marketing automation software such as Act-On or HubSpot to identify, qualify and nurture sales leads for you. If set up properly these tools can track visitors to your website or blog and entice visitors to convert to a sales lead through various inbound marketing efforts. Then with marketing automation, these tools nurture the leads over a period of time with automated emails, all strategically composed ahead of time, based on the individual sales lead's place in the buying process.
As the leads progress through the nurturing process the emails become more and more specific to their needs and the sales lifecycle. As the leads engage with your website, emails, and digital sales and marketing tools, the marketing automation software stores all of this data and pushes the "actionable" data to CRM when appropriate. From here your sales team can use this data to convert leads to customers.
The Benefits of Marketing Automation Integrated with CRM:
- Shorter sale cycles as marketing automation does all the work before your sales team is involved
- Higher lead-to-sales conversion rates
- Lower cost per sale
- Better data in your CRM software for intelligent action