How Does Marketing Automation Work with CRM?

By: Kyle Chandler  | 08/09/2016

Last Thursday, the Association for Accounting Marketing invited us to speak to their members about marketing technologies.  In this presentation, we provided 101-level definitions of Marketing Automation (MA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), explained when and how to use which platform and offered best practices and success stories of each.  

With all the great questions asked, we had promised to repost the questions and answers in our blog this week, which you'll see below.

  1. How do you determine lead score?

    We always suggest starting with defining your ideal client. What are the core demographics about this client, what behaviors would they take online to show the most intent? With those key things in mind, rank them in priority and assign the highest point values to the most important items. Additionally, many marketing automation systems out there have an “out of the box” lead score you can start with – from there, customize with your approach as it relates to your ideal client.

  2. We want to get started with marketing automation, but we are not sure of the best process for selecting a software provider?

    Start with a must-have and nice-to-have list of functionality and requirements for your marketing automation system. Be specific about what you need in your platform. From there, look at some leading 3rd party ranking systems likeGartner and SeriousDecisions to gather some platform specific data. Do your research first, then schedule a demo and walk-through with your short list and have them show you all of the key functionality as it relates to your industry.

  3. I do not have the budget to invest in both CRM and MA, what should I do?

    It would depend on your specific situation. If you have an influx of marketing leads and do not have an effective way to keep track of where they are in your sales process, or know who is owning the relationship with them across your sales team, a CRM is most likely the best place to start. If you currently only have one full-time sales representative and he has no leads and your marketing team is running around like crazy, then perhaps a marketing automation platform is the first to invest in. Ideally, you want both as they serve different purposes for different teams.

  4. Our sales team keeps pushing back on the time it takes to use a CRM, what is a good response?

    This is a tough one as it is related to your current sales and marketing process (this is where an SLA comes in handy!). We commonly go back to track the attribution on who drove a lead from the first engagement all the way through to a paying client.  If a sales team member is doing a lot of that work and not tracking the activities they are doing with the lead, there will be no credit given to the sale. Additionally, it may be worth investigating what parts of the process are most painful and determining if there are ways to better automate some repeatable tasks.

  5. How does pricing normally work for a marketing automation system?

    For marketing automation platforms, it is mostly based on the amount of database contacts you have within your platform. From there, costs can also increase for additional add-ons like social components or custom integrations.

  6. We have a large content library, but have difficulty organizing it and delivering our pieces to prospects.  How can we do that?

    This is a great place to be! Our approach for clients who have a lot of content but not sure how to organize it is to start with a content inventory framework.  This helps you log all your available content, as well as key information about it (e.g. type of content, what phase it lines up with, targeted persona, etc.). From there, you can leverage this inventory to drive a content calendar or even to create unique buyer journeys for your core personas.

  7. In the SLA model shown, you had many different stages and processes.  Our sales model is much simpler, do we have to follow this model?

    Nope! This is simply an example, these can be customized and tailored to your unique sales and marketing process.

  8. Do I have to have a CRM in order to use marketing automation?

    Technically, no. You can have one without the other. The core advantage of having both is allowing you to track leads from their first engagement, as an anonymous visitor, all the way through to a paying client.

Tell us, how do you feel about MA and CRMs?  Sound off in the comments below!

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