Customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation (MA), on the surface, sound distinct. And they are, to a point. Salespeople rely on CRM software to capture and segment leads, so they can maximize sales activity and reduce missed opportunities. Marketing professionals rely on marketing automation to take away some of the tedious work in nurturing leads, so they can focus on creating and refining data-driven strategies for finding qualified leads.
Despite their differences, these platforms have a lot of overlap—and a lot of opportunity. Learn about the benefits of CRM and MA individually, and how their combined power can bring your business increasingly better benefits.
What Is CRM?
Customer relationship management (CRM) usually refers to CRM software. It’s a well-known and widely used tool for storing and tracking all sorts of information about your audience, wherever they may be in their buying journey. It can capture the simple information like a prospect’s name, email and phone number, and then track more complex details like their activity throughout your digital properties or preferences.
If you use a CRM, you’re probably acutely aware of its benefits. Your entire organization has access to a centralized, well-organized database to pull meaningful metrics and information from, so you can better understand your audience. You can also personalize communications (which often lead to benefits for consumers and marketers alike) and even reveal gaps in your sales strategies.
What Is MA?
Marketing automation (MA) is a (mostly) entirely different animal. While a CRM might allow you to insert a consumer’s name at the front of a subject line, it’s not much help if you’re manually sorting and sending each email at a specific time every seven days. And then when the consumer moves further down the funnel, you need to manually shift the consumer into a new email campaign.
This is where marketing automation becomes your new best friend. Marketing automation moves consumers through the funnel at their own pace, and without any (major) heaving lifting from you. That means a much lower risk of overbearing communication, better personalization and greater coordination among your marketing team. Marketing automation systems also can score leads for you, leading to a smaller-but-mightier pool of high-quality leads—which, of course, are the best kind of leads.
How (and Why) Connecting CRM and MA Helps
When you connect CRM and MA systems, there’s risk of a disjointed consumer experience, a lengthy implementation process or even customer data leaks. Still, the benefits only snowball the more you use and refine your connected systems—better productivity for all your teams, centralized and organized data, visibility on customer behavior and seamless pass-off from marketing to sales. Plus, your knowledge of your consumer base (arguably the most important information to know) only grows and improves over time the more you use an integrated system.
At its most efficient and valuable, marketing automation delivers valuable leads and information to the customer relationship management system, which then uses that valuable information to understand and uncover details about who wants what, when and where. And then marketing automation uses those new insights to create better flows and nurtures for leads.
We’ve covered why connecting CRM and MA can be beneficial but figuring out how to get these systems working together is another matter. Focus on these key steps to get your systems effectively working in tandem.
Personalize Messaging with CRM and MA Info-Sharing
Personalization is a well-known, effective strategy for finding and serving your audience messaging that resonates. With CRM, information like location, industry, funnel position and more can be fed into your MA system without the need for tedious copy-pasting by any team members. In turn, your MA system can then use this information to create better, more personalized targeting strategies and messages.
Implement Data-Driven Lead Scoring
If you’ve ever forgotten something in another room, or someone’s name after you’ve just met them, then it should make perfect sense that the same thing can happen to your leads. Leads that receive a quick follow-up are more likely to respond favorably and remember why they interacted with your business in the first place, bettering your chance at a conversion. A quick follow-up is a chance to show your value on a deeper level—and CRM and MA can get you in front of your customer with little-to-no extra effort.
Everything from the consumer’s location to their decision to download an asset or open an email is information that can be scored by your marketing automation system and transferred to your CRM system. Automating this process helps bring your sales team qualified leads consistently. And, a quick update to the lead-scoring method based on new data is easy to implement, so the leads can keep rolling in.
Avoid and Delete Duplicates
It’s completely plausible for the same consumer to come to you in different ways (e.g., fill out a form and direct reach out to a salesperson). And if there are two separate profiles made for the same lead, communication can quicky get messy. That’s where manually managing duplicates becomes important—because your synchronized CRM and MA system won’t always pick up on them. Be sure to schedule regular times to review and delete duplicate profiles in your system to avoid any confusing or overbearing messaging.
Putting it All Together
Marketing automation and customer relationship management tools are great on their own, but better together. Syncing these systems has a myriad of benefits, such as more personalized messaging, a better chance at conversions, a centralized and well-organized database and, in general, greater visibility into even the most ever-evolving audiences.
Still have questions (or just want some more personalized expertise)? Contact us and see how we can help you get your customer relationship management and marketing automation systems firing on all cylinders.