From one perspective, the digital and online revolution is the best thing that ever happened to businesses. Never before has it been possible, and so easy, to reach so many consumers across different markets – or for them to find you. Marketing automation & CRM tools can help businesses take full advantage of this new arena by solving the main issues they face:
- How to effectively gather, sift through, analyze, and respond to this overwhelming amount of information?
- How to qualify leads and act with foresight and intelligence to nurture them into conversions?
- How to facilitate internal cooperation across projects, campaigns, and teams, possibly in a remote working context?
How these tools can benefit your business by solving these problems is what we’ll explore in the coming sections.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation software is pretty self-explanatory. The software offloads many of the time-consuming, tedious, and repetitive tasks from your marketing team by automating them. They track marketing-related metrics, such as time-on-page, CTR, etc., also enable you to send email campaigns, interact socially, and launch other marketing campaigns from a single dashboard. Marketing automation is mainly in play during the lead generation and nurturing stages
What is CRM?
Short for customer relationship management, CRM platforms are usually a suite of tools that facilitate all your interactions with your customers. The activities performed include collecting and storing personal and contact details, sales history, and monitoring each individual’s activity and behaviors. It also usually comes with tools to communicate with customers via support, sales, email, or direct chat channels.
CRM can be useful during the marketing stage but is most effective during the ongoing sales and existing customer relation stage.
How can marketing automation and CRM benefit your business?
As you might be able to tell, there is some considerable overlap between these two suites of tools. And, many software solutions provide the capabilities of both. Some of the most popular tools today are:
However, whether separate or combined in one, when used in tandem, they can bring the greatest benefit by allowing you to automate, gather data, and deliver personalized and targeted interactions across the entire sales funnel.
Centralized sales and task progress tracking
One of the key benefits of both marketing and CRM platforms is that they act as a centralized repository of your consumer data. This means any relevant parties from across the sales funnel can easily access any relevant data when they need to.
It also helps to streamline your internal workflows by helping you identify bottlenecks, providing company-wide visibility, and by facilitating collaboration. It does this by providing tools, such as:
- Automated scheduling with shared calendars
- Communication channels
- Automatic notifications
- Assigning and tracking tasks
Automation will take many tedious and repetitive tasks off your employee’s hands. In turn, this frees up both marketing and sales teams to focus on human, big-picture tasks, such as external communication and strategy. Overall, this will significantly improve your productivity.
Qualify and prioritize leads
According to the 80/20 approach, you should spend 80% of your time on only 20% of your most valuable leads.
With in-depth, personalized, and readily available customer data, you’ll be better prepared to qualify leads according to customer views and experience. Most of this qualifying can also be done automatically by the software, leading to ping sales or marketing staff if needed.
Another common area of misalignment is when marketing rushes leads straight to sales before they are ready. This not only results in frustrating or potentially driving away leads early in their journey but also overwhelm sales with unqualified leads.
An automated marketing system integrated with a CRM can funnel leads to sales once they pass specific quantified criteria.
The result is higher conversion rates, possibly at a lower cost, which is good for business.
Improve your lead nurturing
Lead nurturing is all about understanding your lead’s needs and knowing when it’s the right time to act. It also means being quick and responsive in your customer communications with personalized and knowledgeable communications.
Both marketing and CRM tools will provide your agents full consumer profiles on demand. You can then use this to respond more effectively and empathetically to consumers, whether they are just leads, qualified leads, or existing customers, via direct and indirect communications.
For example, on average, 50% of qualified leads are still not ready to buy. Understanding and responding to these nuanced stages of the user journey is vital, as is crafting personalized customer journeys based on these profiles.
Personalized marketing and sales communications
86% of consumers say that personalization has some effect on what they purchase. However, 31% say that they wish their experiences were even more personalized.
The trouble with personalized marketing and CRM is that it’s so time-consuming, without any guaranteed pay-off.
However, CRM and marketing software can even automate personalized interactions by using the available consumer data. You can use this to send out targeted emails and even personalize the messaging automatically.
The numbers show how effective this can be as emails with personalized subject lines have 50% higher open rates.
Enhance lead scoring by shortening the sales process
35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. Simple as that.
In a manual world, your marketing or sales team would have to regularly sift through potential leads, qualify them, and then reach out on an individual basis. Marketing and CRM software can automate this entire process and even add a touch of personalization.
Intelligent software can also ensure that you reach out to consumers at best possible time, based on where they are in their sales journey, behavioral models, and even market shifts.
Such software will help you to, quite literally, beat your competition to the most valuable leads, and convert.
Recycle cold leads
Just because you couldn’t convert a lead today doesn’t mean you can’t in the future. To this end, CRM tools allow you to store all relevant consumer information and lie in wait for the right opportunity.
Following up manually on inactive leads can be too time-consuming. However, occasionally using targeted campaigns to try and reignite cold leads is nearly effortless through the power of automation.
Get the big picture with in-depth analytics and insights
Perhaps one of the most obvious, yet overlooked, benefits of marketing automation & CRM tools is their data gathering and analytics capabilities. They will give you unprecedented insights into your entire consumer base, who they are, their behaviors, and what they respond to.
By recording the entire history of a consumer’s activity and interactions with your brand, you can identify pain points, opportunities, and where you are most or least successful in the buyer journey.
For something specific, like email campaigns, you can track open rates, CTR rates, and the rate at which recipients eventually convert. The same goes for all of your other communication or sales funnels.
This will empower you to continually reassess your strategies and conduct effective testing to see what works and what doesn’t.
The writing’s on the wall is, if you haven’t invested in Marketing automation & CRM for your business yet, you’re missing out. Forward-looking companies agree with the CRM market forecast to grow to $43 billion by 2024. The time to invest in the tools and skills to take your business further is now.