Here the $64,000 question for business owners: what’s the best way to boost sales and increase profitability? And here’s the answer: you need to know who your customers are and solve their problems better than the competition.
OK, that was an easy one. Now, here’s your bonus question: what’s the best way to know your customers and respond to their needs? The answer is with a powerful combination of customer relationship management (CRM) software and automated marketing. But what does that actually mean?
What Is CRM?
CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s software which will record every interaction you have with every customer, organize that information and make it accessible to you through a user-friendly dashboard. Here’s how Salesforce defines CRM:
“At its simplest definition, a CRM system allows businesses to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them. With CRM, you can store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities in one central location, ideally in the cloud so the information is accessible by many, in real time.”
What does that mean for your business? It means your sales reps will be better equipped to service leads and prospects. It means your customer service reps will be able to answer customers’ most pressing questions and solve their problems for them. It means your business will be more responsive.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Automated marketing is software that enables you to complete marketing tasks (like sending emails or posts on social media sites) in response to your customers automatically, without human intervention. In other words, using marketing automation software, your business will be able to communicate with customers and leads more effectively. For example, if a new lead leaves you his contact information, the software will automatically send him a welcome email, without human intervention. That saves you time, improves your responsiveness, and leaves you with more satisfied customers.
The Power of CRM Plus Automated Marketing
When you bring together CRM and automated marketing, you can respond effectively to your customers’ needs, and do so automatically, giving your marketing efforts a substantial boost. It’s one of the reasons businesses which combine the two increase qualified leads by more than 450%, and sales productivity by almost 15%.
What Are the Major Benefits of CRM and Marketing Automation Together?
Integrated CRM and marketing automation software has the power to improve your marketing capabilities dramatically, meaning you’ll be in a better position to make more sales and grow your business. Here are 4 of the many benefits you’ll reap when you use CRM and marketing automation together:
1. Lead nurturing will be more effective: it’s not enough to generate leads—you also need to nurture them, guiding them effectively through the buyer’s journey. With CRM and marketing automation, you’ll be able to send your leads highly relevant content directly related to their needs and interests. Over time, that builds trust, and increased trust means increased sales. You’ll also be able to more effectively prioritize your leads, helping your sales team know which are the most likely to eventually make purchases.
2. Customer data will be more complete and granular: with the right software, your business will know a lot more about your customers, everything from demographic data to internet activity. You’ll know, for example, not only that someone’s been on your website, but also what pages they visited, what content they viewed and what forms they completed. That kind of granular data enables more relevant and effective customer communications.
3. You’ll complete sales more quickly: one of the banes of marketers is the amount of time it takes to move leads to buying customers. That’s important, because increased competition on the internet has lengthened the sales cycle by about 20% in recent years. With CRM and marketing automation, the content you send will be more relevant and useful to your leads, they’ll be more responsive, and you’ll make more sales in a shorter period of time.
4. You’ll know what’s working, and what isn’t: one of the chief benefits of integrating CRM with automated marketing is the ability to measure results. With the two, you’ll be better able to know which of your marketing strategies are most effective, and to nix or improve those which aren’t. That means, rather than being static, your marketing efforts will be on the ascendant, continually improving.
Integrating CRM with automated marketing can increase your marketing effectiveness exponentially, but it can also be confusing. Fortunately, there are experienced agencies which have deep experience with both CRM and marketing automation. They can help you understand how CRM and marketing automation work, and help you understand which tools are best for your business.