We’ve all heard it before: Successful marketing is all about providing a solution to a problem. But how exactly do you determine what customers need?
Thanks to marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) softwares, marketing teams can effectively understand their target audience deeper than ever. Because of this, they can develop thoughtful automated workflows that nurture leads into customers.
While marketing automation and CRM may seem like two different elements of your marketing strategy, the truth is the two go hand-in-hand. For example, marketing automation improves business productivity by 20 percent. In order for your business to achieve its goals, you need to optimize both marketing and sales efforts.
To accomplish this optimization, marketing and sales need to work together through daily tasks, strategy, digital infrastructure, and automation softwares. Intandem, automation softwares and CRM provide each team with real-time specific data that can be tracked and measured for future improvements.
With all this in mind, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager takes a look at the harmony that occurs when combining marketing automation and CRM. We’ll review the basics of marketing automation and CRMs, and then dive deeper into why they need each other and why you need both.
What is Marketing Automation?
More than 75 percent of all companies currently use at least one marketing automation tool. If you’re not utilizing automation software, you’re falling behind. You’re missing out on increased lead generation, higher conversion rates, and better ROI.
What is marketing automation? It’s a software or digital tool that automates repetitive marketing tasks. It combines strategy and creativity to nurture leads into customers in a more efficient, streamlined way. The goal of marketing automation is to consistently provide timely, valuable, and tailored content at each point of the buying process.
“Step 1: You send an email invitation to download your latest eBook to a targeted list of contacts.
Step 2: You send a thank you note to all the contacts that downloaded the offer.
Step 3: A few days later, you send a follow-up email to the list of contacts who downloaded the eBook, offering them a case study relating to that topic.
Step 4: When a contact downloads that case study, your sales team will get a notification. They should follow-up with them, because this lead is now much more qualified and is likely farther down the buying process.”
Marketers utilize automation software for a variety of tasks, because it’s more efficient and allows them to focus on bigger, bolder projects. It saves time and money on basic to-dos like the following:
- Email marketing
- Social media posting
- Ad campaigns
- Popups and chatbot windows
Marketing automation software allows you to create and build campaigns and workflows that improve various foundational marketing strategies, including lead generation, lead nurturing, conversion rates, and customer communication.
Another key to automation software is that most are designed to report analytics on easy-to-read dashboards and charts. This helps marketers track and adjust strategies according to how your website visitors, leads, and customers respond to each campaign or workflow.
Depending on the marketing automation software, marketers can also explore tools like content management systems, project management, meetings and events calendars, and app integrations.
In conclusion, a marketing automation software is crucial to your business operations and strategies. It streamlines basic marketing tasks, creates more efficient workflows, and frees up your marketing team to tackle bigger, bolder projects. It even primes your sales team by giving them the most qualified leads to pitch to.
Customer Relationship Management(CRM): A Brief History
Marketing automation is a newer concept, as more software companies have developed and advanced this helpful tool. Its partner in marketing, however, has been around for over 40 years.
According to CRM Switch, “Pioneered by Robert and Kate Kestnbaum, database marketing collected and analyzed customer information. Using statistical modeling, that data was then used to help customize communications with other potential customers.
In 1986, ACT! introduced the business world to contact management software (CMS). Essentially a digital rolodex, ACT! allowed for the efficient storage and organization of customer contact information. Goldmine and other vendors also released CMS programs throughout the 80s.
Near the close of the decade, the proliferation of personal computers and the advent of server/client architecture paved the way for an explosive growth in software development.”
The 1990s brought the first major advancement toward today’s CRM. Major players in the CMS industry evolutionized it  into sales force automation (SFA), which took database marketing features, automated them, and combined the features with contact management.
By 1995, thanks to Siebel Systems (now an Oracle subsidiary), SFA and contact management functionalities closely resembled modern CRM. It was during this time that the abbreviation “CRM” came into existence after the failure of other terms like enterprise customer management and customer information system.
In the late 90s, big enterprise resource planning vendors like Oracle, SAP Software Solutions, and the Baan Corporation (now part of Infor Global Solutions) entered the CRM market. They hoped to crush the competition using size and enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities, which managed and integrated multiple businesses processes.
Because the CRM industry was more competitive, vendors were forced to expand the scope of their softwares with additional sales, marketing, and customer service features.
After the dot-com bubble burst emerging tech companies ,the CRM industry slowed. During this time, major business acquisitions, like Oracle acquiring Siebel, occurred, and big-name players like Microsoft and Comcast joined the game.
In 2007, Salesforce revolutionized the industry with its SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model for CRM enterprise solution. Salesforce's cloud-based, cost-saving CRM was a more agile business model and quickly became the industry standard.
In keeping with the explosive growth of digital marketing, CRMs rapidly integrated web analytics, social media, email marketing, ecommerce, and marketing resource management (known today as content management systems) into a single software.
While marketing automation software focuses on marketing processes, CRM focuses on sales. With a CRM, you can:
- View the touch points of workflows and digital visits from automated marketing processes
- Include valuable persona data in a demographic profile, like phone numbers, physical and email addresses, related profiles from the same company, company revenue, industry, and more
- Ensure proper lead nurturing and lead scoring for sales teams
- Track communication channels, including email marketing, social media interactions, notes from phone meetings, and more
- Identify past purchase decisions and history with your company
All the information that a CRM provides helps your sales team turn website visitors into leads, and turn high-quality leads into customers. It even helps customers turn into brand loyalists, positioning your company as an industry thought leader. A CRM does all this by tracking automated and non-automated digital interactions and demographics, allowing sales teams to predict where a person is in the buying process and nurture them accordingly. In today’s world, that kind of personalization and attention to detail is key to a successful sale.
Because of this potential, a CRM is a vital component to your business operations and strategies. It’s even better when paired with a marketing automation software, like Mirabel’s Marketing Manager.
Why You Need a Marketing Automation Software and CRM
Marketing automation software and CRM are a perfect match. Like marketing and sales teams, they complement each other to help achieve a common goal.
When you combine marketing automation with a robust CRM, you are able to form streamlined, efficient campaigns for your target audience that make it easy for sales and marketing teams to strategize for. These software tools leave little room for guesswork and increase lead generation, lead nurturing, lead scoring, conversion rates, and customer service.
It’s a no-brainer, so let’s talk about how to implement marketing automation and CRM within your own company:
- Create cohesive marketing and sales strategies. Ensure that your marketing automation software is able to automatically tag and transfer relevant information, like demographics and digital touch points, directly to your CRM. This allows your sales team to always have the right information when they are developing pitches for high-quality leads.
If the CRM and automation software work in tandem, marketing teams will also create more accurate campaigns due to better targeting specific audiences on various platforms and channels.
- Utilize precise lead scoring. Timing is everything when it comes to conversion at any point of the buying process. It’s ideal to nurture leads with the right content to notify sales teams when is the right time to get involved. Lead scoring helps sales to segment and prioritize leads based on their anticipated desire to buy. “Follow-up is more effective when implemented more closely to the initial interest.”
It’s important to score leads precisely, so every member of each team is on the same page. Characterize a high- and low-quality lead with a standard definition.
- Cut out duplicate efforts. Duplicating efforts is what automation and CRM tries to cut back on. When sales and marketing teams are performing the same tasks, or worse, giving leads mixed messages, the company suffers. It wastes time and money, loses valuable sales opportunities, and ruins your brand’s reputation. By implementing an integrated system and educating every team member on how it works and their responsibilities, you’ll be able to better track your efforts and avoid duplication among your sales and marketing strategies.
Integrating marketing automation and CRM strategies generates higher-quality leads, offering better visibility to marketing and sales teams, and provides consistent messaging for prospects. In turn, this can shorten the sales process, improve customer relationships, and consolidate data management.
Kelly Jacobson contributed to this blog.