There seem to be a lot of misconceptions in marketing around CRM, or customer relationship management systems. Many think a CRM system is just a technology to manage sales leads or just a database of sales contacts. It’s actually both, and when integrated with marketing automation, it can be much more of an integral part of your sales and marketing strategy. Here are five ways incorporating a CRM system benefits you
1. Increased Awareness
One of the main functions of a CRM system is to provide visibility of where leads are in the funnel, as well as raising awareness of sales and marketing activities. Your CRM can alert your sales team to upcoming marketing initiatives, such as an upcoming email campaign or marketing event. Even more than that, it can alert sales team members to important actions your customers have taken. If they have registered for an upcoming webinar, your sales team might want to send them personalized reminders to attend. Alternately, your team may only want to reach out with a phone call if the customer attended. Whatever your outreach strategy is, it cannot happen properly without a well-maintained CRM.
2. Enables Automated Alerts
To make the system even more seamless, it is possible to create triggers and alerts within your CRM. These ensure the appropriate team member can be notified every time a particular action happens. For instance, if you want someone who subscribes to your newsletter to receive a touch-base call one week later to see how he or she is enjoying it, you can create automated alerts that notify the appropriate team member to make that call. This type of functionality helps ensure that the wealth of information inside your CRM becomes actionable. The benefit is increased visibility into leads across both sales and marketing, which can accelerate the sales cycle.
3. Ensures Consistent Messaging
In addition to being able to reach out to customers at appropriate intervals, a CRM also provides you with the input you need to ensure your messaging is consistent. If someone already subscribes to your newsletter, there is no need to continue inviting them to do so. If they have begun regularly attending your webinars, it is somewhat of a faux pas for your sales team to call inviting them to attend. Knowing which messaging works for which clients based on their past and current behaviors is important. Without this ability, you can end up sending your customers mixed messages. The more targeted your content is, the more value that content will be and the more likely a lead will engage.
4. Provides Holistic Customer Insights
Once your sales and marketing teams are accustomed to entering accurate and useful data into a CRM, they can start to acquire a more robust understanding of your customer. Sure, maybe a customer attended your webinar. However, when the sales team followed up, they found out the customer hated the webinar and never wants to attend anything like it again. This kind of insight can help all future engagements with the client, as you can turn off the indicators that might invite them to similar types of events. This insight provides us with the context that simple behavioral data — the act of attending a webinar — does not offer. As a result, a CRM can increase engagement and accelerate sales cycles.
5. Increases Customer Engagement
Once you have the elements above in place, you should begin to see increased engagement from your customers. You may be wondering why that is. Simply put, you have begun listening to and understanding them through the data you have compiled in your CRM system. This makes them more likely to receive the types of messages that will resonate best with them, which in turn leads to increased engagement. Increased engagement then leads to increased likelihood of conversion, which leads to customer loyalty, future spend, becoming a customer advocate, and so on.
Synchronizing your data between CRM and marketing automation will help you optimize customer insights. While it can take time to create a shared repository of data between sales and marketing, you’ll gain the ability to understand your customer’s actions and preferences better than ever before.
If you take the time to make this transition now, you will have the added benefit of being ready for whatever technological advances are coming in the future. Ultimately, a well-organized CRM system offers your organization a wealth of benefits both now and in the future.