In the good old days before the digital revolution transformed the face of B2B sales and marketing, the last thing any marketer would have considered essential for a successful marketing campaign would be Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
In today’s world, however, although it can’t be used to create glitzy graphics or come up with snappy slogans, CRM is arguably the most important marketing tool of all. The biggest reason for that shift is that marketing is becoming more and more data driven, and the CRM system is the lord of the data. There is also the inarguable fact that to be really effective, marketing needs to be very in sync with the sales cycle. CRM is the key to streamlining the two disciplines.
The Intersection of Sales & Marketing
As Blair Enns so eloquently put it in, CRM: The Train Coming at You, “The CRM app is both the expression and the record of the entire sales and marketing pipeline. It’s where marketing records the large quantities of leads their programs create, scores those leads and then hands off the best ones for sales to follow up. It’s where sales tracks deal flow down to the individual, recording all pertinent aspects of the opportunity and the sale.”
What other tool do we have that will enable us to:
- Capture and share key conversations in the market with team members in real-time?
- Dictate the content that will be most likely to resonate with the audience?
- Automatically import data regarding prospects’ online behavior by linking with a marketing automation tool?
- Automatically assign lead scores based on a pre-defined set of criteria?
- Establish triggers for next sales and marketing action steps?
- Identify where each prospect stands in the buying cycle then segment messaging to speak to their particular needs?
- Define and track key performance indicators?
- Analyze and measure results across all campaigns?
A recent InsideView CRM Intelligence blog put it this way: “At the end of the day, it all comes down to how efficient you can make all marketing and sales processes within your organization. Integrating content marketing with your CRM offers optimum efficiency, and gives you a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t.”
Automating for Greater Connectivity
Marketing automation software takes the power of the CRM one step further. As Jeff Linton, Product and Field Marketing Manager at Act-On Software, Inc. was quoted as saying in a recent Direct Marketing News article entitled Marketing automation + CRM “The relationship between the goals of marketing and of CRM is self-evident, but when we use technology to connect the two, the relationship becomes synergistic.”
“The nexus of connected marketing automation and CRM is the central command center for managing and tracking campaigns across multiple channels through the entire lead lifecycle, from lead capture to revenue booked. The connection yields intelligence that can be obtained no other way. It validates the activities that lift the company’s bottom line.”
Using Tools to their Fullest
It is important to remember, however, that even with marketing automation in play, technology hasn’t yet reached the point where the systems can run themselves. One cannot purchase a CRM system and a marketing automation system and expect that all their problems will be solved.
It takes a highly skilled administrator to set up the CRM fields to align with the desired territory management strategy; it takes expertise and experience to create the messaging and set up the automation to best support the strategy; and it takes discipline on the part of the sale and marketing teams to both import and extrapolate the data.
It is true that once the initial set up is done and the CRM is integrated with a marketing automation application, some data will begin to populate automatically as prospects fill in website demo requests, download whitepapers and more. Other data, however, is harder to come by. Outbound messages need to be written, emails need to be built, new content added to your website, and,most importantly, conversations need to be held in the marketplace.
As critical as they are to building a sustainable, integrated, sales and marketing process, CRM and marketing automation tools aren’t robots that will reach out to prospects for you, rather they are machines that with proper care and feeding can yield exceptional results.
With market data coming in from all angles… both inbound and outbound, and a business environment where content marketing is becoming more and more important, a well-built, well- fed CRM system can be pivotal to the success of a growing organization.
The expertise necessary to build that system, maintain that system, and feed that system, however, takes time, commitment and assets to build.
Fortunately, there are options.
Forward thinking organizations that want to move quickly, and appreciate the value of working side-by-side with and learning from experts, will benefit from NuGrowth Solutions’ sales and marketing as a service model.
We bring the people, the processes and the systems to take you to the next level. You maintain ownership of the CRM and all client data. We turn that CRM into a cache of valuable market intelligence. Together we will grow your business with pace and purpose.