As a sales and marketing expert, you’re probably already well versed with CRM (customer relationship management) platforms. When used properly, they serve as a central source of truth for your sales and marketing teams, a way to consolidate customer information, and a basis for analysis to see if your strategies are paying off.
You also know the value of automation, in the general sense. Appropriately leveraged automation has the power to save time (and therefore money), free up your employees to focus on more important tasks, and improve consistency.
So how can you use automation together with your CRM system?
Marketing Automation in a Nutshell
Let’s start by talking about marketing automation. There are several ways to automate components of your sales and marketing strategies, such as:
Lead generation. With proper tools, you can reach out to new people, discover contact information of new leads, and generate more prospective customers for your business.
Lead capture. You can also use a combination of traffic generation, SEO optimized landing pages, and messaging to capture more leads – all with an automated system that requires no manual intervention.
Lead nurturing. After you identify a lead, it’s important to gradually nurture them to increase their brand familiarity and increase the chances of eventual conversion.
Customer retention. The sales process doesn’t end with a signed contract. If you want to reap more rewards for your business, it’s important to retain your customers.
Analysis and reporting. Efficient automation can also help you analyze and report on your efforts. If you’re working to iteratively optimize your strategies, this is especially important.
The Benefits of CRM Marketing Automation
Using your CRM platform together with your marketing automation tools can lead to a number of benefits, including:
Consistency. Automated algorithms don’t make mistakes or deviate from their programming. This differentiates them from human beings, who make mistakes all the time.
Better leads. When utilized properly, you can focus on more relevant leads and close more deals.
Higher conversion rates. Intelligent systems lead to higher conversion rates (and eventually, more revenue for your business).
Higher productivity and efficiency. Your employees can get more done and spend less time on administrative tasks.
Personalization. Automated messaging saves time and achieves higher relevance if you tap into the power of personalization as well.
How to Use CRM and Automation Together
So how can you use CRM and automation together to achieve these benefits?
If you’re building a CRM platform from scratch, or if you’re choosing one of the better options currently on the market, you might have access to a CRM with automation tools built in. Otherwise, you can invest in a separate marketing automation platform – so long as it has an open API that allows you to integrate with your CRM.
Once you have your CRM and marketing automation tools “talking” to each other, so to speak, you can leverage their power for the following (at minimum):
Establish and direct workflows. Never forget a step of your workflow again. Automate the process your leads take to become prospects, opportunities, and eventually customers – and keep your employees organized in the process. Automatic reminders and follow-ups can make this process much smoother.
Automate your contact-based messaging. When nurturing your leads or staying top-of-mind with old customers, it’s important to send a regular, predictable stream of messages. It’s a lot to keep track of if you’re expending manual effort on a human-by-human basis. But with the right automation tool in place, it’s all handled in the background.
Score your leads. Good automation platforms have built-in mechanics to help you score your leads. In effect, you’ll get an objective, numerical “score” for each lead based on how well they fit your target profile and how likely they are to close. This can help you direct your salespeople and efforts appropriately.
Personalize messages and offers. Marketing automation with CRM information also allows you to personalize your messages and offers; you can use the data you’ve gathered on your customers to better appeal to them.
Clean up your database. Simple automated algorithms can also help you to clean your CRM database. For example, you can automatically remove duplicates or flag missing fields, so you can address them manually.
Report regularly and readjust. Automation also allows you to report on your sales and marketing metrics regularly, giving you opportunities to analyze your results and readjust.
There’s no single “right way” to leverage the power of both CRMs and marketing automation, since there are so many options on both ends of this integrated system. However, if you spend sufficient time and effort understanding your customers, improving your approach to sales and marketing, and investing in the right tools, you’ll be in a much better position to close more deals and generate more revenue for your business.
Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the digital marketing agency SEO.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When Timothy isn't telling the world about the great work his company does, he's planning his next trip to Hawaii while drinking some Kona coffee.