Wikipedia defines Marketing Automation as ‘software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.’
While this is the function of marketing automation tools, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) looks at a company or brand’s interactions with holistically with its prospects or customers. And when these two are combined, they form an indispensable arm of MarTech landscape, i.e. Marketing Technology.
They both are complementary to each other and while marketing automation platforms help marketers reach out to a wide-ranging audience via umpteen online marketing channels, CRM is the essence of any marketing and sales campaign due to its transparency, customizability, and automated features. Integrating the two overhauls the sales and marketing processes and builds an automated and uninterrupted data flow and distribution between teams and systems. This hyper-connectivity leads to immense knowledge and insight exchange. Let us further breakdown this reasoning and understand the purpose of bringing the two together.
1. A clear benefit for the sales team at large-
Whether it is a CRM software for small business or big, integrating CRM and marketing automation platform shall help sales with web intelligence and will equip them with a better understanding of prospect and customer behavior. Armed with this insight the sales team can begin nurturing potential leads and relationships quicker, serve potential and existing customers effectively with the right information and build a consistent relationship with a systematic process of obtaining insights.
Marketing automation also increases marketing-qualified leads by 451% (as per Kapost) on an average without burdening the marketing team and instead of giving them space to focus more on nurturing leads and plucking out the good sales leads. This also helps the leads ease into the communication journey as most leads do not reveal their interest during the initial stages of the buying process and additionally builds goodwill. The job of the sales team also becomes a lot easier and both teams get to achieve higher rates of success.
2. Trackable Company Performance-
A standalone CRM software can measure sales performance but it won’t be able to measure the impact of marketing performance on sales and vice versa. Once you integrate digital marketing automation and CRM, you get to analyze combined sales and marketing data and zero in on strategies that are yielding results, the ones that need further thought and those that are leading to losses and need to be winding up.
This integration will also help you take an interdepartmental approach to analyze performance data and a wider filter will be in place to identify the successes and failures of every team members’ activities. You will finally be able to get rid of fragmented data or discrepancy in performance reports.
Juggling two different data sets on a similar list of contacts, opportunities, and accounts is often the case when CRM and marketing automation platforms aren’t integrated; in this scenario data management becomes cumbersome and there are chances of new data getting misplaced or mismatched. The right CRM marketing automation solution shall ensure information consistency across all teams and systems with organized, easier to track data which is also faster to update or analyze. This consolidated and detailed reporting increases business intelligence and productivity.
3. Improved Customer Interactions-
While the aim of CRM and marketing automation channels is similar, i.e. to build better relationships with prospects and customers by improving interactions, the way both mediums go about these interactions is different at different stages in each cycle. But if platforms aren’t integrated, it’s difficult to determine what interactions a prospect/lead has already experienced with another team member. This creates a cycle of redundant conversations and miscommunication.
Integration with B2B or B2C marketing automation optimizes customer relationships and ensures that the right team members provide the best services at the best times. This shall enable personalized interactions and make customers and prospects feel valued. Marketing teams will be able to automatically send people the most relevant content or information at the right time in their customer journey. This will cut short the sales cycle, hold the lead’s interest intact, and improve the experience of the sales process.
4. Easy tracking of cross-departmental workflows-
To maintain cross-departmental workflows there needs to be a central hub for collaboration which is only possible with the integration of CRM software and marketing automation. This integration will allow for a balance in participation and increase departmental accountability.
The Marketing Technology stack is also expected to evolve into the Integration Platform As a Service (iPaaS) that allows organizations to integrate different cloud-based and on-premise applications. As businesses realize the importance of marketing automation, the tools’ utility will expand and there will be a need to automate different processes so that marketers can invest time on other mainstream activities. For instance, there needs to be a flow/process that would distribute website data through CRM, marketing automation, and so on – An iPaaS solution in place will help a company achieve that making it a next-gen enterprise.
Image Courtesy: CREMARC
5. Reduces marketing overhead costs
Once integrated, the resulting seamless and transparent process helps enhance productivity and efficiency in less amount of time reducing operational costs. A considerable RoI is generated on minimal investment through high-level data intelligence and meticulous planning.
After going through the above-mentioned benefits of marketing automation on lead nurturing, sales productivity is increased greatly and marketing overhead is simultaneously brought down considerably.
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