A CRM can be a truly amazing asset for a sales team to use. They allow for increased efficiencies in the selling process, they can help improve the sales pipeline, and they can even be used to fill holes in the pipeline when you realize that you are falling short of your numbers. It’s really no wonder that CRMs in various forms have become ubiquitous in today’s sales world.
But the benefits that CRMs can imbue on a business don’t stop at the sales team. Marketing, too, can benefit substantially from the features and systems that CRMs bring to the table. Here are some of the many ways that Marketing, like Sales, can benefit from using a CRM.
1. Achieve a deeper understanding of your customers.
One of the amazing things about CRMs is that they allow sales teams to analyze customer behavior, which increases the likelihood of a sale. This same reason also makes CRMs an invaluable tool for Marketing.
CRMs let marketers delve into customer behavior by gathering information about how they interact with your website and how they respond to various marketing efforts. The more that Marketing understands the customer, the more targeted they can be in their outreach and content creation. This increased understanding, ultimately, translates into content that is more appealing to the customer, which leads to an increase in leads and sales.
Depending on the CRM, you may be able to view the course of your website traffic (how the audience reached your website), which pages they visited (and for how long), which page caused them to leave your site, and even where they went afterwards.
2. Send more targeted emails.
Having a deeper understanding of your customer helps your marketing efforts in another huge way: It allows you to send more targeted emails (and other communication, like social media posts and ads).
No buyer likes the cookie-cutter feel of receiving an email that is clearly mass produced. They want to believe that they are receiving an email tailored to them and their needs (even if such a demand is unrealistic). It’s just how humans are: Anything less, and they lose interest.
According to a study in 2013 conducted by Pardot, 77% of buyers want content that is different and targeted to them at each stage of their research. By using the information that you’ve gathered from your CRM, you are able to personalize the emails and campaigns that you send to your leads in a way that makes it seem tailored to them, even if they are still automated. Going a step further and segmenting your email campaigns based off this information can help make your efforts more effective.
3. Qualify your leads automatically.
The quality of your leads is just as important (honestly, more important) than the number of leads that you generate. If a lead isn’t qualified, then by passing them along to the sales team you are just helping to waste everyone’s time.
CRMs can help marketing qualify a lead quickly and automatically. Because the system gathers data on each visitor and lead to your website, it can also automatically score the lead so that only the most qualified gets passed along to Sales. In the end, this means that hot leads get passed along to Sales when they are most likely to buy, and keeps other leads back in the lead-nurturing sequence until they have progressed enough to become qualified.
If you’re a little uneasy about the idea of letting a CRM handle all of this for you, don’t worry: You have the ability to indicate how much you want different actions (on the part of your lead) to impact the lead score.
4. Analyze your efforts.
After each campaign, it’s really important for you to analyze how the campaign performed. If you don’t do this, then you don’t really know what worked—and what didn’t. And there’s no better way to scare off your leads than to keep making the same mistakes in your campaigns. Who wouldn’t want to know how they can improve their efforts to make more money?
And using a CRM is one step to getting your analysis down pat. Quality CRMs will track how different leads react to different communications—which emails they opened, which ones they ignored, etc.—and will even show you how this interaction either led (or didn’t lead) to further action on your website (in the form of pages viewed, orders completed, forms filled, etc.).
By regularly taking time to analyze your email and other marketing campaigns in the light of data gathered by your CRM, you have the ability to refine your techniques so that you are more effective in your efforts.
5. Align your sales and marketing teams.
Traditionally, Marketing and Sales have been siloed within their own independent departments. As such, they work independently of each other in order to hit their own respective goals and benchmarks. Logically, there is a natural workflow: Marketing creates leads that Sales then turns into customers. But in practice, things usually don’t go as planned.
When Marketing and Sales don’t work together, all sorts of issues are bound to come up. Marketing may go after the wrong types of leads, which are unlikely to actually buy. Marketing may cast too wide a net, making it difficult for Sales to target the best prospects. Sales may lose confidence in what Marketing does, leaving them to fall back on their own resources and tactics for closing sales (cold-calling, independent research, etc.). And plenty more.
Ultimately, what this leads to is a lot of wasted time and effort on the side of both Marketing and Sales. In the case of Marketing, they are creating content that does little to actually attract clients and revenue, which leads to Sales becoming disenfranchised with the marketing process. This in turn leads Sales to disregard the leads, insights, and collateral marketing that has been generated and instead march in a totally different direction—generating their own leads, creating their own content, etc.—which wastes the time of everyone involved.
By working within the CRM alongside the sales team, Marketing has a greater ability to understand exactly what Sales needs. In the long run, this alignment between the two teams turns into higher-quality leads and more sales.
Bringing It All Together
Though CRMs are often billed as tools for sales teams, they have immense potential for helping inbound marketers get ahead. By relying on the data that CRMs gather, Marketing can become more targeted in its content creation and outreach efforts, can better score leads, and can better align itself with the needs of Sales, making for a much more productive workflow all around.