CRM. Marketing automation. What’s the difference? And why in the world would you ever need both?
Great questions. While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and marketing automation systems are complementary, they both serve different functions that only reach their full potential when paired together. A CRM is primarily a sales tool, focused on collecting data about existing customers and managing new customers and sales opportunities. Marketing automation, on the other hand, is the marketing counterpart to your CRM, focused on lead generation and personalized, one-to-one communications powered by the data collected through prospect and visitor tracking.
To break it down even further, your CRM is essentially a database. Marketing automation is the tool that allows you to execute on the information stored in that database. Integrating the two systems allows you to sync information bi-directionally, meaning that an update to a record in your CRM will automatically be made in your marketing automation tool as well (and vice versa). Having this steady “communication” between the two platforms is what makes this connection so powerful, while also ensuring that data is always consistent.
So what are a few examples of how your CRM and marketing automation tool can work together? Let’s take a look:
Having marketing automation in addition to your CRM lets you go beyond basic demographic information in your prospect records to detailed behavioral tracking. With prospect tracking and analytics, you can see what pages your prospects are visiting, what types of content they’re interested in, and where they are in the buying cycle. This is valuable information that your sales team can leverage when trying to close deals.
Automate Lead Qualification and Assignment
The data gathered via your marketing automation system can be used to score and grade leads so that you always know which leads are the most qualified and the best fit for your product. When they reach a certain scoring threshold, you can use your marketing automation tool to automate lead assignment, cutting down on your manual processes and ensuring that lead assignment is both fair and efficient.
Tie Revenue to Campaigns
When you create a campaign in your marketing automation system, it will map back to your CRM so that you can tie closed deals back to the campaigns that created them. This closed-loop reporting capability allows you to attribute revenue to campaigns and more accurately measure your ROI, giving you the information you need to make data-driven marketing decisions.
Send Targeted Messages
Using the behavioral information collected by your marketing automation tool, you can send targeted messages and drip emails that are personalized to your prospects’ interests and stages in the buying cycle. Creating one-to-one email communications using this data means that your prospects will find your messages to be much more relevant (and therefore more engaging).
Create Campaigns around Landing Pages
When a lead enters their information into a form on a landing page, you can use this information to power additional communications, like drip campaigns or autoresponders. There’s no longer a need to blast generic emails to leads who have given you their information when you know exactly where your leads are coming from, and therefore what their interests are. Use your landing pages as jumping off points for topical drip marketing campaigns, where you send related content to them over time.
Note: Marketing automation lets you design your landing pages to your specifications, based on best practices.
Get Real-Time Activity Alerts
With marketing automation, you can receive real-time alerts whenever your prospects take an action on your site, like visiting your pricing page or downloading a white paper. This means that your communications will always be timely and relevant, and that your sales team will always be well-informed.
These are just a few of the ways that your marketing can benefit by having your CRM synced with a marketing automation platform. For those of you currently using both a CRM and marketing automation, what other benefits have you seen? Let us know in the comments!
Want to learn more about how you can increase your marketing effectiveness with marketing automation? Check out our free Marketing Automation Success Kit.
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