Sales, marketing, and customer service are three of the most important aspects of a successful business. As businesses and companies embrace digital transformation, the need to find the most-effective tools that save time, simplify tasks, and support sales growth is vital.
For most organizations and marketers, using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a game-changer. Knowing the right tools and integrating them with your digital marketing efforts is a surefire way to generate more revenue and reach your business goals.
With the growing competition online, sales and marketing teams need to level up their game. It is more than just a battle of gaining an online presence but also the best software and tools that improve productivity, customer relations, communication, marketing, and conversions.
What is a CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It is a software system designed to collect and connect data from customers’ data and leads all in one place. This includes databases, spreadsheets, purchase history, and communication forms such as emails, calls, and text messages.
The CRM software ensures that all marketing and client data are compiled and can be easily tracked. This helps businesses to acquire new customers, provide excellent support, and maximize results. Backed up with key information and metrics, it becomes easier to nurture relationships with clients, boost operational efficiency, and develop better marketing campaigns.
Important features of a CRM Software
Not all CRM software is created the same. With tons of options available on the internet today, finding the most appropriate one for your business can be a daunting task. Before you buy a CRM tool or decide to upgrade your current CRM solution, look at the features that they offer. As much as possible, you want a software that can solve all your needs.
Choosing the wrong CRM with features not aligned to your company workflows will just make everything confusing. Some CRMs are only made for specific functions such as data management while some offer an all-in-one solution that supports marketing, business operations, and customer support.
Here are the important features that you should look for when choosing a CRM software:
1. Workflow automation
Customer service and lead generation are labor-intensive and time-consuming. You don’t want to do repetitive tasks manually as it can cause burnout and inaccuracy. CRM systems should help
you simplify workloads and automate repetitive tasks so you and your team can focus on more high-level tasks.
Workflow automation features allow you to save more time and increase employee productivity. You can set custom rules on how your CRM would perform based on specific triggers and activities. For example, you can automate a follow-up message when a lead or prospect does not respond to your initial message or proposal within 48 hours.
Automating workflows will help you not to miss something. When a customer fills up a form, it can automatically notify the right sales rep or department. Whenever a task is completed, it can also send updates to the designated management. This decreases any legwork, streamlines tasks, and keeps everything on track.
2. Contact management
Being able to collect, store, and organize the information of your leads and customers is essential. When shopping for a CRM, do not just look at its contact management feature but see its overall layout, functionality, and usability. As much as possible, you want the contact names, email addresses, website URLs, and other data in organized fields and searchable databases. This can help you to segment the data easily and track the activities of your leads. Managing your clients’ data efficiently is the key to a quality sales pipeline and better marketing campaigns.
3. Account Management
If you are a company that provides services or sells products to your clients, you want to make sure that every project is monitored and delivered on time. Account management is an important CRM feature that allows you to store customers’ profiles and information. It provides you with a detailed view of contacts, billing information, communication history, products sold, milestones reached, projects completed, and more.
Without this feature, it will be difficult for you and your team to track client communication and projects. The account management feature allows you to check customers’ data and see if they are satisfied with your product or service. This will also help your team monitor what work is needed and ensure that all tasks for a specific client are completed correctly and efficiently.
4. Lead Management
A good CRM should have a lead management system. This feature can make a big difference to how your marketing and sales team work. The growth of a certain company is connected to the way how they manage its leads.
Below are the key elements of an effective lead management feature:
• Lead Capture
• Lead Activity Tracking
• Lead Scoring
• Lead Nurturing
• Analytics and Reporting
• Communication Options
Through the lead management process, you can determine the quality of the leads that are coming to your sales pipeline. It also provides you with insights into their actions and what stages they are in the sales cycle. With this, you can weed out the dead leads and make your team focus their effort and time on re-engaging with quality leads.
5. Task Management
With CRM software, not only can you track your customers’ data, but you can also manage your employees better. Employee management is important to serve your customers efficiently. By using a tool that helps designate tasks, track hours, schedule meetings, and set goals, employees can have a great view of their responsibilities and what things are happening inside the organization.
The task management feature is beneficial for managers and department leaders as they can see due and completed tasks, monitor employee performance, give rewards, and create incentives. Having access to an interactive dashboard where you can measure the team’s productivity and identify areas of improvement can enhance the company’s growth and employee experience.
6. Email Integration
Wouldn’t it be great if you could send email campaigns to your leads and customers right from your CRM software? Using a traditional inbox to track emails can be tiring as you have to
switch from one software to another. With this, you can easily lose track of emails or get confused as the emails pile up.
Choose a CRM tool that includes an email integration. Connecting your tool with Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo can save time and make sending and receiving emails without additional hassle. A good email integration also allows your team to connect their calendars for lead follow-up and appointment setting. Synchronizing your CRM to an email service streamlines customer communication and management of contact lists. There are also email features that provide custom templates that help you to design and create emails easily.
7. Quote Management
This simple yet important feature allows you to create quotes directly from your CRM solution. When prospects get interested in your product or service, your next move should be to provide them with specified quotes and order details. Your sales team can insert the product database into the system and create custom quotes using the pre-designed quote templates.
The quotes will be linked to your customers’ profiles so you will be able to track which quote belongs to whom. You can revise and cancel it or send it to your colleagues or upper management for approval.
8. Reporting and Analytics
You should not miss this feature when looking for a CRM. Collecting marketing and client data and interpreting it is vital to making long-term decisions. Using the right tool for your business, you can run reports of lead acquisition, marketing spends, sales figures, and sales rep performance.
Analytics and dashboards provide you with a clear view of what strategies are working well and not. Reports and metrics show you the sales performance and profitability of your business as well as the retention rate and effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Running a weekly or monthly report guides you to make present and future decisions. Your team can also help troubleshoot any problems before they get big and fill in the gaps they see lacking. Reports provide actionable items that can increase employee collaboration and performance.
9. Sales Forecasting
Having an idea of your future sales helps you in setting reasonable benchmarks for the next quarter or sales period. You will become aware of the projected sales and future profit and adjust your marketing approach accordingly. Sales forecasting also helps you anticipate market changes and use past data to make informed decisions.
The CRM tool can show present and future sales projections and help you test different marketing tactics to achieve optimum results, and if the results are on par with your efforts.
10. Third-Party Integration
You don’t want a CRM that is compatible only with a few options. The more third-party applications you can integrate into your CRM, the better. This saves you time and money. Instead of using
separate tools, you can just connect it to your CRM solution so there is no need to open both. Select a software that offers a ton of integrations so you can have flexibility in handling clients and running marketing campaigns.
Some key integrations that a CRM software should have are email and calendar, accounting and billing, proposals and documents, social media, call and video, forms, and data collection, and live chat. Integrations are powerful resources that help simplify tasks and run your business run smoothly.
What are the Benefits of CRM?
It’s pretty straightforward – no business exists without its customers. Businesses are built by relationships with customers. Marketing and customer management must go along together to retain customers and encourage brand loyalty. CRM tools are designed to take care of customers from lead acquisition to post- purchase. By understanding the customers’ needs and behaviors, companies can develop a more tailored marketing strategy and offer better customer service.
Listed below are the reasons why you should use CRM for your business.
• Maintain a Centralized Database
Storing all your customers’ information and organizing them in one place is one of the major benefits of using a CRM. The central database not only keeps your customers’ details but also
records interactions, tasks, and sales cycles. Having all the important data without the need to dig through a cabinet of files makes a company more productive and efficient.
Accessing all the needed information in just a few clicks allows sales representatives to act on it in real-time. This enhances customer service as the customers don’t have to wait to get a response. The entire organization becomes more prepared to attend to every customer and deliver the best service. They’ll know exactly what to do, what to offer, and how to anticipate any obstacles.
• Qualify and convert more leads
You can create a Google or Facebook Ad but without a functional CRM, it seems like a waste of effort. Once you get the attention of your target audience, you want them to move closer to the buying process. CRM helps you optimize your lead generation funnel and track every prospect on any part of the customer journey.
CRMs allow you to determine which channel your leads come from and what keywords you use to attract them to take action. Then, you can integrate their data into your system and launch a nurturing campaign. From this, you can easily identify quality leads and create better marketing decisions.
• Increase Productivity
CRM technology can help get automate menial and repetitive tasks. Data entry, sending emails, and other time-consuming tasks no longer demand pressure as they can be easily set up and managed. This saves valuable hours and enables you to view
business processes and workflows. The dashboards will help you identify if all the tasks are completed by the designated employee. CRMs can assist in employee management and help the sales department make data-driven decisions.
• Increase Sales
A CRM tool can interpret data profiles and optimize the sales process, giving you opportunities to offer a more personalized experience to your customers. A good CRM software can help you map out customer journeys and build a step-by-step sales process that improves customer relationships.
How you nurture your customers also plays a critical role in customer retention and sales. By effectively managing your leads, you can accurately create the right marketing content, adjust your offerings, and tweak potential issues before they arise. With this, you will be able to track not only the customer growth rate but also the churn rate. It is important that the growth rate should be higher than the churn rate, otherwise, it will be hard to reach consistent growth. Customer retention rate matters.
With an interactive dashboard and analytics, you will be able to understand how each campaign is performing. Consider getting a CRM system that offers reports and metrics. This allows you to develop actionable items based on contextualized data. Important key performance indicators (KPIs) that you should be tracking are bounce rates, click-through rates, demographic data, up
customer lifetime value (CLV), sales cycle duration, profit margin, and customer satisfaction.
Getting access to these data allows you to optimize marketing campaigns and understand how leads come to your pipeline, how they engage with your marketing content, and how they turn into paying customers. This leads to better advertising and higher profitability.
• Better Team Collaboration
Aside from optimizing your sales pipeline and customer service, CRM software improves communication and team collaboration. With features like file hosting, employees can access customer data without the need for back and forth communication. A built-in tool allows the team to work on one file simultaneously and seamlessly. They can also follow the progress of each document such as sales quotes and other important records.
With a CRM tool that effectively records contact information, interactions, and conversations, the team can learn more about the customers and make the right decisions. Also, all the data is stored in a cloud-based technology which can benefit the team if the business or the employees decide to operate home base.
What is Marketing Automation?
Simply put, marketing automation is the practice of leveraging software to automate manual and repetitive marketing work. Within the marketing department, many tasks take a lot of time and energy to complete. Some of these tasks are data entry, social media posting, email marketing, customer support, and ad campaigns.
Marketing automation helps businesses and organizations save more time by letting the technology do the work. For example, you can use tools that automate common responses to customers’ inquiries and schedule messages to your database instead of doing them manually. Not just automating repetitive tasks, marketing automation tools also help in sending personalized messages and enhancing customer experience. This saves the sales team more time and increases productivity.
Different Types of Marketing Automation
Every business has different marketing tasks and needs. It involves implementing both internal and external tactics for a company to survive and succeed. Marketing automation is not just about automating repetitive tasks but making marketing campaigns and business operations efficient and results-driven.
Below is a list of various types of marketing automation and how you can use them to leverage your marketing efforts.
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Automation
Customer relationship management is one of the core pillars of successful marketing. Having a good CRM tool allows businesses to view their customer data on an interactive dashboard. Important details such as email addresses, location, phone number, and demographics are crucial in generating sales.
CRM automation enables companies to design better sales funnels and perform ad campaigns more accurately. Since marketers can analyze what types of ads customers like to see and what factors made them buy a product or service, they can adjust their advertising approach to bring better results to their sales pipeline. When the marketing funnel and customer journey are aligned together, there will be higher interactions and conversions.
2. Email Automation
Email marketing is one of the oldest yet the most-effective digital marketing methods. It delivers the best ROI in the business. Whether you are doing a customer outreach or a customer retention campaign, email automation will make the workflow easier and smoother for you. Email software will help you create conversations with interested leads, communicate with existing customers, and send targeted emails to specific audiences.
Email automation tools such as HubSpot, MailChimp, and ActiveCampaign provide email templates that your marketing team can customize, with no coding required. Not only that, but you can also segment emails, set up triggers, and personalized email campaigns based on lead activity and the campaign you want to launch. You can send welcome emails, remind your list about discounts, automate follow-up messages, and more. Create engaging content with pre-defined rules and you’re on your way to boosting conversions and building an engaged audience.
3. Social Media Marketing Automation
With millions of daily social media users, establishing a strong presence on social media channels is vital. However, creating and sharing posts is not easy. Without the right tools, it is easy to lose track. The result is – an inconsistent campaign and poor brand reputation.
By utilizing social media tools, your marketing team can focus on doing the most important part – content creation. One disadvantage of not automating your social media post is your team might miss posting content on the agreed time. Your marketing team can just connect your social media channels and load up the content on the social media scheduler. Using social media automation tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and SocialPilot eliminates any inconsistency. Plus, they have built-in analytics and insights tools that will help you track the engagement and performance of your social media content.
4. Mobile Marketing Automation
In this fast-paced world, convenience is king. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets to surf the internet. It provides comfort and ease of accessibility. With over 50% of web traffic coming from mobile, it is a smart decision to invest in mobile marketing.
Mobile marketing automation allows you to reach your prospective and existing customers on their mobile devices. You can send push notifications, personalized text messages, in-app messages, and various SMS marketing campaigns in real-time. This helps you engage and build relationships with your customers.
5. Marketing Analytics Automation
Analytics and reporting are two important elements that can help you connect the dots. Going through different channels and platforms and obtaining data manually is counter-productive and confusing. Spending hours scanning content and big chunks of data lead to inaccurate analysis and reports.
Thankfully, there are analytics automation tools with powerful programs to help your marketing campaigns. They let you track and monitor all sorts of campaigns such as email, ads, blogs, social media, and more. You can view certain KPIs and see the strengths and weaknesses of your advertising campaigns. Get access to engagements, click-through and bounce rates, traffic, cost per lead, etc., and capitalize on the metrics to achieve winning results.
What are the benefits of Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is no more an option but a necessity for all businesses. When implemented properly, it can lead to better workflow, more leads, higher conversions, and bigger growth potential. It streamlines your marketing efforts and helps you scale your business.
Here’s a quick list of how marketing automation can benefit your business:
• Creates more personalized experiences
Not because it is called, “automation”, does not mean there is any human touch. This can be true in the hands of an inexperienced marketer. Marketing automation is not about sending robotic and templated messages like what most people assume. When used by the right marketing people and experienced copywriters, it can bring more deals to the business.
One of the best ways to convert leads into customers is to provide valuable content and relevant message. Automation software allows you to create personalized campaigns and target specific audiences based on their interests and needs. Based on the data collected, you can score, grade, and qualify your leads and assign them to a dedicated salesperson who will further personalize their customer journey.
Imagine your entire marketing department working productively and efficiently. That’s what marketing automation can do. It simplifies the tedious tasks and makes the team’s tasks easier. As a result, you can reduce staffing costs and free up more of your time.
Instead of manually checking emails, posting social media content, and scanning analytics every day, you can let the automation software handle the process. This means your team can focus more on interpreting data and brainstorming for future projects and campaigns.
• Great ROI
If you want your business to succeed in the digital space and dominate the online competition, marketing automation is a smart investment. Compared to traditional marketing methods, digital transformation provides you with measurable results. Companies that implement automation in their marketing strategies are seeing a 53% increase in conversion rates.
Ignoring the power of marketing automation means letting the customers jump to your competitors. Using marketing software does not cost much and you can see an increase in your ROI within a year.
• Better Leads
With marketing automation, you are not blindly selling to people. This means that your products and services are reaching the right audience. The consumer data insights and marketing reports allow you to see the effectiveness of your campaign. Then, you can revise or tweak your strategy accordingly.
Automating your lead generation process helps you attract more high-quality prospects. Map out a customer journey from website visit to becoming a customer. Automate follow-up messages and nurture sequences and filter the good and bad leads. This will give you a clearer picture of your customer’s behavior and create better ads that target their pain points. You can also learn what channels most of your leads come in – website, social media, email, business directories, and others.
• Data Management
Sales and marketing are all driven by data. The success of a business online depends on how you collect, store, interpret, and use data for your marketing efforts. With marketing automation, managing your data is easier than ever. It allows you to create tailored marketing solutions and scale your business.
By creating your clients’ profiles, storing relevant information, running A/B tests, analyzing results, and tweaking strategies as needed, you can bring more sales and enhance customer satisfaction. Marketing automation offers you the most comprehensive solution for setting up, managing, and measuring ad campaigns on a small budget.
Why should you Integrate Marketing Automation with CRM?
Integrating your CRM with marketing automation is a no-brainer. Integrating both software not only reduces costs but centralizes your data and optimizes workflow. If you deploy both software separately, there is a tendency for data leaks and communication issues. Integrating both creates an all-in-one CRM platform where you can have a detailed view of the operational process, marketing process, and customer journey.
Through integration, you don’t have to track and analyze data from two different systems. Instead, you get a unified approach to data management. This eliminates confusion, allowing you to focus on consistent messaging and interaction.
Last, it makes your marketing, sales, and services team collaborate and work better. The marketing team can launch effective ads, the sales team performs lead nurture and lead conversion tasks, and the service team fulfills the product and service. Using a CRM and marketing automation integration, a perfect balance of workflow, accountability, and productivity can be achieved.
Combining CRM with marketing automation provides a ton of advantages. It improves scalability and aligns your actions to your business objectives. It helps you identify the right information, track significant activities, and figure out the most-effective practices to leverage customer data and marketing efforts. From showing the ads to the target audience, collecting leads, and contacting prospects, to lead nurture and sales close, CRM- marketing automation integration will do the heavy work for you.
Need help getting your CRM set up or assistance with marketing automation integration? Our expert team can help. Don’t hesitate to book a FREE Marketing Assessment call with us today.