Many small businesses have a core CRM system in place, but hit a roadblock when it comes to leveraging this data to increase sales and marketing productivity. They sit on this goldmine of data, but lack the resources to put it to good use. Many small businesses find themselves doing an import/export dance trying to sync up their CRM with the business’ other systems.
Here are three ways SMBs can blend CRM and marketing automation to maximize sales and marketing efforts:
1. Don’t sit paralyzed on your CRM data.
By tapping into CRM data, marketing automation solutions are able to make “smart decisions” based on the customer’s activity and adapt the message accordingly. The key to successful marketing automation is to have CRM functionality that automatically captures the right information about who the customers are, their activities, and what their preferences are.
For example, a CRM captures how leads come in to a sales funnel. Did they opt in on a company Web site? Did they sign up for a webinar or demo? The CRM captures this information and if working together with marketing automation can trigger automated, drip marketing sequences that adapt the message based on the customers’ behavior.
2. Use your CRM to send targeted, multi-channel messages automatically.
Today’s consumers are flooded with marketing messages. Inboxes get piled high with the latest promotions, irritating most people to no end. This “send the same message to the entire list” strategy takes over many small businesses as they continue to grow their database. It becomes difficult to clean and update the CRM, making it near impossible to send targeted messages that actually increase conversions and create brand advocates.
In today’s world of technology, small businesses are no longer bound to just e-mail. You can send voice broadcasts, text messages, and direct mail all using your CRM data and marketing automation. This helps messages stand out from the crowd.
3. Nurture, nurture, and nurture again.
Failing to follow up is a common problem for small businesses. Because they’re so focused on chasing the hot leads, too many business owners give up on their prospects way too early in the sales process. The truth is, most consumers (81 percent) don’t buy until at least the fifth contact. This is where automated lead nurturing comes in, but this can’t happen without a CRM.
This all begins by systemizing and organizing a business’ contact database. CRM shouldn’t be just a rolodex, it should house information about actions customers have taken, links they’ve clicked on, reports they downloaded, videos they watched and for how long. Small businesses can market like the big players if they treat CRM like a living, breathing organism one that adapts to the behaviors and actions of customers and prospects.
If a small business is committed to treating its CRM than more than just an address book, it can couple that information with marketing automation to implement email auto-responders and long-term, multi-channel marketing campaigns, you ensure no customer goes unnoticed.
The other important note about lead nurturing is that you don’t ever want to be just another vendor bombarding the customer with marketing messages. Be a trusted expert. Be the source they rely on for quality content. Be a subject matter expert. Use your CRM to determine what information they want and then automate long-term nurture campaigns that feed them this content. Then, when they are ready to buy, they buy from you and not the competition.