The Top Five Ways Integrating Marketing Automation to your CRM Can Save a Troubled Deployment and Increase CRM Usage

CRM deployments can suffer a variety of setbacks. One of the most common setbacks is poor adoption, usage, by the sales team. Marketing automation solutions, integrated and embedded within CRM, can play a significant role in improving your CRM deployment in a variety of ways. Over the last several years, marketing has risen above its traditional standing in the CRM world, which had been low man on the totem pole. Marketing historically was the “other” technology that existed outside of CRM. Poorly understood and generally operating outside of the framework of the core CRM, marketing automation as a technology solution was even further from the core.

Today’s marketing automation solutions; those that holistically combine email marketing, web analytics and other emerging channels such as social media, are adding tremendous value to traditional CRM deployments and, more so than ever, have the attention of the C-suite. These holistic and fully integrated are now considered by many to be a “must-have” technology in the new social web selling environment.

Why all the sudden attention? In a word, social web. Today, a company’s prospective buyer has taken control of the top of the sales funnel and many buyers are engaging in self-directed sales cycles using websites, blogs, social platforms, and other emerging outlets to evaluate solutions to the level that nearly 70 percent of a traditional sales cycle may very be complete by the time you actually speak to a prospect.

In addition to this, many B2B companies operate with much smaller sales teams and rely heavily on web-based marketing. Gone are the days of large telesales and inside sales teams supporting field reps working small geographic territories. Companies are now much more laser focused on building strategic, efficient, and cost effective lead-to-sale and lead-to-revenue models. Technology, like marketing automation, fully supports these strategic efforts.

Marketing automation solutions, like SalesFUSION, becoming Sugar Market, have focused virtually all of their development efforts on fully embedding demand generation technology and processes into CRM because this provides significant financial benefits to most B2B companies. Furthermore, for those CRM deployments that may be languishing or suffering from poor adoption and usage, adding marketing automation to the mix has proven to jumpstart, invigorate and align the sales and marketing executive teams to fully leverage the CRM investment.

Here are the top five ways integrating marketing automation to your CRM can save a troubled deployment and increase overall usage:

  1. Gets sales excited about CRM: You would be hard pressed to find a sales person who doesn’t get excited about having qualified leads delivered to them on a silver platter. Lead scoring and lead routing can be configured in a marketing automation solution to stack-rank leads based on behavior and engagement. When a lead scores to a certain level of interest, that lead can then be immediately routed to the appropriate rep. Email alerts are generated and sent to sales reps when leads meet certain criteria. Reps get leads sent to their inbox with information about how the lead came to the website and what they did when they got there. A quick link allows the rep to open the lead in CRM directly from the email. This simple functionality gets sales excited about lead generation and dramatically reduces follow up time by the reps. Catching leads when they are “engaged” and “hot” ensures better conversion to qualified status in CRM.
  2. Aligns marketing and sales: When implementing marketing automation, there’s a lot more than simple bulk email marketing involved. Marketing and sales will collaborate on processes for scoring inbound leads. This collaboration forces marketing and sales to work closely together and define better processes that will keep the CRM system clean. Process improvements stemming from this collaboration will lead to a better CRM deployment overall and to better aligned sales and marketing teams.
  3. Keeps your CRM database clean and efficient: Marketing automation solutions, like SalesFUSION, will police lead flow traffic into your CRM. The marketing database is often used as a lead staging area where “marketing-ready” leads (MQLs) are marketed to and nurtured to a point at which they become “sales-ready” (SQLs). Only then does the marketing automation platform move the SQL into CRM. This methodology and process keeps the CRM uncluttered with suspects and ensures the sales team is only working the highest value (i.e. SQL) leads. Your CRM database size is also reduced, which in a cloud-based CRM model, can reduce your costs substantially.
  4. Improving Lead Conversion: Marketing automation will gather vital information in the form of website visit activity, campaign touches, campaign responses and much more. The system(s) will then append this information to the lead and/or contact records in CRM. This information is at the fingertips of sales when they are tasked to follow-up with a high-value SQL. Sales then has the ability to quickly view the contextual history to get a clear visibility and transparency of what the lead may be interested in based on the pages viewed on site, emails opened, links clicked, form submissions, and general responses contained in the record history. This makes that first critical sales call more effective and will greatly increase the probability of lead conversion.

ROI on marketing and lead generation. Marketing automation connects the leads generated from campaigns, and the cost of acquiring those leads (i.e. CPL), to the opportunities in CRM. This allows the C-suite members of any B2B company to stop throwing darts at a board with respect to marketing spend and pinpoint exactly how, where, and why they should most efficiently spend valuable (and shrinking) marketing dollars.