Perfect partnerships are hard to find, but CRM systems have met their ideal match in marketing automation. Marketing automation is the yin to customer relationship management’s yang, a complementary technology that does for prospects what CRM does for buyers. Together, they’re more powerful than either can be alone, yet some companies that use marketing automation aren’t fully integrating it with their CRM. Here’s how to align the two halves of your marketing technology and get the best performance from each of them.
Customer Care Throughout the Lead Life Cycle
In today’s digital era, buyers now complete half or more of their journey on their own before any contact with the sales team. With less time to make an impact, hitting the ground running when it comes to customer care is more important than ever. Marketing automation lets you identify, score, and nurture leads well before they become customers. By itself, a CRM could miss pivotal decision-making points in a potential buyer’s journey because they happen before the prospect is in the system. With marketing automation, data on leads starts streaming in right away.
Reading Digital Body Language
Leads aren’t operating in a vacuum when they go on fact-finding missions or comparison shop. They’re giving off strong digital signals the whole time – signals savvy marketers can read as readily as you might interpret a smile or gesture in a face to face interaction. Digital “body language” includes opens, clicks, downloads, time spent on pages, and other signs of interest. Marketing automation systems excel at understanding leads’ behavioral cues and putting them into context. If you want to know what a prospect’s searching for in your content, marketing automation technology can tell you – sometimes even before leads themselves know what they need.
The Other Side of the Fence
If marketing automation technology reads leads’ digital body language, integrated CRM systems help marketers interpret the data they gather. With an integrated CRM, you’re able to link behaviors with buying directly. By analyzing customer data and correlating it with prospects’ demographic, firmographic, and behavioral cues, you gain a holistic perspective on both the customer base you already have and the one you plan to attract. Anticipating needs with omni-channel lead nurture programs, assigning lead scores based on observed data, and smoothly transferring prospects from marketing to sales enhances customer care at every stage.
Integrating Your CRM
In its early years, marketing automation was a complex, custom-built solution that didn’t always play well with existing CRM platforms. That’s changed dramatically now that top marketing automation platforms such as Marketo have set industry standards that allow complete CRM integration. By normalizing and synchronizing data, you retain historical information that puts new data in context. Centralizing information also makes it available to everyone so your marketing and sales teams work together, lending depth to marketing insights and improving customer knowledge for sellers.
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