Let’s say you’ve implemented a marketing automation solution. If so, you’ve taken a great step in terms of providing a superior experience for your customers.
A next step, for many organizations, is to continue focusing on the customer experience with a Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, system.
A CRM helps organizations create excellent customer experiences. As an example, at SugarCRM, we are focused on helping individual employees in customer facing roles – such as sales and service people – create extraordinary customer relationships.
A CRM typically differs from marketing automation in that marketing automation focuses on digital marketing to large audiences, whereas CRM is designed around human interactions (e.g. sales or service) to individual customer (or potential customer) contacts – what we at SugarCRM call i2i, or individual-to-individual. For an optimal experience from your customers’ point of view, and for optimal efficiency in your own sales, marketing and service teams, an integrated marketing automation and CRM system is the answer.
Integrating marketing automation with CRM provides value in many ways. From the prospect or customer’s point of view, they see a seamless customer experience, regardless of whether they are interacting with your organization through a marketing-driven interaction, or a sales- or service-driven interaction, and whether through digital channels like website, email, or social media, or through human interaction like talking to a sales person or service person.
For your own sales and service teams, they are now more efficient and more prepared since they have the full context from marketing automation. They can see exactly which emails, websites, web / social / mobile offers struck a chord with a particular prospect.
If you’re evaluating an integration between CRM and marketing automation, here are a few things to look for:
- Data synchronization – An automatic and configurable synchronization between data objects like leads, contacts, and opportunities in your CRM and marketing automation systems is an absolute must. This ensures that the two systems can share data. Look for an ability to configure data mapping, frequency of synchronization, and conflict resolution. Ideally the synchronization can be two-way. And, since most marketing automation and CRM deployments have their own custom fields, make sure the synchronization supports custom fields in an upgrade-safe manner.
- The ability to create prospects lists in CRM according to specific criteria, and to supply those lists as input into a marketing automation program. When setting up new programs or campaigns in your marketing automation tool, what better place to start than with the data in your CRM system, which represents what you already know about customers and prospects?
- Automatic lead alerting between marketing automation and CRM. You want the ability for highly qualified leads in the marketing automation system to be automatically pushed over to CRM. The ability to apply workflow is helpful here. Workflow can be used for lead routing or assignment to a sales rep, as well as for lead escalation or reassignment (eg a lead that isn’t followed up on within 3 days gets reassigned with notification to the first level manager). Workflow can also be used to trigger notifications to the rep, like an email or text to notify the rep of their new hot lead(s).
- The ability for CRM users (like sales and service reps) to see full context from marketing automation. When a sales or service rep goes into their CRM system to work a lead that has been automatically created from the marketing automation system, you want that rep to be able to easily see what the lead did in marketing automation that resulted in the high score. Which emails did they open? Which websites did they visit and what did they look at on those sites? What digital offers did they respond to? If sales and service can’t see this, they will provide an inconsistent experience to the customer. If, on the other hand, they can reinforce previous digital interactions, then you have created an optimized and consistent customer experience across channels.
- The ability for CRM users (like sales and service reps) to reuse marketing assets and programs. Many marketing teams create great assets (like well thought out, rich email templates) and programs (like sophisticated multi-touch campaigns). Yet many sales and service people can’t easily reuse these assets and programs. A well-integrated CRM and marketing automation system will allow the CRM user to seamlessly reuse existing email templates from marketing automation, and will allow a CRM user to drop a prospect into an existing marketing automation program.
Integrated marketing automation and CRM provides a consistent and optimized customer experience, across digital and human interaction channels, and across marketing, sales and service. By using the above considerations to evaluate a marketing automation and CRM integration, you’re well on your way to driving better customer experience, as well as on increasing your organization’s’ internal efficiency.