Imagine you had a magical marketing machine that would allow you to understand the needs of your customers, deliver the exact right messaging to them, know where they are going on your website–which emails they are opening, which blogs they are reading–and understand what exact moment they decided to buy your product or service and why? That is certainly a dream-land, but that’s the kind of information that a CRM strategy tries to discover–often with the help of CRM technology.
Here’s why CRM integration matters and best practices for integrating your CRM with your marketing strategy.
What is CRM integration?
‘CRM integration’ is a word that is bandied about by marketing teams everywhere. CRM stands for ‘customer relationship management.’ Companies often use CRM software to manage their customer and potential customer interactions.
Having an integrated CRM means that businesses can understand their customer, streamline their processes, build relationships with customers, increase sales, and drive profits.
CRMs are usually systems that manage content, sales, productivity, and other factors. It’s a way of measuring customer engagement and a way to see how customers interact with your business.
How has the customer-sales relationship changed over time?
Without customers, there are no businesses. With an increasingly competitive and global market, businesses need to understand their customers’ needs and meet them. That’s where CRM integration comes in.
Gone are the days of the figurative used car salesman. Say, in the past, you went into Sears to buy a refrigerator. Your salesman would try and pitch you whatever fridge they’d get a bonus on–probably the third from the top. They’d let you know about all the fabulous features that you just have to have. This fancier fridge is $500 more than you planned to spend, but now you’re sold on that automatic ice machine and the wife wants the crushed ice and water dispenser. What’s a man to do? It’s all okay, though, you can get it on finance. It’ll only be twelve easy payments of $95.99 per month for the next twenty-five years. Okay, so we’re kidding a little, but sales in the past went something like that.
Customers aren’t like that now. Customers do their research. (Thanks often to companies who supply them with quality content to help them along.) When a customer is trying to purchase a product, they will know what it is they’re looking for, the value of the product, the features, and so forth. You can’t treat them like you’re the salesman of the past; you have to understand your customer and their needs in order that your sales goal will align with their need for your product. Your job now is to convince them that your product or service meets their needs at a price point that you can all agree on.
Why does CRM integration matter?
Marketing integration software can track specific metrics to see how well each of your campaigns is doing. For example, do you want to see if your blog is generating ROI? Do you want to know if most of your leads come from paid ads, social media, your blog, or organic search? Do you want to see if your email marketing campaigns are even working? Which subject lines worked the best? Which CTAs were clicked on most? Which landing pages are working?
Without a CRM integration, you wouldn’t be able to track any of these metrics; with one, you can. So, in a nutshell, that’s why it matters. You don’t have to market in the dark. Marketing without measurable metrics is like trying to find a toothpick in an auditorium in the dark surrounded by balloons. That metaphor is random, sure, but if you’re just going through the marketing motions without any idea what’s working and where you’re wasting your money, well, that doesn’t quite make sense.
What is CRM software is out there?
There is a multitude of CRM software to choose from–from HubSpot to WordPress plugins to Salesforce, Freshsales, Pipedrive, Bpm’online, Zoho, Copper, amoCRM, Really Simple Systems, vCita, OnContact, InfoFlo, Monday.com, Revamp, eWay-CRM, MyCRMDasboardMortgage, Qualtrics CX, and the list goes on. There are many, many to choose from at varying price points. And the price points do vary. Some CRMs are quite expensive.
If you don’t have the budget, plugins can mirror some of the functionality of the fancier systems, but not all. What you have to decide as a business is how much functionality you need.
CRM best practice
Here are some CRM best practices.
- Track everything–landing pages, emails, blogs, web pages, everything. Make sure that your software captures as much data as possible. You never know when it’ll come in handy.
- Check your email campaigns. Depending on your software, you’ll have a range of choice with tracking email marketing. Some software will generate a heat map of your emails. Some will track your delivered, opened, read, bounced emails. Other software will tell you how many leads you generated from your CTA, but others can only measure clicks. It varies.
- Check your landing pages. As with email marketing, CRM software varies on your landing pages for the level of sophistication. It’s important to know if your blog CTAs are working, for example. Are people clicking at the end or your blogs and emails? Do they fill out their contact details or navigate away? If they don’t leave their details, you need to find out why. Is the form too long? Are you asking for too much too soon? Do you need to establish more rapport and trust first?
- Check your content. Content marketing generates leads, but your CRM can tell you how long it takes that lead to convert to a customer after they’ve downloaded your eBook and given you their email address. If the conversion time is fairly quick (but reasonable), you may already have a great formula; if not, you can make tweaks.
A CRM helps you track metrics and understand them, but you still have work to do once you get the numbers. If you’re going to convert more leads, generate more customers, and increase profits, you still have to understand what’s working and what isn’t. And replicate what does work and fix what isn’t.
Need help connecting your website to a CRM?
At Key Medium, we can help. Our websites are fully optimized and connected to a fully-integrated marketing-machine CRM. Get in touch for details.
Elaine Frieman is a UK-based professional editor, freelance writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, checking images for alt text, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.