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4 important processes marketing need to automate in their CRM

By Expert commentator 21 Aug, 2017
Essential
E-CRM strategy

Streamline your marketing with CRM automation

We all have a list in our mind of the newest marketing tools and strategies we’d love to implement. The only thing we’d need is a bit more time, resource, people and did I mention time? Realistically, we are only able to keep up with about a dozen strategies.

What if I told you that you could streamline some of your marketing processes to free up that magical time and resource? Not only that, but you could reduce errors and improve marketing measurement in the process. All of this without buying the latest marketing tech release – you can do this in CRM.

CRM automation

CRM as an essential marketing tool

In the same way that your sales and marketing teams are connected during the sales process, so should your sales and marketing software. Clever use of customer data is the building block for smart marketing and is typically held in CRM. (If your customer and prospect data is currently held in spreadsheets, drop everything and start looking for a CRM system. Seriously. Here is a shortcut to highly rated CRM systems.)

CRM software is fundamentally a sales tool, and can therefore be perceived as unfavourable by marketing teams. Systems will often be configured to help sales teams get the most out of their deals and pipeline, and marketing targets are forgotten. However, nothing is stopping you from claiming ownership and making the following important processes work for you in CRM:

1. Lead management

Lead management and qualification can be a very manual and time consuming process. Capturing leads from your web forms and entering them in CRM is not the most exciting or useful way for a marketer to spend their time. You can find a number of quick wins by automating and streamlining your lead management processes.

  • Lead capture
    Your inbound web traffic can be split into two sources, web forms & anonymous website visitors. Connect your website with your CRM, so website form leads are captured and entered as such in your system. To ensure none of them slip through the cracks, set up notifications for you and your team to take action.
  • Lead scoring
    Not all leads that come into your business are created equal. There is no point in wasting sales or marketing time chasing down leads who aren’t worth the effort. Your lead scoring plan is how you qualify leads until they’re a MQL and you feel confident handing them over to sales teams.
    Lead scoring is all about highlighting multiple valuable interactions with your business and should be automated to let your CRM do the scoring for you. The next part to automate in CRM will be alerting your teams when leads or prospects reach high scores. As long as you’ve pre-defined when your leads are qualified, CRM can also do this job for you.

Automating these lead management processes will accelerate your marketing pipeline. Timely follow ups when hot leads would benefit from a relevant message from your sales team means higher conversion rates and more sales for the business.

Lead management

2. Lead nurture

In B2B businesses, the sales cycle is typically longer than their B2C counterparts. To avoid leads and prospects going cold, keep them engaged throughout the buying cycle. One way to achieve engagement is by sending drip emails at regular intervals with relevant content. Aim to build trust and relationships, until your leads are ready to engage with your sales team. Don’t be afraid to re-purpose existing content. After all, this is all about time saving. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel, your whitepapers could easily be a basis for 1 or 2 good blogs. Use the resources you already have and build on them.

Trying to nurture each lead manually is a fool’s errand. Use the marketing automation built in your CRM to automate lead nurture campaigns. Using full CRM data allows you to segment data in order to optimise and personalise your email series. Leads in industry ABC can be automatically picked up by lead nurture series A, whereas industry XYZ will yield better results in nurture series B. Highly targeted lead nurture will yield far better results and generate more high qualified leads for your funnel.

When leads reach a defined level of engagement or a high lead score, automate the process of alerting your sales team. They can now pick up the phone and have a meaningful conversation with the lead at the optimum moment.

Lead nurture

3. Customer retention and upselling

A marketer’s job doesn’t stop after a prospect is converted and a sale has been made. Customer retention should carry as much weight as acquiring new business. Keeping your hard-won customers happy and engaged is essential to long-term recurring sales.

Happy users of your products or services will come back for more and will also be your greatest brand advocate. In the long run, they will be a great referral lead source and help to generate new business for you. CRM can automate parts of your customer engagement processes. By allowing you to make the most of your customer data, you can automate marketing workflows such as:

Automated upselling

    • Customer welcome series
      Customers are always at risk of falling through the cracks after their initial purchase. Marketing automation backed by customer data from CRM ensures you stay in touch and keep your brand/product top of mind. Automate a quick email or phone call 1 month after they become a customer.
    • Cross and up-selling campaigns
      Segmenting customers by activity data in CRM will allow you to identify which additional products or services may be useful for your existing customers. Automate email campaigns to customers who purchased one service and inform them about the other service or product
    • Customer engagement
      Staying in touch with your customers and keeping them engaged takes a lot of effort. Automate certain interactions and keep them personalised using CRM data.
    • When a contact posts on your Facebook wall or tweets your brand, you could automatically create activities for your social media team.
    • When a contact makes a purchase, follow up 30 days later by automatically creating an activity to ask for feedback or a review. Take full advantage of using an integrated sales and marketing software, combining CRM data and marketing automation.

Managing marketing campaigns from within CRM will give you the 360 view of your campaign results. Automating campaigns can free up the time you need to strategize about which actions are most successful and where to assign your marketing resource in the future to retain more customers.

4. Marketing organization and planning

Another process to automate in your CRM is the marketing workload planning. In your CRM system, make a project, add all activities, documents, and relevant emails. Add some automated project workflow in there to ensure no steps are being missed before your next marketing campaign goes out. For instance, a new customer newsletter project can automatically launch design & content creation activities for team members.

Marketing spend can be logged against these activities to create a clear picture of ROI of each marketing activity. The benefits are that management is always aware of the progress of items and every step is traceable in CRM.

Marketing planning

Now that you’ve automated these 4 key marketing processes in CRM, you will have freed up significant time for the marketing team. The time you can spend interpreting and refining your marketing strategy or trying out the next big marketing idea on your list. Smaller companies or organizations who don’t yet have the marketing tech stack to make this work can start by automating just one process in CRM which could be a quick win for them, and build on this for the future.

By Expert commentator

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