A marketing dahsboard helps to align marketing and sales activities

(Co-author: Bhagat Ransi)

According to Emailmonday.com, every second company uses marketing automation. But without the proper link to other customer related systems, the full potential of marketing automation will stay hidden.

A marketing automation tool without a link to your CRM software as well as an integrated lead management strategy is like Amazon not using their customer data to improve their product recommendations. It simply doesn’t make sense. Of course, shopping at Amazon would still be a good experience. But compared to what Amazon offers to each customer individually, it would be less personal and a little bit more difficult to find the right products. In a way, Amazon would ignore one of the biggest differentiators between stationary and online shopping.

Marketing automation can individualize your communication – if you let it

A marketing automation tool helps you to create marketing and especially email marketing strategies easier and customer-centric. But to not just blast messages out to all contacts at once, the tool can also be used to advance the communication by personalizing it. By using customer data and adding behavioral data from the contact’s engagement with automated marketing content, you can also improve your communication with loyal customers or apply the knowledge to newly generated leads. This way, you can improve each customer journey and individualize content based on actual customer data.

Salesfusion asked 700 B2B marketing experts about their marketing automation strategies (via Marketwired). Those that have linked their marketing automation and CRM systems and additionally implemented service level agreements between marketing and sales, 60% stated that the marketing-sales communication was exceptional. Only 20% of those experts that hadn’t linked marketing and sales software and strategies could state the same.

Furthermore, according to Hubspot’s recent State of Inbound report 2017, companies with good communication between sales and marketing could generate more leads through marketing strategies than through sales strategies.

Optimize your lead generation and lead nurturing processes

If you link marketing automation and CRM, you can – for example – synch newly generated leads. Leads generated by marketing campaigns can immediately be nurtured for your lead management. Likewise, leads that have been generated by your sales team can immediately get into nurture campaigns and receive relevant content.

All the lead and customer data will be in one data base. There’s no „marketing lead“ or „sales lead“, there’s just the „lead“. Everyone has insight into the lead’s journey at all times because the information that is relevant to marketing and/or sales is readily available for everyone.

The advantage of this approach is clear:

  • Marketing and sales (and ideally the support team) have one single set of data for each lead or customer. This means that there’s no loss of information and everyone has all information about the lead’s or customer’s activities and properties.
  • Especially attractive leads (for example the CEO of a big company who has just downloaded a white paper) can be identified immediately by the sales team which can then decide whether to nurture the lead further or directly contact him. Sales is therefore not dependent on marketing to pick and hand over the leads.
  • News and updates for every contact are documented and synchronized in real time. If a lead converts by signing a contract or purchasing a product, they can automatically be removed from any lead nurturing campaigns.

The marketing dashboard ties everything together

One of the most important assets of a marketing automation and CRM link is the marketing dashboard. Behind the buzzword hides a world full of possibilities. A dashboard is a visual overview on individually chosen data sets and analysis. A famous example of a dashboard is the overview on Google Analytics. And just like Google Analytics, the real gain in such a dashboard comes from personalizing and editing it to a point where you can get the most information out of your data.

With a dashboard that combines marketing automation- and CRM data, you can show the performance of marketing strategies but also, for example, which kind of leads have converted because of those strategies and which ones have churned.

Other possible insights:

  • which leads can be generated through which communication channels?
  • which channels generate the most sales accepted leads?
  • which strategies (email, downloads, sales contact) generate the most conversions?
  • are there seasonal differences in lead generation (more leads during Winter?)

You can also mix, interpret and use marketing automation- and CRM data for prognostics and offerings. Combined with analytics and visualization you can furthermore use statistical methods to classify and score leads. That way, you can easily differentiate between leads of high and low value.

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