Inbound Marketing + Sales Blog

March 12, 2014

Marketing Automation and CRM Need to be Connected in the Sales Process

4 min read

Written by: Carly Svetlik  |  Share:

marketing-automation-crmIn the same way that your marketing team and your sales team work together during the sales process (at least we hope they collaborate), so should your marketing and sales software.

Every department wants to know what works for them. In order to have a seamless process you need to be aware of what works for your business. But it's also important that your departments know what works for each other.

For example, a marketer generating a quality lead and knowing exactly how you found it or they found you is really only valuable if you know what happened to that lead once they were passed along to the sales team. Did the lead actually close into a customer?

Knowing this information is essential for the continued success of your business.

In today's post, we're focusing on two important software platforms that are leveraged by marketing and sales teams, and why both of these platforms need to be connected during the sales process. The first is marketing automation (platforms like HubSpot, Marketo & Eloqua). The second is a CRM, or customer relationship management, which includes platforms like Salesforce and Pipedrive.

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What is Marketing Automation and CRM?

Marketing automation is a marketing tool focused on lead generation and personalized communication that is based on data collected through tracking. During the sales process, marketing automation can significantly improve the efficiency of the marketing and sales teams by automating certain tasks that are traditionally preformed manually. Sending out an email for an e-book download to a visitor that signed up to take an inbound marketing webinar, is an example of this personalized communication that can be done automatically with marketing automation software. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is what the sales teams use to help close the marketing leads into paying customers. CRM software is a tool used to manage company interaction with current and future customers. With CRM, the purpose is to collect meaningful data on existing customers, manage new customers and generate sales opportunities.

While both of these tools are important on their own, combined they become a powerful tool for turning visitors into leads. Think of it like this, CRM is a database and marketing automation is a tool that allows you to execute on the information in that database. Integrating these two systems is essential within your business and will lead to increased revenue by improving the efficiency and accuracy of your sales process. It will encourage your sales team and marketing team to work more closely with each other and allow data to be shared easily between the two departments. Integrating these two tools also allows changes made within each to be synced ensuring all data is accurate and consistent.

The Benefits of Teamwork 

  1. Not all leads are created equal: If you're lead savvy you may or may not already know this, however, with the help of marketing automation tools and the CRM database you can determine which of these leads are more qualified than the other. According to our friends at HubSpot "61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27% of those are qualified leads." If your sales team is anything like ours then they are working around the clock to provide best-in-class service and a seamless deliverable. Not only that but they are constantly following up on leads. With the help of lead scoring you can start focusing on qualified leads.

  2. Get to know your leads: Getting to know your leads is absolutely essential to EVERYTHING. Are you up-to-speed on what pages they are looking at, more specifically what type of content do they enjoy reading? We constantly provide our prospects with information on social media, marketing, sales, content creation, etc. But we know that they aren't going to catch the attention of everyone because everyone has their own interests. Not only do you want to know what they're engaging in but what stage of the buying process are they in? Are they are the top or the middle of the funnel? These questions are just the early stages of the many questions you should be asking and can be answered through detailed behavior tracking. Once answered they can help sales reps personalize their sales pitch for each individual lead.  
  1. Who said you should never let someone else do the work for you?: Are you aware of what stage your leads are in before they communicate with the sales team? With automated lead nurturing you can determine what type of content they should be reading at each stage of the sales funnel. This is extremely helpful for your marketing strategy, since your sales team can identify what leads are potential buyers and also what steps need to be implemented if and when they become a cold lead.
  1. Get personal: If you were paying attention when we said you should "get to know your leads" then this next point will come as no surprise. Your emails should be tailored according to the stage your prospect is in, if they are just in the attract phase, you shouldn't be sending them information encouraging them to "buy now." Being mindful of the stage they are in will increase your conversion rate and won't run the risk of a missed opportunity.>
  1. Good old fashioned A/B testing: Marketing automation and CRM were born to be integrated! With the use of both marketing tools you can ultimately track your sales back to specific campaigns. This Closed Loop Marketing process provides feedback from sales and marketing so you can see what works and what doesn’t. 

[ Source: Friends & Partner, Salesforce ]

The Power of Integration

By now you can see the benefits of integrating these tools and you’re ready to incorporate it into your business’s sales process. So where do you start?

If you don’t already have marketing automation or a CRM in place, you will want to identify the key steps in your sales process to determine what types of systems would work best for your business. Get together and collaborate with the marketing team and the sales team. Both parties will have a good sense of what is currently working for them and what their current goals are. Working as a team to establish new goals will help ease the integration process and allow each department to see the roles they play in each other’s fields.

Don’t get frustrated which initial setbacks. Stay on top of the integration process and check back frequently with both teams to see how the integration is going. What works for one business may not work for another so being aware of how things are going within your business. Keeping track of increases in lead generation and sales will help you to adjust and readjust until you have a system in place that allows your sales and marketing teams to work together in the most efficient and efficient way possible.

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Topics: Inbound Sales

About The Author

Carly is a former New Breeder.

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