As your business grows and its customer outreach expands, the question inevitably arises: Shouldn’t your CRM platform add software to automate your marketing functions?
Consider a potential answer in the old song â€œLove and Marriage,â€ which declares:Â â€œThis I tell you, brother / You can’t have one without the other.â€
This matrimonial union, performed correctly, should streamline your business, make it more efficient and ultimately more engaging for your customers.
Global CRM spending: $48 billion
Worldwide spending on the sales-focused customer experience and relationship management software grew by 15% to $48 billion in 2018. according to Gartner research. Much of the spending comes from small businesses, and a majority of the CRM market is directed at the more economical software-as-a-service sector.
But many small businesses are missing out on currently available marketing automation systems that work with CRM platforms. Marketing automation is a technologyOpens a new window that marketers use both online and offline. It is often employed to coordinate, manage and measure marketing campaigns â€“ everything from emailed letters to videos to print and digital campaigns to Las Vegas-style product shows.
It is also used with lifecycle marketing strategies to nurture leads and convert the leads into customers. Thus, marketing automation skills will become an essential part of the sales and marketing teams of the future. Your employees will need to make sense of what is going to be an increasingly sophisticated technology package.
Marketing systems’ heart
CRM software sits at the heart of most marketing automation systems. Your choice of a CRM platform will be critical to implement a marketing strategy because so much will be channeled through it. Your CRM will need to integrate with the data from the marketing system and use it without constant systems clashes.
A wide range of marketing functions will depend on how far a CRM system goes to act as a central node between the company’s sales and marketing teams. An automated marketing system can include the following processes:
- Chatbots, which are becoming an important part of initial online interactionsOpens a new window with clients and customers;
- Emails, which are generated automatically to help nurture clients and manage marketing campaigns;
- Processes, which are controlled automatically to manage invoices and track purchase histories;
All these activities can be highly, if not fully, automated and all will be driving data into the heart of your CRM system. It’s essential that the platform is equipped to manage the sheer amounts of data that will be collected and generated.
From a return-on-investment perspective, marketing automation softwareOpens a new window can help free up your sales teams to focus on business-critical tasks that require a human touch. Over the next five years, CRM platforms will leverage artificial intelligence software as they become â€œsmarterâ€ and more automated. Your business may discover increased productivity benefits as a result.
Choice of CRM therefore will become critical to achieve the full capacity of marketing automation technology. You’ll need it toÂ manage multichannel campaigns and not be restricted to just one â€“ email, for example.
All that said, it doesn’t have to be expensive. More sophisticated CRM platforms have hit the market that fall within the budgets of small businesses. Even larger CRM developers have recognized the importance of smaller businesses and are now delivering many of the features that were once only enjoyed by their biggest clients.
It’s an exciting time to be approaching automated marketing systems for small businesses, but at their core flexibility will be key.
- Marketing automation is a means of making many of your day-to-day business marketing activities fully automatic with little-to-zero human involvement. This will become more prevalent with small businesses over the next few years.
- CRMs are a critical component of marketing automation, as they will need to manage much of the customer and sales data that effective campaigns will generate.
- When choosing a CRM to act as the platform for your MA campaign, make sure it can integrate with other programs and applications you plan to use. It should now be possible to buy CRM platforms that are capable of doing this cost-effectively.