Marketing automation + CRM

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Jeff Linton, Act-On Software
Jeff Linton, Act-On Software

As a father of two children, I think the topic of customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation are about as perfect as peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies: they're each much better together.

When I think of sales reps, I always think of the hunger for quality leads. Let's face it, it's marketing's job to feed them. But how?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.”

CRM is defined as managing a company's interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects; we'll use the term as shorthand for the technology that performs the tasks.

The relationship between the goals of marketing and of CRM is self-evident, but when we use technology to connect the two, the relationship becomes synergistic.

Marketers are often hustling to create and execute messaging, collateral, creative, webinars, tradeshows, ad buys, social media, email campaigns and more. In parallel, sales too often wastes time cold-calling inappropriate leads, even when they have the benefit of CRM technology.

Marketers might look at a marketing automation suite as just another layer of tech to manage — probably the last thing they want to do — but when marketers use marketing automation to connect with the sales department's CRM tech, it becomes a conduit for actionable intelligence. Both departments benefit in new, profitable ways. With marketing automation, marketers can create, automate and measure lead nurturing and marketing campaigns, leading to conversion through timing and relevance. This is the old saying, “right person, right message, right time” — and it still works. They can also score leads on specific activities and profiles, resulting in lead qualification based on proven factors. Finally, they can manage, recycle and reassign sales leads based on behavior, which is less waste of valuable leads. This is especially meaningful with a long sales cycle.

When marketing automaton and CRM are connected, salespeople can see exactly why a lead has been qualified and assigned to them; fully understand, prioritize and interact with only the hot prospects; and have the intelligence about a prospect's interests and activities that supports informed conversations targeted to demonstrated wants and needs.

The nexus of connected marketing automation and CRM is the central command center for managing and tracking campaigns across multiple channels through the entire lead lifecycle, from lead capture to revenue booked. The connection yields intelligence that can be obtained no other way. It validates the activities that lift the company's bottom line.

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