As interns, we are considered the “fresh eyes” of the industry. So why is it, in school, the term CRM is glossed over? We hear it in our lectures. We know the meaning of the term. Customer Relationship Management. But what does that really mean? And why is it so important? They teach us that it is a common tool used in the sales and marketing industry. But what kind of tool, and what exactly does it fix? The vitality of such a platform and the processes that allow a business to follow a buyer’s journey may not always be apparent, and many companies may not be using their CRM to the best of their ability. The buyer’s journey is important, yes, but many people are not ready to take that journey and may only be “flirting” with the idea, shopping around as we say.
Those moments, along the journey before the prospect becomes a buyer, can be some of the most crucial spots where strategy and action can be made and/or tailored. They are what guide them to and through the converting stage. The thing that drew me to the marketing industry the most, was strategy. I like the idea of tailoring an active approach to content development, email campaigns, and outbound calling. A CRM literally guides that process of lead nurturing right up to the point they become a customer and even after. This makes it EASIER for sales and marketing teams to collaborate and ultimately bridge the sales and marketing gap.
More than just a database of contacts, a CRM tells you how those contacts engage with your company and which marketing activities are the most fruitful. This is important because it not only provides you with a way of measuring ROI on your marketing efforts but gives you insight on improvements you may need to make in your strategy. Where are you lacking? Is your outbound strategy weak, or is it your lead generation strategy? A CRM can help you identify these answers and from there you can decide how your team can improve and where you may need to outsource (psst.. we've got you covered. Check out our services)
We all know we need to tailor our marketing activities (content, website, e-mails, etc.) to specific prospects or customers and a CRM can help us do that by showing which pieces of content contacts engaged with and when they engaged with it. Where a person clicks, what they download, and how often they visit your site is all right there in the CRM. The data is all there waiting for you to take its hints and take corresponding action to really capture the attention where it’s due. (Almost like significant others around Christmas time, you did notice I’ve been looking at those earrings, right?) For example, maybe someone has downloaded a whitepaper or started to fill out a request to contact your company. Clearly, you’ll need to reach out to this person, but how would you know without having a platform that can track all of these interactions?
Ah, the CRM, a great a tool for sales and marketing, indeed. The capabilities don’t stop there. It can also help fix the misalignment between operations and sales that can sometimes happen. Instead of operations having to guess what services/products another company will agree to, the operations team can pull up reports showing notes relating to price quoting and proposals, making the transition from sales to operations much more efficient. Meeting times are reduced and questions are now dialed down, all from simple platform. Automating your business relationships with past, present, and future prospects and customers can greatly improve the performance and, ultimately, the profitability of your company.
With all the benefits related to CRM usage, it’s clear to see why many companies have started adopting these platforms. Technology makes it possible to decrease the amount of miscommunication and complications as we nurture our leads and move them down the sales pipeline. If the technology is there, why not deploy it?