CRM Software: A Bridge Between Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing have always been pitted against each other, but modern consumerist behavior is forcing brands to rethink the way these departments operate. When it comes to modern consumers, marketing and sales become equally important variables on their purchase decision.
So, how do you combine your sales and marketing efforts? The easiest way to do this is to use a tool such as a CRM (customer relationship management) software in order to synergize tasks, goals, and improve performance across the organization.
Read on below to learn more about CRM for sales and marketing, and how to use it to scale your business like never before.
The Evolution of Sales and Marketing
In the past, aligning your organization’s sales and marketing would have been a tremendous effort, and that has a lot to do with how these organizations are viewed. Traditional outlooks on sales and marketing teams pit them as incomparable departments rather than cooperating bodies working towards a singular goal.
The marketing team spends all day in the office, drafting new campaigns and ads to attract customers, while the sales team spends most of their hours on the field, calling prospects and interacting with them directly.
The “outside” VS “inside” function of sales and marketing teams seem like an impenetrable barrier, but in reality the functions and goals of sales and marketing couldn’t be any more similar.
Good marketing techniques understand customer perception and work on putting out the best material to draw them closer to a sale. Good sales techniques involve providing specific solutions and answers that will inevitably lead to a sale.
At the core of both techniques, knowledge of the customer base, careful research, and timely execution are needed to create a lasting impact. Contrary to what most people believe, sales and marketing are not only similar but overlapping. These two departments can be fused together to supercharge a prospect’s journey from awareness all the way to a purchase.
How Data Changed the Way We Sell
Sales aren’t made the way they are used to. With the advent of content marketing, customers spend hours on the decision-making process by doing their own research before engaging a salesperson.
With analytics available to businesses, it has become easier to know exactly what a customer wants to read, see, hear, and experience. With data, it’s possible to know key information about your customers that will help you map out their behavior, and by extension their purchasing habits. With this information, you can nudge customers towards the shopping cart long before they interact with a salesperson.
Steve Patrizi, VP Marketing & Sales at Imgur and former Head of Partner Marketing at LinkedIn, visualizes this new work model with this graphic:
This shift in consumer behavior signals two important things about the sales-marketing integration:
- Marketing professionals, using the tools available to them, have to have some sales experience in order to bolster the content they are producing;
- Sales professionals can take advantage of the data produced by the marketing team in order to close the sale and win the deal
In the age of data, bridging sales and marketing doesn’t only feel like a compromise but a necessary adaptation to a continually evolving buyer behavior.
Why Is It Important
With so much information available online, customers are becoming more discerning and less reliant on salespeople when making a decision. This doesn’t mean that sales is an obsolete practice; the content you see online is filled with proven sales tactics (call to action buttons, discount coupons, and other forms of incentivized interaction) in order to convert web visitors into paying customers.
Now more than ever, it’s important to view sales and marketing practices as complementary disciplines that will only lead to increased brand awareness and more revenue. Nowadays, people aren’t just buying into a product. Telling them the product is great isn’t enough to get them to spend their hard-earned money. With the storytelling prowess of your marketing team, and the customer-centric methods of your sales team, you are providing exactly what modern shoppers are looking for in a company.
Benefits of Syncing Sales and Marketing
- Long-term and short-term goals are met. Brand awareness and customer loyalty are long-term achievements resulting from months of research and implementation. Reaching target sales quotas, on the other hand, are short term in comparison and can be measured week after week.
For example, you can use customer testimonials to convince prospects and close the deal. This is a great way to interact with old customers and survey their satisfaction, as well as engage interested buyers.
- The sales funnel is more optimized. The best entrepreneurs treat the sales funnel as a continuous stream rather than a step-by-step ladder. By fusing marketing and sales, you can improve your acquisition methods using data from old clients, and use suggestions from new customers to improve the experience of your current ones.
- Outputs can be predicted more effectively. Understanding how marketing efforts affect sales quotas will help you predict goals in the future, as well as make any adjustments necessary to reach certain goals.
It also works vice-versa; you can look at win/lost to competitor ratio and win/close ration in general to improve marketing tactics and lead management through optimized content.
Aligning Sales and Marketing: Key Strategies
Bolstering the sales process through smart marketing can be made possible with the following strategies. We share some insights on how to bridge the gap between the two departments through these actionable tips:
1. Plan The Customer Journey Together
Redefine the sales funnel with the marketing and sales department, instead of letting one team dictate how the customer journey should start and end.
By doing so, both teams have an understanding of what takes place during the customer journey. More importantly, this allows the team to view the journey as a conclusive customer experience, rather than stages where their individual strengths come to play.
Another top priority for companies is to identify a buyer persona, and this can also be a shared task between the two departments. By agreeing on an ideal customer together, it’s easier to map out what strategies to implement during the marketing process and how to seamlessly transition prior interactions into an eventual sale.
2. Know When to Approach
When your marketing and sales team are misaligned, you might end up experiencing something like this: You have a prospect who’s very interested in your product or service. Your marketing team plans on sharing content first before moving them further down the funnel, but your sales team has decided on a heads-on approach without any market research. As a result, the prospect loses interest and is won over by the competitor.
If you really want to bridge the gap between your sales and marketing teams, it’s crucial to create a workflow where both departments know when to act and how. You’ll have a greater chance of converting prospects into paying customers by posing a solid front as one organized brand.
3. Track Metrics Together
Although marketing and sales share the common goal of bringing more revenue to the company, both teams track their success differently. Marketing teams are evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their leads, whereas sales teams are evaluated based on the number of deals closed or new accounts acquired.
Your teams can still track their own metrics within the department, but it’s equally important to have shared KPIs in place.
Tracking the same metrics will unite your sales and marketing departments under a common goal. As a result, you also get to optimize your entire funnel and share insights on how to improve individual sales and marketing processes.
4. Follow The Same Message
Buyers aren’t just looking for a product, they’re looking for a story. The old adage that marketing is only a responsibility of marketers is irrelevant in today’s consumer era. This means that brand representation, voice, tone should be translated even by salespeople, if not more so, as the customer’s direct point of contact with a company.
Solidify the branding by sticking to one message. It includes everything from:
- What you call your product/service
- The terms/jargon you use to make it distinct
- The brand narrative you share
It presents the image of an organization that is clear on its identify, and is therefore capable of serving its customer’s needs.
5. Produce and Share Content Together
Reaching your customers shouldn’t be a competition. By making content production and creation a collaborative process between the two departments, companies can leverage their content marketing strategy and get the most out of their engagement efforts.
This doesn’t just mean knowing what to say on social media – this involves the whitepapers, documents, and other material you send directly to clients in order to get their business.
When both departments synergize on content use, your content marketing strategy becomes more effective and intentional. This translates into the marketing team getting better guidance on what customers are looking for (and what they should write, as a response), and the sales team knowing exactly what optimized content to send to prospects at each stage of the funnel.
How CRM Can Help Bridge Sales and Marketing
Synergizing sales and marketing doesn’t have to be a painful process. Luckily, there’s already a tool both departments can use to make this transition easier.
A customer relationship management (CRM) software is a platform used by companies to track everything that has to do with their customers. Whether they’re leads or paying customers, a CRM software can store important information sales and marketing reps can use to make insightful decisions.
Ultimately, a CRM software is designed to make lead generation, conversion, and retention easier through analytics.
How It Works
A CRM software works by recording every single interaction a customer or lead has with your company. Using this information, you can infer data and make smarter choices.
The benefits of having a CRM software include:
- Distinguishing the difference between profitable leads and dead-ends
- Revenue predictions through old data
- Improved customer service through service ticket tracking and saved transaction history
- Shared document folder for easy, remote access
- Automated email marketing
- Relationship management for vendors, partners, and patrons
- Improved response time to customer complaints and inquiries
- Real-time tracking of projects and campaigns
- Analytics for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram engagement
What Is A CRM Database?
Data-driven sales is stronger than decisions made based on gut feeling precisely because there’s evidence of potential success or failure. With a CRM database, salespeople can look track old and ongoing accounts, study buying patterns, and use this information to reduce churn or enhance the customer’s lifetime value.
With a database storing limitless information and data, sales reps can talk to more prospects more confident than ever. They can apply the techniques that are statistically proven to be better than others, leaving experimentation and guesswork to their competitors.
How Can CRM Increase Sales?
- Better project management: Instead of wondering what fellow sales reps are doing, the calendar feature on the CRM dashboard will help your sales team stay organized. This ensures that all crucial leads are contacted on time, and that projects are distributed to the appropriate team member.
- Streamlined information and communication: The CRM database eliminates unnecessary phone calls and emails. By having a centralized network of information, projects, and data, sales reps have access to relevant information. This means time-sensitive decisions can be made confidently through the data available in your pocket or laptop.
- Less menial tasks, more time selling: Tracking down every single data point can be exhausting, especially if you’re doing it manually. CRM platforms can automatically generate reports and analytics for easy study and implementation.
- Target the right people: Save money by focusing on the prospects and customers that are actually giving you money. With CRM tracking, you can categorize your customers by value, and use their information to map out other markets, networks, and audiences you could tap into.
How Is CRM Used In Marketing?
Marketing has two aspects: creating the campaign and sending it. Sometimes sending out emails, organizing the email list, and arranging leads and consumers through the pipeline takes more time than actually conceptualizing new marketing techniques.
With CRM, you have a built-in marketing automation software that will make sales marketing a breeze. It automatically moves leads through the pipeline and sends the appropriate email based on prompts: first email opened, no email opened, 3 days since email opened – it’s up to you.
CRM is also a useful tool in conducting research. You get a bird’s eye-view of your most qualified leads and understand their preferences. In turn, you can use their data to attract new ones and to improve your lead acquisition methods.
What Is CRM Marketing Strategy?
A CRM marketing strategy is a supercharged version of your regular marketing strategy. It uses data and predictions to map out the best ways to spread brand awareness, encourage product/service, and hook in new leads.
With a smarter marketing strategy, you can reap the following benefits:
- Personalized marketing campaigns: Knowing exactly what type of content your prospects would respond well to is a science. With the help of data, you don’t have to guess which one will actually work. Just look at old engagements and base your decision on ones that are proven to convert more than others.
- Strategic targeting: Sifting through countless of contacts isn’t always worth it. Make your selection process faster and more objective by running it through your CRM software. This way, you can pin down the most important clients and start creating marketing campaigns for them.
- Strategies made flexible: Most marketing campaigns are built with a beginning, middle, and end in mind. With CRM, you don’t have to worry about filling out all the blanks to your marketing strategy. You can easily adapt your marketing techniques based on how leads are responding, and implement your changes across the system.
- Optimized lead nurturing: Time is the essence when it comes to lead nurturing. With email automation, you don’t have to worry about sending the campaigns on time. Just set it up on the system and your software will do it for you without fail. It also allows you to track metrics like click-through, open, and bounce rates so you can keep optimizing your lead emails in the process.
The End Result
A CRM software encourages the synergy of your sales and marketing team by acting as a centralized hub for all things customer management. From the beginning of the funnel to the very end, a CRM platform encourages both teams to share one data and to use that to create unified solutions, allowing you to grow your business faster.