Structure is essential to business. Without it, chaos would reign. Your people and resources are neatly segmented into departments, divisions or groups with specific roles and objectives. This order allows each component of your organization an area of expertise, a focus that enables an efficient and logical workflow. In order to achieve larger goals, however, companies must bridge organizational silos to share information and expertise, not only between people, groups and departments, but between data and systems as well.
Your email marketing and CRM systems are much like your sales and marketing teams. Each has a defined role in a shared component of the organization. They may touch the same group of people in different ways and at different times, but are most effective when they collaborate and work on shared objectives.
Like sales and marketing, CRM and email marketing systems offer even greater benefits when their areas of expertise are integrated into a unified effort. Below are six reasons you should consider a unified solution:
1. Comprehensive return on investment: Integrating email and CRM can allow you to determine the true ROI of a campaign. For instance, how can you truly assess the value of exhibiting or marketing at a trade show? In addition to importing leads from the show, you can input the costs to attend (e.g., marketing materials, booth and exhibit fees). You’ll then be able to track not only conversions of leads into sales, but also the return on your investment.
2. Improved sales visibility: Your sales reps have real-time insight into customer behavior. They can see which prospects have opened emails as well as clickthrough data that equips them with more intelligence when they make sales calls. This allows sales reps to tailor calls to prospects’ interests.
3. United we stand: A single database with common data elements is much easier to manage than having two different systems. Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) can take two systems that store valuable information and automate them, thus saving time and improving efficiency.
4. Data integrity: When your sales reps interact with contacts, they confirm important information. They also discover additional information such as competitive data, pain points and demographic data. With an integrated system you have the ability to update records in real time, ensuring that information is always current for when the next campaign goes out.
5. Targeted messaging: You can develop content based on CRM data such as job title, demographics or previous purchases to serve your customers with relevant, targeted content. This will result in more personalized emails and fewer unsubscribes.
6. Actionable triggers: You can create campaigns based on data elements in your CRM system. For example, if you capture contract expiration dates, you can execute a campaign based on that data.
Now that you know the benefits of an integrated solution, how do you get started? Follow these steps:
- Select the right platform. Buy a solution that works off of a common database on the back end. The platform should also allow you to store and segment your data efficiently.
- Collect the data. One of the most common mistakes SMBs make is not collecting the information. Information gathering isn’t a one-time process; it’s an ongoing task. Put an opt-in form on your website, email your subscribers. Commit to an active, consistent process.
- Constantly cleanse the data. Bad data leads to bad results.
- Segment your database. How you segment your database will depend on your business. You may choose to segment by region, industry, title or more. The key is to segment it in a way that makes sense for your business and allows you to target the right group with the right message.
- Include actionable database triggers in the record. To get the most from an integrated solution, have actionable triggers such as renewal dates, newsletter subscription or “send me all of your latest promotions.”
Silos are sometimes needed in business, but when it comes to collecting and leveraging data it’s time to smash those silos and implement a cohesive effort. Integrating CRM and email marketing solutions can increase your efficiency, ROI and customer base.