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Spoiler alert:  marketing has changed.  It’s changed for large enterprise organizations and for small businesses.  It’s changed because of emerging technologies, new marketing tools and, of course, because consumers have changed.

Customer Information Is the New Gold Standard

Whether you’re a small business owner trying to do it all yourself or the director of marketing for a relatively small team, the ways in which marketing has changed are going to affect you.  Whether you’ve explored the benefits of leveraging new marketing resources, like customer relationship management (CRM) software and marketing automation, they’re going to affect your business because some of your competitors are already using them—and getting results you’re not.  Said differently, the more you know about the marketing tools available to you, the more likely you’ll be to achieve your primary marketing objectives.

What Is CRM and Marketing Automation?

CRM and marketing automation, ideally integrated functions, are ways of knowing your customers and prospective customers better and providing them with more effective service, support and key information about your business.  CRM, for example, is software that records and organizes all your communications with customers, then makes that information easily available to you when you need it.  For example, a customer service rep will know about every previous call to or from that customer, and thus better able to answer his questions and provide needed support.

Marketing automation takes that enhanced customer knowledge to trigger automatic responses to customers based on key actions they take.  For example, if someone visits your website and fills in your contact form, marketing automation will immediately send him a welcome email.  If he later returns to your site and, say, checks out one of your products or services, you can immediately send him relevant content to nurture his interest and move him closer to a purchase.

Do CRM and Marketing Automation Work?

In a word, “yes,” as borne out by study after study.  Consider for example a sampling of findings from some of the more influential of those studies:

  • Almost 70% of marketers in one recent study said marketing automation helped them target their messaging to the right customers
  • More than 45% said marketing automation “improved customer experience”
  • Almost 40% reported that marketing automation improved the quality of leads they generated
  • About half of businesses said that using CRM substantially increased customer satisfaction
  • More than half of “top-performing” companies surveyed said their principal purpose for investing in CRM was to enhance sales productivity

CRM and Marketing Automation Together:  Like Love and Marriage

In other words, CRM and marketing automation each work better when paired with the other. Integrating the two will enable your business both to get the data it needs about customers and leads and to provide the kind of service which turns leads into customers and customers into brand advocates.

That said, here are 3 specific ways CRM plus marketing automation can help your business grow:

  1. You’ll have more complete information about your customers:  this includes not only information about who they are (demographic), but also information about what they do (behavioral) like when and how often they visited your website, what they did when they were there, whether they opened particular emails and what content they consumed.  That information is key to knowing what they care about and what they want, and to enhanced service and support.
  2. You’ll be better at turning leads into customers:  most consumers don’t visit your website and immediately start buying your products or subscribing to your services.  The transition from lead to customer is a journey, one in which you need to monitor what it is customers care about, and in response send them content that helps them make a buying decision and builds their trust.  CRM and marketing automation will give you the information and resources you need to encourage leads along that journey.
  3. You’ll shorten the sales cycle:  obviously, your profits will increase the more you shorten the sales cycle.  CRM plus marketing automation will give prospective customers the kind of useful and relevant information (and service) that more effectively increase their trust in your company.  Because you’ll be able to answer their questions more quickly and address their concerns more efficiently, it won’t take as long to persuade them your company is the company they want to do business with.

Conclusion

Sounds good, right?  Still, many business owners and marketers will understandably have additional questions and concerns.  Fortunately, there are experienced marketing agencies which can help.

To learn more about the ways our proven selling system can help your business increase sales and grow, contact us today.