April 27, 2015

The Advantage of Integrated CRM and Marketing Automation

This is a guest contribution from Jessica Lunk. Jessica is a digital marketer at Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform for small business owners.

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Ready to streamline and scale? A small business CRM is going to help you and your team get organized and put better sales processes in place.

At the same time, if you’re only looking at the CRM component for your sales team while neglecting the marketing side, you’re likely missing the opportunity to automate additional tasks and processes. This could give your business more bandwidth to close additional deals.

Whether you’re looking at a using a standalone CRM in conjunction with a separate email marketing tool, or considering a best-of-breed integration between a CRM and marketing automation platform, all-in-one sales and marketing software might be the best route for your small business.

The Rise of Marketing Automation for Small Business

In the past, marketing automation was reserved for enterprise organizations with the budget and resources needed to implement comprehensive, costly programs. However, there are now many small-business-friendly marketing automation solutions, which has increased adoption down market.

In fact, SMB Group’s 2014 SMB Routes to Market Study shows that in 2014, 20 percent of small and 25 percent of medium businesses purchased or upgraded a marketing automation solution in the past 24 months. Meanwhile, 22 percent of small and 26 percent of medium businesses plan to purchase or upgrade a marketing automation program in the next 12 months.

Today, small businesses that want to remain competitive are looking to marketing automation to better manage their leads and increase sales.

While searching for a CRM for your small business, it’s a great time to think about marketing automation as well, and look at all-in-one sales and marketing tools that package both tools in one application.

The advantages of going all-in-one include:

Seamless Communication Between Systems

Managing multiple databases – like a CRM and separate email-marketing tool – can be a chore. While this approach can work for a while, the lack of communication between systems can inhibit your business’s ability to scale.

Instead of manually exporting contacts from one system into another, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform keeps your data in one place. Not only are there fewer systems to manage, but you can track contacts through their entire journey – from lead to prospect to customer. No data is lost between sending an email in one system and converting a prospect into a customer in another.

Better Insights

Even a very small organization can benefit from analyzing their existing sales and marketing efforts.

With seamless data from an integrated CRM and marketing automation tool, you can get more information out of your database. For instance, a standalone CRM might track notes from conversations your contacts have had with your sales team. However, you’re probably missing information, like which pages a contact has visited on your website and what marketing emails they’ve received.

With an all-in-one system, you can drill down and pinpoint which lead sources are producing the most customers, which marketing campaigns have the highest conversion rates, and how long your average sales cycle is, all in addition to how your sales people are performing.

The Ability to Scale

Since you’re only managing one database – instead of an email list and a CRM, you have better insights into performance and can increase sales, without adding more salespeople.

In addition, moving from a traditional email marketing tool to an integrated CRM and marketing automation system saves time by streamlining common processes.

Here are just a few ways marketing automation can add hours back into your day:

  • Create automated tasks based on your contacts actions, keeping you uber-organized
  • Send triggered emails and autoresponders
  • Capture new leads with from your website with forms
  • Track and score contact activity, so you can see at a glance which hot prospects you should be following up with
  • Send email campaigns to nurture leads until they are ready to buy

Automating routine tasks through marketing automation gives you and your sales people more time to have meaningful conversations, so you can win more business and scale revenue without growing your team.

 Eliminate Integrate Costs

According to The Experts Bench, Only 33 percent of companies who use both CRM and marketing automation said the two integrated well.

 While many CRM and marketing automation systems play nice together, customizations and unique processes can create unforeseen integration obstacles. Integration can be a time consuming, costly endeavor that requires an in-house or outsourced technical resource.

 For small businesses, an all-in-one sales and marketing system eliminates the burden of integration, so you can start seeing return on your software investment right away – not months down the road.

 A CRM is a core technology to small business, but marketing automation is equally important when it comes to staying organized and following up with your contacts. If you’re on the hunt for a small business CRM, take a look at an all-in-one sales and marketing tool to help you drive sales and scale revenue.

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