sync up marketing automation and CRM

Marketing automation is already used by a quarter of all B2B Fortune 500 companies and 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies, and 84% of top performing companies plan to use it by 2015. And apparently, it works – 75% of companies that have integrated marketing automation have earned a positive return within a year.

But what exactly does syncing your marketing automation and CRM system do? Here are 8 reasons it can have a huge impact on your business.

1. Helps nurture leads and develop better relationships with customers before they even talk to the sales team.

It is no secret that marketing teams oversee a big part of the purchasing process. Buyers make their way through 57% of the journey before they even talk to sales. And only 25% of buyers reveal their interest during the early stages of that process. That leaves the burden on marketing to retain the attention of uncertain customers for an indefinite period of time.

Instead of routinely sifting through data collected on every lead, they can rely on marketing automation to do it for them – bringing an average 451% increase in qualified leads. This will prompt marketers on the “who, what, when, and how” applicable to nurturing each lead, solidifying their relationship for when they are ready to buy.

Only 25% of buyers reveal their interest during the early stages of the buying process.

2. Causes customers to be more informed and likely to make a bigger purchase—all at a lower cost for the firm.

Successful lead nurturing breeds educated, gratified customers who channel their satisfaction into their purchase sizes, making 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Companies excelling at the practice generate 50% more sales-ready leads—and do so at a 33% lower cost per lead.

After considering the previously mentioned benefits of marketing automation on lead nurturing, add in the fact that it increases sales productivity by 14.5% while simultaneously trimming marketing overhead by 12.2%.

If higher revenues were not already desirable enough, earning them by cutting costs is a rare opportunity.

Lead nurturing increases sales productivity by 14.5% and trims marketing overhead by 12.2%

3. Grants visibility into customer behaviors by gathering information about their web activities, such as browsing habits and responses to marketing efforts.

The more you understand your customer, the more targeted and strategic you can be in your communications. Tools provided by marketing automation can capture relevant data pertaining to your target audience, like how online visitors reached your website, which pages they visited (and for what duration of time), at which page they left, and where they went next.

Similar techniques can be applied to email. Various statistics can help measure visitors’ enthusiasm toward specific marketing campaigns. And by syncing this data with your CRM software, you give your sales team even more insight into a buyer’s interests, actions, and pain points so they can tailor their conversations more effectively.

The more you understand your customer, the more targeted and strategic you can be in your communications.

4. Prioritizes leads by assigning them scores based on their recorded activities. These scores gauge their level of interest and intent to buy.

Not all leads are created equal (to your marketing strategy, at least). Needless to say, your efforts should be concentrated on those who are most likely to purchase. Marketers have limited information to measure customers’ intentions, but online data can grant some insight. Marketing automation systems can assign scores to leads and rank them based on their online habits, such as time spent on your webpage or any other activities that signal a higher level of interest than others.

Activating bi-directional synchronization between your CRM software and marketing automation system will keep both marketing and sales teams updated on recent customer activity, allowing each team to adjust their strategies to any changes as they occur.

Not all leads are created equal (to your marketing strategy, at least).

5. Shortens the sales process by automatically sending leads the most relevant information at the best possible time.

A company with a long sales cycle can spend months nurturing potential clients who lose interest or take their business elsewhere. To make matters worse, as more decision makers have entered the typical buying process, the average sales cycle has increased 22% in the past 5 years.

The old saying still rings true: time is money. Between a buyer considering multiple options and a sales force attending to numerous leads, there is ample room for communication inefficiency, dragging out the process longer than necessary and jeopardizing the success of the sale. Automation minimizes lost days or months by sending the most relevant content at the best time—and while you still have their attention.

The average sales cycle has increased 22% in the past 5 years.

6. Revitalizes previous leads that have gone inactive by automatically making contact through retargeting email campaigns.

Just because a particular lead has no interest in making a purchase today does not mean that will always be true. The goal is to make sure that they buy from you when the time arrives. Recycled leads are all too often overlooked in the marketing process. Automation can be applied to periodically “drip” informative email content to leads that previously went cold, potentially re-engaging them in the buying process. After all, 60% of customers are encouraged to seek out a product after reading content about it. Indication of any customer activity suggesting renewed interest will be mirrored in the CRM software, immediately alerting the sales team of such developments.

Email marketing is already exceptionally profitable with an average return of 4,300%. Personalized email sent through marketing automation is even more effective, being 22.2% more likely to be opened and earning 18X more revenue than those of email “blasts,” as these consumers spend 83% more on average.

60% of customers are encouraged to seek out a product after reading content about it.

7. Saves time by only sending sales-ready leads to the sales team, allowing effort to be more effectively allocated between the sales and marketing teams.

One of the most common sources of misalignment between sales and marketing teams involves transferring premature leads. In fact, 61% of B2B marketers rush every lead straight to sales—even though only 27% of those leads are qualified. That means about 3 out of 4 of those leads are unprepared to talk to sales, causing otherwise promising leads to slip through the cracks and frustrating your sales team.

If the majority of B2B marketers are sending the majority of their leads too early, they are wasting massive revenue opportunities. Automation systems can apply quantified criteria to determine if leads are truly ready to move along the sales cycle. And once the moment arrives, seamless integration with the CRM software gives the sales team access to any relevant data previously collected by marketers. This enables both teams to continue performing their respective duties in unison while achieving a higher success rate.

61% of B2B marketers rush leads straight to sales—but only 27% of those leads are qualified.

8. Thoroughly analyzes results, identifying reasons for success and awarding credit where it is due.

By tracking significant developments from beginning to end, marketing automation can be linked to your CRM system to pinpoint exactly which actions brought success— and which did not. This level of end-to-end accountability would be otherwise unattainable using only basic CRM software. If only fragments of information were considered, campaigns could be deemed effective based on misleading indicators of success, such as high email click rates, even if those users purchased nothing. And of course, when payday arrives, employees can be more fairly compensated for their work.

Syncing CRM and marketing automation software allows for end-to-end accountability.

Integrating your CRM software with marketing automation promotes efficiency across the board through live-updating cross-divisional synchronization. It prevents unnecessary manual duplication of information that can quickly turn obsolete due to delayed record-keeping. And because it saves your marketing and sales teams time, money, and effort, they will be free to focus more effectively on their common goal: making sales.

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