A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is the key to unlocking your company’s potential. That is because, with a cloud-based CRMS, you get access to customer data in real-time and you can track and manage all of your customers from one central database.
The integration of advanced technologies such as Big Data analytics, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered analytics within a CRMS has improved the customization of these solutions. Yes, you can train and develop a successful AI or ML model even for CRM with the help of pixel-perfect data labeling and relevant algorithms.
No wonder the global CRM market size is expanding rapidly and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.1% from 2021 to 2028.
The thing is, your company’s efficiency lies in organizing itself effectively across various functions. A CRMS, most specifically, helps improve customer relationships to elevate sales efforts and drive successful marketing campaigns.
You see, when the CRMS is integrated with marketing (emphasizing on the earlier stages of the sales funnel where prospects are generated and the qualified leads are put on priority), the sales team can view the lead’s status as they move across the sales funnel in the CRMS.
Plus, the platform assigns the right lead to the right salesperson for higher conversions. That is where the need for a unified CRM arises:
What is a unified CRM?
It is a platform that enables you to streamline your business processes with a continuous data flow between different teams. You can automate monotonous manual tasks to enhance the productivity of your workforce and ensure they deliver a better customer experience.
A custom CRMS, for instance, helps generate and qualify leads from marketing campaigns. Categorization of leads is done based on priority, and then they are assigned to salespersons for conversions. Deployment of a CRM starts with Departmental CRM for specific teams.
Integrated CRM for different applications is deployed as the next step, and then finally, a Unified CRM offers a consistent method to manage the entire business.
But to ensure that the concerned teams adopt the platform fully and make the most of it, a change management plan should be put in place. This could include creating guided product tours, conducting training workshops, and setting up a knowledge base to counter the gaps you have in expertise when it comes to using the CRMS.
When the fear of failure while using the platform is minimized, it is easier to keep the customer at the center of the business. With the help of the CRMS, you can manage all customer engagement activities within a centralized system from any device.
Tips for unifying marketing and sales efforts with a CRM
The two functions in a company should go hand-in-hand to attract, educate and retain customers. Marketing and sales unification plays a crucial role in the future of your company’s success. Unfortunately, nearly half of all the sales and marketing professionals are not well aligned. A CRMS can fix that. Here is how:
1. Agree on a single description of the sales funnel
Conflicting terminologies exists within the sales and marketing teams as to what a lead is or the number of stages involved in conversion. Both groups have different definitions of stages leading to customer acquisition, so obviously, they need to agree to a simpler workflow to avoid any confusion or overlapping of efforts.
To improve the situation by great lengths, your marketing and sales teams must have a standard description of the sales funnel and embed the same in the CRMS.
You must lay down a well-defined set of parameters to judge the quality of a lead in the funnel. It will also help define when a lead is ready for sales follow-up.
Marketing reps must categorize leads before passing them on to the sales reps for personalized follow-ups. The main categories can be:
- Leads interested in your products/service offerings
- Leads that are an excellent fitment for your products/service offerings
- Leads that are a good fit but not interested in purchasing your product/service
- Leads that are very interested in your product but do not fit your pre-defined ideal customer profile
Marketing reps should work with sales teams to form a matrix with these MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) parameters on the CRM platform. This will address the challenge of handling low-quality leads for the sales teams.
The Lead Scoring feature present in most CRM solutions comes in handy when defining the urgency for each sales opportunity. Common factors for scoring leads are as follows:
- Behavioral history of the lead
- The most recent engagement of the lead with your brand
- Comparison of behavioral patterns with previously converted leads
A CRMS will always give both teams an up-to-date version of the definition of a typical sales funnel to access whenever they need it.
2. Keep marketing messages consistent
A buying decision is a change management decision before it is a solution choice issue. And the decision to purchase is taken by far more people than you can imagine.
After all, you expect your lead to change their choice and replace it with yours or add an additional product or service to their day-to-day operations. Therefore, there would be more discussions about whether to purchase or not, further extending your sales funnel.
A CRMS can help close this gap quickly. People are more likely to buy from you if they like your product and trust your organization. One of the major benefits of an aligned sales and marketing team is consistent efforts and messaging to achieve common goals.
Mismatched messaging can be very confusing for customers and prospects. You may notice that the sales team refers to your product with a different name, but marketing calls it something else in their campaigns.
This discrepancy occurs when different departments within a company might not work with each other or share information appropriately. The confusing names lead potential buyers into thinking that there must be some hidden agenda and lose trust in your brand.
A CRMS enables you to manage the prospect/customer interactions with current and potential clients. Both the functions can collectively run an SMS marketing campaign, send push notifications or keep a general tab on the activities planned for the prospects.
Suppose your marketing messages resonate well enough and convey a clear message across all channels, then the probability of conversion increases. Maintaining consistency in your messaging is essential throughout your customer journey. So, whether you use SMS blast, email marketing or social media campaigns, consistency is key to success
3. Build a single-view buyer persona
It is essential to know who the best customers are for your business. Sales and marketing often have different ideas when it comes down to their ideal customer. They should work together to create a cohesive strategy towards the goal of acquiring new clients.
A CRMS can help bridge this gap in many respects. Both functions can collectively create an “ideal” persona document from both perspectives. The sales team must include pointers focused on profits, while marketing must concentrate on qualitative insights.
This document will help you gain an understanding of the type of customer most likely to buy from your company. It will be based on factors such as their industry and how much they are willing to spend for a particular product or service.
People in different industries have unique needs – so it is essential for salespeople or marketers not just to focus on one group but also on multiple customer groups.
To acquire and onboard new customers, you should understand their challenges. You must then fill the gap with your product/service offering. Sharing the persona document over the cloud, i.e., the CRMS gives the entire team access to crucial customer data in real-time.
4. Create practical, achievable SLAs for marketing and sales
Configuring SLAs in a CRMS can formalize the commitment of both teams to work together collaboratively. It can monitor how many leads are being generated, as well as what is the quality of those. The SLA can have the following details for each team:
- Create a list of the campaigns and categorize leads on the defined parameters
- Find the connection between the converted leads and their campaigns
- Track average revenue for each lead source
- Calculate marketing qualified lead value
- List the number of conversations and follow-ups
- Number of leads present in the pipeline
- Calculate time and cost per lead
- Determining the profitability of their contact attempts by calculating each customer’s revenue based on cost-per-call
A CRMS gives an overview of the precise standards of performance expected by the marketing or sales team, with critical metrics varying based on the project and its goals. The SLA also defines the frequency and types of reports to be created or provided (to the vendor) by a team – this information is visible on the CRM platform.
5. Use a “marketing first” approach
When your marketing and sales are out of sync, it can confuse prospects. Marketing creates a campaign targeted at one group while the sales team cold calls or emails them. If not appropriately targeted, these efforts will not generate any responses.
The best strategy is to have a ‘marketing first’ approach. As per this approach, marketers can find potential customers by looking for people with a specific problem. They can then show prospects how the problem can be solved and what benefits can be availed by purchasing your product or service.
After marketing has warmed up new leads enough, sales teams establish the relevance of claims made. At some point during the purchase process, they can reinforce everything said by the marketing team.
6. Establish other forms of communication between sales and marketing
You need to have more than just dashboards and meetings for the marketing and sales teams to collaborate. The teams should have visibility of each other’s measures towards achieving their common goals. One way is by scheduling a weekly meeting so that they can share updates.
Another method could be reshuffling desks so smart marketers work alongside talented salespeople who can guide each other through the project. Salespersons can rate leads in the CRM system to get comprehensive feedback on lead quality.
Periodic offline surveys can be conducted to gather feedback on leads and the sales tools provided. Moreover, 1-1 conversations with sales reps and sales managers help collect feedback for marketing teams.
These steps will help you devise a marketing strategy on the CRM platform that unifies your marketing and sales efforts.
Over to you
There is no doubt that a CRMS helps in better sales and marketing alignment. Research shows that 87% of sales and marketing leaders agree that collaborations between their teams enable critical business growth. A unified CRM offers complete integration of your crucial functions to keep your business ahead of the competition.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.