If the recent explosion of marketing-focused products and services is any indicator, modern marketers have a lot of tools at their disposal.
Between social media managers, communication apps, artificial intelligence, drag and drop email builders, automation software, and everything in between, consultancies and agencies alike can now mix and match just about anything they need to serve their and their clients’ needs—but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should.
All too often, marketers strive for the latest and greatest, only to end up getting Netflixed by having too many options and an endless hunger for something better, very few choices of which routinely satisfy the needs or goals of their clients. In the end, many of these offerings tend to distract from what’s arguably the most valuable tool any marketer can employ: a thoughtful, well-designed CRM.
While plenty of new offerings are doing a good job of reinventing the wheel, they tend to overshadow the idea that, in marketing, the road to success is best enjoyed with a smooth ride, and you need more than one wheel to get there.
Without a means to properly help you align sales and marketing, manage client relationships, and coordinate various solutions, you might as well get a stick to roll those wheels with—and from the client’s perspective, it’s just not a good look.
A CRM, on the other hand, helps you get in the driver’s seat of an actual vehicle with a full tank of gas, a GPS, and a playlist of songs your team can sing along to.
It helps manage nearly everything.
There’s a reason that one of the industry-leading CRMs (and a personal favorite of ours) is named HubSpot—it’s a singular hub where you can manage nearly everything sales, marketing, service, and beyond.
While even just a few years ago you’d need separate solutions to help you manage your customer data, content, website, chatbots, social media, email, communications, sales, marketing, and every other aspect of business, a well-built CRM like HubSpot will not only allow you to manage all of these elements, but coordinate them to maximize their collective effectiveness.
For instance, a standalone chatbot might be helpful on its own to provide website visitors quick and easy answers and free up your team to focus on more high-value initiatives. However, when used in the context of a CRM, you could set it up to log responses as customer data, set a notification for outreach or trigger an automated follow-up, use prior data to offer discounts, and so much more.
While there are plenty of customer management solutions that work, far too many of them are rigid and force you to cram data, processes, and your overall approach into a preset structure, limiting your ability to efficiently leverage the assets you have.
In contrast, a well-designed CRM allows you to customize nearly everything you need to help your sales efforts succeed, from custom fields and properties to sales pipelines, communication, and more. Additionally, all that customization works wonders when you want to create business insights for multiple departments—let alone proof of your effectiveness—as you can create custom dashboards to monitor your sales and marketing initiatives, analyze web traffic and engagement, spot developing trends, and more.
It boosts efficiency internally and externally.
One of the best ways to improve your ROI isn’t to undertake more sales and marketing initiatives, but to simply make those that are effective more efficient—and when it comes to those two departments, automation is key.One of the best ways to improve your ROI isn’t to undertake more sales and marketing initiatives, but to simply make those that are effective more efficient—and when it comes to those two departments, automation is key. Click To Tweet
Providing your team a one-stop-shop where they can quickly and easily find all the customer data they need is helpful and increases efficiency, but with a CRM, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg.
First, with the help of some analysis and a well-developed Service Level Agreement, that CRM not only becomes a digital handoff between sales and marketing, but allows both teams to have a platform for scheduling meetings as well as quick and easy access to every piece of data and communication already established, eliminating the need for any back and forth between sales, marketing, and anyone in the pipeline. In the end, it translates to a truly seamless, efficient, and helpful front-facing experience for their prospects and customers.
Second, by simply creating or uploading many of your marketing assets such as your logo, commonly used CTAs, branded images, and so on, you can easily create messaging templates you can use to create consistency and reuse time and time again, saving your team tons of time and money.
In addition, those can be rolled out into email sequences or workflows specifically tailored to your sales and marketing approach to save time without losing the impact of personal touch—especially when you can then use customer data to provide communications and service with a level of personalization that’s just as effective one-to-one as it is at scale. Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt that you can analyze the results of nearly every effort to improve your individual or company-wide approach either.
It provides top-notch accessibility and integration.
While we can’t speak to all CRMs, some of the best in the business like HubSpot have gone to great lengths to make sure that even when you prefer to use a selection of disparate solutions, most of them can be integrated into, or at the very least communicate with your primary CRM, either directly or through custom APIs.
On top of that, high-level CRMs will even offer additional accessibility by providing an app-based version for better management while out of the office for you or your clients, and may even offer plug-ins you can install directly in your browser or email client to log data and effectively track communications.
It makes room for and encourages growth
An effectively used CRM goes a long way in providing transparency across your organization many businesses don’t likely have, especially if using either too few tools, too many, too wide of a range, or the wrong ones altogether.An effectively used CRM goes a long way in providing transparency many businesses don’t likely have, especially if using either too few tools, too many, too wide of a range, or the wrong ones altogether. Click To Tweet
Not only does a CRM store important sales and marketing data, but allows you to refine your approach by providing a platform to define deal and life cycle stages, map your prospects’ journeys, track purchases and revenue, and score, monitor, and update lead statuses, among other things, all of which provide crucial and actionable business insights when analyzed.
By having all solutions in one place and insight into how sales and marketing efforts are working—or not working for that matter—individually or team-wide, you will be able to make more informed decisions on how you choose to manage processes, personnel, and business in general, creating room for growth and a vehicle to get there.
On the employee level, having more efficient processes will not only help your team be more effective at their jobs, but produce more motivation, as they’ll be able to see the results of their efforts first hand—and in turn, boost the results your agency sees overall.
In addition, top-notch CRMs like HubSpot also provide a knowledge base and a comprehensive built-in platform for better learning how to use every feature and function available. It can even train you on how to use those features within the context of an inbound methodology.
Not only will this make each employee a better salesperson or marketer by helping them understand the processes already included in their job description, but gives them the agency to learn more about the positions, processes, initiatives, and methodologies that surround them. In the end, it can make them that much more knowledgeable and versatile, and may even inspire them to transition into areas they’re most effective in or passionate about, or move upward within the company ranks.
So before you go looking for the next fancy new tool you think will give you a leg up on the competition, consider using a CRM to establish a strong foundation first—it’s the best way to ensure everything that’s built on top of it will be an exponential and welcome bonus.