Marketing automation is the magic wand that improves employee productivity, boosts organizational efficiency and increases the competitiveness of an enterprise. It expands the reach of marketers and connects market response directly to sales.
Marketers have to routinely create and edit tasks, track sales opportunities, manage customer relationships, and provide customer support. In the midst of such routine chores, their key focus or priorities, such as lead qualification, lead nurturing, and campaign reporting may slip. Integrating marketing automation with CRM offers a solution, wherein the integrated system takes care of the routine, leaving the marketer free to concentrate on the bigger picture.
With marketing automation integrated to CRM, marketers can create timely and structured programs that run on their own, consuming minimal time and requiring nominal investment. It becomes possible to run more campaigns with fewer people, yet deliver more number of qualified leads to sales. This integration also significantly reduces the response time to customer requests, besides giving marketers a much better insight on how their campaigns are performing.
However, just because such benefits are possible, it does not realize by default. The onus is on the enterprise to optimize marketing automation with Salesforce, to realize each benefit.
Here are a few techniques for optimizing marketing automation with Salesforce:
Marketing Automation provides the marketing team with a comprehensive lead management tool that helps companies turn more leads into revenue. However, many companies do not have a process to manage such incoming leads. Integrating marketing automation with Salesforce ensures that the leads go automatically to the CRM, allowing marketers to manage, nurture, and score these leads effectively from there.
It is important to sustain this process by allowing the sales team to take over when the leads are mature. The integrated system ensures continuity with the rich knowledge-trove available on the new customer, right from the stage when he was a ready-to-convert prospect.
Initiate Bi-Directional Linkage with Salesforce Database
Marketing Automation offers several tools to improve the quality of data stored in Salesforce. By initiating bi-directional integration with the Salesforce database, it becomes possible to append information to existing records rather than create duplicate records and also to identify and merge duplicate records. With these tools, salespeople can be sure that the information in Salesforce is actually correct.
Focus on Behavioral Tracking
Standard CRMs offer only the basic demographics of customers. A combination of marketing automation and Salesforce CRM facilitates detailed behavioral tracking, allowing the marketer to track information such as the pages visited by the prospect, the content-types they fancy, the preferred time of checking emails, types of downloads, and more. Such insights allow marketers to make informed pitches and deal with prospects in a customized way.
Automation tools help marketers identify the best customers, products or services they purchased, and their buying habits. Smart salespersons and customer support executives can use such insights to improve the way they engage with prospects, and also establish up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.
Launch Relevant and Targeted Campaigns
Pardot’s 2013 State of Demand Generation study reveals that 77% of buyers want different and targeted content every time. Depositing the behavioral information gathered by the marketing automation tool in Salesforce CRM makes it possible for marketers to send targeted messages and initiate personalized communications. An integrated platform makes it easy to create and send one-to-one email communications, build segments based on various criteria such as industry or product interest, and also track results effectively.
Focus on Identifying Sales-Ready prospects
Marketing automation helps to prioritize leads in Salesforce. Gathering data in the CRM through a marketing automation system makes it easy for marketers to score and grade leads, passing on only the most qualified leads to sales. The system assigns leads to sales representatives automatically when they reach a threshold score and grade, cutting down on manual processes. This not just increases efficiency, but also drastically cuts down the time to convert a customer.
Link to Analytics
At a macro level, linking marketing automation tools to analytics offers managers the information required to predict revenues, and manage the revenue cycle by numbers. It makes it easier to quantify the contribution of sales and marketing teams to the company’s bottom-line. Bi-directional sync ensures that campaigns created in the marketing automation platform map back to the CRM, making it possible to link deals back to the campaigns that created them.
Install in Stages
The best Salesforce CRM implementation philosophy is to opt for short, rapid projects, with each project designed to achieve a specific goal or improvement. It is best to implement Salesforce with little or no customization, and once the CRM is up and running, add new features and customize it as required. With marketing automation, it is ideal to implement basic Salesforce automation processes such as accounts, contacts, and opportunities, and ensure that it is running seamlessly, before tracking advanced possibilities.
Focus on user adoption
What makes a new implementation a resounding technical success is the users’ familiarity with it and their acceptance of it. Any new marketing automation initiative needs to focus on not just the technical side of how to seamlessly integrate and automate things, but also on how easy it is for users to work on it, and how it aligns with the processes, and makes easy the existing way of doing things. If implementation of a new system requires changes, then there would be resistance, regardless of whether such change is for the better.
The critical consideration here is involving the end users. This requires various approaches, such as taking them into confidence about the changes, training them so that they can handle the changes better, communicating the benefits in clear cut terms, and so on. There is also a need to motivate employees by rewarding desired behavior, so that the changes stick, and soon become the norm.
Optimizing the integration of marketing automation tools with Salesforce creates synergy, where the performance of the system becomes much more powerful than the sum of individual tools added together.
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