Why marketing automation is the next phase of CRM

CRM software has been around for 20 years. It has been used to manage customer records and details of communication. Managing prospects has been a key part of the software, and the CRM has been the biggest assistance to the sales cycle. CRM systems like Microsoft’s CRM help companies determine which customers are prospect, and which need more persuading.

Marketing automation has seen the fastest growth of any CRM related segment in the last five years. Marketing administration and tasks are more managed; these include emailing prospects regularly, enough to keep up an interest, but not being too pushy and losing them.

It also allows you to keep up with your social activity and mentions. Through integration of your CRM system, like with Microsoft Dynamics, you can integrate social listening and not miss a thing that your customers, prospects, partners or competitors are doing on social.

By segmenting your list of data, you can target individuals with different marketing materials, and CRM allows you to manage it. Email marketing, lead nurturing and reporting are all a part of the sales process, so it is important for companies to have these under good management, and to have the ability to control and report the outcomes of each action.

Lead scoring

Lead scoring is effective when you understand your customers and their actions, analytic tools in CRM can track these.  The marketing automation can track behavior, how many times the customer clicked a link, or opened the email. You can use the information obtained, by monitoring customer behavior, to decide if and when to follow up.

Lead nurturing

Nurturing a lead is all about time management and patience. Marketing automation can help you send out emails and send notifications to the sales team when someone has downloaded a resource, like a whitepaper or eBook. Instead of immediately calling the customer, and not giving them a chance to read over and think about the product, marketing automation can be timed to send out a follow-up for a later date and time.

Efficiency

When using CRM, marketing automation increases efficiency through interpreting, storing and executing tasks that take up time and can be costly. Content can be optimized to certain target audiences and tailored so that the right message is being aimed at the right audience. Marketing automation then makes CRM management more personalized and customer focused.

"Future growth will be fuelled by the demand for marketing agility, actionable customer intelligence and ability to measure revenues on marketing campaign performance," stated the Frost & Sullivan report.

ROI monitoring

Marketing automation has tracking built into it, which is also integrated with the CRM. By using customer data, tracking behaviour and impact of campaigns, marketers can see the impact on revenue, campaigns and the channels that are generating it.

Microsoft announced the new updates to its Dynamic CRM system, in its Convergence 2014 conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The changes promise better functionality, integration and lower costs through the use of marketing automation, social listening and knowledge management.

“We live and breath convergence,” Bill Patterson, Microsoft Dynamics senior director said. “The underlying pattern is that organizations need to work together in a much more engaging way … no one owns the customer, and everyone needs to get better.”

The integrated marketing automation in CRM gives a view of the customer from one single environment.

The three main areas of marketing automation therefore guide businesses in lead scoring, nurturing, efficiency and measuring ROI and ultimately success.

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