As marketing trends and tactics have shifted over the years, CRM has held its ground to become the strongest foundational building block of a successful marketing team. My first experience with a CRM system was back in my tech sales days, where we lived and breathed by the little tool that served as an online rolodex. The tool evolved as we gradually set aside traditional sales methods in favor of more modern tactics, like sales activity tracking to drive increased productivity, customer and prospect development based on behavioral insights from marketing touches, or even simple sales outreach ROI tracking. When I transitioned from tech sales rep to tech marketer, I became even more aware of how CRM’s evolutionary flexibility had made it the most important tool in the marketer’s toolbox. I have watched the rise and fall of so many other utilities––but today’s CRM systems just keep getting more powerful.
These days, a CRM that sits at the center of the successful marketing universe will deliver in five key areas:
No effective marketing campaign can exist without a targeted audience. As a business grows, the CRM that houses its audience data must grow as well. While it’s always advantageous to have a growing contact and account database, keeping track of growing data stockpiles can be painful––especially as marketers increasingly seek to apply insights beyond traditional sales and marketing applications. Maintaining clean and up-to-date data is crucial for the sales & marketing organization. There are no greater sources of inefficiency and waste than utilizing inaccurate contact information in outreach or devoting internal resources to meticulously correcting customer data. A good CRM will allow a marketing team to focus on tasks that really matter by taking on the massive responsibility of maintaining the clean data on which marketing so heavily relies.
"My rule for evaluating marketing tools today is that if you aren’t integrated with my CRM, then we’re not using you"
Sales, marketing and customer activities
As marketers, we strive to track the activity of each prospect, customer and campaign progress, because doing so allows us to make smarter decisions about who we are targeting and how. When it comes to tracking sales activity tracking or understanding customer behavior, today’s CRMs offer vast relevant tracking integration options. It is essential that marketers utilize those options to pull the data that becomes ROI metrics and campaign performance measurement.
Because they’re where your potential and existing revenue lives, CRM tools can become a little like an insight goldmine. Only by tracking and managing revenue –– and defining its connections to marketing –– can sales and marketing point to their efforts and show wins and losses. Those revenue-related insights are crucial when it comes to learning from experience and developing a smart decision making foundation for your company.
The metrics calculations that a CRM facilitates allow you to create the customer journey, measure LTV and lead life cycle and, yes, track conversions. Without CRM, we wouldn’t be able to calculate marketing attribution or learn more about our prospects/customers––two essential abilities for any successful sales and marketing operation.
Marketing operations hub
When it comes to functioning as a dynamic and efficient marketing team, a quality CRM not only delivers day-to-day marketing progress tracking but also plays nice with wide ranges of marketing tools. There is probably no better evidence for the dominance of CRM applications than the fact that for any other kind of marketing tool to be worthwhile, it has to integrate easily with your CRM. In fact, my rule for evaluating marketing tools today is that if you aren’t integrated with my CRM, then we’re not using you.