For businesses of all sizes, spreadsheets and manual record keeping can become tiresome very quickly. That’s why many B2B and B2C companies looking to prioritize growth use CRM systems, like Salesforce, to organize business processes and simplify complex tasks.
CRM systems have a wide range of capabilities, from helping businesses manage customer data and support marketing teams to increasing customer satisfaction and even helping with customer support. However, as more data enters the CRM (over 2.5 quintillion bytes are created daily!), the overall quality of CRM data becomes harder to maintain.
Why? Well, many prospecting and customer management tasks are repetitive and time-consuming. So, the more data that enters the CRM, the more these tasks need to be completed, and the more time is taken away from other responsibilities. Essentially, this means less productivity, fewer sales, and ultimately, a decrease in revenue. Yikes.
Luckily, CRM automation allows users to leave tedious, time-consuming tasks in the past without sacrificing the quality of their CRM data. Keep reading for everything you need to know about CRM automation.
CRM automation is a way of automating repetitive, manual tasks to streamline processes and improve productivity. Automating your CRM takes care of daily tasks like updating customer information, calendar management, data entry, and more.
CRM with automation opens up a world of benefits, all of which can ultimately lead to great things for your bottom line.
The best part of automation is the freedom it gives you. CRM automation allows users to streamline tasks, freeing up the rest of their day to focus on what matters.
For the sales team, this could mean the freedom to send more emails or reach out to more customers on the phone, which ultimately means increased sales opportunities for the company.
An automated CRM doesn’t just benefit its users. Customers will feel the benefits, too!
When everything in the CRM needs to be done manually (especially with an avalanche of data entering the system), it doesn’t take long before tasks start getting left on the backburner. The problem? This results in poor data maintenance, which can cause a great deal of friction with customers.
For example, let’s say someone on the sales team decides to contact a lead. When they make the call, it turns out that person had already been contacted by someone at the company! Since the salesperson had unknowingly relied on a duplicate record to inform the call, they weren’t aware this lead had already been contacted.
It gets worse: the customer already had multiple support cases open regarding a product they purchased from the company. They’re now upset because instead of fixing their problem, the company is trying to sell them another product. Not only does this embarrass the salesperson, but the customer decides not to do business with the company ever again.
This is one problem CRM automation can help solve. Automating the deduplication process can get to all the duplicate records the sales team doesn’t have time to get to, reducing their stress levels and keeping customer relationships intact. Score!
One of the biggest downsides of manual data entry is the increased likelihood for error. There are many mistakes that can be made when entering data manually, including spelling someone’s name wrong, forgetting the “@” symbol in a person’s email address, skipping over a field completely… Unfortunately, the list goes on.
CRM data automation can reduce the amount of manual entry processes to shrink the likelihood for error and improve overall data accuracy.
But it’s not just data entry that can be automated. Record updates can be automated, too! This is good to keep in mind because with so much data entering the CRM, it can be easy to forget to go back and update old contact information. Automating this process ensures all contact information is up to date and accurate, improving the overall quality of your CRM data.
Companies rely on CRM data to inform business decisions. For example, CRM data is used to create sales forecasts, which are then used to enable strategic planning and streamline cash flow.
As mentioned in the previous section, CRM data automation can play a major role in improving data accuracy. Accurate data is essential for creating accurate sales forecasts, which inform even bigger business decisions—especially those pertaining to budgetary concerns.
For example, let’s say the Head of Sales forecasts $60M in sales for the year. This number is lower than they’d hoped, which means the business will need to shrink budgets, team sizes, and more to hit the revenue target. It’s not long before employees are laid off, the marketing team stops sponsoring and speaking at industry events, and the company moves its remaining employees to a smaller, less efficient workspace to cut costs.
Then, the Head of Sales makes an unfortunate realization: he significantly underforecasted. The CRM data he used to create the forecast was riddled with errors, resulting in a forecast that was $50M less than it should have been. All the changes the company made to ensure its profitability had the opposite effect—and now executives are questioning what other business decisions have been impacted by poor data quality.
Long story short, CRM automation could have prevented the human-made errors that led to such a catastrophic conclusion.
One of the best ways to utilize CRM automation? To enhance your email marketing efforts. You can use email marketing and CRM platforms together to organize contacts, store customer data, and—you guessed it—automate campaigns.
Email marketing automation is an email (or a sequence of emails) that gets sent after a subscriber takes a specific action, such as signing up for an email program, making a purchase, or using a discount code.
For example, let’s say you signed up for a retail store’s email program. A few minutes after sign-up, you receive a “Welcome” email in your inbox. Coincidence? Not quite—that’s email marketing automation at play. When you signed up for the email program, the brand’s email marketing automation it had in place triggered a “Welcome” email to be sent to your inbox.
You felt welcomed. The email marketer never had to lift a finger. And that, my friend, is the magic of email marketing automation.
But it doesn’t end there. That “Welcome” email marks the beginning of a customer journey, and entire journeys can be automated based on actions subscribers take. A few days after the initial welcome email, you might receive an email with a 25% off new subscriber discount. If you click the link embedded in the email and use the discount on a particular item, that will signify interest in the discount and may trigger another email a few days later recommending products similar to the one you purchased.
These recommendations were made especially for you based off your previous purchases, and the email’s content was curated specifically to fit your interests. However, it wasn’t an email marketer sitting on the other end of the computer hand-selecting items they thought you might like. It was the email automation triggering previously crafted emails to be sent to you based on your behavior.
In the end, you’re more likely to make a purchase, and the email marketer has more time to focus on other important tasks. It’s a win-win!
When it comes to marketing, personalization is key. Email marketing automation presents you with the perfect opportunity to send personalized content that is relevant to each subscriber.
As we mentioned earlier, email marketing automation allows you to send triggered emails based on actions subscribers take. But where does CRM automation come into play?
The CRM is the treasure chest where all of your precious customer data is stored. This data is crucial when creating personalized email marketing campaigns—a customer’s name, gender, occupation, age, location, behavioral patterns, and more are all stored in the CRM. But for this data to be useful, it needs to be high quality.
Generally speaking, data can only be considered “high quality” when it is:
CRM data automation can help ensure your CRM data is checking every one of those boxes.
When looking for a CRM system and/or an email marketing platform, there are a few key features to keep an eye out for:
Marketing is constantly changing, and so are your customers. Therefore, their data is also changing.
A CRM-enabled email marketing platform gives you a constant stream of up-to-date customer data. Plus, it provides you with the tools you’ll need to analyze that data, test email marketing campaigns, and adjust your strategy as needed.
For example, you can use analytics to figure out how many subscribers clicked on the link you included in your last email campaign. Based on those metrics, you can determine how successful that campaign was and make any necessary changes.
When looking for a CRM and/or email marketing tool, finding something that’s as close to all-in-one as possible can be very convenient. Make sure the tool you’re looking for integrates with other software and services, like Microsoft, Salesforce, or other marketing platforms.
Why is this important? Integrations give you the ability to increase your capabilities and better serve your audience. For example, by integrating with Microsoft, you’ll be able to send automated email campaigns to segmented contact lists without having to move between systems.
Lead nurturing consists of building and fostering relationships with customers at each stage of the customer journey. To save time (and money), look for a CRM-enabled email marketing platform that automates parts (or all) of this process.
The ability to create drip campaigns is one of the most important features to keep an eye out for, as it can save you lots of time, boost productivity, and improve the customer experience.
Drip campaigns are emails that are sent automatically to specific customers based on certain triggers. Examples of drip campaigns include abandoned cart reminders and shipping updates.
Email marketing requires marketers to quickly switch up their strategy when things aren’t working. With CRM email marketing, you can see which subscribers opened your email, clicked certain links, and so on.
This information gives you the power to adjust your strategy until you figure out what resonates with your subscribers. Look for a tool with conversion tracking to better understand your subscribers’ behavior.
Using an email marketing platform that integrates with a CRM system can provide a wide range of benefits for your company.
When you use an email marketing platform with a CRM system, it provides you with a single, centralized hub for all of your customer data. This hub is then accessible to anyone in your organization who might need it, whether they work in sales, marketing, or even finance.
The CRM system stores contact information (e.g., phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, fax numbers, etc.), sales activity, user behavior, phone calls, customer notes and more. It can help you uncover patterns and discover key findings related to your customers.
It’s easier to gain a greater understanding of your audience when all your customer data is in one place. The ability to track all of your customer interactions allows you to determine which strategies work versus which ones don’t, and pinpoint areas where your business can improve.
The most effective email marketing campaigns are personalized to cater to an individual’s specific interests and preferences. A CRM system makes personalization easy by automatically collecting, organizing, and storing crucial user data.
Nowadays, you never know what kind of device someone will be receiving your emails on. Subscribers may be scrolling through their inbox on their desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, or even their iPad.
With a CRM-enabled email marketing tool, you can gain access to email templates that are easily customizable and responsive across every kind of device. This is essential for creating a user experience that’s consistent and engaging. Plus, it can have a positive impact on campaign engagement.
As more and more data enters the CRM, maintaining its quality is of vital importance. CRM automation can help you maintain high-quality data, save time, boost productivity, and even improve email marketing efforts.
Want to learn more about CRM management? Check out our report, The State of CRM Data Management.