Increase B2B Sales with CRM Marketing Integration
Email marketing is an incredibly powerful channel. For every £1 an organisation spends on email marketing, they get £42 back! (Source: DMA, 2019)
However, with the right tools, it’s not just the marketing department that stands to gain from email marketing campaigns and insights – your B2B sales team can absolutely benefit too.
We’re not just talking about how email marketing helps to keep the sales hoppers full. Sales and marketing teams should always work together as a cohesive whole, working from the same data, targeting the same prospects, and generally singing from the same song sheet – so why don’t they?
One reason may be that they aren’t using tools that let them draw from the same well of client and prospect data. Because when your email marketing tools and sales CRM software integrates seamlessly, you can cross-reference every aspect of your relationship with every prospect.
True CRM email marketing integration lets you bring every sales interaction, every email marketing response, every single nugget of data you hold about your leads, completely under one roof.
What is CRM Marketing Integration?
CRM-integrated marketing is when an organisation’s customer relationship management (CRM) tools seamlessly link in with their email marketing functionality, overlaying email marketing campaign releases, response rate, and subscription history into each prospect’s sales CRM record.
Organisations will often keep these two functions separate, maintaining an entirely disparate email marketing platform and CRM. Therefore, the data held within those platforms stays separate too – a siloed approach which may put those organisations at a disadvantage. As we’ll discover below, there are numerous benefits to merging these two functions into one fully integrated package.
6 Reasons Why Integrated CRM Email Marketing Tools Benefit B2B Sales Teams
1. Cross-Channel Customer & Behavioural Data: Together at Last
Sales is just as much about navigating complex mental gymnastics as it is about having a silver tongue.
During any given call, a salesperson needs to establish rapport; get the prospect’s details to hand; listen closely to what’s being said; take notes about what’s been discussed; allay any fears; and use persuasion to get the lead closer to a sale than they were before. This understandably takes up a lot of mental bandwidth.
If your sales team also has to juggle numerous IT systems in order to understand a prospect’s full engagement history, then that’s only going to add to this strain. It could even make your sales calls less effective.
However, when you have an integrated view of each prospect’s entire cross-channel history – including marketing data/preferences, sales interactions, and support tickets – available in the same screen as your usual CRM functions, it’s a real time-saver. Your sales calls can flow more smoothly; your salespeople can call on specific elements of a lead’s interaction history to build rapport and allay concerns; and your customer-facing teams will generally have fewer cognitive balls to keep in the air!
And if your eagle-eyed salesperson sees that a prospect isn’t receiving email updates, that salesperson can always mention the idea during the course of their call. Your marketing department will thank them.
2. Dig Deep to Unearth Individual Sales Opportunities
In a similar vein, this ability to take a truly granular deep-dive into each prospect’s preferences can truly make or break a B2B sales call.
When email marketing functions are directly tied to each CRM record, you can prepare for scheduled calls by investigating the prospect’s prior interactions with the brand. You and your sales personnel can probe the specific email campaigns and personal interactions which led to that lead’s current position in the sales funnel; establishing how they came on board in the first place, what they’re most looking for, and discovering what messaging they react well to. The salesperson can then decide how to best get them closer to a sale.
For example, if the buyer has interacted with a lot of previous marketing emails featuring language like “free,” “offer,” or “sale,” this may be a hint that they are considering a purchase. You may simply need to offer a free trial, a reduced price, or a quick demo to tip them over the edge.
Alternatively, if that prospect opens or interacts with emails that are focused around a given product feature or business function, you can safely assume that they are looking for help in that area. You can then use that information to steer them towards a solution that best meets that need.
It all helps you and your sales team provide an informed, bespoke sales experience.
3. Vast Personalisation & Targeting Options
Did you know that marketing emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened (Source: Campaign Monitor)? However when you use a standalone email marketing package, your personalisation options are limited to the data that’s held within that ecosystem.
This usually leads to emails that are merely personalised with weak “insert name here” mail-merge functions, basic if-this-then-that automation, and blanket messages sent out en-masse, regardless of relevance.
However when your email marketing package comprehensively integrates with your CRM – and all of the useful data that’s housed within – you can personalise your emails much more richly.
Your mail-merge options are no longer limited to bland basics – you can now include all manner of data points about the recipient, their company, and even their nominated sales rep. Forget simply parroting their name and basic company data back at them – any data point known to your CRM can be used to personalise the content of your campaigns and automate their release.
In marketing, when you try to please everyone, you often end up pleasing no-one. So rather than sending blanket messages out to large swathes of your subscribers, audience segmentation is key. When you separate your audience into smaller, more focused, targeted groups, you can send each group the most appropriate messaging to suit their particular buying situation.
And with the entirety of your CRM data to draw on, you can segment along any lines you think will increase conversions – be it those at different stages of the sales funnel, different geographic locations, companies of different sizes, or indeed using custom CRM fields.
Segmentation fans will especially love Really Simple Systems’ Dynamic Lists functionality. Rather than simply sending your email updates to a basic, static list, dynamic lists will update in real-time based on CRM criteria like user behaviour patterns, placement in sales funnel, closeness/likelihood to convert, as well as wider CRM fields like location, department, seniority, and custom CRM variables.
4. Joined Up Data Means Joined Up Decision Making
As clients pass through your sales process, it’s likely that they’ll start interacting with your marketing materials. Then they’ll pass through to your sales department, and perhaps after that they may need after-sales support. It’s a natural flow through three strongly interrelated touchpoints.
However, all too often, marketing teams will solely look at marketing data, sales teams will solely look at sales data, and support teams will… well, you get the picture. This situation isn’t helped by the fact that each department usually uses separate software tools, each with their own siloed data stores. It can lead to quite isolated, short-sighted decision making.
However, if all three departments drew from the same well of aggregated, cross-channel data, they would likely be better equipped to make decisions that benefit the whole organisation. Let’s look at a few examples:
- Your sales department can be informed by the success of different email campaigns and steer their sales efforts towards the products and features that appear to be getting the best marketing traction at the moment.
- Your marketing department can see what issues frequently cause customers to contact their support team and amend their messaging to better manage expectations.
- Your support team can take a look at reasons sales were lost or sticking points that arise during the sales and marketing process and best prepare for related complaints and issues.
All in all, a keen eye and an integrated view may help your teams find interesting links between sales, marketing and support data – keeping them working together as a cohesive whole.
5. Integrated Reporting By Design, Not By Spreadsheet
Who here hates VLOOKUPs? Well if you want to create an integrated report that draws on data from multiple sources (like a separate sales CRM, email marketing tool, and support system) then you’ll most likely have to put up with a little Excel manoeuvring.
However, when all of those functions are handled within a single, integrated CRM platform, all data points can be cross-referenced to your heart’s content. Really Simple Systems’ own reporting platform allows you to raise reports across all available CRM, email marketing, and support data points with numerous filtering and sorting options. Reports can be exported to the screen, to PDF, and (if you insist on a spreadsheet) to CSV.
6. Consolidated Tools, Consolidated Spend
The SaaS market is absolutely booming. Global SaaS and cloud spending has more than tripled in just 5 years (Source: Statista, 2021).
As an SME SaaS provider, it’s great to see the market thriving. However, we’re also aware that some SMEs may be investing in tools with overlapping feature sets. Individual team members and small groups may even be bringing their own choice of free tools into the mix. The result? Costly and unwieldy SaaS sprawl.
However, when your CRM does double duty as both a relationship management platform and an email marketing tool, you’re getting two pillars of totally integrated functionality for a single monthly fee; a fee that’s probably a lot cheaper than buying both tools separately.