CRM-Integrated Marketing Automation

ROI as a topic and as a goal for marketers is here to stay. Leveraging tools, people, and processes to effectively contribute to revenue and demonstrate ROI is job number one for all revenue marketers.

While I am passionate about the softer elements of this success equation, it needs to be understood that it is the integration of a full-featured marketing automation tool with CRM that creates the foundation for establishing and reporting on ROI success.

Lead Generation & Marketing ROI, a recent study sponsored by The Pedowitz Group and conducted by Lenskold Group, found the connection between CRM and marketing automation as an enabler of ROI to be critical. In the study, marketers without marketing automation, marketers with marketing automation, but not integrated into CRM, and marketers with marketing automation and integrated to CRM were compared. The study refers to marketers with marketing automation and CRM integrated as "Integrated Marketing Automation."

One of the key findings in the report is how marketers using both CRM and marketing automation perform better. "Companies using full-featured marketing automation integrated with CRM or sales automation indicate much higher rates of reporting and forecasting metrics.  Compared to marketers with no marketing automation, integrated marketing automation users were more likely to report performance metrics (average 58 percent vs. 36 percent per metric), report financial metrics (average 46 percent vs. 22 percent per metric), and forecast metrics (average 56 percent vs. 35 percent per metric)."

In the study, performance metrics were items such as reporting on number of opportunities, percentage of leads converting to opportunities, etc. For the marketer, these numbers clearly indicate the value of an integrated solution.

And this makes sense. It's the integration of marketing automation with CRM which creates a complete revenue picture and process. I recently had an interview on Revenue Marketer Radio in which the marketer referred to the joint sales and marketing organization as the revenue team. This type of continuity and clarity can only be achieved with the integration of CRM with marketing automation. This integrated foundation allows for the tracking of every lead from the top of the lead funnel to the bottom of the sales funnel. 

With this key finding in mind, here are five ways for improving marketing ROI based on research from Lenskold Group:

1.  Target high value, high potential leads. This is one of the most powerful features in marketing automation in that it allows you to segment during any and every stage of the client buy cycle and do it automatically. With lead scoring, personalization, and automatic segmentation based on behavior, this can be a huge ROI winner. 

2.  Improve conversion late in the funnel. For most clients, this is an area of low hanging fruit and huge impact. One recent example is a client we are working with where they only convert 2 percent of all trials. A trial occurs very late in the cycle and a 1 percent uptick in conversion rates has an immediate and incredible impact on revenue and marketing ROI. Using marketing automation, we can effectively nurture the experience and do it dynamically based on response and use or non-use of the program during the trial.

3.  Reduce leakage with better integration. We call this "No Good Lead Left Behind" and with marketing automation, this is an area of big upside. Take the time to map out the life of a lead from lead to close and look at those key areas where leads are leaking out of the process. Once you understand where and why they are leaking out, you can plug those leaks with automatic nurturing through your marketing automation system, especially when it is integrated with your CRM. An example is when a lead is passed to sales and the lead is not ready. Typically what happens is this lead is lost or re-bought at a later date. With marketing automation, either the rep can place that lead back into a nurturing program with two clicks when marketing automation and CRM are fully integrated or marketing can set up an automatic sweep of aged leads back into the nurture program. 

4.  Accelerate leakage of low-potential prospects. This means take out the trash, frequently. Taking this noise and distraction out of the system can have huge benefits both in terms of ROI and marketing-sales relations. By working on data quality in both CRM and marketing automation and instituting a highly effective lead scoring program to take out the trash early, you can diminish this noise and revenue drainer.

5.  Gain efficiency and eliminate low impact media. Efficiency and spending money on high return marketing programs is the hallmark of an effective marketing automation program. The number one reason marketers buy marketing automation is for proof of results and decisions. Ever fought with sales in the effectiveness of going to a trade show or on running an ad? With marketing automation and the reporting that comes with it, you can now have a business discussion with proof points.

Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and chief revenue marketing officer for The Pedowitz Group, a revenue marketing agency.

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