Many people recognize CRM as an essential tool for salespeople. However, CRM is increasingly being integrated across all departments within an enterprise. One of the key focuses of this increased integration is on marketing departments. Nearly every generation of CRM development now introduces expanded options for using CRM to improve and inform marketing efforts.
Of course, adding more departments into the mix also increases the complexity of the buying decision. Instead of looking for the best features for a single department, decision makers are now looking for the best balance of features for an entire business. Finding the ideal set of features for all users is the best way to maximize the utility of your CRM system.
To help cut through some of the confusion, we’ll take a look at five key marketing features that you’ll want to have in your CRM system.
1. Email Marketing Integration
Not to be confused with integrated email marketing, this category deals with the ability to connect your CRM system with third party email marketing providers. While many CRM vendors provide some level of integrated email marketing, there are still good reasons to use third party products.
Third party email marketing vendors may provide more robust options, or your marketing personnel may simply be more comfortable with the programs they’re already using. Either way, being able to integrate third party platforms into your CRM system is crucial. Whether it’s MailChimp, Constant Contact, or another vendor, you want to be able to integrate with your CRM.
2. Integrated Web Forms
Integrated web forms are all about efficiency. When a customer fills in relevant information fields for you, it’s a waste of effort to have to re-enter that data into the CRM. If your company uses web pages to collect prospect and customer information, you want a straight pipe for that information to enter the CRM.
Creating landing and contact pages is all about rapidly and efficiently collecting data. If your marketing department then has to enter the data into the CRM manually, it creates a backlog in your data collection. Transcription also provides more opportunities for errors to occur. Keep things simple and streamlined by using web forms that are integrated with your CRM.
3. Customizable Reporting
All the data in the world is meaningless if you can’t pull it back out and look at it in a meaningful manner. Trying to scroll through the hundreds or thousands of pieces of information in your CRM would be time consuming and painfully difficult. Marketers would have to look for patterns and trends in the raw data, making it little better than the old pen-and-paper reporting.
This is why customized reporting is so crucial to marketing success. While every search for information will be similar, they will also be different enough to make the task impossible without automated reporting. Look for a CRM system that gives your marketing department robust features for custom reporting and modeling.
Tags expand on the idea of data organization. They allow marketers to filter information in very specific ways and can be attached to leads, emails, accounts– nearly every piece of CRM data can have a tag added to it. They can be specific to each individual entry, or link multiple entries based on common traits. Typically, tags appear as single words or short, descriptive phrases.
Imagine that you have several clients who are fans of golfing. Your company decides to host a charity golf event, and you have some extra tickets. If you’ve tagged your clients with the phrase “golf,” you can bring up every client with that tag, without having to go through your entire client list. For your marketing personnel, tags simply make it easier to retrieve specific data sets.
5. Social Media Integration
A lot of your customers and prospects are going to be on social media. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. If you’re not marketing on social media, you’re abandoning a potentially huge, low-overhead channel for reaching your customers. Of course, the easier it is for your marketers to use the social media channels, the more successful their efforts are likely to be.
Switching between applications is inefficient and causes distractions. On average, it takes a worker up to 30 minutes to refocus after a distraction. Having social media feeds and tools integrated directly into your CRM allows for distraction-free interactions by your marketing department. Look for full integration with the major social media channels.
CRM for Marketing
Obviously, these five tools aren’t the only ones available for marketers. And, new tools are being added on a constant basis. That being said, these five tools will provide a solid foundation to build on, making future CRM expansions easier. Not to mention, your marketing personnel will be happier, and that’s never a bad thing.