Marketing Automation and CRM

Post by 
Phil Holt
Last Updated: 
December 18, 2021

ave you ever considered using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, or perhaps you already have one?

Now, more than ever, the power and capabilities of a modern CRM system are accessible by the majority of small to medium sized businesses. Many CRM platforms, like Hubspot and ZOHO offer free, basic versions that can get you up and running for nothing. However, you will quickly need to progress to a paid plan to extract real value from your leads and contacts.

What are the benefits of a CRM?

If you've never considered investing in a CRM, perhaps now is a good time to explore the benefits list below. In recent years the cost has come down and there's now a wide range of high quality CRM products to choose from.

  • Keep all customer data in one place
  • Build mailing lists
  • Log all customer conversations and interactions
  • Integrate with your website and social channels
  • Build marketing automation into your business
  • Have all your customer data secure
  • Have access to business intelligence 'on the go'

Which CRM is right for you?

There are many reviews on the Web, and the choice will often come down to which features you need, the cost of the CRM, and the simplicity of setting it up. The learning curve can be steep if you're coming to a CRM for the first time. Often, the decision on which platform to use, will be driven by the fact that one of your team has used the platform in another business or you received a recommendation from a supplier or customer. The most important question to ask yourself is "how will I derive value from it".

I have worked with a very diverse client base over the past twenty years and the same CRM systems seem to dominate. These include Salesforce, Pipedrive, Microsoft Dynamics, Hubspot and ZOHO. Of course, there are many more, and no web consultant will be experienced in all (if any). I have worked with clients that have used each of these systems, some spending many hundreds of thousands in the process and others doing it on a shoestring budget. Taking your time at the outset to explore the options and understand what your business needs of a CRM are will pay dividends.

Integrating a CRM with your website

Bringing your CRM, website, emails and social channels together is the main goal for many businesses. If you're still using spreadsheets and Outlook to manage customer records and leads, you're probably missing a big opportunity. A modern CRM can be plugged into your website to capture leads, automate task assignment and creation and report on your sales pipeline. Conversations, meeting notes and social media interactions can all be saved against the customer record and with some systems offering AI (Artificial Intelligence) you can be guided by the CRM as to which actions are most likely to yield profitable results.

Your website receives visitors every day, some will be more interested and engaged than others. CRM integration can track these visitors as well as offer self-service tools, such as chat bots, product information downloads and lead forms that send the enquirers data right into your CRM and then segments them into groups, based on criteria such as which products or services they are interested in. You can then start to nurture the relationship with well-timed communications and targeted content and sales messages.

Popular Integrations

In the past few years I have advised on and implemented a wide range of CRM integrations, such as

  • Newsletter sign ups and automated list building
  • Lead generation forms and landing pages
  • Chat bots
  • Booking and availability forms
  • Event management integrations
  • Account management and user dashboards

Please get in touch if you'd like to arrange a free consultation to discuss integrating a CRM with your website.

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