B2B Marketing Blog

6 Ways B2B Marketers Use Their CRM To Achieve Dramatic Growth

By Andrew Nguyen
Feb 17, 2015
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There is one thing marketing and sales can agree on. Driving revenue. The best ways both teams can achieve this is by using the same tools and data.

That's why marketers should embrace their customer relationship management (CRM) software. It can help organizations get better alignment, and grow their business faster.  

In this post we explain how to improve the performance of your marketing channels with customer and revenue data found inside your CRM. 

Why CRM’s Are For Marketers Too

Most people think of CRM’s as sales tools. This needs to change.

CRM’s are rich environments where you can find apps for improving the effectiveness of events, mass email, website, paid search and marketing automation.

CRM’s are effective because you can use real (and future) customer data to optimize each marketing channel. 

Let me explain.

If you’re doing online advertising to generate leads, nurturing leads using email marketing, and then calling your leads to determine whether they are sales qualified, then using one data set across all channels is the ideal arrangement.

Online advertising, email marketing, and call tracking are all channels where CRM’s can help you improve performance.

Here are some tools and best practices for leveraging your CRM.

Fill The Top Of Your Funnel With Quality Leads

To get quality leads you need to understand how to create a scalable, repeatable lead-to-sales conversion process. You do this with marketing analytics inside your CRM.

If you’re using paid search advertising then tracking visitor activity on your website and using a B2B marketing attribution tool will allow you to tracks first click data.

First click data is the start of the discovery phase. For businesses who do not have universal brand recognition, the discovery phase keeps your pipeline healthy. It deserves credit for closing a deal. So it’s important to track this data.

How to do it?

Pass web tracking data into your CRM. Once lead information is created via submission forms, their web tracking data is pushed to your CRM so you can see the content and the paid search ads that drove them to complete the submission form.

Below is example of some of the data you can get from a marketing attribution tool like Bizible.

Paid_Search_Dashboard

This method allows you to optimize your paid search advertising and target the right leads to reduce spending on leads that don’t convert.

Once you’ve captured leads you can call or email them. Now you’re dealing with email nurturing and call tracking.

You guessed it.

You can use data inside your CRM to optimize and automate these activities too.

Optimize Outbound Calling Efforts and Inbound Call Tracking

Creating a repeatable sales process, or improving an existing one requires feedback loops founded on data, i.e. information on what’s working and what’s not. Call tracking is no different.

Let’s say you have multiple product lines or campaigns. Call tracking tools will allow you automatically route callers to the correct rep, and provide reps with referral source data and contact history.

By optimizing your inbound calls you’re closing deals faster. Using a call tracking tool like RingDNA means call data is automatically uploaded to your CRM.

b2b_call_tracking_inbound_outbound_calls

For outbound calls, call tracking tools automate the prioritization of lead lists and call logging for reps. Less time entering information means more time selling.

More time selling really means becoming better at selling.

It means discovering a repeatable sales process or shortening the sales cycle.

Generate More Referrals And Leads  

Prospects don’t leave the funnel once they become a customer. They’re still in a funnel, but it’s a different kind of funnel, one that will help you grow if you manage it correctly.

Customers are a great source for leads. Referrals are the most effective way to acquire customers. So your marketing system needs to look like an hourglass, not a funnel.  

content_marketing_funnel

Referrals have the highest sales close rate out of all prospecting activities. And according to LinkedIn, 84% of B2B purchases begin with a personal introduction.

Today, “personally introductions” happen online. Your best customers are helping you drive leads and acquire customers. Having an advocacy marketing program in place enables you to increase referred leads by capturing the data that measures the performance of your referral channel.  

Finding who’s referring you business, tracking their referral activities, rewarding them, and forecasting pipeline from referral activity makes your CRM a revenue driver.

Start by improving your customer engagement.

Here are 4 tips from Influitive VP of Marketing Jim Williams, part of the team behind AdvocateHub:

Don’t start the conversation by asking for a referral

It’s the B2B equivalent of asking someone to marry you on your first date. Start with smaller asks, such as reading industry best practices, providing their feedback on your product and sharing content on social media, and then work your way up to more significant requests such as referrals.

Your referral strategy shouldn’t be a one-time campaign

Make it an important part of an ongoing customer engagement and advocate marketing strategy that provides value to your customers over the long term. The more engaged they are with your company on a day-to-day basis, the more likely they are to remember to refer new clients to you.

Get visibility using your CRM

Use your CRM to give your advocates visibility into how their referrals are progressing through the sales cycle. When an advocate submits a referral through Influitive’s AdvocateHub software, for example, the integration with Salesforce ensures they can see the status of each referral and continue to be recognized with additional points as their referral moves closer to Closed Won.

Rewarding referrals: Don't assume your customers just want a $15 gift card

We've seen cases when these kinds of incentive backfire by 'cheapening' the relationship with your most important customers. Many referrers are recommending your brand and products because they believe in your company's mission. Offer a variety of perks, privileges and rewards that transcend financial compensation. For example, grant advocates incentives like status and access within your industry / organization.

Here’s a look at the advocacy data you can see inside the Salesforce CRM:generate_referrals_advocacy_marketing_influitive_salesforce_crm-1

Nurture Your Leads Faster Using Email Marketing

Email marketing is exceptionally important for your demand generation strategy. So it’s important to get it right on desktop and mobile. Recent reports say almost half of all emails are opened on a mobile device.

Email testing company, Litmus, reported that 48% of email is now opened on a mobile device.

email_open_rates_on_mobile_b2b_marketing

When you use a CRM for your email marketing you get a number of benefits including integration with existing Salesforce campaigns, large volume capabilities, and non global unsubscribe capabilities based on segmenting.

Alex Shaffer of marketing agency, Vital Design, wrote a comparison of native and non native Salesforce CRM email marketing platforms.

Third party native CRM email marketing platforms can help you run large campaigns and track the effectiveness of each campaign.

Price Your Product And Create Better Personas Using CRM Data

Your CRM stores more than pipeline information.

It holds information on how much customers are willing to pay for a product.

By understanding your payback period, lifetime value, and customer acquisition cost, your CRM can tell you the minimum price your customers are willing to pay for your product.

In B2B SaaS or software, this may not be as exact as in the consumer products world. However, if you create a greater sense of value, the price you can charge is much higher.

Your CRM will also be vital for deciding changes in pricing tiers, and the resulting churn or downgrades.

For developing personas, you should be updating them periodically. Data from your CRM can help.

For example, if you’re a fast growing company your customer demographics can change. This can affect messaging and targeting. So don’t forget to run reports periodically to update your buyer and user personas.

Fun, right?

That's A Wrap

In this post we covered improving lead generation, email marketing, product marketing, call tracking and advocacy marketing with your CRM.

Your CRM plays an important role for the sales department. It should also play an important role in B2B marketing.

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Topics: salesforce, lead generation, B2B Marketing, B2B Sales

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