How Deep Can Marketing Automation Go Into Your CRM?

Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) are enjoying a period of rapid adoption and are evolving into enterprise-class systems capable of driving a myriad of mission-critical business processes. From a trends perspective, sales and marketing alignment is all the rage, with companies beginning to implement cross-departmental workflows that marry the technology of CRM and marketing automation with business process management. This is highly evident in the growing use of lead management processes that originate in MAPs and continue through CRM. These processes include lead scoring, nurture marketing, and lead-to-revenue management analytics. As companies mature in their use of MAPs and continue to explore and succeed at sales and marketing alignment, the question is: Should it stop there? How deep can marketing automation penetrate an organization? Should it continue straight through to the service and support departments? I firmly believe it will.

When you look at some of the key process automation opportunities between sales, marketing, and client services, you realize the basic rules that apply to nurture marketing also apply to client service, support, and client expansion initiatives.

Consider one of the most common workflows that MAPs and CRM share: lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing is often based on the automated enrollment of an individual into a pre-set series of communications (emails). A person may be enrolled into a nurture marketing program in a variety of ways, including when a value changes in their record from the CRM system.

Here’s a real-world example:

John Smith is a prospect who downloads a white paper from your website. His lead score triggers an action wherein the MAP creates a new lead in the CRM and assigns him to a sales rep. The MAP fires a workflow in CRM and assigns a sales task to Jane Doe, the assigned sales rep. Jane makes a number of outbound phone calls to John only to repeatedly be sent to voicemail. She then changes John’s CRM lead status to “Nurture.” The MAP reads this change and places John back into an automated email nurture program.

Apply the same logic of lead nurturing to client services:

James Moore is a client of ABC Widgets. He submits a support case for a product defect to ABC. This support ticket is then worked to conclusion. A field value in his contact record changes to something that triggers an automated email from the MAP, which includes a link to a post-support survey (which just happens to be a survey created in and hosted by the MAP). In this survey James indicates that his satisfaction with the service is low. The value is captured by the MAP and pushed to his record in the CRM. This then fires an alert to a support manager in CRM and enrolls James in a high-touch nurture campaign that provides ongoing information about the product, tips for using it, and direct links to support and its online portal and knowledge base. Each interaction from then on is captured and monitored and support personnel at ABC are alerted when key touches occur.

This is but one simple example of how the tools that exist inside of a MAP can help companies improve client communications. There are many other examples such as…

  • Weekly/monthly product updates – Drip Campaigns
  • New client onboarding communications – Nurture Programs
  • Client Satisfaction Surveys – Landing Pages/Surveys
  • NPS (net promoter score) Tracking – Surveys
  • Customer events – Event Management

The list goes on and on. The key thing to remember is that the technology inherent to MAP and the ever improving integration between the MAP/CRM systems opens up a huge opportunity for companies to improve how they communicate, cross-sell, and measure satisfaction of clients. Companies that are willing to leverage the MAP to do this are enjoying higher client satisfaction scores and are driving revenue from their existing client base, hence getting more bang for the buck with their MAP investment.

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