The B2B space is a specific beast when it comes to improving marketing and sales strategy. When it comes to B2B companies, the sales cycle is often longer, driven by contact-based communications, lengthy demos, and a focus on rationalization rather than emotion. For this reason, B2B companies and organizations are beginning to rely heavily on their CRM (customer relationship management) systems to improve marketing, sales, and the customer experience.
CRM systems can be stand-alone, or a combination of Marketing Automation and Sales Enablement systems. Salesforce, a leading CRM software provider defines CRM as, “A strategy for managing all your company’s interaction with current and prospective customers.”
The tools that make up a CRM work together to map cohesive customer journeys that provide a seamless trip down the sales funnel for prospects. The data stored within the CRM is useful for both sales and marketing teams for different reasons. But what they both have in common is the ability to automate tasks and improve the customer experience from start to finish.
An automated B2B CRM solution is, at its core, a way of understanding and fulfilling your customers’ needs at every stage of the marketing and sales lifecycle. Tracking your leads with an automated CRM ensures your company is free from leaky buckets and lost sales opportunities. There are several key automated CRM functions that improve the B2B sales and marketing process and quite a bit of innovation looking to the future of automated CRM software.
Lead Nurturing is the Nature of Automated Marketing
A strategic component of automated CRM processes for B2B companies is lead nurturing. So, what’s the primary goal for marketing teams? Make unknown people identifiable with information based on their digital body language.
Marketing experts first look at compositional data including name, location, job title, etc. We then take time to examine their behavioral data or how that person engaged with a brand’s content. We ask questions like: What web pages have they visited? What emails have they opened and clicked through? Have they engaged with the brand’s social media platforms? This allows for better tracking and personalized nurturing.
When people interact with an organization’s online marketing platforms like website forms, ads, emails, or even attend a webinar, those prospects fall into automated nurturing campaigns. This digital body language tracked through automation identifies those hand-raisers, qualifies their interest, and passes them on to the sales team as leads.
Lead Qualifications and Sales Enablement
Lead qualification is arguably one of the best attributes of an automated CRM. Through website integrations, CRM software can score leads based on their past actions. Once leads are scored appropriately based on a perceived value scale, teams can appropriately direct leads to the correct department in order of priority.
Lead scoring helps take the guesswork out of when the lead is ready to take the next step and connects them with the right teams. Lead qualification is the final step for marketing teams before passing off qualified leads to the sales team.
Once the marketing team has passed qualified leads to the sales team, automated CRM software can assign leads to different sales representatives and track emails and calls. Data is aggregated automatically to help the sales team see the right information when they need it most.
The right automated B2B CRM system can aid the sales team while managing their opportunities and status on sales. Based on past performance, systems can also forecast growth and revenue possibilities for the sales cycle. Advanced solutions can also create projected goals and predict the possibility of closes won versus closes lost. Instead of manually entering this data at the beginning of a sales cycle, the CRM system can easily make predictions and help set objectives.
Improving Customer Support & Boosting Sales
It’s common sense that when B2B leads receive timely information from their request, they are more likely to sign a contract. An automated CRM helps the sales and marketing teams do their jobs that much better. With an automated CRM, leads are contacted during that “golden hour” of opportunity.
How will the Automated B2B CRM Evolve in the Coming Decade?
According to Martech Advisor, the CRM space is set to evolve in the coming decade with features like:
- More flexibility platforms that mimic social networks rather than a typical database
- Integrations with modern work tools like G-Suite and Office365
- Marketing automation and automated CRM systems that fully integrate creating a prospect intelligence system
- Connected customer experience with targeted messaging and tracked purchasing pattern
- Leveraging iPaaS (integration platform as a service) to integrate cloud-based tools for the expansion of data mining
An automated CRM system is critical for all B2B companies and organizations looking to make an impact in their industry. The efficiency, organization, data aggregation and overall optimized communication creates an unparalleled customer experience leading to more sales.