Most modern businesses use software to manage their customer relationship data. Sales teams often prefer CRM tools, which are invaluable for making conversations and building relationships. Meanwhile, marketing teams rely on email marketing tools to connect with and attract potential customers. When these two activities—sales and marketing—work together, you can give prospective customers a truly exceptional experience. In this blog post, we look at how integrating your CRM and email marketing tool can benefit your business.
Integrating your CRM and email marketing tool
There are many ways to unify your CRM and email marketing activities. Some business software solutions offer both functionalities in one tool. This means that your sales and marketing representatives can be on the same platform at all times.
However, it can be tricky to find that one perfect software solution that satisfies both departments. It’s more common for each to have their own preferred tool. That's why you should consider integrating their preferred tools so that information can seamlessly flow from one team to another.
A lot of CRM and email marketing tools on the market come with built-in integrations designed for this purpose. This means that you can natively integrate the two systems. It’s usually a straightforward, code-free procedure.
In the absence of a built-in integration, check whether your CRM and email marketing tools can be integrated using a dedicated workflow or integration builder, like Zapier or Zoho Flow. These tools come with prebuilt blocks of code you can use to connect your CRM and email marketing tools. It’s worth noting that integration tools may have some restrictions on the type or volume of data you can share at any one time.
If you need complete autonomy over what data is shared, when, and how, you can integrate your systems using application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs are sets of instructions and guidelines for building an integration for a particular piece of software. Every software has its own APIs. Integrating your CRM and email marketing tools with APIs can be a time-intensive exercise, and requires programming skills.
The method you should choose for integrating your systems depends on your business capacity and the complexity of your needs. Data integration between these systems can either be one-way or both ways.
Bringing CRM data into your email marketing tool
The biggest benefit of integrating systems is that you can automate most of your everyday manual tasks. For example, when you build a one-way integration to sync data from your CRM tool with your email marketing tool, it’ll automatically bring leads, contacts, and prospects into your email marketing lists. You can configure the integration to create separate lists for each type of contact, and also exclude those who’ve opted out of receiving marketing communications. This eliminates the need to manually transfer or import contacts. You can also set your integration to sync systems periodically, so that newer leads added to the CRM are automatically synced with your email lists.
CRM data can be crucial for informing future marketing campaigns. You can create customised lists and corresponding email campaigns based on where prospects are in the sales process. For example, you can send educational materials and case studies to leads in the awareness and consideration stages, and one-on-one demo offers, webinars, and workshops to those in the evaluation stage.
Customising your email campaigns based on CRM data is a good way to deliver relevant messages to your audience. Most people who unsubscribe from email campaigns do so because they believe they're being spammed. By sending them more appropriate content, you can grow an audience that's more receptive to your campaigns.
Bringing email marketing data into a CRM
When your systems are integrated, you can push data about all your email campaigns to your CRM tool. For example, every time you launch a marketing campaign, it’ll show up on a prospect’s record in CRM, along with any responses received. This can help your sales rep understand the prospect’s needs and how they feel about engaging with your brand, so they can customise their conversations and offers accordingly.
Your CRM tool will also keep a record of every active email marketing campaign, including any webinars you’re running, events you’re presenting at, and even any discounts or offers you’re extending. With this information, your sales reps can provide accurate and timely advice during their conversations with prospects. Depending on how comprehensive the integration is, you can also enable sales reps to draft, collaborate on, and send email campaign follow-ups from within the CRM interface. That way, your prospects receive relevant communication at every stage of their purchase decision.
Many businesses use a series of emails to qualify leads. You can set this up in your email marketing tool. Follow-ups are sent automatically based on how your prospective customer engages with previous emails. Every time a prospect or a lead completes the workflow, you can push their information into your CRM as a marketing qualified lead (MQL). That way, your sales rep will know which leads have engaged with marketing communications actively, so they can provide adequate follow-ups.
Best of both worlds: The two-way integration
With a two-way integration, you get the best of both worlds—your sales reps have a full view of your email campaigns, and your marketing reps have contextual information about each lead and their decision-making process. Most software that offer built-in integrations offer it both ways for no extra cost. You can start with a one-way integration, and then extend it as your needs evolve.
Integrating your CRM and your email marketing tools is immensely helpful for providing a consistent and personalised customer experience. When connected one way, the activities of one of your teams will be supporting the other. This is useful if you’re a small business that runs limited email campaigns that are easy to keep up with. You’ll likely focus more on bringing CRM data into your email campaign tool to make your campaigns more effective. A two-way integration is more useful for companies that have dedicated resources for marketing and sales efforts, as it helps them manage and track a wide range of campaigns.