Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools have traditionally worked in favor of salespeople. They allow you, as a salesperson, to track, measure, and monitor just about every aspect of the sales cycle. The funny thing is, the deeper you go into the world of CRM tools, the more they start to look like content management tools. Most marketing departments need to gather sophisticated information from the web and deliver that to sales. They need to monitor and track where that marketing data comes from so sales can use that data to make smart sales decisions. All of these things can and are being used by marketers to streamline marketing processes all across the board.
The Marriage of CRM and Content Marketing
Historically, CRM tools were locked away deep inside the computers and mobile devices of sales professionals, never to be let out into the world of web and content marketing. Recently, that was all turned upside down as more web marketers started to realize that they could benefit from the sophisticated monitoring and tracking tools found in CRMs like Oracle or Salesforce.com. The big idea here is that through integrating your content marketing campaign with your CRM, you can streamline the complicated marketing-to-sales processes that have plagued companies for as long as sales and marketing departments have existed.
Content Marketing in the CRM: How it All Works
There’s a big conversation going on about how marketing and sales departments can and should be able to work together better. One way this is happening is by integrating the marketing and sales departments and their processes into a single CRM platform.
Again, this has historically meant that after a content marketing campaign has concluded, or it has reached the next phase, data would be gathered by the marketing department and then distributed to the various sales leaders in the sales department. This often meant that the marketing department would need to print out hard-to-navigate marketing metrics, or at the very least migrate from one tracking system to the sales department’s CRM.
What content marketers are finding out is that if they integrate the marketing data collection and monitoring processes with a sales CRM, they are better equipped to deliver necessary data to sales in a quick and efficient way. For instance, the data that marketers receive from PPC campaigns, social media, blog posts, whitepapers, and everything in between can now be integrated directly into the reports tools built into the Salesforce CRM. Within these reports, sales staff and executives can view exactly how users read content, how they came to the site, and what actions they took after viewing your content. From there, sales staff can determine the next actions to take to move prospects further down the sales funnel.
Why Content Marketers Need a CRM
We’ve talked a bit about the benefits of a CRM for content marketing, but the reality is that the future of content marketing will rely on integrative data reporting that works well, or at the very least contributes to sales data collection. In fact, some key analysts would argue that in order for content marketing to be successful in the months and years ahead, it must be integrated with a CRM. First off, without a CRM you are actually missing a key component of content marketing data, and secondly, you may be missing out on some key opportunities to engage sales professionals within your organization in a meaningful way.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how efficient you can make all marketing and sales processes within your organization. Integrating content marketing with your CRM offers optimum efficiency, and gives you a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t.