Woman viewing CRM while working
Did you know that some companies are still tracking customer data in Excel spreadsheets? Maybe, this is even you? At the INBOUND 2017 conference, CRM for Dummies author Lars Helgesson explained the value of customer relationship management (CRM) tools in marketing and why using Excel is an inefficient way to track your marketing efforts and customer relationships in his session “Changing the Way You Think about CRM.”

New to CRM? We’ve pulled together the main takeaways from his lecture just for you. Keep reading for a brief introduction to improving your marketing efforts with customer relationship management.

Why use a CRM tool?

Better conversion rates

When you can track your contacts’ clicks, visits, and downloads, you have a much better chance of creating and sharing content that resonates with them.

Real accountability

Since CRM tools have reporting functionality, when you use one, your marketing efforts will have numbers associated with them. This data will help you and your stakeholders know which marketing campaigns are successful and which tactics you might want to reconsider.

Improved efficiency

When your team is using the same tool to make updates in real-time, you can avoid double work. Plus, once you’ve established processes for tracking, storing, and analyzing the data, reporting tasks will also take less time and you’ll have more consistency.
“Isolation of data makes it useless.”—Lars Helgeson

Larger funnel

By taking the guesswork out of how your prospects and customers are engaging with your content, you can confidently generate new content and provide more offers to prospects at each stage in the buyer’s journey. More content—and content that is better targeted—equals a larger funnel.

When does CRM fail?

Poor implementation

Like any other new marketing initiative, implementing a new CRM tool should be owned by the appropriate person on your team (or committee). Define processes for tracking, storing, and analyzing data and then take the time to train those on your team who will be using it most.
“Don’t let inmates run the asylum.”—Lars Helgeson

Lack of integration

If your company’s sales and marketing teams aren’t collaborating, setting strategies, and making goals together, not only will CRM fail, but sales and marketing won’t each their full potential. Find and explain the value to all parties and get buy-in at the outset if possible. This will make the rest of the process much smoother.

Resistance to change

It is easy to get set in your ways when it comes to how your company does marketing and sales. Sometimes teams will resist the introduction of new tools and all new processes. Do your homework and know the value the CRM could offer and be able to explain it to your team. Good ROI speaks volumes.
“Get buy-in from key members of the team, especially IT.”—Lars Helgeson

Complete CRM  > piecemeal CRM

The first CRM tools only recorded sales calls, but today’s tools are much more robust, tracking all layers of customer relationship management data in one place. This makes it easier to mine and use information to close more deals.

Here’s a look at some of the data and information that you can track with a modern CRM tool:
  • Sales
  • Events
  • Projects
  • Marketing
  • Knowledge
  • Learning
  • Customer service
“If it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen.”—Lars Helgeson

Using CRM

Collect data with a CRM tool to segment for a better customer experience. You can gather this data in a variety of ways including form submissions, appending from third parties, collecting automatically, and by measuring activity.

In addition to using segmentation to create for better-performing content, you can also use your CRM’s data to add personalization to your communications and improve the customer experience. This customization might include personalized URLs, landing pages, or even CTAs.
“Use data (and your imagination) to connect the dots.”—Lars Helgeson
In 2018 it’s practically impossible to be successful in your marketing and sales efforts without digital element tracking and storing or analyzing customer data.

Helgeson’s INBOUND 2017 session changed the way our team thinks about CRM and marketing, and we hope through this short primer that we’ve convinced you of its importance, too.

Members of our team attended multiple conferences in 2017, and we wrote up helpful takeaways from experts in digital marketing as well as web design and development. Here’s are links to a few additional blog posts with tips and recaps of what we learned:
How we can help you get more from your marketing in 2018? Let’s talk