In a world inundated with communication, information is power. Marketers use information to try to target buyers with the right products and services; sales uses information to address buyers needs and desires in an effort to win deals; and customer service uses information to meet and exceed customer expectations. But, the reality is your company probably doesn't use information as effectively as it could.
Why? To start, there is simply too much data, and it's impossible to make all of it actionable even with automated technology. But more importantly, most organizational functions still operate in silos. Each function has a specific set of tools and technologies to engage, track and monitor customer and prospect interactions.
Effective customer relationship management (CRM) should consist of sales, marketing and service, customer interactions that are managed by tracking, storing and retrieving information across different customer experiences. Salesforce automation (SFA) tools are used to manage sales data and interactions, whereas call-center and customer service tools manage customer and service data. Often salesforce automation and customer service tools are integrated to try to create a holistic record of customer interactions over time. But what about the third pillar under the CRM umbrella â€" marketing? Where is the tool to manage and act on this data?
Marketing Automation's Role
An emerging class of marketing technology has been developed to fill this critical void in CRM datamarts: marketing automation. Marketing automation technologies typically include email marketing, campaign workflow, web analytics, content management, a marketing datamart and robust integration with SFA tools.
Many email marketing tools have pre-packaged integration with SFA, but the integration is often at an aggregate level. What is actually needed is deep integration across email, web analytics, social media, telesales and field sales. Marketing automation tools have built in workflow triggers and deep integration with salesforce automation tools so prospects can be handed off to sales at just the right time.
Marketing automation tools don't replace web analytics - they use some of the same basic techniques to provide a completely different set of tools for sales and marketing. For example, marketing automation integrated to web analytics and email provides visibility to clicks and tracking of the link and corresponding web activity and behavior. Combined with other marketing history data in the marketing automation tool, this can help to alert sales reps about key account activity or trigger an email campaign based on a customer behavior threshold. Marketing automation makes this web analytics data actionable.
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