In 2021, increasingly more businesses have embraced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Indeed, SuperOffice reports that “91% of companies with more than 11 employees now use CRM software.” But why is that? Well, the answer to that would require a slew of articles to cover thoroughly. In brief, CRM keeps customer information organized and consolidated, making it actionable for different departments. To illustrate this final point, let’s use this article to explore the importance of CRM in digital marketing.
What is CRM?
First, let’s define CRM software. Chances are you’ve already heard of it, given its immense popularity and market share. Indeed, Statista finds it is now the single largest software market in the world, and shows no signs of shrinking:
Still, what exactly is this software juggernaut? As the name implies, CRM software seeks to manage all aspects of a business’s interactions with customers.
To do so, it typically comes with a set of core features:
- A consolidated customer database. Through this feature, CRM helps break down data silos and keep customer information accessible for all departments.
- Lead management tools. While exact features of this sort will vary, they will typically hinge on lead nurturing and scoring. Through such tools, CRM bridges the gap between marketing and sales.
- Automation features. These tools will also vary from one solution to the next, but will typically revolve around marketing and sales automation. In conjunction with Google Analytics, such features can fuel massive marketing improvements.
That said, CRM is an overarching software type with a massive scope. Therefore, when basic CRM solutions don’t suffice, the market offers subsets that hyper-focus on specific business functions. To best stress the importance of CRM in digital marketing, let us explore the 3 main ones among them.
- Operational CRM. This type primarily delves into automation; email automation, order confirmations, and so forth. Thus, it’s the most popular type for service, sales, and marketing improvements.
- Analytical CRM. In contrast, Analytical CRM delves into analytics, as the name implies. In doing so, it informs lead segmentation, nurturing, scoring, and management. Moreover, many such solutions offer predictive modeling capabilities for profitability analyses and sales forecasts.
- Collaborative CRM. Finally, Collaborative CRM seeks to streamline internal communications. To do so, it typically offers deeper channel management features, as well as document management and sharing tools.
These aside, some solutions will also come with an explicit industry focus to better serve said industry’s needs. For example, MoversTech CRM caters to the moving industry, fine-tuning its features to best meet the needs of relocation businesses.
All that said, however, each solution will differ substantially from the next – even from ones within the same subset, or ones with the same industry focus. Thus, in all cases, extensive prior research is always highly advisable.
The Importance of CRM in Digital Marketing
Now, with definitions out of the way, let’s discuss the importance of CRM in digital marketing. To do so, we may pinpoint 3 ways in which it fuels marketing endeavors.
#1 Audience Insights
#2 Personalization and Retention
Finally, on the subject of operational efficiency, automation is now a prevalent, tried-and-tested marketing practice. In brief, automation offers to automate tasks that don’t require much, if any, creative oversight. Here, the importance of CRM in digital marketing comes in full display, as its automation features are vast. Namely, the three main types of CRM automation are:
- Marketing automation. Among other types of automation, this type includes email automation, lead generation, and data syncing.
- Sales automation. In turn, sales automation includes call scheduling, as well as task delegation and lead assignment.
- Service automation. Finally, service automation includes case routing to appropriate agents and customer self-service portals. Notably, CRM service automation can expand to AI-powered chatbots as well.
Understandably, while most CRM solutions should offer some automation features, Operational CRM specifically excels at automation. That said, we should still reiterate that CRM solutions’ features will inevitably vary quite considerably.
To summarize, the importance of CRM in digital marketing cannot be overstated. CRM offers a consolidated customer database that breaks down data silos and facilitates better collaboration across departments. It allows for deeper audience insights, informing customer segmentation that fuels personalization and fosters retention. Finally, and most importantly, as regards operational efficiency, it offers automation features to streamline workflows and enhance productivity. It’s this sheer potential to which it owes much of its current appeal with marketers, and understandably so.