Today I’m a panelist at the Silverpop Client Summit and we’re talking about Social CRM, Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation, moderated by Adam Needles. That’s a wide variety of topics, but I believe there is a clear relationship between them:
Both CRM and Marketing Automation are changing because of Social Media and Inbound Marketing. It plays out in a slightly different way for each of them.
CRM is very broad, it’s not just about sales, but about pretty much anything that involves communicating with your customers. For now I’ll focus on the “sales” part of CRM (Sales Force Automation). Some of the new social CRM features help sales people identify more opportunities, get more background information on existing leads and facilitate intra-company collaboration (see earlier post). This all revolves around leveraging connections with other people, whether that’s other sales people who share their contacts (like with Jigsaw or Netprospex), a sales person’s own network (LinkedIn) or co-workers within the same organization (Lithium).
Social Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation used to be focused on capturing leads, adding them to an email nurturing track, and giving them a score that indicates when they are sales-ready. Social Media doesn’t change anything about that: capturing, nurturing and scoring simply isn’t very social. The big changes are in the phases before and after this.
Before – Social media is great way to get in touch with new prospect, in addition to the more traditional approaches like advertising and list buying. But it’s a lot of work to monitor all online discussions and contribute if needed: marketing automation could play role in automating this. I won’t automate great content, but at least it can take care of the logistics.
After – Once leads are sales-ready, they are passed on to the sales team. Unfortunately, in most organizations this process isn’t very well organized. That’s too bad, because this is the most important collaboration point between marketing and sales. The eternal source of discontent is about lead handover: sales says the lead quality is lacking, and marketing claims the sales people don’t follow up properly. Better social collaboration options can improve this situation.
Social + CRM + Marketing Automation
Increasingly I believe that Marketing Automation should be seen as part of CRM. Sales & Marketing alignment is so important for the success of Marketing Automation that you can’t see it separate from the system that is used by the sales teams. Even though automation of social media participation may be the hottest topic, the most immediate benefits from “Social” come from better collaboration between Sales & Marketing.