9 Key Features Every Marketing Automation and CRM Software Platform Needs to Have

marketing automation

As more and more customers demand a personalized approach to their needs and situations, companies are searching for ways to respond to their customers’ needs and grow their business. Research has shown that customers want to interact with companies that value their time, but as a company grows, it can become overwhelming to keep track of every customer and their needs. This is where marketing automation and CRM software come into play.

In this article, we will explore some of the most important features your CRM software and marketing automation should come with, and how to best use them to keep your customers happy and grow your business.

CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software permits companies to keep track of customer engagement, even when they have considerable bases to oversee. CRM software can help your company manage everything from customer support to sales automation, to lead tracking and more.  

There are hundreds of options when it comes to CRM software, but implementing the first (or cheapest) one you find may end up backfiring on you when it comes to your employees. This is because many employees don’t immediately warm to the idea of CRM software, and will be especially grudging if the software is hard to use. This leads us to the first thing you should consider in your CRM software:

Ease of use and integration

If you’re going to be introducing software to your company that your employees struggle to use, you’re going to be wasting your money. Your employees’ time is just as (if not more) important than your customers’ time, which is why you have to be careful about not introducing a kind of software into their workdays that will make it harder for them.

If the software you’ve purchased isn’t intuitive, doesn’t integrate well with your current systems, and is frustrating to use, then your adoption rates will be abysmal. No matter what software you purchase, in-house training sessions are a must. Don’t assume your employees will learn the software on their own (or that they have the time to). Make time for them to learn and give them guidance.

Remote access

In the digital age, business flexibility is a must. Putting in place a CRM software that doesn’t allow for remote or mobile access will mean cutting off any work by employees’ that are out of office or working remotely. If you don’t have any remote employees, keep in mind that you most likely will end up with some in time. Remote employees are becoming the way of the future and buying CRM software that doesn’t allow for that future growth is just shooting yourself in the foot.

Analytics integration

Analytics are a gold mine of information for your company. The data collected can help guide your marketing strategies, understand where you need to increase your presence, and help you better understand your customer demographics. However, the data generated can be overwhelming if it’s not managed correctly.

This is why you should invest in a CRM software that doesn’t just collect the data, but also can convert it into actionable information that your employees can understand and use.

Security and Recovery

Over time, your CRM software will start to have a great deal of valuable information that you won’t want to fall into the wrong hands or disappear entirely! To prevent this, find software that has strict security measures in place that prevent cyber-attacks and data loss. To prevent you from losing what will likely become one of your company’s core assets, the CRM software you choose should also have the means to recover your data in the event of an attack.

Within your organization, be aware of who has access to your information and who can access the software. If you have a disgruntled former employee with access to the software, they could do catastrophic damage.

Customization

No matter how good a piece of software is, no one solution will fit every company’s needs. This is why the CRM software you choose should be fully customizable and flexible. The software you buy should support the processes your company already has in place and not force you to change everything you do to fit the software.

Your CRM software should have an intuitive, customizable dashboard and custom fields that allow you to get the most out of your investment.

Different software will offer different customization options at different tiers, which is why you should read carefully when choosing a software so that you know exactly what you get.

It integrates and syncs with other software

There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a piece of software with big dreams about how it’s going to make your life so much easier, only to realize it doesn’t work with any of the programs you’re currently using.

Lack of integration is one of the most significant issues’ organizations face when it comes to CRM adoption. If you’re using marketing automation software, you want to know for sure that it’s going to integrate with your CRM software seamlessly. This will allow you to have all your marketing and sales info all in one place without having to flip between screens or programs. It also makes lead handoffs between marketing and sales departments that much easier. You can learn more at SharpSpring.com about seamless integration or all-in-one campaign management

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation software’s goal is to automate marketing actions, especially the repetitive, time-consuming ones like email blasts and social media posts. Marketing automation software helps streamline and analyze engagement and workflows to provide your company with more sales leads. The concept behind it is, the more leads you get, the higher the conversion rate will be, and the more money you’ll make.

This software is different from CRM in that it’s focus is to acquire top-of-funnel leads, while CRM software is to help nurture the middle-and-bottom-of-funnel leaves. Together, CRM software and marketing automation software bring qualified leads into the feed and nurture them all the way through to conversion.

Just like CRM software, marketing automation software needs to be able to provide you with solutions that work for your company, which is why you need to research the marketing automation software you’re buying to make sure it will help your sales and marketing departments work together like a well-oiled machine–no more siloed tasks or disconnect.

Lead nurturing

Of all the things your marketing automation software can do for you, lead nurturing will be the most useful and powerful. Lead nurturing is a term used to refer to developing relationships with potential customers. Lead nurturing should focus marketing efforts on understanding your customers’ needs and giving them the help and information they need.  Lead nurturing is the perfect complement to lead generation programs and is incredibly valuable to sales and marketing teams.

Good marketing automation software will also have lead filtering built into their lead nurturing. This will filter collected leads by validity and prioritize them by how likely conversion is. This will help save your team time by not having them waste their resources on dead leads and help your company better understand the intent of your leads. Together, this results in better customer retention overall.

CRM integration

Just like how the CRM software you choose should integrate with your marketing automation software, the reverse is also true. These two programs were born to work together and, when they do, create a seamless way to collect, organize, and interpret customer interactions and take your potential customers from top-of-funnel to bottom-of-funnel.

Integration between these two programs will keep relevant information from customers in front of the right teams and prevent any information from getting lost, or any leads from being missed. So, make that your marketing automation software and CRM software integrate before you start buying!

Campaign management

If you want your business to succeed, then you need your marketing campaigns to succeed. To do that, you’ll want your marketing automation to have campaign management capabilities. Campaign management will allow your marketing automation software to plan, execute, track, and analyze the data being produced from your marketing campaigns. This should also include integrated campaign automation, which means that every step of your campaign will happen on the same interface, and won’t require your employees to go between different screens or systems.

Landing page directing

Your campaign landing page is the first thing customers will see when they click a link or an ad. It is their welcome to your company. The goal of any campaign landing page is to generate leads that may eventually lead to sales. A good landing page should always have a call to action that directs users to their next steps and allows your company to get in touch or to start facilitating a sale.

Good marketing automation software should automatically collect and forward lead details and other critical information from these pages to your sales team whenever a prospective customer finishes an information form. This information can be used for a lead generation since the actions a prospective customer takes when they’re on your landing page will determine your ad’s conversion rate and overall value for your company.