In Part I of this series, I addressed inbound terminology and definitions to ensure that your marketing and sales operation were using the same language. Today I want to talk about tools. A strong Inbound program has two common tools: A Customer Relation Management System and a Marketing Automation Platform.
Here are three things to consider when it comes to tools and Sales and Marketing Alignment:
- Have you closed the loop? Does your MAP and CRM communicate with each other? When closed-loop systems are in place, leads seamlessly flow from your marketing automation platform into your CRM making data from your marketing activities with that lead transparent to your sales operation, as well as eliminating duplicative data entry.
- Are your conversions transparent? It is no longer sufficient to “clump” all leads into one category to measure an inquiry to tour conversion. Inbound experts assess conversion based on different types of lead sources, separating inbound leads from online directory leads from traditional sales leads that walk in or call into your community without having visited your website or an online directory. Doing so makes trends easier to assess, as well as creating transparency in your assessment of your digital strategies.
- Does your MAP offer customer insight and flexible workflows? A common misconception is that a workflow is a linear process in which leads are nurtured. With the right tool, customer insight should drive the workflow down a series of “If________, then_______” actions that shift as the customer chooses to engage with content your offer through email or not engage with it.
- Does your CRM offer flexibility to incorporate sales processes? With CRM technology advancing quicker than it ever has before, most providers are either unaware of the robust options available to them, or scared to make a change with the hefty investment involved in customizing and implementing a new CRM. However, identifying a tool that allows you to incorporate sales milestones, and furthermore allows you to identify how effective your sales process is allow for quick assessment of adherence to the systems you have put in place, as well as identification of shifts needed in your sales process based on changing consumer needs.