Editor’s note: This is the third article in a series highlighting the new role marketers are taking in the entire journey of each prospect and customer, from lead generation to cash in hand. Subscribe to our blog now (at right) to make sure you stay-up-to-date on articles related to the series and other Salesforce tips and tricks!
In previous articles on Lead Generation and Marketing Automation, we have explored the critical value your website and marketing automation tool (we prefer Pardot) has to the development of customer journeys and growth of your business, especially in the era of the customer.
Now, if you considered each of your departments with a customer touchpoint as a relay team, the third “runner” in your team would be the Sales department. But there has to be a baton pass, or a transition of information, that was gathered in the Marketing process to the Sales organization. Both internally and to the prospect, this must be quick and seamless to facilitate an easy, delightful experience.
One of the reasons we exclusively support Salesforce Sales Cloud as a CRM is the ability of this tool to easily connect to any of the top marketing automation platforms. And when you have a smooth baton pass between marketing and sales, you have a solid foundation for what we call a “System of Engagement.”
Achieving a full 360-degree-view of your customer
A System of Engagement is one where everyone has a 360-degree-view of your prospects and customers from their very first touchpoint with you as a business.
A 360-degree-view of your prospects and customers is absolutely critical in today’s competitive economy. You need to be able to find, win and KEEP customers, which is a never-ending cycle as long as you have upsell, cross-sell, renewals, new products, new services and other opportunities.
The diagram on the right shows the fundamental change that the “era of the customer” has prompted in conversations around business technology and the ERP vs. CRM debate. Whereas ERP once served as the System of Record, and was driven by institutional processes, the CRM is now the critical hub of all your customer data and the source of truth for key business insights such as sales growth. It’s also driven by the customer’s wants, needs and behaviors not what the business wants to set as its process.
As a central repository, Sales Cloud CRM is the one and only CRM on the market today capable of handling such a big job as that of a System of Engagement with full integration to marketing, operations, customer service, accounting and other customer-facing systems.
Managing your contacts in a shared cloud environment
Fundamentally, CRMs were built so you could manage Leads and Contacts. This is still true today, however, now you’re getting data from multiple sources such as Pardot. With the Pardot integration, for example, you can easily facilitate the transition of a Marketing Qualified Lead to a Sales Qualified Lead. And you can also see what content prospects and existing customers are viewing, as well as products or services they may be interested in.
Using a cloud CRM such as Sales Cloud also enables your teams to get access to the data from wherever and whenever they need it. They can also access the customer data they need (security settings can be customized) in a self-serve environment where they don’t need to make phone calls or send emails to check on opportunities, order status, accounting records and other statuses with different departments.
Managing your opportunities effectively with pipeline management
Part of a robust and successful Sales Management organization is the ability to forecast revenue and plan for operations. Without a tool to manage Opportunities, Products and Price Books, however, this is a difficult and painstaking process, or one that falls to the wayside altogether. Sales Cloud CRM comes with standard functionality to manage these processes so you can plan for and build your business.
Sales Management and Pipeline / Forecasting accuracy is driven off the fact that Sales reps can provide transparency in updating their Opportunities and pipelines, and by utilizing the Salesforce Campaigns feature, you can tie this closed-won revenue to specific marketing efforts. This provides marketing and sales team’s with critical data on where to market and when, and ultimately what that effect is to their pipeline and forecasting.
Sales Cloud provides a critical out-of-the-box Sales Process that can aid mature and young sales team alike to how to streamline the marketing and sales process. Ultimately, data stewardship and keeping the data real in salesforce is critical to the reporting and forecasting accuracy so training and mentorship on the systems are critical to their success and returns.
Your CRM is one of the most important investments you make as a business. Long-gone are the days when you could get by with a silo’d, integration un-friendly CRM system that provided a mere way for you to manage Contacts and Leads.
Sales Cloud CRM was built to serve as a much more robust hub of customer intelligence that collects data from all other customer-facing teams such as marketing, operations, accounting and customer service. When these systems are implemented and optimized, you can provide a clear competitive advantage and run a more profitable business.