CRM and Email Marketing are NOT Two Different Things

by | Aug 23, 2010

CRM and Email Marketing are NOT Two Different Things

This is the second in our series of posts leading up to the premier of the new SalesNexus.  Register for the release webcast on September 2 here.

There’s plenty already written about the “divide” between marketing and sales. I’ve always chalked it up to the fundamental differences web-based-crm-email-marketingbetween the types of people who typically choose a career in sales vs. marketing. That plus the fact that both groups are under tremendous pressure to produce results because both have direct impact on revenue.

And so, as technology has evolved to aid both marketing and sales professionals, vendors have followed the lead of their customers and created CRM software and contact management and sales automation solutions for sales people and sales management. Others have created powerful marketing solutions that automate and track results from all sorts of advertising, both online and offline.

Again, it’s natural in a way. Companies typically want to “protect” their sales staff from tasks that will distract them from engaging with customers. But that’s where I find an exception to this desire for separation. Engagement with customers. That’s the goal of sales people for certain and should be the goal of everyone in the organization. But most businesses are structured so that when a customer is ready to “engage” with a person within the business, sales people get the call.

So even if you start off with a telephone conversation, it’s very common that there will be emails exchanged frequently throughout the relationship.

And so that’s why it’s just plain crazy that a business wouldn’t want to automate and track that email communication. In most businesses, the sales people probably send more emails to customers than anyone else. And then there are customer service roles and others that communicate via email to customers regularly.

But virtually every Email Marketing solution on the market today is built around the concept of a marketing professional managing and using it to generate and nurture leads that respond by signing up for things on the website or emailing or calling, at which time the sales team “takes over”.

Once the customer has engaged with a sales rep, the sales person is responsible for all the email communication related to the inquiry or transaction. If the marketing department is using the email marketing solution to “nurture” responses to their broader campaigns, you can be that it’s common that the emails they receive don’t quite match the conversation they’re having with sales. Because the sales person is not empowered to easily change, stop or start the email marketing campaign their customers are part of.

I know, lots of email marketing technology vendors will say that their system is so simple, “Even a sales person can use it!” But all you have to do is look at their pricing models to see that they’re not really interested in encouraging more people within the company to use the solution. I suppose it’s simpler to support one experienced marketing pro than a far flung group of sales folks.

And the reverse of all this is true of CRM solutions built for sales teams. Sure, the CRM vendor will tell you that it’s easy for sales people to send out “form” emails to customers quickly. But again, look at the specifics in the pricing and terms and you’ll find they limit the number you can send and pretty hefty charges apply when you exceed the limits, thereby putting a damper on usage.

Even the combined offerings where email marketing solutions like Constant Contact, iContact and Vertical Response offer integrations with CRM and contact management systems like or ACT!, it’s largely a way to simplify the task of moving customer information from one system to the other. These email marketing tools are just not set up for a sales rep to easily “turn on” a campaign for a given customer.

So why is that important anyway? To me the most striking example is lost sales opportunities. You know, the leads that your sales team talks with but, they don’t buy anything and the sales person eventually stops pursuing the opportunity.

The fact is that most often, customers that don’t buy have simply decided to do nothing for now. That means they could be a good prospect for your company down the road when their budget is approved or the new VP is named or whatever it is that is preventing them from making decisions now. And in most businesses, a good close rate is 25 or 30%. That means that 75 or 80% of the leads that come in are lost.

And what happens to them? Some businesses have a quarterly newsletter they’ll get. A smaller few actually “nurture” them with dedicated email campaigns but, as above, that requires unusual coordination between sales and marketing and jumping through a few technical hoops.

Of course, there are other examples of how email marketing campaigns need to be triggered by intelligence gathered by sales people in real time. Imagine a complex selling environment where you have engineers involved in the decision as well as the CFO and CEO. Those people need entirely different campaigns. But often, until a sales person speaks with the initial “lead”, you don’t know which role that person has.

So that’s why I say that you don’t really have a complete email marketing solution if it’s not able to react to changes during the sales process. And you’re not really managing customer relationships if your email marketing isn’t reflecting what the sales person is learning about each customer.

Imagine that as soon as a list of leads from the trade show goes onto the nurturing campaign that the marketing department has designed and responses start coming in to sales, as the sales person learns that they’re talking to an engineer, they can click a button and stop the generic trade show lead nurturing campaign and start the engineer nurturing campaign!

Each business has different scenarios but, it should be that easy. In fact, it has to be that easy if you expect sales people to do it consistently.

That’s why SalesNexus Web Based CRM is releasing our new Email Marketing solution, bundled right into the CRM software so that a sales person can turn on a campaign for any lead and have it “drip” market to that lead automatically AND the marketing department can instantly pull up a list of leads based on intelligence gathered by the sales person and send them a certain promotional offer or put them all on an automated campaign.

But there’s something else in our upcoming release that is the most exciting, partly because I know how explosive it will be for closing deals and partly because I know how powerful it will be in enticing sales people to really embrace the CRM solution.

In the new SalesNexus Web Based CRM and Email Marketing solution, when your customer or leads receive your email and open it or click on it, the sales person can receive an alert to contact that specific lead. We’re not just talking about analytics on opens and clicks for campaign analysis. We’re talking about real time actionable sales intelligence.

Your marketing department sends out the email blast and the next morning, the sales team has a list of prospects to call that they know are interested in a very specific thing because they click on that call to action in the email.

Another benefit of having the email marketing and CRM capabilities in one system is that tracking results will be far more comprehensive. Again, in a typical business, marketing claims success based on opens, clicks or responses to their email campaigns. Sales can claim success only from closed sales and often will point the finger at leads or responses from marketing campaigns to make excuses.

With everything in once place, your marketing team can analyze not just the response rate to their campaigns but, the close rate. And it’s easy. No 4 hour data correlation project required. Marketing campaigns can be adjusted and improved based on real time intelligence.

There’s a lot here for sales teams to benefit from. You may be thinking that creating all these campaigns and systems will be tough for the average business to conquer. Well, in my next post I’ll focus on the SalesNexus Sales Mastery Institute, where we’ll be connecting world renowned gurus on marketing and selling with SalesNexus subscribers to help them market and sell like professionals, without busting the budget.

Be sure to register for our webinar where will introduce all of these exciting new email marketing capabilities as well as the Sales Mastery Institute. Register here.