Without a doubt, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an integral part of the manufacturing sales process. However, CRM is not a be-all-end-all to a shorter sales cycle. Why? Because a CRM by itself doesn’t generate leads. If your CRM is not connected to an inbound marketing platform, you are missing valuable sales opportunities. Keep reading to learn why your CRM should be integrated with an inbound marketing platform to improve sales and turn prospects into customers quicker and more efficiently.
What a CRM Can Do
- Be Your Contact Database
- Produce Email Conversations- (Opens and Clicks)
- Log calls or other interactions between sales people and those contacts (if the sales people are invested in the CRM and put the time in)
What a CRM Can’t Do
- Attract New Leads- CRM is only for existing databases, which may degrade 25% a year due to events such as job changes, people leaving the company, etc. It’s up to the manufacturer to add additional contacts into the database and regularly “clean up” the database when people move to different jobs
- Track Prospect and Customer Behavior- CRM can only give you information about email opens and clicks and other interactions that your client logs. It cannot tell you how a prospect interacts with your brand. Meaning what webpages they’ve looked at, if they’ve engaged with your company on social media, or if they’ve downloaded a white paper or other content from your website.
What is an Inbound Marketing Platform?
There are a few inbound marketing platforms on the market. At Felber PR, we use HubSpot for both our CRM and inbound marketing software (though HubSpot integrates with many existing mainstream platforms on the market). HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform and sales software that helps manufacturers attract visitors to their website, convert leads, and then ultimately, close the customers.
Inbound marketing focuses on bringing prospective customers to you, rather than outwardly seeking them. By creating content specifically designed to entice your ideal customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your website and starts the process building relationship. You can and should also nurture your existing customers as well to sell more.
Why You Should Have Both a CRM and an Inbound Marketing Platform
We all know that knowledge is power and that’s what an inbound marketing platform gives you. An inbound marketing platform allows you to track your prospects and their behavior. In one space, you can look at prospects and customers individually and see what emails they’ve opened and clicked, where they’ve been on your website and what content they’ve downloaded.
By syncing your CRM with your inbound platform, sales managers get a “360” view of who the prospect is and receives valuable insight on that individual’s needs, wants and goals. That way, when a sales rep reaches out to a prospect, he or she is equipped with solutions tailored to that prospect. Isn’t that their job in a nutshell? Building deeper relationships?
Also, an inbound marketing platform allows for marketing automation. For example, if a prospect on your website downloads an Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing eBook, that prospect will automatically be sent content via email about 3D printing dissimilar metals, embedding sensors in parts or other of interest topics. Then, when that prospect has looked and multiple emails or pages on the website, a trigger will be sent to a sales manager to reach out to that prospect.
Long gone are the days of sales people reaching out to prospects that aren’t quite ready to buy. By syncing your CRM with an inbound marketing platform, sales managers save time, get further insight on who that prospect is, and ultimately, can close sales more efficiently based upon where that person is in the sales cycle.