Due to high competition and higher customer awareness, it has become difficult to generate leads from a single source. A CRM system is a great way to tap into lead data from the very beginning of the sales cycle.
However, just the lead data isn't enough to move them down the sales funnel. You need to gain real time insight into prospect behavior so you can differentiate between the ready-to-buy prospects and the still-researching prospects.
Connecting systems can result in higher productivity. Integrating your sales enablement software with a CRM system will let you delegate the right job to the right system- which means you get the best of both worlds integrated to work as one whole unit, resulting in higher productivity with hardly any increased costs.
Wikipedia’s definition of system integration is “the process of linking together different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole” clearly states that the key to a successful integration is “awesome synchronization”.
Connecting with other systems is, however, not as simple as it may seem. It involves a thorough study of what kind of software you will need to improve the efficiency of your current one. How do these systems complement each other, will this slow down your current process? Will this result in shorter workflows and more importantly; will all these efforts yield higher sales for your organization?
For ages, sales teams have relied solely on CRM systems for maintaining their prospect data. When a new prospect is identified by marketing and passed on to sales, a sales rep diligently feeds that data into the system. Most of this data lies there, gathering dust, because only 1 out of every 10 SQLs ever converts to customers.
Losing 9 out of 10 leads is definitely not a pleasing statistic. If you want to see a change in this statistic, you need to consider integrating your CRM with a system that is able to fix the leaking spots of your sales funnel.
One of the reasons why companies lose out on leads is because sales teams are hardly involved in the purchase cycle of the customer. It is only towards the very end that a sales rep comes into the picture. Marketing hands over the leads to sales with relevant information and collateral and expects them to close the deal. The sales rep, having no prior knowledge of the prospect, dives headlong into a seemingly unfamiliar territory and fails to live up to what Marketing promised to the leads. This results in poor close rates as sales and marketing aren’t on the same page.
Marketing and sales often run parallel campaigns. While one is busy promoting Quality A to the prospect, the other may promote Quality B. This ends up confusing the prospect, further contributing to poor close rates.
Integrating your CRM and sales enablement closes this gap and promotes transparency between sales and marketing. Unlike a CRM, the core function of Sales Enablement is to measure and automate the complete sales processes.
How this integration helps you:
- Contact sharing: Integrating your CRM with Sales enablement system can automatically update your lead information. You can import all your contacts from your existing CRM to the Sales Enablement system and vice versa.
- Lead analytics: When you engage a lead in one of your campaigns, sales enablement tracks how and when leads interacts with it. Based on this interaction, the lead is automatically scored in your CRM.
- Marketing-sales alignment: You get a one-stop place where your marketing team can communicate with sales personnel. Your marketing and sales team can work in tandem to improvise on strategic planning through marketing tools like email, web, playbook, eBook, print materials, and social publishing.
Asset Management Integration
Creating assets has become an integral part of any marketing or sales strategy. As prospects become wary of traditional advertising and direct mailers, marketers are adopting content creation methods.
While this works for the goal of promoting the company’s products and services, it poses another question; how and where to store this wealth of assets that are created for this purpose?
Organizations need a simple, unified automation system that bridges the sales and marketing gap and incorporates tools for effective asset management. However, implementing a sales enablement system that has inbuilt asset management functionalities works well in this case.
How this integration helps you:
- Scale sales organizations: Sales and marketing have independent access to the library, which means that sales doesn’t need to depend on marketing for crucial tasks like developing prospect data analysis, campaign-related collateral or asset creation tools.
- Improve sales workflow: Because salespeople know their customers best, it makes sense that they carry on upselling or cross-selling tasks as well. An asset system should allow sales to access relevant collateral on-demand as selling opportunities arise.
- Allows creation of high impact sales materials: Asset management systems are designed keeping in mind that sales people need to create personalized collateral without being required to be graphic designers. They allow salespeople to create personalized sales presentations, HTML emails, social media fan pages or even personal websites all by themselves.
A sales enablement focus means that your sales team is in control of the assets that they need for their campaigns. Features like real time reporting and mobile access work in favor of the salespersons who are the actual end users of your assets.
Social Media Integration
If your system does not support Social Media, you are clearly missing out on the hottest property for your marketing-sales activities. Since most of your prospects and leads are scouring the internet for product research, you have to make sure you are before them at all times.
Having an active online presence increases your chances of being found by your prospects. Also, Google’s recent algorithmic changes rank web pages based on how people are talking about you on social media. Through the many social networking sites, you cater to audiences on multiple platforms at once.
Social media integration means being able to post on multiple platforms, measure, and track how prospects are receiving your content. Since the shelf life of a post is very limited on social networking sites, it becomes important to create timely and regular posts. There are quite a few systems that allow you to do so, but the focus is on providing insights from a marketing perspective.
A sales focused system means one where sales can create their own social campaigns based on their understanding of prospects. As it is very important for sales reps to be in constant touch with prospects, social media integration can help sales teams a great deal.
How this integration helps you:
- Publicity: social media is the electronic word of mouth, and your brand can receive immense publicity on these sites. (think viral ads or memes on Facebook, Twitter)
- Lead generation: As followers follow/share/like your brand of their own free will, you are more likely to have a list of concrete prospects.
- Automated social drips: This feature lets you create automated social drips so that you don’t have to worry about manually updating your content.
These are three of the most important and basic integrations you must consider to improve your sales effectiveness. Connecting with other systems that complement your basic system completes the bigger picture for your organization.