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If you already have a CRM, then you’re probably well-versed in the art of tracking sales opportunities, managing customer relationships, creating tasks, and providing customer support. But what about more marketing-focused processes like lead qualification, lead nurturing, email marketing, and campaign reporting?

To check those items off of your list, you need a tool like marketing automation, which is designed to integrate with a CRM to provide even greater capabilities for your marketing and sales teams. With a marketing automation system synced to your CRM, you can optimize your lead generation, move leads through the funnel even more quickly, and close the loop on ROI reporting.

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that you can use marketing automation and your CRM to improve lead qualification, target email messaging, and more (and if you’d like more information on this topic, be sure to use the Dreamforce Agenda Builder to pre-register for Pardot’s super session, “Marketing Automation at Its Best: Accelerate Pipeline with Pardot”).

1. Find Your A+ Leads

A common cause of strife between marketing and sales teams is poor lead quality. With the data gathered via a marketing automation system, marketers can score and grade leads so that only the most qualified get passed on to sales (note: a lead score measures interest in your product or service, while a lead grade reflects prospect fit). When leads reach a threshold score and grade, they can be assigned to sales reps automatically, cutting down on manual processes, increasing speed through the pipeline, and ensuring that lead assignment is fair, efficient, and effective.

2. Activate Your X-Ray Vision

Combining your CRM with marketing automation allows you to delve into detailed behavioral tracking, rather than limiting you to basic demographic information. This means that you’ll be able to view information like the pages that your prospects are visiting, the types of content that they’re interested in, and where they are in the buying cycle. This prospect activity history provides unparalleled insight into exactly what your leads are interested in, allowing your sales reps to tailor their pitches accordingly.

3. Stay with Leads from Start to Finish

Recent research from SiriusDecisions indicates that buyers are more than two-thirds of the way through their research process before they even reach out to sales. In order to communicate with buyers all the way through the sales cycle, marketing and sales teams have turned to lead nurturing, which can be used to automatically stay in front of non-sales-ready leads, find hidden leads in cold databases, mitigate churn rates, and enable sales to stay in touch over a long sales cycle. With lead nurturing, sales reps won’t waste time pursuing leads who aren’t yet ready to buy, and marketers can prevent cold leads from slipping through the cracks.

4. Send Messages that Matter

According to Pardot’s 2013 State of Demand Generation study, 77% of buyers want different, targeted content at each stage of their research. Using the behavioral information collected by your marketing automation tool, you can send targeted messages and lead nurturing emails that are personalized to your prospects’ interests and stage in the buying cycle. Creating one-to-one email communications or segmenting based on criteria like industry or product interest will add even more relevancy to your emails, increase engagement levels, and improve click-through rates (according to Aberdeen Group, personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%). 

5. Get the 411 on Your ROI

If you have a marketing automation system that’s tied to a CRM, campaign ROI reporting becomes that much easier. Bi-directional syncing ensures that campaigns created in your marketing automation platform map back to your CRM, making it possible to tie closed deals back to the campaigns that created them. This closed-loop reporting capability allows you to identify the marketing campaigns with the highest impact on revenue, giving you the data you need to prioritize marketing spend and accelerate your pipeline. 

If you’d like to learn more about how marketing automation can impact your business, pre-register for Pardot’s super session at Dreamforce, “Marketing Automation at Its Best: Accelerate Pipeline with Pardot.” Learn more about marketing automation and your CRM with the free ebook below.

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