Having a modern CRM is vital for becoming a modern company. Your traditional CRM may have worked in the past, but today, it should be more than just a digital storeroom. It's a crucial way for you to access, understand and monetise the goldmine that you already should have at your fingertips - your prospect and customer data.
In this article, I explore and explain how you can exploit the power of your data and turn your CRM into a revenue-generating machine.
The data goldmine
Data on its own is valueless. For data to be compelling, it needs to be collected, stored, and harnessed to become valuable with minimal maintenance and maximal output.
For example, having all the names of everyone who has shown interest in your company over the last eighteen months can be helpful. But how about knowing who was browsing, who is ready to buy, or even who was prepared to purchase?
By understanding your data and working smartly, you will ensure the right messaging gets to the desired people at the right time without any labour-intensive or prospect-annoying processes.
Modern targeting is more sophisticated, meaning ads are less interruptive and more informative. Some are so sophisticated that we now take the quality of the ads served in our social media feeds and videos for granted.
The traditional way doesn't work
Modern digital marketing and sales have changed radically in the last 20 years. GDPR, privacy concerns, savvy prospects, and even huge companies like Amazon redefining data mining have all had a profound impact.
Maybe you still see some of the data-scraping, privacy-invading, and industry-shaming practices that gave us all a bad reputation. Companies relying on these practices seem ancient compared to companies that do marketing and sales well. But the painful truth is that many companies still work like this.
Many companies are so excited to get their message out that they forget the blend of science and craft essential for creating great marketing and content. These companies fail because they don't realise these dishonest measures aren't necessary. They unknowingly sit on a goldmine of prospect and customer data that offers vital insights into behaviour, preferences, and desires.
Say hello to modern CRM!
A CRM system holds data on your prospects and customers. It can be everything from a basic spreadsheet to a constantly evolving AI providing a single truth source. Regardless of how advanced it is, a CRM that is used correctly gives you the power to drive revenue and delight potential and existing customers at all stages of their buying journeys.
Why you must leverage your CRM to become experience-driven
Modern marketers are hyper-focused on the customer experience. They use experience-driven content to put their potential and existing customers at the centre of everything they do.
It's most likely a substantial reason why HubSpot has adopted its flywheel. When you focus on customer experience, your marketing attracts and feeds into your sales, your sales engage and feed into your service, and your service delights and feeds back into your marketing. It's an ongoing process where each journey stage benefits the others, unlike the traditional and linear funnel model. This is only possible with the customer at the centre, managed by your CRM.
Leveraging your CRM is the key to proper experience-driven marketing, and experience-driven marketing is your secret to growth. Forrester Research found that companies focused on experience increased customer lifetime value by more than 60% and grew 40% faster than those that weren't.
Very few companies have all of their tools and tactics tightly integrated into a CRM, which often leads to disconnected customer experiences, siloed data, and an inability to know what works.
This is why HubSpot puts so much effort into integrating the Marketing Hub tightly with the CRM. As a result, HubSpot gives you and your company a unified view of the customer experience, allowing you to create personalised experiences across all touchpoints to help you measure your success as a marketer correctly.
A CRM must personalise marketing and sales offers
Using your CRM with marketing can help create personalised experiences across every channel. Personalisation is the holy grail for delivering the expected experience. In the current hyper-competitive environment, it's harder than ever to win attention, and we all know that the more you personalise, the greater your chances of being noticed.
What does real personalisation look like to me? Real personalisation is when the content on your website changes and recommends content that your online visitor hasn't viewed yet, or when that same visitor is shown an offer related to a topic they are already interested in. Personalisation may also include different CTAs for potential and existing customers. Or when the chatbot on your website remembers not only the user's company and name but also who their sales rep is. All of this is made possible through CRM-driven marketing.
The three paths to successful CRM
Ensure your prospects find content and functionality relevant to their needs and challenges.
Explain in clear terms why it's good and valuable.
Make them feel valued and appreciated.
The average customer is bombarded by promotional messaging and sees thousands of advertisements daily.
Think about the last time you browsed on your phone, maybe doing some online research, checking in on social media, or reading the news. How many irrelevant ads did you see?
I bet this week alone; you've closed down at least one web page because the advertising ruined the experience for you. But there's a more significant danger for companies lurking in the internet shadows than angry prospects. Something much scarier - disinterest!
When your customer doesn't feel like your messages directly relate to their life at that moment, they'll tune out. This is why a modern CRM is vital to your marketing and sales. If you don't understand your potential and existing customers, you can't give them the content they need when they want it, in a way they like.
The good news is that you already have the answer to the problem in your arsenal - the data in your CRM. You can isolate groups of customers by wants, needs, and readiness to purchase from that data.
Use HubSpot lists to segment
Lists are an excellent way to isolate segments of your database by any data point. You can filter your lists according to how they contacted you, the company they work for, or what activities they did on your site - viewing a certain page, for example. With the right CRM, lists like these will instantly update as more and more contacts fulfil the conditions in real-time.
In a few minutes, you could build a list of all contacts in the third month of their current agreement with you. Would they benefit from a helpful suggestion that would complement their existing package?
Perhaps you should target every prospect who has visited your pricing section web page more than once in the last 30 days.
The same messaging will not work for both of those groups. But if you put in the work, your CRM can help you ensure each group gets messaging that they feel is relevant and valuable for them.
Create manually tracked custom behavioural events
Manually tracked custom behavioural events enable you to define and track unique events in your business. Custom behavioural events can be tied to the contact properties, which you can use across all of HubSpot's tools. Manually tracked events use HubSpot's analytics API and require a developer to implement.
The analytics API available in HubSpot Marketing Hub Enterprise allows you to track advanced analytics on your site or external third-party apps to attain richer context about the entire buyer journey. Learn how the analytics API works in this article from HubSpot.
Every buyer must pass through the critical buying stages of awareness, consideration and decision.
But those stages often vary depending on your product, solution or service. For example, a thirsty person on a hot day will travel from the awareness to the decision stage of buying a cold drink faster than a CFO looking at new forecasting software for a global SaaS business. One decision is made in seconds, while the other could take months or years.
Although the journey may change, one thing remains consistent - customers and prospects will need stage-specific content before deciding.
Think about it - before a CFO becomes aware that your forecasting software exists, they first need to experience or recognise they have a problem. Then, with a problem to solve, they will look for a service, product or solution - which could be several options ranging from integrating a new tool right to outsourcing the entire situation.
Build campaign triggers linked to the buyer's journey
Consider the content created below for potential buyers at each journey stage. Triggering emails that deliver this content based on where they are in their buyer's journey will ensure that the content they get from you is always relevant to their challenges and needs. Make sure you put yourself in the buyer's shoes and ask yourself what they need at each stage of the buyer's journey.
Knowledge article: Why CFOs never have enough time
Downloadable guide: Ways to become a more effective CFO
Case study: How companies X and Y solved their forecasting problem
By labelling your prospects in your CRM depending on their buyer journey, you will ensure they see suitable messaging and content for their journey. You don't want to bombard your prospects with technical specifications when they've only discovered they have a problem.
Keep sending well-timed, valuable, relevant content assets that draw the potential buyer in rather than forcing your suggestions and offering on them.
By segmenting your target audience, you will ensure they receive contextually relevant messaging that will nurture them and improve conversion rates.
Use innovative content to contextualise your messaging at scale.
HubSpot Smart Content allows you to create and provide different content based on a set of rules. All your emails, landing pages, and CTAs can display differently depending on what is known about a prospect or contact.
For example, rather than taking time to send context-specific content to prospects manually, you can adapt your HubSpot pages to react to their wants and needs. You can use your CRM data to show awareness, consideration or decision-related content and suggestions depending on their requirements at that moment, tailoring your site's content automatically to each stage of the buyers' journey.
Understanding which prospects need to see your messaging reduces admin, boosts conversion rates, and drives more revenue with less struggle.
It would be best to use HubSpot to personalise messaging on any standard or custom properties - in other words, the various data points you collect on your contacts.
Effective personalisation doesn't just mean greeting somebody by name in an email. This may have been impressive twenty years ago, but the modern customer is tech and data-savvy.
Modern personalisation means sending relevant messaging promptly using the correct language, tone and subject matter.
Imagine receiving an email from a company that greets you by name. That's nice, but you've probably already had four other emails with the same opening that day. Even if you have the most basic knowledge about online marketing tools, you can spot an automated email instantly.
But what if you receive an email four weeks before your purchased product, service, or solution renewal with a timely message related to your problem, need or challenge?
You want your prospects to feel a sense of uncertainty. Was the email automated or not? Ultimately, we know it was made possible because you created a HubSpot workflow to message decision-makers one month before their next renewal date. But prospects will feel a connection with your company because your message was aimed at their needs at the right time.
Where contextualising ends and personalisation starts can be a grey area, so it's probably easier to think of it like this:
To whom do we want to speak?
What are we going to say?
How are we going to say it?
Contextualisation ensures you don't torpedo a conversion too hard too soon. And personalisation ensures the prospect feels you're speaking directly to them when they're most likely to want to hear your message.
Contextual communications should be personal but without becoming overbearing. Clients want personalised information that feels helpful and offers value when needed.
Use custom properties to gather company-specific information on your leads
HubSpot has many data points you can collect on each prospect, ranging from name and address to how many emails they've opened. With these data points, HubSpot can help you better understand both groups and individuals.
But because HubSpot has to cater for everything from SaaS consultancies to animal feed suppliers, they're limited in the universal properties they build. But with custom properties, you can build bespoke data points specific to your needs.
Your CRM is your growth engine
Keeping your CRM data clean and easy to access can drive more sales and delight more customers.
Segmenting your target audience means you can narrow down exactly which groups of prospects you want to target to ensure they get the right message.
Contextualising your messaging by matching it to a specific point in your prospect's journey allows you to boost funnel conversions at every stage.
Personalising your messaging means treating your prospects as real people, so they trust and respect your company. So show your prospects that they matter by understanding their pain points and providing helpful content and solutions to their challenges and problems when needed.
CRM triggers that power hyper-personalised communications
Your CRM is packed with valuable demographic data that you can use to personalise your communications. These are a few ideas for data points that you can use to reach your targets at the right time.
Triggers for timely communication
Use page tracking to provide individual recommendations.
Knowing which pages a contact has visited allows you to offer specific recommendations to contacts tailored to their needs. Think of this as remarketing for emails.
Use deal stages to trigger customised chatbots
Use deal stages to trigger a chatbot to appear to prospects in a specific deal stage. With different chatbots tailored to the steps of the buyer's journey, you can answer questions that buyers need at the right time.
Use dates to trigger personal messaging
Send out a birthday email, anniversary mail or even a mail about a customer's renewal date. These timely messages will help you engage with prospects and customers using your gathered information.
Use workflows to delay actions until a contact acts
In workflows, you can delay actions until the contact has completed an action, like visiting a web page or completing a form. The advantage of this is that you can wait until a buyer is engaged with you before sending them an email. This will allow you to align with buyers in real time.
Applying any or all of these ideas will drive more revenue through your company in a sustainable, cost-effective way. You can build profoundly personal and contextual campaigns at scale using the simple but powerful and effective toolset from HubSpot.
Customer journey map template
If you want to start with customer journey mapping, we have a template for you. It has a few different customer journey maps, each with a separate focus area - for example, the current state of your journey, the desired future state, and how customers' lifecycle stages affect their journeys. It also gives you prompts to help you analyse each step in the process - what customers are thinking and feeling, what content they are interacting with, and how you can make it easier for them to decide. You can get the template below if you're ready to get started.
Additionally, you can get more insights into other aspects of CRM by checking out our in-depth CRM guide.