To have a modern CRM is the cost of entry into becoming a modern company: don't try to run your company with a traditional CRM. Your CRM shall be capable of being 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 could gear the power of your data and turn your CRM into a valuable and 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 showing 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 is prepared to purchase and check a couple of other critical boxes for making a sale?
By understanding your data and working smart, you will ensure the right messaging gets to the desired people at the right time, without labour-intensive or prospect-annoying processes.
Modern targeting is more sophisticated, meaning that ads are now less interruptive and more informative; some are so sophisticated that we now take the quality of the ads we get served in our Social Media feeds and videos for granted.
The traditional way doesn't work.
Modern digital marketing and sales have changed from their first inception 20 years ago. GDPR, privacy, 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, industry-shaming practices that gave us all a bad reputation.
Companies relying on these practices seem ancient by comparison. But the painful truth is that many companies still market like this.
Many companies are excited to get their message out, and they forget the blend of science and craft to create great and relevant marketing and content. These companies fail; they sit on a goldmine of prospect and customer data, offering vital insights into behaviour, preferences, and desire.
Say hello to modern CRM!
A CRM holds data of your prospects and customers. It can be everything from a basic spreadsheet to a constantly evolving AI as a single source of truth. And when a CRM is used correctly, it gives you the well-needed prerequisite and 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, e.g., HubSpot (link) 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 delight and feedback into your marketing. All of 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. 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 versus 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 the main reason why, e.g., HubSpot invests so much effort to integrate HubSpot's Marketing Hub (link) 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.
Riling your marketing in a CRM also creates 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 has shown interest in a topic, you can show them a related offer. Personalisation may also include different CTAs for potential and existing customers. Or when the chatbot on your website remembers not only their company first name but who the sales rep is. All of this is made possible through CRM-driven content.
The three paths to successful CRM:
Ensure that your prospects find content and functionality relevant to their needs and challenges.
Explain in clear terms why it's good and useful.
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 when you were relaxed and browsed on your phone, maybe doing a bit of 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 online 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 have direct relevance 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 that 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. It can be by whom they were contacted, the company they work for, or activity focussed, and they can constantly update to suit changing data fields - in real-time.
In a few minutes, you can build a list of all contacts in the third month of their current agreement with you - would they perhaps benefit from a helpful suggestion to complement their existing package?
Perhaps you should target every prospect that's 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 with an amount of thought, each will get messaging they're likely to welcome because it solves a specific problem they have.
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 HubSpot's tools. Manually tracked events use HubSpot's analytics API and require a developer to implement the events.
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 Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
But depending on your product, solution or service, those stages often vary. For example, a thirsty person on a hot day will travel from Awareness to Decision about buying a cold drink faster than a CFO looking at new forecasting software for a global SaaS business. One is made in seconds; the other could be months or years.
Although the journey may change, one whole remains consistent throughout the customers need specific buying 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: the consequences and pains caused by poor tools. Then, with a problem to solve, they will consider and 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 below content created for potential buyers at each stage of the journey; triggering emails and messages for the prospect, linked to where they are in their buyer's journey, will ensure that the provided content is relevant to their challenges and needs. Make sure that you put yourself in the buyer's shoes and ask yourself what they need at each buyer's journey stage.
Knowledge article:Why CFO's never have enough time.
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 buyer journey. You don't want to bombard your prospects with technical specifications when they've only just discovered they have a problem.
Keep sending well-timed, valuable and relevant content assets that draw the potential buyer in, rather than force your suggestions and offering on them.
By segmenting your target audience, you will ensure they receive relevant, contextually relevant messaging to nurture prospects and improve conversion rates.
Use innovative content to contextualise your messaging at scale.
HubSpot Smart (Link) 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 wants and needs. They allow you to tailor content to the 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.
You shall use HubSpot to personalise messaging on any standard or custom properties, i.e., the various data points you collect on your contacts.
Effective personalisation doesn't just mean greeting somebody through email by name. It may have been disruptive 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 this: receiving an email greeting you by name. Nice, but you've already had four others doing the same that morning alone. You can spot an automated email by now.
But what about four weeks before the renewal of your purchased product, service, or solution is up for review, you receive a timely message specific to your problem, need or challenge?
You want your prospects to feel a sense of uncertainty. Ultimately we know it was effective CRM management because you created a HubSpot workflow to message either decision-makers one month before their next renewal date or business owners. Prospects will feel a connection with your company because the message is 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 by going too hard too soon. Still, personalisation ensures the prospect feels you're speaking directly to them at the time they're most likely to want to hear your message.
Contextual communications should be personal without being too intensely personal that it comes across as overbearing. Clients want personalised information that feels helpful and offers value when they need it.
Use custom properties to gather company-specific information on your leads
HubSpot comes ready-packed with a host of data points you can collect on each prospect. Ranging from name and address right through to how many emails they've opened, HubSpot can help you build a better understanding of 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.
As long as you keep your CRM data clean and easy to access, you'll be able to 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 you 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.
To personalise 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 they need it.
CRM triggers that power hyper-personalised communications
Your CRM is packed with valuable demographic data that you can use to personalise your communications. For example, using activity and engagement data to send timely messaging could differ between a personal email and hyper-personalised messaging.
Triggers for timely communication
Use page tracking to provide individual recommendations.
Knowing which pages a contact has visited will offer specific recommendations to contacts tailored to their needs. Think of this as remarketing for emails.
Use deal stages to trigger customised bots.
Use deal stages to trigger a bot to appear to prospects in a specific deal stage. Having a bot tailored to the steps of the buyer's journey, you can answer questions that buyers need at the right time.
Use available 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 the information you have gathered.
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. By using the simple but powerful and effective toolset from HubSpot, you can build profoundly personal and contextual campaigns at scale.
Customer journey map template
If you want to get started with customer journey mapping, we've got 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 are customers thinking and feeling, what content are they interacting with, and how can you make it easier for them to make a decision. If you're ready to get started, you can get the template below.
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.