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The Importance Of Integrating Data With CRMs

  • Written by Neil Berman, Delivra
  • Published in Demanding Views

Neil Berman BWIt is a known fact that integrated sales and email marketing data leaves companies better equipped to provide a superior customer experience, but it continues to be a difficult process for many marketers. According to research from Ascend2, only 25% of companies have extensively integrated disparate marketing technology systems. The same research indicates 22% have not integrated their marketing technologies at all.

We know that integration is about letting all data sets talk to each other, but why is it beneficial? It creates what is known as a marketing and sales ecosystem. Integrated data results in a comprehensive tool that stores and displays all pertinent information related to a customer — like sales history and preferences. When marketing and sales don’t communicate, each department works in isolation and runs a high risk of missing out on new customers and leads. When a clean, integrated system is achieved and properly maintained, many tasks become automated and marketers become more efficient and effective at strategizing and serving customers.

Benefits Of Integration

Once a communicative sales and marketing ecosystem is established, exponential benefits will abound from the integrated data. Here’s a look at a few of the many ways this ecosystem will improve day-to-day tasks while also creating a heightened customer experience:

Enter Data In A Usable Format. Even if all data is error-free, it must be entered and managed in a format that is intuitive and easy to use. When integrated, one functional structure is in place for the benefit of everyone in a company. The ability to easily enter and view data leads to more informed decisions pertaining to company advancements and customer strategies.

Know Your Customers Better. While most store customers’ sales history and preferences in some fashion, that information often doesn’t live together, meaning the opportunity to really analyze customers in depth has been missed. By integrating customer preferences, buying history, search history, website activity and email click-throughs, you build a complete picture that helps identify trends and cater messaging. 

Offer Relevant, Useful Content. When customer preferences are known, desired content can be sent. In a survey conducted by MarketingSherpa in January 2015, almost 30% of respondents said they wanted more emails that were personalized and based on their individual preferences. People have come to expect seamless service, and part of that involves personalization. When customers receive messages with desired and relevant content, they are more likely to click through, make the intended purchase and remember a positive experience with your brand.

Segment And Target Smarter. When all data lives in one place and operates off of one data set, it is easier to create holistic campaigns that appeal to specific demographics or segments within a mailing list and customer base. Craft ads that focus on a unique part of your database. Send email promotions to another. Communicate via text message with customers who prefer it. Ignoring customer preferences is a sure way to turn them off to your company.

Attribute Sales. This is a big one. Linking sales and marketing data enables proper attribution to specific campaigns, decisions and people, while also serving as validation of efforts. On top of that, it is proof to leadership that the work your team is doing directly contributes and leads to revenue.

Where To Begin

According to research conducted by Teradata, integration is the “highest” or a “top” priority for 60% of senior marketing executives. Data integration with CRMs allows for more focus on moving your marketing strategy to the next level, concentrating on customer service and crafting targeted campaigns. The increased ability to attribute revenue to campaigns will streamline efforts and show where the best work is being done.

To get started, answer these three questions with your marketing team or your digital marketing partner:

  • Where is the data I need to enhance my email marketing efforts? Does it live in a database, spreadsheet(s), or elsewhere?
  • How do I want to use that data to enhance my email: personalization, timing, targeting or all three?
  • How do I want to get the data to my digital marketing partner, and do I need any data sent back?

While integrating every last bit of your data is ideal, it’s certainly not necessary — especially if at the initial stages of the process. It is often better to begin integrating certain types of data depending on immediate needs. Over time, companies can build on that initial integration and bring together data for a 360-degree view of customers.

Neil Berman is the founder and CEO of Delivra, an email marketing service provider and strategic consultancy. With nearly 20 years in the software industry, Berman continues to be driven by a passion to find innovative solutions that help clients win in their industries.