CRM automation is more than just marketing automation
CRM and marketing automation are natural partners. In fact, many people think of CRM and marketing automation as the same thing!
But historically, they are separate. CRM has always been more sales focused, while marketing automation has always been—you guessed it—more marketing focused.
These days, those lines are blurring further as more and more CRM systems offer all-in-one sales and marketing automation rather than requiring add-ons or integrations as in the past. As a result, when we start talking about CRM automation, many of our customers and prospects immediately think of marketing automation.
And that’s not surprising. After all, marketing automation is high-value, top-of-funnel stuff. You’re casting a wide net, with lower conversion rates than your interactions lower in the funnel. Automating some of that process can be a game changer.
Marketing automation allows you to save time and resources while honing your approach. Early in your campaigns, marketing automation decreases the cost of marketing-generated leads. Long term, marketing automation increases the number and quality of those leads.
But CRM automation is much more than just marketing automation, and ignoring other opportunities to automate your sales and service processes is a mistake. Too many people spend too much of their time managing their CRM when instead they should be letting their CRM manage more of their time.
So with that in mind, here are 3 simple ways you can use automation to get more value from your CRM:
1.) Alert automation
One of the most common forms of CRM automation is the tried-and-true alert. We’ve pretty much all used these before in some capacity: when X is true, send alert Y to users Z.
But the simplicity of this type of automation should not be confused with a lack of value.
Automated alerts can be used in many important ways. You can alert users when:
- they have an activity scheduled
- a new opportunity that meets specific parameters is added to your system
- an opportunity advances to a new stage in your sales pipeline
- a new support ticket is opened
- contracts are due to expire
- an account has not been contacted for a while
- another department has completed a task related to one of your records
- there are holds or other important information on an account
And that’s just for starters. Depending on your process flows, you can set incremental alerts to remind or guide users at virtually any stage of your interactions.
For example, if you want to make sure your team gets to work on renewals well in advance, maybe they get their first alert a month or two ahead of the contract’s expiration date, and a follow-up alert for non-renewed contracts a few weeks later.
On the other hand, your support team likely won’t get an alert on a new ticket until it’s submitted, but then may get daily or weekly reminders for unclosed tickets depending on the complexity of the issue.
CRM ensures you have the right information. Automated alerts ensure the right information is in front of the right people at the right time.
2.) Email automation
CRM automation doesn’t have to stop at your users; it can also be used to automatically contact customers and contacts.
For example, you can set your CRM to automatically email contacts when they:
- send an email to group mailboxes (sales@, support@, info@, etc.)
- submit online forms or requests
- have been waiting on a response and need status updates
- make a purchase
- open a support ticket
- have a contract that needs to be renewed (make sure to include options and an easy way to renew!)
- have not responded to previous requests for information or follow-up
- meet criteria for up-sell or cross-sell opportunities
- have a birthday, anniversary, or other milestone
Email automation allows you to maintain the optimal number of touch points with your contacts without needing to spend time on each individual email. As long as you have a good understanding of your customers and can craft or purchase effective email templates, you can use email automation to save time and ensure immediate follow-ups.
3.) Data entry automation
Information is the lifeblood of CRM, but the last thing you want to do is make data entry too tedious or time-consuming for your users.
The good news is, many CRM systems including Microsoft Dynamics 365 for sales enable you to automate some of your data entry, either natively or through add-ons or some light coding. This not only saves time, but can decrease the likelihood of data entry errors and omissions.
For example, you can build or buy solutions to automatically:
- create lead records from a web form or email
- update or create contact records from a web form or email
- create a support ticket from an email or web form
- schedule an activity from a web form
- import data directly from Outlook
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These automations can get very complex and environment specific, so if you have something in particular in mind, contact us and we’ll be happy to talk about building it for you.
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