5 ways CRM and Email Marketing work together

Email Marketing Superhero FunnelBud

What is CRM email marketing?

Most B2B companies send out a newsletter. If you’re a marketer, do you know whether the people you are sending those newsletters to are already in a conversation with your salespeople, and what they’re interested in?

Conversely, if you’re in sales and you add a contact to your CRM, do you know whether that contact will start getting newsletters and what they will get? Do you have any say in the matter? What if they get something that will annoy or derail them? And if they do get it, do you know what they got and whether they clicked on something?

CRM email marketing is simply a way to integrate your CRM and your email marketing tools and processes so that they benefit each other.

Unfortunately, most companies I meet still have a wall of separation between their CRM and email marketing automation processes. For marketing, this means lost opportunities for more relevant communication, and for sales, it means a lack of control over their sales process.

In this post, we’ll show you how to combine CRM and email marketing and 5 creative ways our clients are using their CRM systems for email marketing. At the end of this post, we’ll explain how you can integrate your CRM and email marketing system today with little effort and cost.

5 ways to combine CRM and email marketing

1. Nurture contacts after sales meetings

Here’s a common scenario: You meet a prospect. They’re interested. Then you don’t hear anything back from them, and you don’t want to be annoying by sending a bunch of “how are things going” messages.

Marketing to the rescue!

FunnelBud Superhero Rescue

With an integrated CRM email marketing process, you can let marketing help you stay top of mind in a non-intrusive, value-adding way. How? The most common way is what we call sales sequences.

Sales sequences are situation-based CRM email marketing nurturing sequences that you can add your contacts into when you want to keep providing value while staying top of mind in a non-intrusive way.

Sit down with your sales and marketing colleagues for a half-day workshop. Then each person looks at their CRM system and finds opportunities you wish you could nurture. Take turns describing how the meeting went and what the customer is interested in. Together, brainstorm valuable marketing content you could send this prospect, that they’d find interesting.

Build 3-5 sequences, for various situations you come up with this way, consisting of 3-7 emails each (1-2 weeks apart) that your sales team can use to nurture contacts after such sales meetings.

2. Personalize newsletters by categorizing them in the CRM

When you send out newsletters, how relevant are they to your contacts? Do you know if they’re interested at all, or do you keep topics so general so that it’s at least not completely irrelevant to anybody, but not really relevant to anybody either?

Why not use all the great info that’s most likely in your CRM already for your email marketing segments and lists?

Here are some examples of things you could and should be getting from your CRM to improve your email marketing:
Email Marketing CRM

Sales stage

How far along the customer journey are they? Just a lead? In dialogue with a salesperson? Previously interested? Or already a buyer?

Examples of use:

  • Send feature, pricing or service updates to existing customers but not to early leads who might not find it as relevant.
  • If a prospect is already in dialogue with a salesperson and about to close soon, exclude them from newsletters so that you don’t derail them by giving them more ideas rather than closing what has already been agreed.

Interested in

This one is a no-brainer. Salespeople can (and often do) easily mark the products or services their prospects have shown interest in. This is a goldmine of usually unused data that can help marketing be more relevant and improve almost any metric they can think of, including open, click and conversion rates.

How to use: You can either use dynamic content to personalise selected sections of your newsletters, or create different lists of contacts and send completely different content to each list.

Type of contact

Most businesses have some basic types of contact that should get completely different content. Most commonly Buyer or Partner. But don’t leave out types of contacts that don’t contribute to your revenue stream, such as Job Seeker, PR, Investor or even Competitor!

Here’s how you can communicate with each:

  • Buyer, Partner: Promotional info and newsletters adjusted to buyers or partners.
  • Job Seeker: Your HR department can send out content that both educates, nurtures and attracts potential job seekers to your company.
  • PR or Investor: Send industry related news and insights and frames your unique value in relation to the overall industry.
  • Competitor: Why would you keep these in a separate list? Well to exclude them from send-outs of course! 🙂

3. Provide sales intelligence that improves follow up

Salespeople are often not comfortable letting the marketing department communicate with their prospects, because they see no value in it - only risk. But what if sales could actually see what their leads are getting, what they’re clicking, and how they’re behaving afterwards?

A CRM integrated with your email marketing process should allow salespeople to browse to an individual contact’s profile and see which marketing emails they’ve received, which links they’ve clicked, and what they’ve done after clicking.

In addition, marketing should provide sales with intelligence about which contacts behave in a way that seems to indicate buying intent or interest that might be worth looking deeper into - perhaps even going as far as suggesting some email templates that might be relevant to send based on their browsing behaviour.

Email Conversion

The goal of customer relationship management (CRM) is to get control over your sales process and to improve it. Rather than being a passive CRM where you just store notes and contacts, this makes your CRM a collaborator that helps salespeople close more deals.

4. Replace cold calling with digital outreach and email nurturing

If you have a strong and targeted message to a particular audience, cold calling can be an effective way to reach out to that audience.

In essence, you create a list of the people you want to reach, then you start calling. And it works! But what if you took that same list, and could reach all of those people at a fraction of the time and cost?

Well, you can. It’s called targeted advertising. If done right, you can get the same amount of meetings, at lower cost, and without being annoying. Here’s how:

  1. Start with your core message. What’s your unique value proposition? How can your prospects learn more about you if your message resonates with them?
  2. Create a landing page that answers most of the questions a prospect might have after finding out about your core message. Make sure to highlight customers you already have, how you solve the problems in your core message, key features of your product or service, and what they can expect from you.
  3. Create compelling calls to action on your landing page. The most common ones should be:
    • A way to request more info about your services, such as requesting a demo, a call or downloading a brochure that summarises your service.
    • A way to ask more questions, such as a form or a chat function.
    • A way to learn more about the topic or value proposition in general, such as downloading a whitepaper or a guide.
  4. Then advertise variants of your value proposition on various media to the audience you selected for this message, such as social channels and industry publications.

A typical salesperson costs $5,000-$10,000 per month. If they spend the whole day researching and cold calling, in a typical B2B setting they’d get anywhere between 1-3 booked meetings per day (this is a typical number we’ve seen from customers who used to do this before working with us). If you create the above assets, and spend the same amount on digital ads, in our experience you’ll get far more meetings booked than that at lower cost and with higher quality outcomes.

5. Detect customer upsell opportunities

Finally, don’t forget one of the most valuable sources of more revenue and more business: Your existing customers!

As an example, we can see in our own statistics that client referrals are the top source of new revenue, beating out all other sources by large margins!

nurture existing clients

This shows how important it is to nurture existing clients.

Specifically, there are two things you can do.

           A) Inspire customers to leverage your product or service in better ways.

           B) Detect buying signals and notify sales that new opportunities might exist.

You do A by capturing information from your CRM to your marketing system, so your communication stays more relevant. For example your key account manager for a particular client might have a meeting where the client indicates that they have a particular pain point. Based on that, you might add them to a particular “Interested in” segment (as described under point 2 of this list), and communicate about how you can solve that pain point.

You can do B by sending information to your CRM system from your marketing automation system, so your sales reps can be notified when they should get in touch. For example, if your customers start visiting certain product pages, that might indicate an interest worth following upon.

How to get started with email marketing CRM integration

If you already have a CRM and an email marketing tool, you might want to start off by integrating them.

Integrating them?!

I know, I know. I used to be scared of CRM integrations, but it doesn’t have to be complex at all. Here’s what I recommend: Go to www.zapier.com and search for your tools to see if they’re listed. If so, you’re probably ready to go! Take a weekend to experiment. I promise it’s fun once you start getting the hang of it!

Start small. Just create a Zap (that’s what the integrations in Zapier are called) that adds a new contact in the CRM to a marketing list. On Monday, check your new list and feel the joy of seeing new contacts being populated automatically! Next, add a bit more complexity. For example, add contacts to different lists depending on their CRM attributes. And repeat. Soon, you’ll experience the benefits of having a well-coordinated sales and marketing team.

Zapier Rules

If you don’t have the necessary tools, or you want to take the next step - consider all-in-one CRM and marketing suites. What are the best CRMs that include marketing automation? We’ve worked with various of them, including HubSpot, Pardot and several others. In the end, our CRM and Marketing Automation tool of choice was and is SharpSpring, for its completeness, ease of use and the fact that it allows us to offer Professional Services for free. Yes, as one of SharpSpring’s largest agency partners, Professional Services is actually included in our price. That means you’ll get a personal FunnelBud consultant for free who will help you build all the above (both strategy, training and implementation). Want to talk to us and find out more? Request a personal online demo here and we’ll be happy to show you the tool, demo how we use it ourselves and tell you more about our included services.


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About the Author

Yusuf Young

Yusuf helps companies use Marketing Automation to grow B2B sales. In his role as a Marketing Automation consultant implementing systems such as HubSpot and Salesforce, he discovered the need for better services at a lower cost. Today, he runs FunnelBud to make the fruits of sales and marketing technology available to businesses worldwide.