Here we go. We’re now over halfway on our journey towards a sustainable and effective inbound marketing campaign. The last 8 blogs we’ve brought you have all been geared to attracting the right visitors and converting the right leads. We’re now going to look at how we transform those leads into customers, and the tools you can utilise to make that happen. To start the next part of our journey through the ‘Close’ section, we’re going to be looking at the best free CRM software.
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a computerised system that helps to keep track of all those important leads you’ve accumulated through landing pages and CTA buttons. The multitude of leads your efforts have accrued so far are a fantastic result of the work you’ve put in. However, unless you can effectively track and manage them throughout the next steps towards them becoming customers, all that work will have been in vain.
If you haven’t embraced the inbound marketing methodology, you’ll probably find that your contacts and sales leads are spread over a number of systems, managed by numerous departments, with differing levels of success. Your sales team might have some, your marketing team might track them another way and your customer services team might manage them differently again. CRM combines all those disparate systems into one easy-to-use package that allows all your teams to have the same,up-to-date and relevant information they need, exactly where and when they need it.
CRM tools are nothing new, in fact they’ve been around for nearly 30 years. In that time, the software has added more and more features and it has evolved into a vital tool for businesses of all sizes. Of course, the obvious question you’re asking is, how does it work within inbound marketing and, more importantly, how can it work for you!
It’s important that you think of CRM as an investment, because that’s exactly what it is. The financial aspect of it aside, there’s also an investment of time. When it comes to CRM, it isn’t so much the time it will take to assimilate it into your processes, but crucially, it’s about the time you will save just by using it. The more time is saved, the less money is spent.
Assuming you’ve done the basics, or you hire an inbound marketing agency to do it for you; defining buyer personas, crafting a message that will appeal to them and developed a strategy to nurture them, then the CRM system you’re using will give you a clarity most traditional marketing and sales methodologies can’t. A good CRM system will give you opportunity to effectively divide the data you’ve collected into segments, which helps to increase personalisation.
Within the CRM database, each lead is given a unique ID, with any duplicated leads automatically removed. They are then each assigned to the appropriate representative in your organisation, based on rules that exist within the software itself. It also allows you to nurture leads through automated and personalised email campaigns at a predefined cadence for those not ready to buy just yet. The segmentation mentioned earlier allows you to send targeted emails to specific segments and also lets you measure the results with click-through and ‘unsubscribe’ data. When leads ultimately become customers, then the loop is closed through analytics and the original lead record.
There are many CRM systems you could use, but if you’re developing an inbound marketing strategy with the team here at Whitehat, we would always recommend you utilise HubSpot’s own system. It’s incredibly powerful, as you would expect from the leader in inbound marketing, but it also integrates very well into all other aspects of your sales and marketing efforts.
When you’re ready to embrace CRM as a core part of your inbound marketing campaigns, the team at Whitehat are here to help. Contact our knowledgeable team and we can work with you to make the most of your customers and the relationships you have with them, now and in the future.
Other blogs you might like...
- Inbound Marketing: CONVERT - Contacts
- Inbound Marketing: CONVERT - Landing Pages
- Inbound Marketing: CONVERT - Calls To Action
- Inbound Marketing: CONVERT - Forms