It’s tough to overstate the importance of your website and online presence when it comes to attracting, interacting with, and serving your B2B customers. After all, online is often the first place where prospective customers will find, see, and engage with your business. In more ways than ever, business itself is done online, and marketing technology is a vital tool.
In Demand Gen Report’s 2021 B2B Survey, 41% of buyers reported that they conduct anonymous research online long before they ever make a move to contact a sales representative. Even more important, 80% of survey respondents said that vendors’ online content had a significant impact on their purchasing decisions.
That means whether you’re an industrial manufacturer, a distributor or logistics service provider, or another company operating within a complex industrial landscape, the content on your website is crucial to capturing buyers throughout the research phase of what are often prolonged purchasing decision processes.
With the right structural and tactical support from reliable software systems like a good content management system, customer relationship management software, and marketing automation capabilities, your website can become your #1 lead gen machine.
To help you understand how, we’ll briefly unpack what each of these three software platform types are and how you need to rely on them to work together to go beyond inbound marketing and help you grow your business.
The Importance of Integration and Automation
Before you dive into evaluating or selecting a software platform, it’s important to understand the needs of your organization, which tools can help you affect change, and how you would put them to use.
If you’re like many marketing teams, you’re striving to achieve a lot with a limited staff, so automating tasks and utilizing tools that effectively “talk” to one another can introduce efficiencies to your marketing, sales, and service operations that will make your teammates’ lives a whole lot easier ― and drive real results.
Let’s compare some of the types of marketing tools that can help you not only manage your website, but also achieve your business objectives… and let’s explore how they should work together.
Content Management System (CMS)
At the most basic level, a CMS manages the information you publish on your web pages and/or blog posts. Platforms exist that do only this one thing — that is, post the information you upload on a static site. You can also implement CMS marketing platforms like WordPress that can streamline your content management by automating tasks and integrating with other content sources.
Some CMS options don’t require knowledge of programming code because they enable the use of templates to simplify content publishing. CMS platforms that don’t utilize templates can be difficult to use for marketers who don’t have web development knowledge and experience. Using a CMS without templates, you’d have to rely heavily on your IT department or a third party vendor to make changes to your site or blog, and that can quickly become a waste of time and money.
Creating, executing, and maintaining email campaigns, social media posts, and dynamic content like blogs can be time consuming. Automating these tasks can drastically reduce the time required to carry out these tactical elements of your marketing strategy.
Marketing automation software helps with scheduling, allows you to distribute and promote content across multiple platforms, and gives you tools to analyze key metrics to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Like CMS systems, marketing automation software comes in all sizes and shapes with varying levels of integration with other marketing tools.
Knowing how your customers interact with your company (via purchases, service interactions, or engagement with your online content) is vital to nurturing those relationships and increasing sales. Knowing as much as you can about a customer’s or prospect’s tendencies and history with your organization can help you determine what steps to take next to close a deal, improve user experience, or increase customer loyalty.
A CRM system provides a centralized place where all these interactions are recorded, enabling you to analyze and make sense of the data, recognize and react to sales and service opportunities, enhance customer relationships, and improve customer lifetime value (CLV).
CRM systems are often stand-alone software platforms, sometimes proprietary to an industry or even just one organization. But they can also be fully integrated with a marketing automation and CMS platform, as is the case with HubSpot. HubSpot’s CRM-website integration and lead management capabilities streamline processes and eliminate manual work needed to act on the customer and prospect data in your CRM.
Choosing the Right Marketing, Sales, and Automation Tools
Most organizations need some form of each of the marketing, sales enablement, and customer service tools discussed here. Your company likely already has at least some in place. If not, there’s no time like now to improve visibility, integration, and automation of the most important data your company can use: customer and prospect information.
So, how should you start the process of evaluating and choosing the right tools?
Start by considering the most time consuming tasks that eat away at your marketers’ and sales teams’ schedules, and look for ways to streamline those tasks with your current software. Be sure to look beyond traditional marketing touchpoints and consider the entire process of managing a customer — from their first touch with your company on your website throughout their buying journey and customer lifecycle.
You may determine that a new CMS platform or upgrade is not in your budget right now. But if you evaluate all of your tools together and consider how effectively they integrate, you might be able to upgrade to one system that includes more tools and functionality all integrated within one platform — ultimately saving your organization time and money.
CRM and CMS Integration Can Turbocharge Your Lead Gen
It’s no secret an integrated CRM platform that offers CMS, marketing automation, sales enablement, and customer service tools can have huge impacts on your sales pipeline by getting your website to work harder for you to generate leads. Underpinning all of this is an inbound approach to growing your organization — from marketing to sales to service — to deliver the right content to the right visitor at the right time (CMS + marketing automation).
Successful growth also depends on capturing leads from your website and bringing them into your relationship management tool (CRM) so your automation efforts (such as nurturing email campaigns) can have the maximum effect by delivering custom content to each prospect.
Having to work across several different platforms doesn't mean you’re sunk. Many CRM and CMS platforms offer integrations to “talk” effectively to each other. The integrations typically require a little extra work, but they can be effective solutions for supporting your lead generation, sales interactions, and customer service efforts.
So if you’re considering starting an inbound marketing program, or looking to amplify the effectiveness of your inbound content and programming, and you’re wondering if HubSpot’s all-in-one solution might be right for your company, we can help you understand more about what it can do for you. You can learn more about how and why we use HubSpot to help clients hit their growth goals just by clicking the image below.
Posted by Frank Isca Frank has been key to establishing Weidert Group as an inbound marketing leader over his 10+ years with the agency. He has a knack for using technology to amplify smart marketing strategies, and a deep knowledge of SEO and content promotion, exceptional project management skills, and a thorough understanding of HubSpot's marketing and sales products.