Alright, let’s state the obvious. Your organization’s digital presence is important. Very important. Demand Gen Report’s 2017 B2B Survey revealed that 71% of buyers conduct research online before they reach out to a sales representative. And Forbes states that buyers will go through 70% of the buyer’s journey before reaching out to your company. That means whether you’re an industrial manufacturer or a professional services firm, the content on your website is crucial to capturing buyers as they’re researching complex purchase decisions.
With the right underlying software like CMS, marketing automation, and CRM, your website can become your #1 lead gen machine. To help you understand how, we’ll briefly unpack what each of these three software platforms are and how they should work together to go beyond inbound marketing and help you grow your business.
The Importance of Integration and Automation
First, it’s important to understand the needs of your organization and what tools can help you affect change. If you’re like many marketing teams, you have a limited staff, so automating tasks and utilizing tools that “talk” to one another can introduce efficiencies that will make your life 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 achieve your business objectives and explore how they should work together.
Content Management System (CMS) — At the most basic level, a CMS manages the information you publish on your website or blog. Platforms exist that do only this – post the information you upload on a static site. You can also implement CMS platforms like WordPress that can streamline your content management by automating tasks and integrating with other content sources. Some of the CMS options don’t require knowledge of programming code because templates can be developed to simplify content publishing. CMS platforms that don’t utilize templates are difficult for marketers without web development knowledge to use, in which case you’d have to rely heavily on your IT department or a third party vendor to make changes to your site or blog.
Marketing Automation Software — Creating and maintaining email campaigns, social media posts, and dynamic content such as blogs can be time consuming. Automating these tasks can drastically reduce the time required to carry out these elements of your marketing strategy. Marketing automation software helps with scheduling, allows you to distribute and promote content across multiple platforms, and analyze 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.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) — Knowing how your customers interact with your company (via purchases or engagement with your content) is vital to nurturing those relationships. Knowing as much as you can about a customer or prospect’s tendencies and history with your organization will help you determine what steps to take next to close a deal or increase customer loyalty. CRM systems are often stand alone software, sometimes proprietary to an industry or even just one organization. They can also be fully integrated with a marketing automation and CMS platform, as is the case with HubSpot.
Deciding On the Right Tools for You
In some way, shape, or form your organization will need all of the marketing tools we discussed. Maybe you already have some in place. Start by looking at the most time consuming tasks marketing does and see if there are ways to streamline them with your current software. Also look beyond traditional marketing touchpoints at 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 upgrading to a new CMS platform is not in the budget right now. But if you look at all of your tools together, you might be able to upgrade to a system that has more tools integrated within the same platform — ultimately saving your organization time and money.
It’s no secret an integrated platform that offers CMS, marketing automation and CRM tools can have a huge impact on your sales pipeline by putting your website to work for you to generate leads. Underpinning all of this is an inbound approach to your organization — from marketing to sales to service — to deliver the right content to the right visitor at the right time (CMS + marketing automation). Their success is also dependent on capturing leads from the site and bringing those into your relationship management tool (CRM) so your automation efforts (such as email nurture campaigns) can have the maximum effect by providing custom content for each prospect. That doesn’t mean you are sunk if you have separate platforms. Many platforms offer integrations that require a little extra work, but they, too, can be effective solutions for supporting your lead generation.
Are you considering inbound marketing and wondering if HubSpot’s all-in-one solution could be right for your company?