The sales pipeline no longer works on its own.
Especially for SaaS companies, the customer journey has eclipsed the sales pipeline as the best determinant of lifetime customer value (LTV). Sales teams that expect to reach and engage their customers in the most efficient way need a CRM that integrate sales and customer success into every step of this journey.
I recently talked about the death of the marketing funnel and its new replacement, the flywheel. This new model combines sales, marketing and customer success into an ongoing customer experience rather than a segmented, step-by-step trip down a funnel or pipeline.
To facilitate this new form of engaging with your prospects and customers, you'll need an integrated sales, marketing and customer success solution that manages, documents and automates (as much as possible and sensible) all communication with prospects and customers.
Here are the specific benefits sales can find by using a CRM that's part of an all-in-one sales, marketing and customer success solution:
Single Source of Customer Information
Using one solution for these three main functions gives you a single and complete version of truth for your relationship with each individual and company. Sales reps can leverage shared, real-time information on the customer status and previous communications. While systems can be integrated via API, these integrations often come with compromises and frequently don't include all the data each system retains and creates, leading to information silos and lost opportunities.
When a new sales or customer success rep comes on board, you are sure you have a full history of all commitments made by your company to customers. This enables new staff members to pick up where others left off and prevent any miscommunications or loss of vital information.
Seamless Transitions Between Teams
The sales process doesn’t begin when a salesperson gets a prospect on the phone. It begins with the very first interaction your company has with the prospect (often before they are even aware of a need for your service).
So when should marketing hand a lead over to sales? According to HubSpot research, 19% of B2B buyers want to connect with sales during the awareness stage, 60% want to connect during the consideration stage and 20% don’t want to talk to sales until the decision stage. By integrating marketing and sales communications and collecting insights every time a prospect interacts with your company, you can create much better lead scoring systems to know the ideal time for sales to reach out to each unique prospect.
Since there won’t be any movement of data required, you have faster, more accurate and efficient hand-off between marketing and sales. Intuitively, responding quickly to a prospect’s need is critical for closing more deals. Unfortunately, Drift found that only 7% of companies responded in the first five minutes after a form submission and more than half didn’t respond within five days. So why does Drift call out a five minute window for lead qualification? Well, it’s not all gut feel… according to seminal research by InsideSales.com, leads that are contacted in the first five minutes after filling a form are 10 times more likely to qualify!
While I used the term “hand-off”, it wasn’t quite accurate. In reality, you will never fully hand-off a customer or prospect because every department has opportunities to engage at each stage of the customer journey. During the consideration and decision stages, while sales is communicating with a prospect, marketing should still be providing valuable information either to the sales rep or to the prospect through automated emails. For complex sales in which a committee (formal or not) is making the decision, this continued nurturing is more important.
Few sales and marketing departments help each other in this way. It’s not because they don’t see the value. It’s because coordinating between what stage sales is at and what information they need is so complicated and the company doesn’t have the solutions necessary for a single view of the customer journey. An integrated sales, marketing and customer success solution allows all departments to coordinate relevant, value-added communications without stepping on any other department’s toes.
Provide Value to the Sales Team
Most companies put CRM solutions in place for the benefit of sales managers and business leaders. The sales reps are then required to spend 17% of their day entering data and receive little value for their effort. A modern CRM that actually makes work easier and reduces rep overhead to a minimum along with complete integration with marketing and customer success provides that value.
In a recent HubSpot survey, 61% of buyers said providing relevant information is key to creating a positive sales experience. Sales software that provides salespeople with the search terms led a prospect to their company, which website pages and premium resources they viewed as well as what marketing emails they opened provide valuable insights into the needs of the prospect. A contemporary CRM also provides firmographics and recent news to help the salesperson prepare in advance of a call (the latter may require integration with a third-party news service).
Insights from customer success provide valuable case studies for how companies are generating the most value from your solution and what issues they are having. Sales can use this information to highlight the best features of your solution and set expectations that will set customers up for long-term relationships with your company. Integrating system usage with your CRM will create insights that sales or customer success can use in upsell campaigns.
CRM Integration Options
Now that you understand the benefits of integrating your sales, marketing and customer success solutions, what is the best way to do it? Here are two options:
Many CRM solutions have built in integrations with marketing and customer success solutions or APIs that allow you to build custom integrations. This lets you to keep using your existing, disparate software solutions.
While your separate solutions will be able to share information, this method will not provide the benefits of a single source of customer information (most integrations end up sharing a subset of the total info available). To take advantage of coordinated communications and to create a more seamless transition, you will need to write new API scripts for each unique way you want the two solutions to share information. An integration plan of this type includes the costs of building custom integrations and constant maintenance to ensure your entire technology stack is communicating correctly. It might make sense to consider an integration middleware like cyclr or Workato, as these tools make it possible for non-programmers to create sophisticated API-based integrations.
All-in-One Sales, Marketing and Customer Success Solution
Your other option is to find a single solution like HubSpot’s Growth Stack that offers all three functions built in. Instead of sharing information across several solutions, a single solution provides one customer or prospect record for all sales, marketing and customer success communications.
Since this solution is built for communication between the three functions, all integrations are built in and ready to use without any coding or API integrations required. This makes creating campaigns across multiple business functions simpler. It also lowers long term costs and makes it easier to scale as the business grows. And don't worry about it not being a big-enough solution for you. HubSpot's own sales team of more than 1,000 people use it quite effectively.
Want to know more about integrated sales and marketing software from HubSpot? Book an exploratory call with me at this link and let’s get started!