What is CRM Automation? And How Can It Benefit Your Small Business?

6 July 2022

Running a business is hard work. Many daily tasks require your attention, from managing finances and inventory to dealing with customers and suppliers. It can be challenging to keep track of everything and even more difficult to find time to work on long-term projects or strategic planning. Fortunately, many essential business processes can be easily automated with the right CRM tools. With workflow automation, you can take care of the nitty-gritty details while freeing up your time to focus on the big picture.

You may have heard of CRM automation and wondered how it could help you run your business more efficiently. Many business owners find that CRM automation tools make it easier to manage customer relationships and boost the performance of their marketing and sales teams. So, what is CRM automation? And how can it help you streamline your business operations?

This article will outline everything you need to know about automated customer relationship management, from the basics of automated CRM software to the benefits of sales, marketing, and customer service automation.

How Does CRM Automation Work?

CRM automation refers to the use of software to automate various processes related to customer relationship management. CRM software is typically used to manage customer data, sales interactions, and marketing campaigns.

You may already be familiar with marketing automation software, which allows marketers to automate their campaigns. Similarly, contemporary CRM platforms come with many in-built features that can automate CRM processes related to managing customer relationships. This can include tasks such as lead management, lead generation, sales pipeline management, sales force automation, customer support, and marketing.

CRM automation across your business needs

Modern CRM platforms are not just designed for contact management. CRM automation software can usually integrate with other business applications, such as project management tools and marketing automation tools. This makes it easy to automate customer management tasks that span multiple applications. For example, you can use CRM automation tools to add new leads to your email marketing list automatically or to generate a support ticket when a customer submits a contact form on your website. CRM automation tools will automate many different aspects of the customer journey, from first contact with potential customers to post-purchase follow-up.

Types of CRM Automation

Many routine and time-consuming tasks related to customer relationship and contact management are easy to automate with the help of a CRM system. Here are some of the most common forms of CRM workflow automation that can streamline tasks.

Data entry & synchronisation

Inputting customer data would be a huge drain on your time if you had to do it manually. CRM automation tools save you a lot of time by automatically transferring data from other applications into your CRM platform. This can include data from contact forms, online chat, customer surveys, and social media.

CRM automation software also helps you keep customer data up-to-date by automatically synchronising it with other applications, such as your accounting software. With automated data entry, everyone in your organisation will always have access to accurate and consistent customer information.

Email drip campaigns

Email is one of the most powerful tools to promote your products or services. Marketing automation helps you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns by automatically adding new leads to your campaign list and segmenting them based on their interactions with your website or previous emails.

CRM platforms can also track the performance of your email marketing campaigns and generate reports showing which ones generate the most leads and sales.

Data analytics

KPI tracking and sales forecasting are essential if you want to assess the performance of your business and make informed decisions about where to focus your resources. CRM automation software makes it easy to track KPIs by automatically generating reports on the key metrics that you specify.

This could include sales performance analysis, customer churn rate, marketing campaign results, or website traffic. It saves you a lot of time and ensures that you always have up-to-date information on the health of your business.

Lead follow-ups

Chasing leads and following up with customers can be a time-consuming process, but it’s essential if you want to close sales and build strong customer relationships. CRM automation software helps you to stay on top of your follow-ups by automatically sending reminders to marketing and sales reps when a lead is due for contact. You can also use sales CRM automation tools to send automatic follow-up emails to customers after interacting with your website or making a purchase.

Lead scoring

Lead scoring is a process of assigning a numerical value to each lead, based on their likelihood of converting into a paying customer. Your automated CRM software can carry out this critical part of lead management by scoring leads automatically based on the criteria you specify.

Automated lead scoring allows your sales and marketing teams to focus their time on the most likely to convert leads, which helps to maximise ROI.

Appointment scheduling

You can easily automate appointment scheduling with the help of CRM software. You can use CRM automation tools to send automatic reminders to customers before their phone calls and automatically schedule follow-up appointments. Suppose a customer wants to reschedule their appointment. In that case, your CRM tool will use automated data entry to update the schedule and send a notification to the relevant sales rep or customer service team.

Sales pipeline management

Pipeline management is one of the most important forms of workflow management, but it can be quite a burden for your sales team. Every time a lead or customer moves to a new stage in the sales process, this needs to be updated in the CRM system. This can quickly become tedious if you’re doing it manually.

Automated CRM systems can take care of this for you by automatically updating the pipeline whenever leads or potential customers interact with your website or respond to an email. Most CRMs can also create a visual sales pipeline to help your sales teams visualise the process. This type of sales automation ensures your sales and marketing teams always have up-to-date information on where each lead is in the sales process.

Payment reminders

Sometimes customers need a reminder to make a payment, particularly if they’ve signed up for a subscription-based service. Your automated CRM system helps you stay on top of payments by automatically sending reminders to customers when a payment is due and chasing up any late payments.

Most automated CRM platforms also integrate with your accounting software, making it easy to keep track of payments and invoices.

Abandoned cart reminders

If you run an e-commerce business, you’re familiar with customers adding items to their carts without proceeding to complete the purchase. CRM automation helps you recover these lost sales by sending automatic reminders to customers when they abandon their carts. These reminders can include a link to the cart so the customer can easily complete their purchase.

Call scheduling

If you use a call centre to make sales processes or provide customer support, then CRM automation can be a huge time-saver. Your sales teams can use CRM automation to automatically schedule calls with leads and customers and also send reminders before the call. This helps to ensure that your customer service reps and sales teams always make the most efficient use of their time.

Customer lifecycle management

Customer lifecycle management is the process of tracking and managing a customer’s relationship with your company, from their first interaction to their post-purchase experience.

CRM automation helps you manage the customer journey by automatically sending targeted communications and automated responses to customers based on their stage in the cycle. For example, you can use CRM automation to send a welcome email to new customers, or a discount code to customers who haven’t purchased anything in a while.

Marketing automation

You may have separate marketing automation software, but many CRM platforms also include basic marketing automation features. This can include automatically sending emails or other communications to leads and customers based on their position in the pipeline. For instance, you can use sales and marketing automation to send upselling offers to customers who have already purchased from you, or cross-selling offers to customers who have shown an interest in a particular product.

The Benefits of CRM Automation

There are many benefits of using CRM and marketing automation to manage your customer relationships. Here are just a few of the ways that CRM automation can help you save time and improve your marketing and sales processes.

Increase productivity

By automating repetitive manual tasks, CRM automation frees up your marketing department, customer service reps and sales team to focus on more complex activities that require a human touch. The immediate impact of this can include greater productivity across your customer-facing department, but it also has the potential to lead to more sales and higher rates of customer satisfaction in the long run.

Enhance the employee experience

Many businesses talk a lot about customer satisfaction rates and the CX, but the employee experience is just as important. Employees who are satisfied in their roles are more likely to perform well. CRM automation helps improve the employee experience by unburdening them from repetitive, tedious tasks and reducing their workload. The result is happier, less stressed sales reps, marketing specialists, and customer service professionals who are more likely to stay with your company for the long term.

Speed up the sales cycle

The faster you can move a lead through the sales cycle, the more likely you are to close the deal and lock in a loyal customer. CRM automation helps you speed up sales processes by automating tasks such as lead generation, follow-up emails, and appointment scheduling. This means your sales team can spend more time actively selling to leads rather than administrative tasks.

Increase customer engagement

By automating customer interaction and communications, you can ensure that your customers always feel valued and respected. Sending automatic emails and text messages whenever there’s a change in the sales process, such as a new product launch or special offer, helps your sales and customer service teams increase customer engagement. Engaged customers are more likely to make a purchase and become lifelong fans of your business.

Improve data accuracy

Inconsistent and out-of-date data is one of the biggest problems facing sales and marketing teams. It leads to missed opportunities, frustrated customers, and a general feeling of being lost in the sales process. On the other hand, CRM automation helps improve your data’s accuracy by automatically updating contact information, tracking customer interactions, and managing leads through the sales cycle. As such, your staff can be confident that they’re always working with the most up-to-date information.

Foster collaboration

Collaborative CRM automation tools help to break down silos between departments and foster a culture of collaboration. By giving employees visibility into what other departments are doing, you can encourage sales and customer service teams to work together to solve problems and provide a better experience for your customers.

Personalise the customer journey

To deliver a truly personalised customer experience, you need to have a good understanding of your customer’s individual journey. CRM automation helps you to map out the customer journey by tracking every interaction and touchpoint. This CRM data then allows you to create targeted marketing campaigns and sales team strategies tailored to each customer’s needs.

Reduce churn

Churn is a major problem for businesses of all sizes. It’s estimated that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. CRM automation helps you reduce churn by automatically keeping track of customer interactions, behaviour, and preferences. Your sales teams can use this data to identify at-risk customers and take action to prevent them from leaving.

See the big picture

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of running a business. But to make long-term strategic decisions, you must be able to step back and see the big picture. Your CRM tool will automatically pull together all of your customer information into one central location, making it easy for you to track trends and spot patterns. You can use this data to inform your long-term business decisions and help you to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Level up your marketing efforts

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of any business. But with digital channels and data becoming increasingly complex, it can be difficult for your marketing teams to stay on top of every campaign.

Marketing automation helps you level up your marketing endeavours by automatically segmenting your customers and leads, tracking their behaviour, and delivering targeted content. This means your marketing campaigns will be more effective, allowing you to get the most out of your marketing budget.

Consider CRM Automation for Your Business

Above and beyond the answer to “what is CRM automation?” we’ve outlined effective ways to improve your sales processes and marketing efforts through a CRM automation tool. By automating repetitive tasks, you can free up your sales teams to focus on selling and your marketing team to focus on creating targeted campaigns.

If you’re hesitant to invest in an automation solution, just remember that many of the key functions and automation features of modern CRMs allow you to boost customer retention and improve customer satisfaction significantly. With the right CRM tool in place, you’ll be well-positioned to start seeing a return on your investment quickly.

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