- Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps your business organize and optimize relationships with your existing and potential customers.
- Email marketing and CRM platforms can be used together to organize contacts, automate campaigns and store customer data.
- The benefits of using CRM-enabled email marketing software include having a central data hub about leads and customers, delivering personalized content, and the ability to easily track customer engagement.
- This article is for small business owners and marketers who want to improve their customer relationships and optimize their email marketing campaigns at the same time.
Email marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing today, with over 3.9 billion active users around the world. It is a great way to reach your customers, offering endless ways to provide information. One of the best ways to ensure that you are sending the right content to the right people is combining your email marketing tool with a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Read on to learn how CRMs can benefit your email marketing efforts, the benefits that a CRM-enabled email marketing tool can offer your small business and some of the best all-in-one platforms.
Editor's note: Looking for the right CRM software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
What is CRM?
CRM software helps you manage your company's relationships and interactions with existing and potential customers. The purpose of a CRM is to optimize and improve relationships with your customers, as well as streamline your sales and marketing processes. [Read related article: How to Use CRM to Improve Customer Service]
A CRM platform performs the following functions:
- Contact management
- Sales management
- Agent productivity
- Lead management
- Reporting and analytics
- Pipeline management
- Workflow automation
With CRM software, your business stores key customer information, including contact details and records about previous interactions and sales, in a centralized location, where anyone in your company can access it. Given that CRM is one of the fastest-growing enterprise application software categories, it may be advantageous for your business to adopt one.
Key takeaway: Companies use CRMs to track sales team interactions with individual customers in a way that is relevant and meaningful to both parties.
How does a CRM system work with email marketing?
CRM is a useful tool in email marketing, where personalizing content to suit your audience is key to success. CRM software provides much of the data and information that makes targeted email marketing campaigns possible. CRM email marketing places the focus on the email recipient, rather than a large, generic audience, which helps drive better profits and creates more engaged customers. [Read related article: The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement]
Many email marketing platforms either integrate with or have their own CRM built into their software. CRM software will work with email marketing by:
- Syncing lead and customer information with other systems
- Sending automated internal alerts for things like scheduled calls or sending follow-up emails
- Showing where an individual customer is in the sales funnel
- Tracking a customer's history with your business
- Identifying a potential customer within the funnel
- Providing detailed information that allows the company to create personalized email marketing campaigns
"A CRM helps you customize and automate email marketing campaigns to work more efficiently," said Tom Winter, chief revenue officer and co-founder of DevSkiller. "Email marketing is a tedious process, and letting your CRM handle the brunt of the mass emailing saves a lot of time. CRMs nowadays use AI and support omnichannel communication, which is great for boosting customer service."
Key takeaway: A CRM provides customer data and information that is used to inform a personalized email marketing campaign.
Why are email and CRM important for marketers?
Email marketing is a mainstay of the marketing world, despite rumors that it would be shouldered out by social media marketing. The email marketing industry has steadily grown, and it is estimated that there will be 4.3 billion global email users by 2023. CRM is also experiencing significant growth, taking the top spot as the largest software market in the world.
As a marketer, it is vital that you incorporate both CRM and email marketing into your overall marketing strategy. Together, they provide valuable knowledge, resources, and tools for getting your content and message out to the right audiences.
"A CRM simply holds the contact record – name, company info, correspondence, etc.," said Logan Mayville, business development and marketing specialist at Post Modern Marketing. "Marketing automation allows you to program actions (email, text, web pages) based on that record. You need both to be successful." [Read related article: How to Build an Email Marketing Contact List]
The primary purpose of a CRM is to manage and improve your business's relationship with your customers, and a solid customer relationship boosts your business's success. A CRM collects information about every customer and every lead, such as which products they buy most, how often they contact your company, whom they speak to, what they click on and more.
You can then use this detailed information to send targeted email campaigns that show the customer a related product they might be interested in or alert them to something left behind in their cart. It can also inform you about where gaps exist in your sales funnel.
Key takeaway: Email marketing and CRM present an opportunity for marketers to find and engage directly with customers through targeted campaigns that drive conversions.
What are the benefits of using a CRM for email marketing?
Using a CRM-enabled email marketing platform (or an email marketing platform that integrates with a CRM) can provide numerous benefits for your business, such as providing a centralized data hub and the ability to connect your information to your marketing channels.
Central place for audience data
Using an email marketing platform with a CRM provides a single, centralized storage hub for all of your customer data, which can then be accessed by anyone who needs it in your organization, from sales to marketing. The CRM stores contact information, phone calls, sales activity, customer notes, user behavior and more, and can reveal patterns and key findings about your customers.
Easy connection to marketing channels
If your customer data is stored in a separate place from your marketing channels, it can be difficult to convert your customer insights into actionable tasks, like personalized communication or segmentation. It also increases the risk of getting lost. A CRM that is integrated or built into your email marketing platform ensures that all of these functions work together while providing you with the information you need.
Clear picture of your audience
With your customer data in one place, it's easier to see who your audience is and what they want from you. You can track all of your customer interactions and see which strategies work, which ones don't, and areas where your business can grow and evolve.
Targeted, personalized campaigns
The most effective email marketing campaigns are those that are tailored to their audience's individual interests and preferences. A CRM makes doing that easy by automatically collecting, organizing, and storing pertinent user data.
Easy to create appealing, responsive emails
A CRM-enabled email marketing tool provides easily customizable email templates that are responsive across every device, whether the customer is using a mobile phone, tablet or computer. This is vital for a consistent, engaging user experience and can help boost your campaign engagement.
Key takeaway: The benefits of using CRM for email marketing include targeted campaigns, easy connection with marketing channels and knowing who your audience is.
What are the features of CRM email marketing?
There are several key features to look for in a CRM and/or email marketing platform, but there are seven features, in particular, you want to scrutinize:
Analytics and testing
Marketing is an ever-changing game of learning and adjusting; a CRM-enabled email marketing platform provides a steady stream of up-to-date customer information, as well as the tools necessary to analyze data, test various campaigns, and change your approach as needed. You can use analytics, for example, to tell you how many recipients clicked on the link included in your last email campaign and determine how successful that campaign was. [Read related article: How CRM Analytics Work]
Lead nurturing is the process of developing and growing relationships with customers at each stage of the sales funnel, or buying journey. Many CRM-enabled email marketing platforms automate parts of this process, which can save you time and money.
If you're looking for an all-in-one tool, verify that it integrates with other software and services, like Outlook, Salesforce, Zoho or other marketing platforms. Integrations allow you to broaden your capabilities and better serve your audience. For example, by integrating with Outlook, you'll be able to send automated email campaigns to segmented contact lists, all in one system.
Marketing automation is the process of automatically completing tasks that would otherwise be completed manually. Automation frees up your employees' time to devote their time to other, more important tasks. You can automate functions like drip campaigns, lead scoring and task alerts.
Sometimes you need to send a bulk email. Look for a service that offers this as an option so you can quickly and efficiently get content out to your entire audience at one time if you need to.
Recipient engagement tracking
Email marketing requires marketers to be willing to quickly (and radically) change their approach if their current strategy isn't working. With CRM email marketing, you see which recipients opened your email, which clicked the links, who didn't open it at all, and so on. This allows you to modify your approach until you find something that works. Look for a tool with conversion tracking, which helps you better understand your customers' behavior.
Automated email responses
You want to create drip campaigns, which are emails that are automatically sent to appropriate customers, based on certain triggers, such as reminders for abandoned carts or an order update. One example of an automated email response is a customer who receives an email that their order has shipped.
Key takeaway: The features of CRM email marketing to look for include mass emailing, automation, and integrations.
Which CRM software offers the best email marketing functionality?
Several CRMs offer email marketing functionality. Whether you need a CRM with email marketing functionality or an email marketing tool with a CRM depends on your needs and goals. For example, do you primarily need to organize your contacts for use in your general marketing strategy, or do you want to focus on email marketing and need your contacts optimized for that? Think carefully about your goals before selecting a provider.
If you're interested in choosing a software for your small business, read our email marketing best picks.
CRM software for email marketing
Dynamics365 CRM offers customer segmentation, customer communication journeys, sales and customer service software integration, email templates, A/B testing and more.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a robust CRM with email marketing capabilities, including a customer journey builder, email studio, audience data center and AI-powered campaign personalization.
Creatio is a multichannel marketing platform that focuses on creating customer journeys, accelerating lead to revenue and enabling personalized communication across platforms.
Email marketing tools with CRM
Pabbly's email marketing platform offers unrestricted features like marketing automation, SMTP routing, contact list management, list splitting and autoresponders. Its drag-and-drop email builder significantly simplifies the difficult, time-consuming task of designing eye-catching emails.
Mailchimp is an all-in-one email marketing tool that offers a robust CRM in addition to other tools like marketing channel management, customer insights and marketing automation.
Constant Contact's email marketing platform integrates with the Salesforce CRM to easily manage, store and organize contacts for your email campaigns.