The simple email script that once upon a time helped marketers to send out multiple emails quickly evolved into sophisticated email marketing tools. These tools provided much greater and easier customization options for smart email campaigns. However, as the tools for email marketing have improved along with the amount of customer data retained, they’ve slowly become more than the sum of their parts. The line between email marketing software and CRM is ever narrowing.

In this article, we look at why email marketing tools are evolving and how it might affect your business going forward.

Marketers Need to Go Beyond Basic Customer Information

Marketers inside businesses need to access customer information immediately and appreciate how far down the sales funnel each customer has reached. Having their basic contact information is only the first step.

What a sales rep needs to know are details like whether they’ve signed up to an email newsletter already on a previous visit to the company’s website (indicating interest). Have they been added to an autoresponder sequence and if so, how far have they progressed through it? Have they clicked on any links within any of those emails and taken an action on the site like adding a product to the shopping cart and completed the sale or abandoned it?

Specialist Email Tools Enable Deeper Email Marketing Than Before

With the advent of deeper control of email through the use of automation where actions occur by following set conditions which get activated under certain circumstances, marketers can send emails out to individual subscribers or past buyers based on specific situations.

For instance, going partway through a shopping cart to complete a purchase where a customer’s email address was entered but they didn’t finalize the transaction, can trigger an email follow-up. In this situation, potential customers can be assisted and provided contact information to talk directly with staff to resolve any sticking point with the online purchasing process. This can lead to multiple future purchases and considerable lifetime value by resolving a difficult first purchase, which is initially done in an automated manner.

Customer information is also accessible to decide which ones receive the latest email based on previous responses or open rates for past messages. As people live increasingly online where they’re just as likely to email a company or hop on a live chat vs calling them up, there’s been a gradual blurring between what was initially limited email capabilities and now a smarter tool that adapts well in the digital world.

Customer Service Matters More in the Digital Realm

Perhaps due to the fact that people are dealing with companies where they may never have met any of their employees or visited one of their offices, the need for great customer service is paramount.

According to the recent Highlights and Insights Report from CMO in 2018, the critical factor in making a purchase is customer service (PDF file). Given that CMO leads the marketing world in predicting marketing trends, marketers review their annual report with keen attention.

With marketing, tying all previous contact with a prospect together and being able to see whether there’s been any email previously sent provides a more complete picture. This is essential when anyone contacts the prospect because people expect employees in the organization to be aware of all previous phone calls, email, sales meetings or interactions of any kind.

Does It Make Sense to Use Separate CRM Solutions?

With an increased focus on finding ways to automate marketing to handle larger numbers of prospects and active customers efficiently, some people question which approach is best?

The question over marketing automation vs CRM goes specifically to whether organizations should stick with clever email marketing, automation and designed responses to triggers, or seek to use a larger, more complicated dedicated CRM package?

However, this shouldn’t necessarily be seen as simply an either/or scenario here. This is because email marketing solutions are growing up, adding new features and morphing steadily into a complete suite of marketing tools that encompasses CRM features.

Larger Businesses

Large businesses may well have a need for a substantive CRM solution to handle many aspects of trade across multiple sales channels and customer bases. However, that doesn’t negate that a clever email marketing tool can be used in conjunction with a CRM solution.

Smaller Businesses

Smaller businesses would find traditional CRM software overly cumbersome to incorporate into their business to say nothing of extremely expensive. A solution that offers many excellent features common to CRM software but that also adroitly handles email marketing presents a useful and affordable second solution with particular appeal.

For companies and the marketers who work for them, wrestling with an overly complex and demanding CRM package with a steep learning curve is inefficient. Rather than providing them with useful tools and customer information at their fingertips, it’s likely to frustrate them no end. Instead, by using an online email solution which increasingly includes the most useful features found CRM software, they get the best of both with a shallower learning curve. A win-win for everyone on the team.