The Expanding Role of the CRM in Marketing (+7 Benefits)

CRM tools started off as a sort of enhanced Rolodex.

Instead of sales teams filling out paper index cards with names, contact information, and any notes about leads/customers, they began digitising the information on CRM platforms so the information was accessible to everyone.

Although, over time, prospect and customer preferences evolved.

Today’s buyers expect more personalised and cohesive service.

Providing it means that marketing, sales, and customer service teams must collaborate and share information.

As a result, the role of the CRM in marketing expanded, and today it plays a crucial role in increasing, and tracking, marketing-generated leads and revenue.


What is a CRM?

CRM is an acronym for customer relationship management, a strategy for managing relationships with leads and customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

The acronym is also frequently used to refer tools that enable teams to build and execute on a CRM strategy.

CRM tools provide sales, marketing, and customer service teams with a platform for organising, sharing, and synchronising lead and customer information.

Here are a few examples:

  • A CRM collects information about the marketing materials and campaigns that leads interacted with prior to requesting a sales call, providing sales teams with more information about the products, features, and use cases leads are interested in.
  • A CRM collects all notes that sales teams take when talking to leads and customers. Using these notes, marketing teams can see what prospects are/aren’t interested in, using that information to create more personalised and targeted campaigns.
  • Sales and marketing teams can also access customer service information collected from existing customers to identify possible upsell opportunities or monitor accounts for signs of risk of non-renewal.

Essentially, CRMs collect information about how leads and customers interact with the company across every channel—websites, social media, phone, live chat, etc.—giving sales, marketing, and service teams a 360° view of customer preferences, concerns, and purchase histories.

The big-name CRM tool providers include Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP, but in recent years, a lot of smaller companies have become leaders in the field by catering non-enterprise businesses. These include HubSpot,, Base, and the CRM tool we use here at Ruler Analytics—Pipedrive.


CRM vs. Marketing Automation

Often, the terms CRM and marketing automation are used synonymously, but they’re really two different types of tools. Marketing automation tools are focused on top-of the funnel activities like lead generation and nurturing, such as automating ad, email, and social campaigns.

Image Source: Capterra

And while some marketing automation tools provide CRM-like functions like lead scoring, most often marketing automation data is transferred to a CRM for bottom-of-the-funnel, one-on-one activities like sales calls, demos, service requests, and renewal/upsell activities.

So from a surface-level view of marketing automation and CRM tools, it seems like marketers should work in a marketing automation tool and sales/service should work in a CRM. However, marketers who ignore the information contained in a CRM miss out on valuable opportunities.


How Marketing Benefits From CRM Data

The idea that marketing automation tools are for marketing teams and CRMs are for sales and service teams is flawed. The reality is that marketers benefit significantly from accessing and using the data collected in a CRM. Here’s how:

  • Continue nurturing leads that failed to convert. Using CRM data, marketers can identify which leads spoke with sales but didn’t convert. Using the details recorded from that conversation, marketing teams can build personalised campaigns designed to continue nurturing the lead in hopes of an eventual conversion.
  • Identify marketing-generated revenue. Marketers who use Ruler Analytics can connect their analytics program and preferred CRM, closing the loop between marketing and sales. This allows you to track and report on marketing-generating leads and revenue, providing leadership with detailed figures on marketing’s ROI.
  • Bring hot leads to the attention of sales. Most CRMs include a feature that scores each lead’s likelihood to convert. When marketing and sales team members are both monitoring this information, it increases the likelihood that key prospects don’t slip through the cracks and boosts the amount of revenue marketing generates.
  • Stop wasting time on cold leads. Another benefit of lead-scoring tools is the ability to identify cold leads. If you know which customers—or which types of customers—are unlikely to convert, you can stop wasting time nurturing those customers and divert your attention to the leads that are more likely to result in revenue.
  • Gather valuable information for ABM campaigns. If your team is running an account-based marketing program, your CRM is your best friend. It helps you identify possible cross-sell and upsell opportunities for existing customers and create targeted campaigns designed to highlight the benefits of additional products to target accounts.
  • Identify renewal marketing opportunities. CRMs contain valuable renewal marketing data like subscription expiration dates and service call conversations, allowing marketing teams to build lists of existing customers at risk for non-renewal that should be targeted by renewal marketing campaigns.
  • Discover gaps in the customer journey. The ability to review what questions leads ask when working with sales or customer service provides valuable data that can be used to strengthen your customer journey, come up with ideas for new types of content to publish, and build a more effective funnel.

As customers demand more personalised service and expect more cohesive experiences, the ability for marketing, sales, and service to work from a centralised information repository becomes more and more crucial.

Beyond all of these benefits, centralising customer data in a CRM leads to a better customer experience, which increases customer loyalty.How Companies Benefit from Using a CRM


How Companies Benefit from Using a CRM

We’ve looked at some of the ways that marketing, sales, and service teams benefit from a CRM, but what about the company overall?

The benefits for companies are compelling as well. According to Salesforce, companies that adopt a CRM see impressive results:

  • 30% increase in conversions
  • 35% increase in customer satisfaction
  • 38% decrease in time-to-decision
  • 25% increase in revenue

A CRM helps teams provide better service throughout the customer lifecycle, improving customer loyalty and inspiring brand advocacy. This is crucial because marketing today is more difficult than ever, word-of-mouth referrals produce the highest-quality leads, and it’s significantly less expensive to retain an existing customer than onboard a new one.

As your company grows, you’ll see one of the biggest benefits of a CRM – its scalability. Regardless of the number of leads you generate each month, a CRM gives everyone onboard access to important marketing, sales and service data which they can use to help accelerate revenue growth.

Written by

Liverpool born marketer. 3-years experience in content, outreach and SEO. I love to help individuals measure the true ROI of their marketing spend. I may occasionally use GIFs to express my point. I have an addiction to goal setting.