Where to keep my Contact Data? CRM or Marketing Automation

This is a controversial topic discussed, when companies start using the tech tools viz., CRM, and Marketing Automation.

Image courtesy of the author. Clipart images by @Mary @Jennifer @Jessica @Michael @Linda on Freepngclipart.com

CRM is managed by the sales team. And the marketing team is responsible for marketing automation. They fight like cats and dogs. Or to put it in another way, “Salesmen are from Mars, and Marketing Ladies are from Venus”.

You may be wondering what this image means. A monkey and 2 cats! I will connect this at the end. Please hang on!

Now the question is where to keep the contact data.

It all boils down to the role of sales and marketing teams. Are they aligned? Are they feeding into each other?

Sales can’t go in front of all the potential buyers. Unless you are in a monopsony or oligopsony market, this statement is true. These market types, of one or a few customers, are very rare. Hence as salespeople, we should admit we cannot go in front of all potential buyers. So, the buck stops with marketing.

Marketing is a function to attract buyers, create interest, and get them to talk to salespeople or visit a showroom. Now let’s visualize the funnel. If we want 100 people to talk to salespeople, one needs to get a minimum of 1000 people to get interested, probably 10,000 people to get attracted, and eventually reach out to 100,000 people. It may look over simplistic with a 10% conversion at each stage, and you can apply the apt % that works for your business.

Now let us answer the question. Where to keep the data? One stage at a time.

Stage 1: The 100,000 audience to reach is ideally placed in the marketing database. If you keep this in CRM, the sales team will go mad. This stage is often referred to as a blue-sky audience and needs mass-marketing channels to reach.

Stage 2: The 10,000 audience that got attracted too needs to be in the marketing database. This number may need an army of salespeople, which most organizations do not have. This stage has generally named a Lead or Suspect.

Stage 3: The 1000 people that got interested may either be in the marketing database or CRM. This depends on how early you want sales to start talking. It makes sense to be with Inside Sales (IS) team, who can call these customers. This stage is referred to as MQL or Marketing Qualified Leads.

Stage 4: And finally, 100 people who are willing to talk or visit needs to be in CRM. This is how you can make the Salespeople’s time productive. This stage is often called a SQL or Sales Qualified Leads.

After all, the marketing role is to get salespeople to spend their time negotiating, most of their time! If we acknowledge this statement, both teams can be successful.

By the way, what is all about a Monkey and 2 Cats. It is a bedtime story from Panchatantra tales, that goes about 2 cats fighting for a piece of cake (to be precise appam), and a clever monkey shows up to help split it equally. He keeps splitting it in uneven sizes and ends up eating the cake all by himself. Watch this story on Youtube if you haven’t heard it before.

Who are the stupid cats? The sales and marketing teams. Who is the monkey? Many a times the tech consultant, who comes to implement these tools. Alas!

No offense, please. Monkey is just a metaphor. I have observed a host of these tech consultants, who neither have a clue of sales, nor privy to the nuances of marketing. Their focus is to finish the project and move on.

A follow-up question, which is a natural next. Just imagine you acquired 100 customers a month, for the past 5 years — you are sitting on a goldmine of 6000 customer contacts. Where should we keep the existing customer contacts? I will write about this in my next post. Bye for now!



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Dr. Shiv

We consume & get consumed. This marketing equation needs attention. Shiv is instrumental in this mission. He is the founder of Camp Automation LLP