CRMs can do a lot for marketing and sales teams besides greatly benefit marketing and sales alignment goals, Anthony Smith, CEO at Insightly shares some thoughts:
Tell us more about Insightly and its growth journey over the last few years…
Over the last few years, Insightly has been simplifying customer relationship management for growing companies that move fast and face a lot of competition in the new digital age. This meant building a customer platform that allows businesses to manage and analyze massive amounts of data, align teams, and deliver stellar customer experiences—all without over-engineered integrations, manual data syncing, or expensive consultants. In 2019, we introduced Insightly Marketing, a marketing automation app, as part of a unified CRM for sales, marketing, and project management. Most recently, we launched Insightly AppConnect—a drag-and-drop, no-code CRM integration tool that allows non-technical users to easily connect Insightly with other mission critical apps, such as Google Workspace, SAP, PayPal, Slack, NetSuite, and many others. We have a few major product announcements coming up later this year. Every new Insightly product and feature we bring to our customers is meant to help them make the most out of data, align teams and processes, and grow revenue, regardless of their business size, industry, or technical capacity.
How are you seeing CRM trends (in terms of demands in features and adoption patterns) change in today’s environment?
In a way, CRM trends are a response to ever-changing consumer behavior. Businesses today need to understand their customers’ needs and preferences at a granular level to provide personalized interactions. They also need to move fast—customers want great products, customized service, and they want it all now. This means using a CRM system that’s powerful enough to manage and extract actionable insights from customer data, yet simple enough for every team to adopt it and use it on a daily basis. That’s the only way to ensure team alignment around the entire customer journey. At Insightly, we’ve stayed focused on creating clean, highly visual, and intuitive user interfaces to ensure fast and broad user adoption. Looking at both big and smaller CRM companies, one can see that the biggest CRM trends today are the integration of sales, marketing, and service apps and focus on user experience.
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What are some top predictions in mind for the future of CRM tools you’d like to share?
Digital transformation has been happening for a few years now. Yet, it wasn’t until the Covid-19 pandemic, when the majority of small and medium-sized businesses began to adopt a digital-first framework, both for customer management and internal operations. CRM tools play a big part in this, and advanced workflow automation and integrations with other business apps—including marketing, e-commerce, HR, finance, ERP, etc.—will become increasingly important.
We’d love a deep dive into Insightly’s latest survey and would love to hear a few highlights on the findings?
Earlier this year, we commissioned a study to learn how US businesses are managing their customer relationships, including their technology initiatives and marketing investments, in 2021, as we slowly come out of the pandemic and plan for the future. Nearly 60 percent of 500 businesses that participated in the survey, said they are spending more on marketing in 2021 compared to 2020. Seeing an increase in marketing spend this year was somewhat surprising. But, when you consider that, according to the same survey, two-thirds of US businesses say they know more about their customers this year compared to last year—you begin to understand why businesses are comfortable spending more on marketing this year. Thanks to digital tools that enabled them to stay engaged with customers during Covid-19 shutdowns, some businesses gained more insights into customer needs, preferences and buying behavior last year, than they ever did before. All this data creates opportunities for marketers to design and carry out better customer engagement campaigns, make data-driven decisions, and measure marketing ROI.
Other findings show customer relationship management systems, sales and marketing alignment, and customer data management as top areas for tech investments.
What are some of the core marketing technologies that you feel marketing teams should not be doing without, today, at least in the B2B and tech marketplace?
Before investing in any technology, marketing teams (and businesses in general) should first figure out their strategy and then look for technology that would help them implement that strategy and reach goals. Broadly speaking, marketing teams today should invest in scalable marketing automation systems that would allow them to run personalized customer engagement campaigns, align with sales and other customer-facing teams, track performance across the entire buyer journey, and measure ROI.
Can you talk about some top martech providers you have been following in the recent years from the global market and why you find them innovative?
We are going to see expanded use of customer data platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), and hyper automation in martech in the next few years. The focus will remain on improving customer experience and helping marketing teams to increase operational efficiency and analyze data for creative decision-making and ROI reporting.
A few takeaways for marketing leaders and CMOs/CEOs in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year, innovate and expand their teams?
From a technology perspective, data analytics—or ability to make sense of all data and extract accurate insights—will continue to separate successful marketers from the rest. From a people perspective, building diverse marketing teams (in every sense) will be key to staying relevant, connected to customers, and innovative.
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