Untangle your acronyms: CRM vs CMS
These two acronyms, often incorrectly used synonymously, have a history of tripping up even the highest C-level subject matter experts. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Content Management Systems (CMS) serve two different purposes when it comes to creating efficient business solutions: CRM is all about managing customers and clients, and CMS is about managing your website and its post-production content.
Most businesses naturally begin with a CMS, especially those that need an online platform to showcase or sell their product or service, or need an online login portal for employees, clients and customers. If your business has a website, you’re already using a CMS (examples include WordPress, Drupal).
A CRM – like HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo – is important later in your business’ development, as you build your client base and need to keep better track of your sales pipeline and customer touchpoints. A CRM is especially useful for B2B businesses that need to record lots of client interactions, understand customer behavior, follow up on leads and nurture them through their respective funnels via a solid inbound marketing strategy.
Content Management System (CMS)
Keep your content under control.
A Content Management System puts the power to maintain your website’s content (web pages, templates, images, content, blog posts, etc.) in the hands of your team, without having to engage your web developer every time. Usually through a simple web user interface, the CMS will allow those without expert web programming knowledge to update, delete and add new content to your site safely and securely.
CMS platforms come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the very popular open-source based WordPress, to enterprise-level systems like SiteCore. A free CMS can be more susceptible to hacks, though, so be sure your website is maintained and that security and plugin updates are always current. There’s a high probability that the team responsible for making updates to your website has a strong opinion about which CMS to use, so chances are your developer can hop in the driver’s seat and explain the pros and cons of each.
The key features of a CMS include:
- Custom domain names: Create a custom domain that aligns with your organization’s brand.
- Web hosting: Store your site data in the CMS or integrate with a popular web host platform.
- Site editor: Change the layout of your site, either using code or a drag-and-drop editor.
- Content library: Store content for publication including images and videos.
- Online store: Set up a catalogue of products and integrate a payment portal for online shopping.
One key consideration while implementing a CMS is whether your site is mobile-friendly. If your website was built using a template, most come with responsive design built-in so it will automatically scale to any device, browser, or screen size. As Google continues to prioritize mobile-friendly sites when ranking them, you’ll want to make sure that your site is mobile-optimized to avoid losing out on traffic, rank and usability.
A good CMS helps you to:
- Derive tangible, actionable audience insights.
- Add, update, and delete the copy on your site in a secure way.
- Influence your potential customers’ buying process with relevant content and calls to action.
- Understand user behavior and what types of content are the most popular among certain groups.
- Obtain macro and micro analytics on your website and audience.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Keep your data in order.
CRM is an entirely different beast than CMS. CRM solutions organize and manage information about customers, making them one of the most important tools sales and marketing teams can use to keep track of their leads and make sure they’re communicating with the right customers at the right time, with the right messages. Through productive CRM systems, teams can understand the best content approaches that drive conversions and ultimately increase ROI.
One of the biggest players in the CRM space is Salesforce, one of the most capable sales-oriented CRMs in use today. If Salesforce has more horsepower than you need, there are many other options to choose from, requiring different levels of investment and training. The choices can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of helpful resources out there, including Zapier’s Ultimate Guide to CRM Apps to help you assess these important functional business tools.
At some point in time, nearly every organization that wants to drive leads and engage with its audiences adopts a CRM. The more customers and clients you acquire, the more difficult it’ll be to keep track of them without one.
The key features of a CRM include:
- Contact management: Store customer data including email, phone, and social media accounts.
- Interaction tracking: Document interactions (phone calls, support tickets, purchase history, etc.)
- Lead management: Score and follow-up on leads based on their likelihood of converting.
- Email management: Integrate your email and import directly into your CRM. You’ll also be able to send email campaigns or follow up directly from your CRM.
- Pipeline management: Manage the sales process from every stage and assign tasks or follow up.
- Reporting insights: Aggregate performance data for deal status and future sales predictions.
Integrating CMS & CRM Systems
Achieve superior context and depth of data.
The most important aspect of maximizing these two systems to further your organizational objectives is making sure they’re working together. When you use CMS and CRM in tandem, you can get the following benefits:
- Improved forecasting and reporting.
- Increased qualified leads.
- Real-time personalization.
- Combined client information and insights.
- Clearer reporting.
- More accurate data.
- Greater efficiencies in your relationship management and marketing efforts.
Further highlighting these benefits, Demand Gen Report’s 2017 B2B Survey revealed that 71% of buyers conduct research online before they reach out to a sales representative. Forbes states that buyers will go through 70% of the buyer’s journey before reaching out to the company. That means no matter your industry, the content on your website is crucial to capturing buyers as they’re researching complex purchases.
The Importance Of Integration & Automation
Once your CRM and CMS begin to share content and data, you can increase your web presence and begin to build personal web experiences. It is vital to begin the integration internally first – align membership and marketing campaigns, and agree on the set of terms, tags, categories. Then, it should be applied to users, activities, and audiences based on your personas and their individual customer journeys. Only after that can you incorporate and synchronize CRM and CMS systems.
Another benefit to this system integration is it gives you the ability to categorize site visitors by the solutions, products and/or services they use, or how they stopped by at your site and via what type of device. With these insights, you can begin to determine at which point in a customer’s journey they might require additional encouragement, what type of encouragement might work best, and how and where to deliver it. All of this moves you closer to closing a sale.
Another benefit is the ability to transfer and assign “hot leads” (for example, those who convert from a newsletter sign-up form) to specific sales reps, streamlining customer engagements and improving the overall sales process.
Your New CRM & CMS Elevator Speech
Now that you've read the detail, you'll be taxed with putting this knowledge to use. Try your elevator speech in the boardroom, to your team, or in workshops and trainings. Here's a quick takeaway:
An integrated platform that offers CMS, marketing automation and CRM tools can have a huge impact on your sales pipeline by putting your website to work for you to generate leads. Underpinning all of this should be an inbound strategy that integrates your marketing, sales, and service teams and delivers the right content to the right visitors at the right time (CMS + marketing automation).
Optimal success is also dependent on capturing leads from your website and bringing them into your relationship management tool (CRM) so you can leverage marketing automation (such as email nurture campaigns) that provide custom content to each prospect. Many platforms offer integrations that require a little extra work, but they can be as effective as full-capability solutions for supporting lead generation.
you have a clear overview of the customer journey from start to finish, you can identify and implement practical activities to increase the conversion rates. In short, the debate shouldn’t be “CRM vs. CMS,”” but how to leverage both for optimum results. Used to their fullest potential, these tools close deals, bolster sales and increase your ROI.