Save valuable time with marketing and sales automations within your CRM

Automations within a CRM are one of the best time-savers and you need to be using them. They allow you to make sure that no lead or contact ever falls out of your workflow, meaning that there’s no chance for a loss of potential revenue.

Here, we are going to discuss automations within different types of CRM, so if your knowledge around the basics of CRMs is lacking, then we’d recommend checking out our blog on what CRM’s are here. It not only explains what CRMs are essentially used for, but it outlines some good things to look for in them! If you know what they are – or you just want to plough ahead into automations – then let’s get into it.

Automating the steps between marketing and sales gives you and your team more time free to focus on strategy and nurturing those really promising leads, which means that you can get more leads and more customers. The two CRMs that we’ve mainly used here at The Cake Mix and have both really helped with building these different types of automation are Active Campaign and Hubspot. Both of these CRMs have nice drag and drop automation/workflow builders that are intuitive and quick to learn and if you’re just starting out with automations, they are both great. In a future article we’ll be comparing CRMs, so make sure to keep your eye out for it in the following weeks!


Marketing Automations

Marketing automation is pretty much using automated processes to streamline your marketing work and make it more effective, freeing up time for staff to work on grander things; and it really works.

“Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead overall”
(according to Nucleus Research).

Something that can be a bit confusing is that marketing automations and CRMs are not the same thing; although there is a lot of overlap and they complement each other very well. Let’s focus on using marketing automations within a CRM as that’s really the best way to do it. This way, all data is within one platform which is always a pretty big plus as it can reduce costs and the chance for lost data.

The main focus of a marketing automation is sending out, you guessed it, marketing emails. By using an automation you can plan your marketing flow in advance; usually a spidery flow chart full of branching paths with lots of conditions, waiting periods and a whole bunch of emails. Once you have this, you can then start to build your emails (learn how to build great marketing emails here) one by one, create your automated workflow and then  just plug in all the sections necessary, following your plan.

A good example of using a marketing automation is by using behavioral tracking, where you can track a user’s path through your site and from that you can understand areas of interest and so email follow-ups can be created around those findings.

From those insights we can start scoring contacts based on activity (visiting pages, adding items to cart etc), these extra bits of information can lead to being able to create:

  • Trigger based marketing messages (like the ones mentioned earlier).
  • Timed emails, if there’s no user activity to remind them that there are deals or that they have items in their cart.
  • Personalised emails which usually have a much higher open rate.


If you’re using a CRM for both marketing and sales, then by the end of your marketing automation you should have a pretty good amount of information on lead’s behaviours, the pages they go to and what kind of email/content interests them the most. This allows the sales team to target the highest value leads and get a higher ROI because of the marketing automations.

An example of a simple but great marketing automation is one that is made up of emails, wait periods and status checks. The trigger would be that a contact has signed up so the initial email is one welcoming them and reminding them of an offer of the quote they got to try and nurture them towards a sale. After that we can wait for a few days, check to see if they even opened the email.

  • If they have opened the email, then have they bought anything?
  • If they have opened and bought then they can be removed from this flow (and maybe added to another designed for confirmed customers)
  • If they didn’t buy or open then we can go down the branching paths of more emails, wait periods and status checks until either they’ve bought or they are clearly not interested; in either case they can be removed from the automation and then either removed completely as a dead lead OR placed into another workflow that fits them best! 


Below is an example of a basic email flow that we created for one of our clients, following the above description. It’s worth noting that the image only shows about a third of the full thing due to the multiple directions it can go.


These automations can be incredibly simple on paper but when you build them they can be behemoths so it’s always worth running a test contact or two through it, just to check that it works and that everything looks good. There are a lot of parts to go wrong in the build!


Sales Automations

Sometimes the boring manual tasks can chew through all your time, or contacts can slip out of your sales funnel, but using a sales automation can help reduce both of these and are seriously useful. They’re worth putting the time into building.

Sales automations help you to:

  • Automatically track the performance of your sales funnel
  • Create nurturing campaigns for deals that are close to being closed
  • Update deal owners, stages and if they’re won or lost plus
  • Automate tasks to go out based on certain contact activity.


All of these actions would usually take a fair bit of time out of your day, but by automating them you can reduce the chance of human error by creating flows that update contacts and deals for you, letting you know when the perfect time to contact them and close the deal is.

An example of a really simple but great sales automation is just assigning tasks based on activity with an email or a purchase. You can use these actions to trigger a task that gets assigned round-robin style to your sales team to follow up with them, try and call or send a fully personalised email. This means that nobody slips through the cracks and everyone gets an opportunity to get their sales numbers up with less effort having to track down new leads. For more information, learn how to build great sales emails here.

A piece of advice though, make sure that you don’t have multiple automations doubling tasks or emails. Whenever you’re making one, it’s good practice to know what’s going on in all your other automations. This is easy to do once you’re in the practice of it. It is definitely beneficial to follow a set ‘naming standard’ for all automations, describing what their purpose is and what they do. This helps mitigate the chance for doubling up on anything.


Final words

Please bear in mind that marketing and sales automations usually aren’t exclusive and there can be a lot of crossover between the two. A lot of the time your automation will have marketing elements (sending out emails at specified times) but then based on actions taken on those emails or on the site, then some sales actions can occur too (moving them along the deal stages or down the sales funnel).

So there we have it, two very different kinds of automations you can set up and use within your CRM to both market and sell your product or service whilst saving your business time and money. Hopefully this has answered some questions you might have had and enlightened you to not only the existence, but the importance of automations within your chosen CRM.

If you have any questions regarding what you’ve read, please get in touch for a chat. We are always happy to help. Jan’s the man for questions regarding CRMs, so why not start by emailing him; jan.monks@thecakemix.co.uk

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