Marketing, HubSpot | 20 min read

What is CRM-powered marketing and why is it so important?

Posted By
Chelsea Carter

When you hear the term “Customer Relationship Management” (or CRM), which department or function do you think of first? If you’ve automatically answered “sales”, you’re not alone. 

In this post, we'll cover why your CRM is so much more than just a digital filing cabinet for sales team enablement, and the benefits of harnessing the secret marketing power behind its data to transform your CRM into a revenue-generating growth machine. 

In a digital world, having a CRM is the cost of entry into a modern market (imagine running a business without one). But have you considered how the already-available information within your CRM offers a wealth of data that gives you the power to to access, understand and relevantly market directly to your customer? 

Data: dispensable details or a potential goldmine? 

Data by itself is useless. In order for it to be effective, it needs to be collected, stored and utilized in a way that it becomes valuable with minimal maintenance. 

Let's say you have the names of each person who showed interest in your business over the last 18 months. On its own, this information could be helpful to a degree. But imagine taking it a step further and knowing who was just browsing, who’s ready to buy, or even who’s ready to buy and checked two or three other boxes critical for making a sale.

When you can better understand your data, you’re working smarter, which looks like sending the right messaging to the right people at the right time without labor-intensive, interruptive, or prospect-annoying processes.

Targeting has also become more sophisticated, meaning that ads are now less interruptive and more informative. Think about the relevance of ads you’ve seen recently on YouTube and Instagram - does it ever feel like your mind is being read? That’s data at its full potential. 

Interruptive, old school marketing is the wooooorst

Thankfully for us all, contemporary digital marketing has evolved tremendously over its 20 years of existence.  General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), privacy, savvy prospects and big corporations redefining data mining, like Apple, have all profoundly changed the status quo. (Insert flashbacks of buying data lists, cold calls without consent, spam texts from random numbers and mass emails with misspelled names here). 

You probably still see some of these cringe-worthy practices from time to time - and we’re not just talking about the occasional “Hi {first name}” greeting that every marketer has a nightmare of sending. We’re talking about the data-scraping, privacy-invading, industry-shaming practices that haunt effective marketers to this day.

Even though companies using these prehistoric methods are likely to seem both outdated and out of touch compared to intelligent, relevant practices available today, we still see these approaches from time to time. (You’ve probably even experienced one of them in the last week.)

Do businesses just not care about you? Are they actually trying to be annoying and interruptive? Are they intentionally enacting practices that cause you to hit “Unsubscribe” or “Block Caller”? 

In most cases, it’s actually the opposite. Many companies are so excited to get their message out there that they forget the blend of science and craft that comes together to create effective marketing. The fact that they’re already sitting on a goldmine of customer data that offers powerful insights into behavior, predilections and desire completely escapes them. 

Let’s bring it back to the CRM, shall we? 

Whether your CRM is as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or as powerful as an ever-evolving AI single source of truth – when used correctly, it has the power to drive more revenue and delight prospects at every stage of the buying journey. 

Leveraging your CRM is the foundation of Experience-Driven Marketing 

Today’s successful marketer is hyper-focused on the customer experience. Experienced-driven marketing puts the customer at the center of everything you do as a marketer, and also a major reason HubSpot adopted its flywheel model. 

When marketing focuses on the customer experience, it actually draws in and attracts your customer and propels further sales. Sales engages and propels service, which delights and propels back into marketing. The only way that wheel keeps spinning is when your customer is at the center of it all, managed by a connected, intelligent CRM. 

Leveraging your CRM is the key to experience-driven marketing (also known as your secret to growth). According to Forrester research, companies who said they were focused on experience grew 40% faster and increased customer lifetime value by more than 60% versus those who weren’t. 

Few marketers have their tools and strategies tightly integrated into a CRM which often leads to disjointed customer experiences, siloed data and an inability to know what’s actually working. 

This is why HubSpot has put so much effort into intertwining its Marketing Hub with the CRM – to give teams unified insight from the customer’s point of view, leading to the creation of informed, personalized experiences on any channel, all while allowing marketers to properly measure their successes. 

Personalized Marketing Offers? Thank you, CRM. 

CRM-rooted marketing also enables you to create personalized experiences no matter the channel. Personalization continues to be the holy grail for delivering a great experience. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, it’s harder than ever to win attention. But the more you personalize, the greater your chances are of being noticed. 

So, what does real personalization look like? Real personalization is when content on your site changes, recommending content that your visitor hasn’t read yet. It looks like user interest in one area, so you show them a related offer. It also looks like different CTAs (calls to action) for customers and prospects. Or when the chat bot on your site remembers not just their name, but who their sales rep is.

And it’s all possible through CRM-driven marketing. 

The three paths to CRM success:

  1. Segment - ensure prospects hear a relevant message suited to their needs
  2. Contextualize - explain in clear terms why it’s useful
  3. Personalize - make them feel valued and loved


According to HubSpot, the average consumer is bombarded with promotional messaging, seeing anywhere from 1,000-5,000 advertisements per day. Woof. 

Think about the last time you were relaxing and browsing on your phone, maybe doing a bit of online shopping, checking in on social media, reading the news. How many irrelevant ads did you see? 

How recently was the last time you closed down at least one web page because the advertising ruined the online experience for you? There’s an even bigger danger for marketers that lurks in the internet shadows beyond angry prospects - and it’s called apathy. 

When your consumer doesn’t feel like your messaging has direct relevance to their life at that moment, they’ve already tuned you out. (Yet another reason your CRM is vital to modern marketing.) 

If you don’t understand who your customer is and where they’re coming from, you can’t give them the content they need when they need it, and in a way that works for them. 

Here’s the good news: you already have the answer to this problem in your marketing arsenal - the data in your CRM. This data can allow you to isolate specific groups of customers by wants, needs and readiness to buy.

Segmenting your database with HubSpot

Lists are a great way to isolate segments of your database by any given data point you hold. Prospects can be contacted by given data points like who they are, where they work, or what they’re doing, and their statuses can even be constantly updated to changing data fields in real-time. 

In just minutes, you can build a list of all contacts in the third month of their current contract - would they benefit from a useful upsell to complement their existing package? 

What about targeting the prospects that visited your pricing web page more than once in the last 30 days by sending a discount code? 

Differentiating the needs of each of these groups isn’t rocket science. But with just a little bit of forethought, each will get messaging they’re likely to welcome because it solves a specific problem they have. 

Create manually tracked custom behavioral events 

Manually tracked custom behavioral events enable you to define and track events that are unique to your business. Custom behavioral events can be tied to contact properties, which you can then use across HubSpot’s tools. These events use the analytics API, and require a developer to set up. (Pro Tip: ManoByte can help you with this!) 

This tool - which  is available in HubSpot Marketing Hub Enterprise - allows you to track more advanced analytics on your website or from external third-party apps to gain a richer context about the full customer journey. 

To learn how this tool works, check out this article.


Every single buyer for every single product must pass through the same 3 buying stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. 

Depending on your product or service offerings, these stages will vary quite a bit. For example, a thirsty person on a hot day will travel from Awareness to Decision about buying a cold drink faster than a Project Manager looking for a new forecasting software for a global Saas business. One takes minutes, the other could be months. 

Though each journey varies, one fundamental remains true in any case: consumers need specific buying stage-specific content before they can make a decision. 

Consider the Project Manager, for example. Before they’re even aware of your forecasting software’s existence, they first need to either experience or recognize they have a problem: the pain caused by poor planning tools. The problem in need of solving then requires a solution, prompting their search - which could be a number of options ranging from integrating a new tool right through outsourcing the entire problem. 

Build Campaign triggers that are linked to the Buyer’s Journey using HubSpot

Let’s say the below content was created for buyers at each stage of the journey. Triggering emails and messages they’ll receive that are linked to where they’re at within the buyer’s journey ensures messaging is relevant to their needs at that specific stage. 

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask yourself what they need at each stage of their journey to help guide them towards purchase. 

  • Awareness: Blog: Why Project Managers never have enough hours in the day
  • Consideration: Guide: 10 ways to become a more effective Project Manager
  • Decision: Case study: Why company X chose our technology to solve their forecasting problem

When you label the prospects in your CRM based upon their place in the customer journey, you can ensure they see suitable messaging for their specific stage. Like you’re probably unlikely to propose marriage on a first date, you also don’t want to bombard a prospect with technical data when they’ve only just discovered they have a problem. 

When you send well-timed, useful pieces of information like a small trail of breadcrumbs that draw your buyer in, you naturally attract them rather than forcing a product on them too soon.  

Segmenting your audience ensures they’re receiving relevant - and contextually relevant - sales messaging which nurtures prospects and improves conversion rates. 

Contextualize your messaging at scale with HubSpot’s Smart Content

HubSpot smart content helps you create different content based on a set of rules. Your emails, landing pages and CTAs can display differently depending on what is known about a customer or contact. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to manually send context-specific content to prospects? Rather than a reactive and labor-intensive approach, you can adapt your HubSpot  pages to adapt to their needs by using the data in your CRM to show Awareness, Consideration or Decision-related, tailored content depending on their needs at that time.

When you understand which prospects need to see your messaging, you reduce admin, boost conversion rates and drive more revenue with less effort. 


Finally, HubSpot also lets you personalize sales messaging on any standard or custom property (or various data points you collect on your contacts). 

Effective personalization, however, doesn’t just mean greeting someone through email by name. It may have been impressive 15 years ago, but today’s consumer is both tech and data-savvy. 

Modern personalization is sending relevant messaging in a timely fashion using the right language, tone and subject matter. 

Imagine you receive an email greeting by name. That’s nice, but you’ve also received four other emails doing the same thing in your “Promotions” folder today alone. 

We can all spot an automated email by now. 

But what about four weeks before the renewal of your company-wide HR software is up for review, you receive a timely message specific to your HR management problem? 

The power of personalization lies within the following example: Say you’ve started a small business in the last 6 months and you receive a persuasive message from an invoice management software vendor on the perils of not completing your tax returns in time. 

You want your prospects to feel a sense of serendipity. 

Ultimately, we both know it was effective CRM management because you created a HubSpot workflow to message either HR managers one month before their next renewal date or small business owners who’ve set up shop in the last year. But it's when your message is aimed at customers at the right time that they feel an automatic connection to your brand. 

Differentiating the pillars of CRM success 

There can often be a gray area between where contextualizing ends and personalization begins, so think of it like this: 

  • Segmentation: to whom do we want to speak?
  • Contextualization: what are we going to say?
  • Personalization: how are we going to say it? 

Contextualization ensures you don’t tank a conversion by going too hard too soon, while personalization ensures the prospect feels you’re speaking directly to them at the time they’re most likely to want to hear your message. 

The fine line? Contextual communication should be personal without being intensely personal that it comes across as overbearing. Your prospects want personalized information that feels helpful and offers value when they need it. 

Use custom properties to gather company-specific data on your leads

HubSpot comes readily packed with a host of data points that you can collect on each prospect. From name and address to how many emails they’ve opened, HubSpot helps you gain a better understanding of groups and individuals alike. 

With HubSpot catering from businesses ranging from Saas consultancies to animal feed suppliers, universal properties are limited - because not every customer is going to need the average weight of a Michigan dairy herd, right? But with custom properties, you can build bespoke data points specific to your (and your customer’s) needs. 

Your CRM = your growth engine
By ensuring your CRM data is clean and easily accessible, you’ll be able to drive more sales and delight more customers. 

Segmenting your audience means you can narrow down exactly which groups of prospects you want to target to ensure the right message. 

Contextualizing your messaging by matching it to a specific point in your prospect’s journey enables you to boost funnel conversions at every stage. 

Personalizing your messaging looks like treating your prospects as real people so they trust and respect your brand. 

So show your prospects that they matter by understanding their pain points and providing helpful information and solutions to their problems when they actually need it. 

CRM triggers that can enable hyper-personalized communications

Your CRM is home to endless, useful demographic data that you can use to personalize your communications, but using activity and engagement data to send out timely messaging could be the difference between a personal email and hyper-personalized messaging. 

Instead, try triggers for timely communication (it’s more helpful and less creepy)

  • Use page tracking to provide individual recommendations: by knowing which pages a contact has visited, you’ll be able to offer specific recommendations tailored to their needs. (Think of this like re-marketing for emails.)

  • Use deal stages to trigger customized bots that enable sales: deal stages can be used to trigger a bot that addresses prospects within their individual spot in the buyer’s journey. Utilizing a bot that is tailored to the stages of the buyer’s journey enables you to answer questions that buyers need at the right time.

  • Use known dates to trigger personal messaging: think birthday emails, anniversary mail or even mail pertaining to their renewal date. Timely messages will help you engage with your audience using the information you’ve gathered.

  • Use workflows to delay actions until a contact responds/performs an action: HubSpot’s Workflows let you delay actions until a contact has completed an action, like visiting a web page or completing a form. The advantage here is that you can wait until a buyer is engaged with you before sending them an unwanted email. Instead, this action will allow you to align with buyers in real-time. 

In conclusion….

So, that whole thing about CRM’s being just for salespeople? Hey, we all know better now. 

With a little attention and TLC, you can turn your entire CRM into a marketing machine by sending out the right message - to the right people - at the right time. 

Implementing any or some of these practices will undoubtedly drive more revenue through your business in a sustainable, cost-effective way. By using the simple but powerful and effective toolset from HubSpot, you can build deeply personal and contextual campaigns at scale.

Pro Tip: HubSpot offers a free CRM, and we can help you set it up for optimal use to generate revenue that could otherwise be left sitting on the table.

Contact ManoByte’s team of skilled HubSpot gurus for more information on how you can scale smarter, not harder. 

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