By Nicole Laurier on Aug 18, 2014 10:03:00 AM
With the growing popularity of marketing automation software like Hubspot, Marketo, and others, more and more customers are telling us that they want CRM integration with their marketing automation software right from the start.
So let’s take a look at the challenges, benefits, and solutions for integrating CRM with marketing automation.
Have You Purchased the Marketing Automation?
Often these inquiries come to us while the customer is doing research, before they’ve actually purchased a marketing automation solution. Right from the start, they want to know that the platform they’ve got their eye on will integrate with their existing CRM system so they aren’t spending money on new technology, only to create a whole new set of problems (duplicate entry, isolated silos of data, limited reports, etc).
That makes perfect sense.
However, what they don’t realize is that you need to understand how the new marketing automation platform works, how it will benefit your company, and what data you want to share between systems before considering the benefits of integration.
So perhaps a better question is …
Why Do I Want Marketing Automation To Integrate With CRM?
This is the 60 million dollar question. Customers know that they want to have marketing data, campaign responses, customer/lead interaction, and other activity synchronized with their CRM system – but often, they aren’t sure what, where, and why.
In most cases, they also want lists from the CRM system pushed to their marketing automation software so that they can nurture leads and drive more targeted campaigns.
But for any integration solution to be meaningful and provide real business value (not just technology for the sake of technology), you have to think through your business processes step by step to identify areas of potential benefit, automation, and efficiency.
Imagine this scenario:
You have a list of leads in your CRM system that previously downloaded a white paper. You want to follow up by sending a related case study to those same leads.
You want the list pushed into the Marketing Automation software, the emails sent out, and … then what?
That’s often the gotcha – what’s your next step?
Move the email results data back to your CRM system? Push the click data back to CRM and have a salesperson follow up with a call? How do you identify which opportunities are hot and which aren’t?
You see, there are so many things that you can do from here but you first need to figure out what you are trying to achieve.
What information is critical to your sales/marketing team to generate meaningful follow up and action?
What data do you really need moved from the Marketing Automation system into your CRM software (and vice versa)?
And once that information is in CRM/Marketing Automation, what do you want to do with it?
Generate a report and send it to specific personnel/managers via email? Automatically notify the appropriate salesperson with an automated business alert? Schedule another email, send a piece of collateral, or request a meeting?
There are so many options.
That’s why most “out of the box” marketing automation-CRM integration solutions you find will almost certainly come with limitations and strings attached. An integration solution designed for Company A will not likely be a good fit for Company B – and vice versa.
But with a flexible ‘Swiss Army Knife’ integration tool like TaskCentre, you can easily build a “codeless integration” that fits your company like a glove and delivers real business value.
But it all starts with evaluating your needs, understanding why integrated CRM and Marketing Automation is important for you, and identifying the critical data and processes that can be automated to save time and drive more sales.
Conclusion: A MEANINGFUL Approach to Integration
What we say to our clients is YES. You can integrate your Marketing Automation and CRM system. We have the tools, technology, and know-how.
But first, let’s sit down and work out what you are trying to achieve. What are the benefits and results that you want to see?
We will often recommend to customers that they get their new marketing automation system up and running for a few weeks before finalizing the integration requirements. In that way, they get a firm grip on the standard ‘out of the box’ processes, understand what they have to do manually, and what they really want to achieve with their integration.
Our tagline is “What Do You Want to Automate?”
But it’s more than a company tagline – it’s a philosophy and framework that helps us ask the right questions, understand your business, and define what automation means to you so we can help you achieve real ROI on your technology investment.
Questions or Comments? Leave them below – we’d love to hear from you!