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Marketing Automation and CRM Integration: You’re Doing It Wrong!


Integrating MAP technology with a CRM system is essential for having an efficient marketing automation structure. However, there are three glaring errors too many marketers seem to make.

Marketing automation’s destiny is to integrate deeply into a CRM system. They are built to move a marketing team beyond discrete activities and campaign management, to managing a unified marketing and sales funnel that drives topline revenue. Ideally, this combination will yield the foundation for a culture of sales and marketing alignment.

Many marketing automation initiatives today are driven by the CRM team. The key requirements stem from how well a marketing automation platform (MAP) can connect and synchronize data at a deep level with the company’s CRM. The failure points of marketing automation implementations can be traced to either poor or no integration with CRM.

To help marketers navigate the rough waters of integrating MAP and CRM, I’ve outlined some of the most common failure points.

1. Web Visit Alert Flood: You’re Doing It Wrong!

One of the biggest attractions of a MAP is the ability to identify and track an individual person’s web activity.

Every salesperson wants to know the answers to these questions:

  • Who’s on my website?
  • How did they get there?
  • What information did they consume?

In the rush to showcase the marketing automation system to sales, marketers often fail to filter the web activity alerts. These are commonly tied to email, resulting in a daily deluge of activity alerts being generated in each salesperson’s inbox.

Be cautious with web activity alerts. You should control these via the lead-scoring model in the MAP. Begin by using the “less is more” mantra. Send fewer alerts in the early days and weeks of the MAP’s deployment, and review the quality of these leads with sales in meetings.

2. TMI for Sales: You’re Doing It Wrong!

Many MAPs can provide a quick-view of a person’s marketing activity in their lead or contact record in the CRM. Some more advanced systems even allow for the creation of custom tables in the CRM to house campaign and web activity in native fields.

It’s important to be wary of flooding the lead and contact records with too much information about marketing activity. Showing too much granular detail can mask the valuable data points and marketing moments. Sales won’t see the forest through the trees.

Try to be conservative with how much information you push into the CRM, and keep it simple and summarized. Also, make the effort to meet with sales to review what the information means to them and how they can use it in a sales setting.

Not working with sales on the proper way to use website-visit data can lead to potential issues, as well. Sometimes salespeople can get overly anxious about responding to Web activity. The last thing you want is a bunch of sales folks stalking and calling people every time they visit the website. This can turn prospects off from you and deter salespeople from using the MAP data in a more appropriate manner. Training, collaborating, and sharing of knowledge between the departments can prevent such complications.

3. The Case of the Vanishing Lead Source: You’re Doing It Wrong!

Make no mistake – the MAP should control the creation and tracking of any data related to lead sources, campaign names, and so forth. Whatever occurred up to the point you installed and integrated your CRM is moot.

Data should be pushed into the CRM. Once in, the CRM should map these data points from the lead record to the contact, account, or opportunity. Each CRM is a little different in how it moves data from point A to point B. However, what is consistent is that most CRMs will lose sight of the lead source once an opportunity is created. This is bad for many obvious reasons.

To avoid this, marketing should meet with the CRM team with a plan in place for how lead sources and campaigns are created in the CRM from the MAP. Both teams need to agree on what happens to these vital data points as leads move through the established sales funnel.

These are just three failure points in a MAP and CRM integration. Collectively, they tend to cause the most angst for both departments. Therefore, it’s wise to approach connecting any system to a mission-critical app like CRM with prudence and caution.

Work with the CRM team, sales, and leadership to decide what information is going where and what processes it will drive. Collaborating with sales can help them better understand the nature of the data marketing, which is pushing. Show them how to effectively push and ultimately close more deals.

by Kevin Miller

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