More and more B2b marketers realize that boosting ROI and truly accountable revenue requires leveraging a marketing automation solution seamlessly integrated with the CRM system. If you are using (or evaluating) a marketing automation solution that includes integration or charges extra for it, be sure to consider these factors before applying the integration.
1. Get “buy in” from sales:
Some of the questions you’ll want to ask include:
- Should leads only meeting certain criteria synch with the CRM?
- Will all new leads regardless of lead score/ grade flow into the CRM?
- What data on a record should synch with the CRM?
- When should triggered alerts notify sales of hand raising activity?
- How will sales act on the data and be held accountable for follow-up?
If your Marketing Automation provider has been doing this for over at least 5 years and is well versed in best practices, seek their advice on the best way to get buy-in and demonstrate immediate value.
2. Ensure the integration is secure and certified by the CRM vendor:
Beware if the integration is not certified. If not certified, ask why and then ask for references.
Security of your data is paramount, so make sure any certification includes a comprehensive security audit – ideally by a third party.
3. Make the set-up quick and easy:
Marketers have more important things to do than get wrapped around the axel on an integration.
Leverage best practices input from your marketing automation provider. Ask if they have a Smart Start program with recommended deployment configurations that you can modify. Start small by not adding a bunch of new reporting tabs to your CRM. You can always do this later as you get more comfortable with the integration. The idea is to start leveraging synched data, ideally within 48 hours, pin down some process, and build any custom reports as the data starts to build.
4. Make it flexible:
Your integration must be able to support your marketing and sales process. You should have control over:
- bi-directional synching vs. one-way.
- which lead scores / grades get synched
- which activities get synched
to include website visits, opens, bounces, and opt-outs, etc.
5. Make it easy to modify:
Granted, once a tailored integration is in place that enables sales to be more productive and marketing to prove their contribution to revenue, not too many adjustments need to be made. But as you add additional fields and make occasional tweaks to process and data flow, those adjustments should happen quickly and without additional cost.
6. Ensure the integration keeps your CRM data clean:
Make sure your integration does not introduce a bunch of duplicate records into your CRM.
Nothing will irritate sales faster – other than notifying them of leads that are not “sales-ready.” Your marketing automation solution should be checking for duplicates and enforcing data hygiene on all records entered into the system. If your CRM solution creates a new ID for records that “graduate” from a lead to a contact, make sure your marketing automation solution accommodates and reconciles that.
7. Ensure the data is synched quickly:
Responsiveness is a key advantage in sales. Data should be synched in a near real-time fashion. Have the solution you are evaluating show you a synch to ensure it’s not being batch processed. Some marketing automation solutions rely on third party or internal batch processing that can delay synching up to 6 hours.
8. Ensure synched data is easy to find and actionable:
This is one of the most important points. The feedback we’ve gotten from sales professionals using other synched solutions is that actionable data for sales should be displayed in the screens they normally view on a daily basis. Expecting sales reps to hunt for data in other tabs is unrealistic and counterproductive. Hidden data rarely gets viewed.
Resist the temptation to over think integration or postpone it until you find the time to focus on it. Synching data with the CRM may seem like a daunting project, but assuming your certified marketing automation provider has already figured out a quick and easy way to integrate, you should rely on their expertise to get up an running quickly.