The customer journey is a constant back and forth between sales and marketing. Every touch point is an opportunity and every interaction alters the next move. Connecting the two departments with CRM and marketing integration is a logical step to align goals and facilitate collaboration. But what is integration all about? How will the combination of these two systems change the way a CMO works? For many CMOs, integration is a mysterious process. Let’s change that. Here’s what every CMO needs to know about marketing integration.
How Does Integration Work?
As an integration project begins, the CMO must ensure the result will fit the needs of her team. Knowing how the integration works gives the CMO the advantage of deciding the right questions to ask an integration partner and learning how to make the most of what the integration enables.
CRM and marketing integration should be a bi-directional exchange of information. This means the CRM talks to the marketing automation and the marketing automation talks to the CRM – the data syncs both ways. To initiate the conversation, the integration platform will map fields from the CRM into the marketing automation system. Most maps are automated and pre-built for the specific systems.
Hopefully, when your company purchased your systems, they took each system’s integration potential into consideration. Many CRM and marketing automation vendors build their systems with the ability to integrate with specific partnering products. It is possible to integrate two systems that weren’t built for one another, but it’s a lot more complex.
Once the initial mapping is complete, data changes from one system will automatically update in the other. For example, if a sales rep enters a prospect in the CRM, that person’s information will be available in the marketing automation. The CMO will be able to segment that individual based on their title, company name, or any other information entered by the rep. If a rep makes a change to that prospect’s information in one system, both systems will update to reflect it. Synchronizations can occur in real-time, be set for timed intervals, or be manually controlled by the marketing automation user based on her preferences.
What Will a Marketing Integration do for a CMO?
So, how exactly is integration going to help a CMO in her daily tasks? The basic arguments for marketing integration can be summed up with a few major points:
Drive More Targeted Campaigns
As a marketer, your goals are targeted messaging, personalization, and relevance. Integration gives you another level of targeting capabilities. The lists synced from the CRM into the marketing automation are dynamic, so if you’re segmenting a list by job titles, and a sales rep changes the title of a contact in the CRM, that contact will be dropped from your list the next time the systems sync. This takes the hassle out of manual list maintenance and keeps your messaging relevant only to the audiences it applies to.
Marketing integration also provides more unique targeting capabilities. Consider tailoring your messages based on the assigned sales rep. The marketing automation enables the email “From” name and email address to show as if the message was coming directly from the rep. Personalization fields pull the name of the contact into the email greeting as well. These types of emails can be used for quick follow ups and check-ins, making less work for the sales rep and keeping the marketing team in the loop on the status of a relationship.
Deliver Better Analytics on Landing Pages
Integrated website landing pages hold significant value for a CMO. When a customer submits a form, or views a specific web page, that behavior can be tracked and analyzed. Once the customer is identified, the history of all their subsequent actions is stored in the CRM (usually in a sidebar) for the sales rep to see. These behavior metrics are useful for accurate lead scoring and upsell/cross-sell marketing opportunities.
Enhance Lead Nurturing
While lead generation is a key component to any CMOs marketing playbook, the benefits of lead nurturing can’t be ignored. Every smart CMO knows that a happy customer, hit with the right message at the right time, has a higher likelihood of additional purchases. Joining the CRM and marketing automation lets the marketing department automatically send relevant content at the right time in the sales cycle. The integration can be configured so that, when sales changes some status or adds some piece of information to the CRM, the marketing system sends the customer an alert relevant to the change. “Oh hey, we noticed you upgraded your product package to our latest version. Did you know these add-ons are now available to you?” These triggered messages can dramatically increase conversions and sales. Plus, automating the tasks makes the CMOs life a lot easier!
How Does the Integration Change the Way a CMO Works?
We’ve already touched on how the integration will help a CMO with her daily tasks, but what’s the big picture? What are the major benefits of combining these two systems?
Keep Lists Current with Minimal Effort
Bi-directional synchronization means lists built using the synced CRM info will be dynamically updated at a pre-determined interval. Have a welcome campaign you send to all new customers? Instead of re-uploading or altering the list each time there's a new contact, the marketing automation can periodically scan the CRM to add the contacts into the program.
rack your MQLs and ROI with Greater Accuracy
Integrating CRM and marketing automation allows campaign information to map between systems and make closed-loop reporting more accurate. A CMO can see how closed deals tie back to a marketing campaign and can separate the marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to match the data. Both the sales and marketing departments will understand where that new revenue came from and who is responsible for generating it. The CMO and her team are more likely to get the credit when it is due, and have more precise metrics on what is working and what isn’t for future campaigns.
Work Cohesively with Sales
Marketing and sales are two different departments trying to accomplish the same goals, but in their own ways.When you bridge a CRM and marketing automation, the two departments come together naturally. Sales and marketing alignment makes an organization 67% better at closing deals and generates 209% more value from marketing. Not only does this improved alignment close data gaps, but the resulting insights give the CMO the perspective on sales’ goals, fostering a more cohesive approach by all.
How Can a CMO Make the Most of Marketing Integration?
While the integration of CRM and marketing itself is a step in the right direction, there are actions a CMO can take to truly make the most of the connected systems. I’ve listed a few best practices and ideas below:
Keep your Data Clean and Up-to-Date
Cleaner data equals better reporting and more precise segmenting.
Consider Activity Alerts
Try setting up the marketing automation system to alert a sales rep when a lead does a certain behavior like visiting a web page or downloading a document. You can also set up the system to send a marketing-generated lead to the rep based on a certain behavior.
Work with Sales to Determine Lead Qualification
Establish when to pass a lead to sales, or have them pass a lead back to you, by communicating about how you want to define the process.
Use Lead Scoring
Consider a lead scoring system to highlight the best potential leads. The information can feed from the marketing system into the CRM for prioritized follow-up.
Sync campaigns from the marketing automation to the CRM to tie generated revenue to ROI.
Don’t Overwhelm Sales with Too Many Stats
Sales doesn’t need to see ALL your marketing activities; it’s too much information. Be selective, and identify the key activities that would be most useful to highlight for them.
What Should a CMO Ask the Integration Partner?
A CMO who understands the technicalities of integration and knows the benefits is already far ahead of the game. To bring it all together, though, the CMO must first make sure the integration enables what she needs! As your company gears up for integration, start brainstorming relevant questions to ask your integration partner. Some of these important questions might be:
- Are these systems compatible to integrate?
- Do you have a pre-built connector for our CRM and marketing automation systems?
- Do you have previous experience with this type of integration?
- Will you be able to integrate our custom CRM fields with the marketing automation?
- Will the integration allow leads to be sent from the marketing automation to the CRM based on lead score?
- Can the system assign leads to sales reps in the CRM based on score, campaigns, or other factors I choose?
- Will the complete contact history be made available to the sales person via the CRM?
- Will the sales rep be able to remove a lead from a campaign from within the CRM system?
- What options does this integration offer for synchronization times?
- Can new fields in the marketing automation be added to the integration?
- What happens when we upgrade the marketing automation or CRM? Do we need to worry about breaks in the integration? If so, what is the procedure to handle that?
Integration knowledge is a CMOs power. Enter the project with a clear direction and purpose for the best marketing integration outcomes. If you need help or have questions on integrating marketing and CRM, contact the StarfishETL team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help!