10 Things to Keep In Mind When Integrating CRM and Marketing Automation by Chirantan Patel September 7, 2017 4 Minutes ReadBoth CRM (Client Relationship Management) and MA (Marketing Automation) at first glance seem to be similar, but in reality, they are a lot different. CRM tools aim at maintaining the client-vendor relationship by managing database related to company’s clients, in turn, aiding in understanding customer needs, gathering feedbacks, retaining old clients and building a good rapport between the company and its clients. On the other hand, the marketing automation tool deals with the automation of marketing campaigns by lead nurturing, utilizing mass media platforms, tracking emails, testing, etc. Thus, in short, CRM is Sales-centric and MA tool is marketing-centric. A quick video below will give you an idea – “Why exactly a CRM is important for your business.” Click to play the video below. As both Sales and Marketing technologies get evolved, it improved the scope of ROI by integrating CRM and MA tools. The integration of CRM and MA software provides a dual benefit of lead generation capability of MA and the capability of CRM tool to convert those marketing qualified leads into sales opportunities. This helps in keeping track of the achieved Sales targets from marketing leads. So, let me share the top key points which you need to consider while integrating CRM and MA (marketing automation) tools. Assessing the Software and its potential To get the best out of any software, all the capabilities of the software should be understood from a broader viewpoint. CRM and MA tools have a huge potential to grow the business. Gather as much information as possible for the technologies and how they interact with each other and their future expansion scope. Most platforms offer similar functionalities but utilizing them to their full potential is a rare case. Also familiarizing with the existing MA tools used by the company will lead to understanding the challenges faced while integrating them with CRM software. If there are no existing MA tools used by the company, a CRM consultant can help the marketing team select the MA tool according to the CRM software architecture. The budget criteria also play an important role in selecting software packages. Know the data to be synchronized There is an ocean of data stored by the CRM and MA tools about the client; it is wise to know which data is relevant for the Marketing and Sales team to generate revenue. The data on which the lead-cycle relies should be accurate, updated and well organized to ensure minimum glitches after integration. Ensuring Two-Way Data Flow The integration should ensure seamless communication between Sales and Marketing. The data flow should be bi-directional. Any changes made on the Marketing side should be reflected on the Sales side and vice-versa. A well-integrated system helps in notifying the Sales team of highly qualified leads generated by Marketing by applying lead routing techniques. This leads strings to the analysis of data on a single platform by creating a centralized data hub. Target audience Being aware of the target audience helps. One should know which type of leads are expected from the Marketing side, and that should be worked upon by the Sales team and turned into opportunities, helping in ease of data filtering. Method of Integration There are various modes of integration for CRM and SFA Software: Most MA tools offer in-built integrators that allow automated integration with leading CRM platforms via an application program interface (API). This is called Native Integration. Third-Party Integration method refers to the use of alternative tools when native integration is not supported. Third-party tools are preferred for small enterprises as they have limited features and data fields. Custom Middleware helps the Marketing team customize objects or entities within the CRM software. This method is generally used by medium and large businesses that deal with a large amount of data. While implementing the integration, one should ensure a suitable test environment and data mapping. Integration Timeframe The integration time frame is decided based on the size of an organization, integration methods used, the amount of data to be handled, etc. A well-planned integration methodology comprising of risk mitigation techniques will lead to successful completion of the integration process of CRM and MA software within the anticipated timeframe. Accurate cost estimation The most important factor to be decided is that of the cost of the system integration including implementation, running and maintenance costs. The cost parameter is to be decided considering prices incurred by each software components. In some cases, training of organization staff is also required to get familiar with the new environment. Utilization of Resources Integration of CRM and MA tools should allow the Sales team to seamlessly utilize the resources created by the Marketing team like email templates, graphics, campaign data, etc. This will help the Sales team to easily make the client aware of the services provided by the Enterprise. Generating Reports Data analytics and reporting are an essential requirement of keeping a track of the changing market scenario and also to make Marketing and Sales processes more efficient. Each platform has different analytical strength. The reports reflect the ROI achieved after implementing the integrated system. Timely Monitoring After the successful integration of CRM and MA tools, supervising the system performance by monitoring the Marketing and Sales processes helps in discovering the scope for any further improvements needed. And helps enterprises boost their success stories! Wrapping Up CRM and Marketing Automation Tool can help make better customer relationships and maximizes the sales of any business with proper planning and integrations. Wakeupsales is a smart, agile and Ranked #1 CRM software of the Year 2017 to make everything easier relating to sales and customer management. Wakeupsales CRM is completely free. Get Started Now! The leading vendors of CRM tools comprise of Salesforce, Pipedrive and Wakeupsales software’s provide outstanding customer relationship whereas Marketo, Silverpop, Pardot, and Eloqua are some of the best marketing automation tools. Have you started with a CRM yet! Related Posts: Things You Must Know Before Starting Your SaaS Product Marketing Know How SaaS Marketing Enhances the User Experience Top Advantages of WakeUpSales CRM Software Plugins and Integrations Tags: Client Relationship Management, Cloud CRM, CRM, CRM App, CRM Integration, CRM integrations, CRM Software, CRM Tool, Marketing Automation, SaaS, SaaS product Chirantan Patel firstname.lastname@example.org Chirantan Patel is the Product Manager at Softwaresuggest & Callhippo, an Inc. 275 company that researches and analyzes software to educate, advise, and connect buyers and sellers of business technology.