Put Marketing & Sales on Steroids with Marketing Automation + CRM Integration

Marketing automation platforms work great in making your marketing process centralized and autonomous by taking in diverse assets including email, forms, landing pages, content etc., to keep your customers engaged. With the combination of all of these you can increase its effectiveness immensely by with customer relationship management (CRM) integration. Tight and effective integration with CRM benefits marketers managing lead information, messages and content delivery, activity alerts, campaign updates, triggers and other information more effectively.

But, first thing first: what exactly is a CRM integration is and how does it functions.

What does marketing automation + CRM integration mean?

Most marketing automation and CRM platforms support integrations into each other. The Application Programming Interface (API) in these systems brings users access to the databases which help maximize the use of both connected systems. When synced, users can use marketing automation system to get access to all the data on leads from the CRM system which is connected to the automation platform and also can update the data to the leads in the CRM after a marketing activity is executed on the set of the leads.

Due to the API technology, users benefit from stable and integrated access between the CRM and the marketing automation systems, especially when data points such as, contacts, companies etc., are connected across both systems. Other methods of integration other than API include automated file imports through FTP or static URLs which provides easy uploading of data, however, constant synchronization through this process of CRM integration is a challenge in this process of CRM integration.

8 Reasons to sync CRM with marketing automation

1. Improved capability to nurture leads and customer relations

With CRM integration, marketing automation users can start building better relations with customers even before their sales reps start interacting with them. As about 57 percent of customers can initiate their buying journey before meeting sales teams, marketers can make the most of this opportunity by nurturing them with the right messages at the right intervals. Thus, they can take advantage of syncing marketing automation and CRM to get details on their leads including who, when, what, and how they interact with products, messages, websites and other digital channels. By delivering personalized messages and information to leads based on such detailed information, they can achieve a boost in qualified leads of up to 451%.

2. Help customers make more well-informed purchase decisions

With more information timely fed to customers’ queries, customers feel lesser risks and are likelier to make even bigger purchases. All these are possible because data-backed lead nurturing generate more educated customers who are satisfied with the products and their purchase decisions than those non-nurtured leads which hardly generate any sales opportunities. Thus, CRM integration allows over 47% bigger purchases at about 33% reduced costs per lead.

3. More extensive insights on customer behavior

The more insights and data you can collect on customer behavior, the more personalized and strategic lead nurturing program can be developed. Diverse range of statistics on customer behavior and interests collected through various campaigns can be synced to an integrated CRM system. Later, sales reps can access all these information from the CRM and tailor their sales pitches and offers based on the data to convert leads faster.

4. Evaluate CRM leads based on scored assigned to each

Once the CRM is synced to the marketing automation system, users can take advantage of bi-directional synchronization to get both ends of the platforms updated with the latest statuses of customer interactions and responses to diverse marketing campaigns. Thus, both sales and marketing teams can devise the most effective strategies based on these updated lead data on marketing automation and CRM systems.

5. Shorten sales cycle with the most relevant lead data

The CRM integration allows organizations and marketers to reduce the sales cycle by delivering the most relevant and useful information buyers need at their disposal, allowing them to arrive at purchase decisions quicker. Marketing automation systems that are integrated to the CRM that sales teams use to collect customers’ information update with lead scores based on customers’ interactions, engagement and replies to marketing activities. Thus, when prospects are sales ready they are assigned with the score and sent to the sales funnel as qualified leads for sales teams to pursue. Therefore, sales reps get prospects who are informed and willing to make purchase when they are pursued with the right pitches and offers, thus shortening the buying cycle eventually.

6. Add marketing attribution accurately

Though basic level of CRM enables attaining this end-to-end accountability, marketing campaigns cannot be run effectively with limited, fractions of or false metrics such as high click rates even though prospects have not made any purchases. On the other hand, CRM integration with marketing automation system boosts effectiveness of campaigns and reduces duplication of data. Also, CRM syncing improves alignment and coordination between marketing and sales teams thus, saving valuable time, energy and resources to be spent in devising and executing strategies for increasing sales.

In addition, there are advanced functions users can perform to yield better marketing and sales performance with marketing automation and CRM integration.

6 advanced marketing and sales functions include

Activity Alerts: These alerts are triggered by marketing automation platform for sales teams on the event of a particular behavior or interaction demonstrated by leads e.g., clicking ‘Contact Us’ web page.

Assign leads to Sales team: marketing automation enables users to set rules in it in order to assign leads to sales teams.

Send leads as per campaign rule: When a lead shows any activity in the campaign flow gets assigned to a sales rep. Then, the automation system allows sending those leads to reps using the CRM system that is synced to the system.

Send leads as per lead scores: The marketing automation system lets users transmit leads to the sales funnel through the synced CRM platform when the specific has garnered a specific lead score and become a qualified lead.

Campaign Triggers: marketing automation system triggers campaigns based on specific changes or interactions updated to the CRM platform.

Campaign integration: Campaigns running in the automation platform gets synced with the connected CRM system. Once synced, users can link revenues to all campaigns for gauging ROI.

Are you making the most of the CRM and marketing automation systems to improve sales of your business? In case you are looking for professional assistance from Marketo certified experts to set up and sync CRM and marketing automation platform or simply need professional training for your marketing and sales reps, then call us at (408) 502 6765 now! You can also join us and chat with us via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – let’s chat over coffee soon.

How to Make a Business Case for Marketing Automation to Attract Investments

The first question which may cloud our mind while making a business case for marketing automation would be – is marketing automation here to stay? Is it worth allocating budget and resources for this marketing technology? Recent survey findings by Emailmonday on “The Ultimate Marketing Automation stats” can help clear up your questions and push you to the next step. The findings concluded that around 51 percent of organizations have started implementing marketing automation software, with more than 58 percent of B2B organizations intending to implement this marketing technology to attain higher rate of ROI from their marketing initiatives.

What are the benefits of marketing automation adoption?

  • According to HubSpot, about 70 percent of marketers claim lead conversion is the main reason why they want to rely on marketing automation.
  • Marketing technology expenses is expected to grow and surpass that of the spending on advertising, as per Gartner.
  • Marketers and companies that already adopted automation software have reported to have doubled their lead generation results than their counterparts who are still relying on mass email blast software.
  • Marketers have claimed to augment the effectiveness of their messages and communication by migrating their marketing process to the marketing automation platform.
  • Around 67 percent of existing users reported at least 10 percent spike in sales opportunities generated from practicing lead nurturing using marketing automation software.
  • About 64 percent of marketers have witnessed plenty of benefits and improvements in results within the first six months after adopting marketing automation technology.
  • According to a Demand Gen Report, nurtured leads through marketing automation can result in nearly 20 percent increase in sales opportunities.

Unfortunately, budget constraints have been the main cause why many (37 percent) organizations and marketers have failed to benefit from this marketing automation technology, if a survey finding by Pepper Global is to be believed. So, could you let that budget hindrance stop your organizations from increasing the scope of ROI? If you are already inspired to implement marketing automation tech to boost your campaign performance, lead generation, lead nurturing efficiency, and revenues, then here is a perfect roadmap to present a persuasive and insightful business case for marketing automation.

Here is how to begin… scroll through following steps to put together a compelling business case for marketing automation and get marketing budget approval from leadership team.

  1. First of all, make sure you have clear marketing objectives in place before you start implementing this or any marketing technology.  This technology will not be an overall fix for all types of marketing and sales challenges, but, it works a great deal in overcoming major issues. So, it is time to identify three major marketing goals before adopting marketing automation.

  2. Make sure your marketing goals are all measurable, scalable and you can visualize the end results or success of the program.

  3. Once you have laid the marketing goals, identify the kind of benefits you expect from the marketing automation platform. In addition, keep in mind that those benefits must align with your marketing objectives and the focus must be consistent based on those major issues you want to address by implementing the technology. The more specific you get about the expected result, the greater chances of attaining those and increasing rate of conversions, for example, set a value to the goal, such as 30% increase in conversion.

  4. Next, consider the components you want to mostly use for our campaigns, such as, website monitoring, email, SEO tracking, social media integration, CRM integration etc. You need to prioritize on those components and features of marketing automation you will use. Making it so you can focus on and utilize your resources on those tools that matter the most for your business goals.

  5. Next, you need to narrow down upon all sources and dependencies of data to run optimized and data-driven marketing campaigns such as, CRM, prospects data, customer data, website tracking data or campaign data.

  6. Now, prioritize setting marketing budget by considering real-world schedule, costs of implementation etc. and take in to account milestones such as, technologies used, different phases, time spent for training, building expertise in the technology to analyze how and at when your goals can be achieved.

  7. Which analytics or reporting packages do you need for your campaigns? Figure out the cost essential metrics you need to measure effectiveness of campaigns and the reporting plans required to attain marketing success.

  8. In the next step, you need to calculate return on your investment in marketing automation platform by taking in to account the volume of marketing activity needed for meeting the goals (lead generation, opportunities, conversions, etc.). Also, you need to consider the present cost of marketing without the technology and how much it will increase on implementing the automation technology. Lastly, you need to consider presented as well as expected profit improvements after implementation while calculating ROI.

  9. Next, you need to take thorough assessment of risks of implementing marketing automation technology. Also identify the risks related to people handling the software, how efficient are they  with the software, and the scopes of alleviating those risks.

Lastly, you need to take an estimation of the timelines and delivery dates by measuring the time to allocate for the entire adoption process. Do you need professional help or consultation to implement a marketing automation platform or provide relevant teams the training they need to get your marketing process running seamlessly? Make sure you get in touch with the marketing automation experts who are just one call ayay from you – dial (408) 502 6765 now or you can find us on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels.

What is Marketing Attribution & Why Should Your Team Use It with Marketing Automation?

Marketers are always debating and pitting against each other over the implementation of marketing attribution and marketing automation platforms. However, little they do know that both the platforms can be used in unison to obtain the best performance of their marketing campaigns. Contrary to the common myth, marketing attribution and marketing automation are not the same. Instead they do not substitute each other, but can be used together effectively. So, how these two are different from each other?

Differences between marketing attribution and marketing automation

Marketing automation, is a marketing platform that increases opportunity user experience in their marketing campaigns, by enabling them to schedule, automate and send It allows marketers to ensure timely delivery of emails with all the elements including CTA, forms, landing pages and other content elements.

On the other hand, marketing attribution is a process which allows marketers monitor, make reports and evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing campaign. This process incorporates all marketing and advertising campaigns including all online and offline campaigns such as offline events and conferences. Attribution tracks targeted prospect through diverse phases, right from lead generation, to opportunity creation, and conversion of leads. The attribution model also draws marketers’ attention to bits of the entire marketing strategy contributed the most in revenue generation.

Major difference between these two is that while marketing attribution collects and collates data based on which marketers can optimize and make required changes to their campaigns to generate more qualified leads, more conversions, and closing more opportunities. Whereas marketing automation, on the other hand, presents a platform to enable the marketers do the implementation part of the campaign by letting its users streamline, schedule, and sync campaigns across multiple channels to ensure seamless execution. Simply put, your marketing automation platform states the number of leads generated through a precise number of channels – you need marketing attribution to emphasize the specific number of those leads that were actually converted using specific number of channels, type of content, blogs, specific set of keywords, forms, landing pages, ads and other assets. Moreover, marketing attribution can also guide your offline events and conferences and measure effectiveness of those marketing approaches.

Marketing teams need to focus on both marketing attribution and marketing automation since the latter helps reps automate and to lay the groundwork of marketing campaigns that are planned based on the data collected by marketing attribution platforms.

How marketing attribution & marketing automation can be used in unison?

There are seven types of marketing attribution models that are largely divided between single-touch and multi-touch models. 7 models of marketing attribution are –

Single-touch models
  1. First-touch
  2. Last-touch
Multi-Touch models
  1. Linear
  2. Time-Decay
  3. U-Shaped
  4. W-Shaped
  5. Custom

Since a marketing automation platform fetches information on leads, when to target those prospects and lay the groundwork of the strategies on automating those activities, you need marketing attribution to provide multi-dimensional data points on your campaign. For example, if you need to dig out data on whether the latest newsletter email marketing campaign has generated more qualified webinar attendance – then you can leverage marketing attribution platform to know how the newsletter campaign performed. In generating better qualified leads, the campaign –

  1. used webinar as the offer
  2. specific name of the webinar that was used as the offer
  3. date on which the campaign
  4. information of the attendees
  5. the channel which was used for the newsletter campaign

and many more. The marketing attribution also guides on the marketing budget used on a particular campaign with specific amount details on how much it cost the team. Marketers can also collect data on particular technique used in the campaign that worked a great deal in generating revenues and how it has made use of the content.

Do you need technical assistance on how to combine marketing attribution and marketing automation in your marketing campaign to drive better results and revenue growth? It’s super easy and quick. Simply get in touch with our Certified Professionals at (408) 502 6765 or chat with them via your preferred social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

5 Best Practices All Marketing Automation Administrators Should Follow

Novice marketing automation users feel overwhelmed with plenty of features and tools of Marketo available at their fingertips to automate their entire marketing process. However, most of them start marketing automation without adequate preparation on how to deal in stream of changes that occur and needed to make the most of the marketing process on Marketo platform.

Hence, we have mapped the 5 best practices for new marketing automation administrators to help them manage and make the most the automation platforms after marketing automation implementation took place successfully.

Step 1: first of all, consider your marketing Data

Data is the cornerstone of the functioning of CRM system and marketing automation platform on which your marketing process is built upon. That’s why it is imperative to pay heed to the insights which these platforms, programs and processes are based upon. In addition, maintaining good data health and periodical data quality report in every month is a good practice to identify progress, gaps and scope of improvements in your marketing process. Marketers must also make sure they have set of rules for maintaining data for their data management team and practice those rules rigorously.

Step 2: Alignment between teams is a key

Although the name implies, marketing automation needs a close-knit collaboration of diverse teams involved in generating leads, managing customer relations and conversations, and converting leads – that’s why these automation platforms include multiple functionalities from marketing to sales to coordinate and collect data from different teams. Marketers can collect input from sales reps as well as they need buy-in from reps and other teams handling customers. Companies beginning with their marketing automation process, migration or implementation, need to touch base with the key player from each department and take account of and incorporate their experience while planning for the system.

Step 3: Create Visualization of your marketing process

As a marketer, one needs to create the visuals of the entire marketing plan of the process for other team members to comprehend what marketers have in mind. Moreover, marketers also need a complete diagram of plans and activities planned to remind them when they themselves might forget any step of actions and the rationales behind some actions. That’s why a detailed diagram or a visual board is a must to communicate with and presenting a clear picture before all the departments involved in the automation process. Create a process chart to discuss all the marketing actions and scopes of improvements – this will also bring marketers faster approvals from leadership teams. Make sure you have meticulously incorporated everything from statuses of current processes, desired marketing goals and objectives, a viable plan to attain the goal and detailed mapping of workflows of all departments and teams. If you want to make use of marketing automation as a medium of change, then a thorough planning of all the goals, touchpoints, actions and metrics must be planned well in advance and mapped scrupulously.

So, start working on creating your marketing whiteboard exercise before you jump into the actions with all the steps to success planned at your fingertip.

Step 4: Be well-aware of the automation systems

Marketing automation administrators must be well-aware of the automation and CRM platforms they are working with. However, that’s not enough. Marketers must be informed and knowledgeable about the marketing automation platform you are using whether Marketo or any other. The marketing automation administrator needs to know the automation system and instances from inside out. In addition, marketing automation admins should also be well-acquainted deeply with the CRM which is synced to the marketing automation platform and how it functions, impacts the corporate websites, blogs, landing pages and your products or services so that administrators can train other people and teams on how to articulate and explain the solutions intended to sell to the targeted accounts or market. Even though all the products, solutions or services cannot be implemented on the marketing automation platform or CRM platform, the administrator and the teams must be well-versed about those to connect with the customers and prospects.

Step 5: marketing automation administrators must play the role of teachers and custodians

That’s right and the role of the marketing automation administrator will also be as critical as those of server-side or database administrator or a CRM administrator. They will also take up all the key responsibilities of the automation system similar to what a CRM or database administrator engage in their roles. They will need to become the guardian of the functional marketing automation system as well as they need to monitor the system on regular basis. They should also play the role of a efficient gatekeeper to protect and control the access other marketers, sales reps, customer relation team players or other people involved in the marketing automation process. While allowing fellow or reps of other departments to the process, administrator also needs to be their teacher and guardian as to train them to enable them to start working on the platform as well as be attentive of their activities, progress and flaws by closely watching over their use of the system.

Admins also need to ensure they nurture and enhance their skills, how they can get more efficient with the system and perform their bits on the system well without causing any errors or issues to the platform or the process. They also take up critical responsibilities in maintaining seamless workflows and managing data points. All the changes that are made to the marketing automation system need to be monitored, recorded, and communicated with other staffs, teams and departments, clients and people who need to be reported of all those changes.

Do you find these tips on how to prep up for the role of marketing automation administrators useful? What are the best practices do you follow in your organization to get the automation started under the supervision of a marketing automation admin? We are keen to learn and share your tips with the world – drop your words of wisdom in the comments section below.  Or else, do you need professional assistance to set up, migrate or implement marketing automation or need to set up training sessions for administrators in your organization, just pick your phone now and type in “(408) 502 6765” to talk to our friendly Marketo specialists. And yes, you can also find us and chat with us via social channel Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – let’s catch up soon.

Marketing or Sales – How to Evaluate & Ascertain Who Gets the Credit for Your ROI

Marketing automation platforms are designed to build, nurture, monitor and score leads from the CRM system synced to the automation platform. That’s how these platforms enable marketers to track and score their leads to measure marketing interactions occurred for pushing those to the sales pipeline. However, sales and marketing teams need to be perfectly aligned in order to accurately assign leads as sales opportunities. That’s where marketers can take advantage of such automation platforms to associate leads to sales opportunities in their CRM platform. Marketo automation software features a prominent module called ‘Revenue Cycle Analytics’ which comes handy for this – marketers can use ‘Attribution Settings’ dialog box to place the pipeline. And within the span of 24 hours, as stated in the dialog box, changes in pipeline get affected as instructed through the dialog box.  In this case, marketers have three options when the sales team is not aligned and is not able to use the process. Marketers can make choices between –

  1. The default choice or ‘Explicit: only contacts with roles’
  2. Implicit: all contacts regardless of role’.
  3. Or choose ‘Hybrid: Contacts with roles if available. If none available, use all contacts in account’

Now the question is – what these choices mean for your program and how to make the right selection – here we have decoded these three choices.

‘Explicit: only contacts with roles’

This option is selected by default in the Marketo attribution settings and it is also recommended by the marketing automation platform. With this option selected, the marketing automation software will focus specifically on those contacts that are synced with the sales opportunity which was either generated or closed. In addition, it also assigns the value of sales opportunities those leads that have a vital role in creation of the sales opportunity.

While choosing this option, you need to remember that your marketing and sales teams must be coordinated to work closely so that the association of the opportunity with the contacts need to be enforced and the leads that are associated with must be assigned a role.

‘Implicit: all contacts regardless of role’

This implicit option is more a workaround choice in Marketo wherein the platform will focus on all the contacts listed under account. This list of contacts also comprises of those contacts having a role assigned, regardless of the fact that the sales opportunity got generated or closed.

The Implicit setting will dilute the values of marketing interactions. Marketo considers different marketing activities which contacts have engaged and interacted with as well as programs that obtained the name of contacts, programs that attained success. Based on these data points, Marketo attributes value to the opportunities created while contacts interacted with initiatives.

‘Hybrid: Contacts with roles if available. If none available, use all contacts in account’

This is another workaround attribution setting in Marketo that enables the platform to limit to those contacts that are associated with the sales opportunity. It also checks whether any other contact id is also associated with the opportunity. If no other contacts are associated with the opportunity, then the marketing automation software will include all the contacts within the particular account.

In this case, marketers need to remember that this setting can mitigate the value of marketing activities performed on those contacts and trigger inconsistent attribution to those contacts.

Attributing opportunities to contacts is one of the most crucial step of the Marketo RCE setup. And many marketers face a hard time in attributing account contacts to sales using the right kind of attribution settings. That’s why we recommend marketers to undergo thorough training on Marketo with emphasis on attribution, sales and managing users and changes before they start using attribution settings. If you need to make a selection in the short term, we recommend opting for the ‘Explicit: only contacts with roles’ setting to extend credits to marketers for the sales opportunity so that all contacts of an account will be considered for sales pipeline opportunities.

Do you need to set up Marketo training sessions in your organizations to improve efficiency of marketers and sales reps handling the software or in case you need professional Marketo assistance for implementing, optimizing or migrating Marketo, then get in touch with our Marketo Certified Experts at (408) 502 6765 or simply join us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.