All Good Communication Starts with Integration

Why a native integration between your MAP and CRM should be a no-brainer

When you pair a marketing automation platform (MAP) with a CRM, you’re doing more than just combining two systems. You’re creating a supercharged sales and marketing tool for both teams to use across the board. A natively integrated MAP and CRM is capable of improving lead quality, increasing sales and marketing efficiency, automating marketing communications and enhancing overall sales and marketing alignment.

Companies can drive 5-36% of growth simply through alignment according to SiriusDecisions, so it makes sense that the single most important criteria for sales and marketing success is the alignment of the two teams, starting with a native MAP and CRM integration. Without this integration, it is difficult to create a consistent experience for prospects and you will drain too much time and too many resources trying to coordinate activities to ensure leads don’t fall through the cracks.

Here’s why native integration is a must

There are a number of marketing automation platforms that allow marketers to make more informed decisions to improve future campaigns. However, the key to successful sales and marketing communications is having a system that fully integrates with your CRM to make use of all the data inside it. It is proven that you will benefit from integrating your CRM and MAP in the following areas:

1. More leads
A MAP will help you drive more leads for sales. Period. A well integrated CRM and MAP pair will seamlessly transition leads from marketing to sales. Natively integrated MAPs will also arm a sales representative with a view of all the activity a lead has taken to get to sales, such as engaging with email campaigns, attending an event, filling out forms or simply visiting your website.

2. Better leads
Most marketing automation platforms offer lead scoring, which allows marketers to work hand-in-hand with sales to define what is truly sales ready. Sales representatives and marketers define the criteria of a lead. By creating scoring profiles, marketing can prioritize and process leads through the funnel at the appropriate time to help sales improve the efficiency of their outreach.

Not sure how to create a lead scoring model? It may sound complicated but it doesn’t have to be. As your leads interact with your content, events, demo requests, etc., they accumulate a score based on the values assigned to each action. When a lead’s score reaches a certain threshold that you have predetermined to be sales-ready, the lead is then automatically pushed to the CRM and assigned to a business development or sales rep. Lead scoring models dramatically improve your overall lead management strategy and create an efficient process between sales and marketing, drastically improving your conversion rates as well.

3. Consistent and closed-loop experience
Consistency is key with any strategy right? How will you evaluate your results if you haven’t been consistent in the first place? You have probably heard the overly quoted stat – B2B buyers are 67% of the way through the buying process before ever engaging with a sales rep. You can see how SiriusDecisions debunked that myth here. But, even with the myth debunked the truth is, in today’s sales cycle, many prospects are engaging with your company in some way or another before a sales person ever speaks to them. So how do you make sure that sales picks up the conversation where the prospect left off? Give them full visibility to the journey the lead has gone on with your brand. Sales should know things like when a prospect has attended an event, downloaded an eBook or whitepaper, responded to an email. All of this information ensures sales has the information to engage in the right conversations.

As marketers, we spend a lot of time filling the top of the sales funnel with leads, but what happens to those that aren’t ready to buy? A well integrated marketing automation platform allows a salesperson to indicate that marketing needs to nurture a lead more before they’re ready to talk to a sales person again. Essentially, the two-way communication between marketing and sales ensures you’re doing everything that you can to create a consistent and closed-loop experience to get the most out of your leads.

4. ROI on marketing spend
As a marketer constantly having to prove your worth, it is important to understand which marketing activities are driving positive results. By having a natively integrated solution, marketers can easily track the complete lifecycle from lead to closed/won business. Lead source reporting and ROI dashboards track how much revenue is being produced from marketing-generated leads and which marketing activities are most fruitful.

Immediate tasks to accomplish after you have two platforms that integrate

When you have the right MAP to go with your CRM, you will need to sit down with sales and decide on the process. Now that your teams are equipped with the technology to integrate, how will everyone work together? Here are a few tasks your teams should accomplish to help build the new, integrated process:

  • Create service level agreements.
  • Review lead score profiles and identify a threshold for passing.
  • Define criteria for remarketing your leads.
  • Identify when to build sales steps into a marketing nurture campaign.
  • Determine the fields to sync from the CRM to the MAP.
  • Outline the MAP information your sales reps want to see in the CRM.

Make sure you choose the right MAP from day one

Integrating your MAP and CRM tools is no longer a nice bonus – it’s a necessity. You won’t ever be able to align your sales and marketing departments if you can’t even align your technology platforms. And with some MAPs retiring many of their native CRM integrations or others requiring extra tools (leading to extra cost) to connect to common CRMs, you need to make sure you’re choosing a MAP that will cooperate and communicate with your CRM from day one.