Congratulations! You’ve successfully joined the ranks of marketers who have an integrated CRM and marketing automation platform. Things are going to be awesome—just as soon as you figure out what you’re supposed to do now…
If you’re in that boat, you’re not alone. In fact, the number one challenge for B2B marketing automation users is understanding the data integration between their systems—
As marketers, we’re up against the challenges of data entry, understanding integration points, and defining sales triggers. Often we don’t know what to ask for on the CRM side to execute the campaigns we want to build on the marketing automation side, which makes understanding how to architect our integrations hard and implementing strategy even harder.
A Successful Integration Starts with a Plan
To make the most of your integration, start by thinking about your overall marketing goals (engage cold leads, cross-sell to existing customers, get a notification when a nurtured lead is ready for a sales call), followed by individual campaigns you’ll need to support those goals (nurture campaign for leads gone cold in the last 90 days, people who bought this also liked X), followed finally by how you’re going to gather and organize the information you need to run those campaigns (your CRM).
Let’s start with goals and work backwards. There are some marketing automation tasks that CRMs are perfect for supporting, like:
- Lead Nurture
- Re-engagement of Cold Leads
- Creating Custom Audiences for Remarketing Campaigns
- Cross-sell and Upsell Campaigns
- Customer Retention
- Review Strategies
Once you know what goals you want to achieve (e.g., run a lead nurture campaign or create a review campaign for existing customers), you can set up a path for the data you need to gather, like so:
Let’s look at a few goals and sample campaigns you can build based on this model.
Preparing to Nurture Your CRM Leads
There are two types of lead nurturing you should be thinking about with your integration: what’s in your CRM, and what’s in your marketing automation platform. To nurture what’s already in your CRM (say, existing Leads that aren’t in the act of being converted), think about what you want to target and a build a Marketing List based on a specific Field or action. Avoid broad generalizations, like “All Open Leads,” and look for specifics you can build a personalized campaign around. You might want to target a field that captures what the Lead is interested in, completed phone calls, timestamps, or custom fields. Consider, too, if you want to run this campaign one time or have it running dynamically.
Once your Marketing List is built, create a campaign in your marketing automation platform with a strong call to action that’s directly related to the field you targeted in CRM. For example, if you targeted Leads gone cold 90 days prior, you could create an offer that entices those Leads to re-engage. If you’re dealing with timestamps, you could add new Leads into a Learn More nurture. Once your campaign is ready, use your integration to map that list to your marketing automation platform.
Preparing to Nurture Your Marketing Automation Platform Leads (Early Funnel)
These are your inbound leads, which may or may not be ready to enter in your CRM. Ideally, you should have control over what inbound leads get entered into as CRM Leads. For example, someone who is downloading content is not at the same place in the sales funnel as someone who has filled out the contact us form. Let’s focus on early funnel leads—people who have converted in your marketing automation platform but who have not filled out a form that asks you to contact them.
These early funnel leads are prime for nurturing. Use messaging on your landing pages that tells your would-be downloaders you won’t call them right away, as that will help you get more conversions. Next, build an automated email campaign with helpful information related to what they downloaded—say, a follow up download that adds context to what they have, a link to reviews, a case study in their industry, etc. When they contact you, tag their CRM source campaign back to your original download campaign—this helps you prove the value of inbound.
Don’t forget to use Lead Scoring on the marketing automation side to autopopulate a list of sales-ready nurture leads in your CRM!
Re-engage Cold Lists
As much as a quarter of your email list goes cold each year, either through job turnover or role change. But you won’t know who’s still interested and who has moved on if you don’t ask. To make this work, build a Marketing List around last activity date, modified on, opportunity close date (as lost), or created on date. Then create compelling content, like a how-to guide or an event invitation, and using your integration, send a series of emails to that list.
A few tips: put a query in place on your marketing automation side that takes out people who have engaged at each step along the way, and let them know what value you will provide to them if they subscribe to your emails in the future. Remember, this is what value you are providing to them—not what value they are providing to you!
Don’t Forget About Your Contacts
Marketing has a role to play in customer retention, and your integration can be a huge help here. In CRM, create triggered Marketing Lists targeted at Contacts based on a cross-sell, upsell, or post-sale campaign objective. You might want to create a List around Opportunity = Closed as Won, or a Contract Renewal Date, or a satisfaction score from customer service.
Using this Marketing List and your integration, you can automate campaigns around “You might also like…” suggestion emails, product use cases for recent buyers, ready to renew contract reminders, or review us campaigns for happy customers.
Regardless of where you are in the process of understanding and strategizing your marketing automation platform and CRM integration, the key to success is planning. Before you ever build a campaign, know what data you want to collect, why you want to collect it, how you plan to use it, and perhaps most importantly, where you’re going to get it. Having an effective strategy for using a marketing automation platform is often the biggest barrier to success, and knowing what you hope to achieve from the outset can help you be successful quicker.
Natalie Jackson is the marketing director for the emfluence Marketing Platform--
5 thoughts on “You Connected Your CRM and Your Marketing Automation Platform…Now What?”
One question, would you recommend having all leads entered in the CRM and then nurtured by the Marketing Automation platform? Or vice versa?
I think it depends on what type of lead you're talking about--if the lead is sales ready, then it should absolutely be in the CRM and nurtured by the marketing automation platform. There are definitely situations, however, where you might be nurturing a lead as a marketer within the marketing automation platform--say, someone who has downloaded content but hasn't filled out a contact us form. Adding someone like that to the CRM could create confusion for the sales team, as that lead isn't quite ready for contact yet--in that case, I think it's better to nurture them in the marketing automation platform until they have either reached a Contact Score that both Marketing and Sales have deemed suitable for contact or until that person reaches out with a contact request.
Hope that helps!
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I am working on a SaaS product and I found the article interesting. As CRMs are the best tool for supporting many marketing automation tasks such as lead Nurturing, Re-engagement of Cold Leads, Customer Retention, Creating Custom Audiences for Remarketing Campaigns. CRM makes the work of marketing automation easier by handing out a number of processes. I have just attended a demo for Aritic Pinpoint and I can say it looks pretty advanced than Hubspot, Pardot or Marketo.
Nice article. Worth reading.
Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.
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