Why you should integrate your CRM with your marketing automation platform 

Marketing automation-CRM integration header

Organizations are willing to invest in a number of areas to improve their sales processes.

They might outsource a consultancy to assess and revise their selling methodology; they might buy additional software to help reps become more efficient; they might tinker with lead routing rules and logic—and the list goes on.

While each of these strategies can be fruitful, they aren’t necessarily fundamental to your team’s success. What is? Implementing and maintaining connectivity between your sales and marketing applications—in particular, your customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation platforms.

We’ll dive into why this is the foundation for success in sales and marketing, but to start, let’s align on how the platforms work.

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What is a CRM?

It’s a type of tool that helps sales teams, customer success managers, and support agents manage their relationships with clients and prospects. More specifically, it lets users store all kinds of client and prospect-related information, create tasks, send messages to colleagues, create forecasts and dashboards, and so on.

Given its widespread adoption, the leading platforms in the space—including Salesforce and HubSpot—have become household names.

Related: What is CRM integration?

What is a marketing automation platform?

It’s a type of platform that lets marketers manage various day-to-day activities. This includes collecting, storing, and updating information on leads, building and launching multi-channel campaigns, analyzing the returns of specific efforts through reports and dashboards, and much more.

Like a CRM, today’s commonly-used marketing automation tools—such as Marketo and Eloqua—are widely known. 

Related: What is marketing automation integration?

3 impactful integration use cases

Here are a few integrations worth implementing between your CRM and marketing automation software.

1. Keep lead fields in sync

As your marketers and sales reps work together to nurture and engage leads, they’ll need to access the same set of information over time. Otherwise, they might take steps that are out of tune with the other function; alternatively, if they know that data in their respective application is either missing or out of date, they’re forced to ask the other function for information consistently.

You can ensure that they see the same information by implementing a bidirectional sync for any lead. This simply involves two automations; one (as shown below) gets triggered when a lead is added or updated in an app like Marketo. From there, the lead is either added to a CRM like Salesforce or, if the lead already exists, it gets updated.

A visual representation of a workflow where if a lead gets added or updated in Marketo, it also gets added or updated in Salesforce

The second automation works the same, except the applications are flipped. 

Once a lead gets added or updated in an app like Salesforce, the workflow gets triggered. If the lead doesn’t exist in an app like Marketo, it goes on to get added; otherwise, it just gets updated.

A visual representation of a workflow where if a lead gets added or updated in Salesforce, it also gets added or updated in Marketo

It’s worth noting that you can keep all kinds of fields synced, including custom ones, all but ensuring that any information on a lead can be found in both applications.

Related: What is front office automation? And what are some impactful examples

2. Create follow-up tasks once a prospect reaches a certain lead score

Not every lead is sales-ready. Some might work at a company that’s a bit too small to benefit from your product; while others simply don’t know enough about your product to feel comfortable having a serious conversation with a rep.

However, once a lead is ready, it’s paramount that your team acts quickly. To help facilitate this effort, you can build a workflow where once a prospect reaches a predefined lead score in your marketing automation platform, a task gets created for the assigned sales rep in your CRM, which asks them to follow-up.

A workflow between Marketo and Salesforce where once a lead reaches a certain score in the former, a task gets created for the assigned rep in the latter

3. Add prospects to a specific nurture campaign once their statuses change to “closed lost”

Every organization loses deals, and the reasons why can be far ranging—from a competitor offering up a lower price point to your champion leaving the organization. Regardless of the cause, you can keep these accounts in your orbit and potentially close them down the line by using the following automation: Once a prospect is marked as “Closed lost” in an app like Salesforce, the contacts at the account get added to a specific nurture campaign in an app like Marketo.

A workflow between Salesforce and Marketo where once an opportunity is marked as closed lost in the former, a the contacts within the opportunity get added to a specific campaign in the latter

You can also take this automation up a level by adding additional logic. For example, based on the “Closed lost” reason provided by a rep, the prospect can be added to a more targeted and relevant campaign built in your marketing automation system.

Why it’s important to integrate your marketing automation platform with your CRM

Here are just a few benefits to keep in mind.

  • Sales and marketing can operate more efficiently 

Once data is kept in sync between the two systems, your sales reps and marketers can largely avoid manually-consuming tasks. More specifically, they don’t have to switch between your marketing automation platform and CRM every time they want to look up or copy and paste information. 

You can also avoid the scenario where reps or marketers are forced to ping one another for information when they can’t find it in the other application (or don’t have access to that application). With the two systems integrated, the information they need is more likely to be readily available within the application they’re already working in and comfortable using.

  • Costly human errors can be avoided

Forcing employees to copy and paste data isn’t just unpleasant—it also leaves employees prone to making mistakes

In the context of working with lead and client data, these mistakes can lead to disastrous outcomes. 

A rep can add an incorrect first name to a contact at a target account, leading to an awkward (and perhaps more unproductive) conversation; a prospect can get added to the wrong nurture campaign, lowering your chances of converting them; a follow-up task can get created for the wrong lead, leading a rep to reach out to a prospect that isn’t ready for a conversation—and so on.

As we saw from our examples, integrating these applications allows data and actions to flow seamlessly between the two, ensuring employees perform less data entry and, as a result, introduce fewer errors.

  •  Prospects and customers can receive better experiences

Enabling marketing and sales teams to act on information faster and more intelligently also benefits clients and prospects. This can take the form of hearing from a sales rep from the moment they’re ready for a conversation to receiving timely and highly-useful emails about your product or services. 

While there’s no guaranteeing that a given prospect will convert or that a client will stay on longer, providing more personalized and timely experiences should improve your chances of driving these results.

Elevate your processes even further by leveraging end-to-end automations

While integrating your marketing automation tool and CRM clearly has its benefits, you’ll ultimately need to adopt end-to-end automations to transform your marketing and sales processes. 

These end-to-end automations should not only work in these two platforms but also in others within—and outside of—marketing and sales; moreover, they should use customizable platform bots that allow your reps and marketers to access data and actions in their applications without leaving their business communications platform—whether that’s Slack or Microsoft Teams.

To help illustrate this, let’s say that one of your former buyers changes roles. Here’s an end-to-end automation that lets you nurture them intelligently (in the hopes that they purchase from you again).

1. Once a data enrichment tool like ZoomInfo changes a contact’s employer in your CRM, the workflow gets triggered.

2. A platform bot (in this case, Workbot) notifies a specific channel in Slack. The bot’s message includes key information around the job change, such as their new role, their previous role, and the specific responsibility they had when evaluating your software at their previous employer (e.g. “Evaluator”). 

3. The platform bot allows anyone in the channel to add the prospect to a specific nurture sequence via an app like Outreach with the click of a button.

4. With the click of a button, you can also send the prospect a gift via an application like Sendoso.

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About the author
Jon Gitlin Content Strategist @ Workato
Jon Gitlin is the Managing Editor of The Connector, where you can get the latest news on Workato and uncover tips, examples, and frameworks for implementing powerful integrations and automations. In his free time, he loves to run outside, watch soccer (er...football) matches, and explore local restaurants.