How to Define Goals for Marketing Automation and Customer Relationship Management

By Mathew Sweezey

Your customer relationship management (CRM) system is key to your success with marketing automation. Also, many marketing automation tools are specifically made for one CRM or another. For example, Microsoft purchased MarketingPilot, which is tightly integrated into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM systems. Oracle purchased Eloqua, which is now the leading marketing automation solution for its CRM. Salesforce.com purchased Pardot to be the in-house solution for its CRM.

Many other notable solutions exist that tie into the most popular CRM applications. Remember, however, that the success of your tool is dependent on your CRM system and its abilities, so the better the connection is to your CRM system, the easier it will be to utilize and maximize the value of your investment.

CRM goals can get pretty detailed. To avoid getting caught up in the details, list your basic wants and needs first, and add more details after your basic wants and needs are defined.

Need or Want Basic Goal Detailed Goal
Importing leads Import new leads into the CRM Real-time automation of lead to CRM importing. Do you need to
import this as a lead or a contact?
Proving results Return on investment (ROI ) reporting Automated ROI reporting through tight integration with
opportunity records in your CRM. Integrating with custom fields on
a record to prove results.
Lead scoring Identify hot leads Does your tool allow for scoring from behaviors and actions, or
just from data points within the CRM system?
Lead flow Lead notifications sent to sales Lead notifications within CRM. Do tasks need to be created for
sales?

Your CRM wants and needs should be used in conjunction with diagramming your campaigns to identify which solution will best deliver the most wants and accomplish all needs.

How to map out your CRM integration

Your integration should be mapped out with the following checklist and requirements:

  • Find your install module. Most marketing automation tools have an install module, which is an automated program that you can run to set up some of your basic CRM connections. Your install module is probably found in your CRM’s app center or provided by your vendor.

  • List the fields you need. In order for your CRM integration to report on leads passed to sales and progress through the sales cycle, your fields need to match your process and goals. Make a detailed list of all Lead, Contact, Account, and Opportunity fields you think you need to sync between the two systems.

    Remember that you may not need to have all the fields you currently have in your CRM replicated into your marketing automation tool. You do not need to have a field if you don’t plan to use the data for segmentation or automating processes.

  • Sync your field definitions. Terminology often varies between CRMs and marketing automation tools. You need to determine which terms your marketing automation tool uses to describe Leads, Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities, and list them side by side so that you can make them sync.

  • Prep your CRM admin. You need your CRM admin for at least a few hours. You may need him or her more depending on the complexities of your CRM system. Talk to your CRM admin and make sure that his or her time is available when you need it.

  • Get your sales team to buy in. Discuss with your sales team the addition of new tools, and share the benefits and processes that will be changing. Training happens later, but the buy-in discussion should happen early on in the process.

  • Download your data sets. You need to have a clean list of every prospect and every data point that you want to put into your marketing automation solution.

  • Keep your vendor support information handy. Share your marketing automation vendor’s support information, including contact information and terms of service, with everyone involved in your CRM integration in case questions arise.

Some marketing automation tools have much better integration than others for specific CRMs. This connection can either remove frustrations or just create more.

How to diagram your campaigns and lead-flow paths

The goals of diagramming your marketing programs are to give you the best estimate of your true needs for CRM integration and to appropriately estimate the time and investment required to execute your lead nurturing programs.

Start with your full team and work together to diagram your programs. Some people prefer to do this on a whiteboard; others prefer to use a visual flow program such as Microsoft Visio to create a document. No matter which tool or approach you use, the following steps help guide you to a useful diagram of your program.

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  1. List each campaign.

    Begin by listing each campaign, breaking your campaigns down into groups if possible. You can start with the basics, such as inbound and outbound campaigns, or you can get more granular by listing lead-generation campaigns, lead-conversion campaigns, cold-lead campaigns, sales-support campaigns, and cross-selling campaigns. Most campaigns fit into one of these groups. If you have other groups, that’s okay.

  2. Diagram all moving parts.

    Diagram all the moving parts within each campaign. If it is an inbound campaign, begin with your search term or paid search ad. If it is an outbound campaign, begin with your list and how you obtain this list.

    From here, diagram each part of your campaign. Make sure to list every small detail, all the way down to each field on your lead capture form, and where that information goes in your CRM.

  3. Identify data flow.

    Note how many different applications you are using and how the data is moving back and forth to and from each tool. Take note of issues you are currently dealing with and issues you are facing.