How to Troubleshoot Common Marketing Automation CRM Integration Issues - dummies

How to Troubleshoot Common Marketing Automation CRM Integration Issues

By Mathew Sweezey

Testing and troubleshooting the integration of your marketing automation system with you customer relationship management (CRM) system shouldn’t take much time, but it’s an important step. The majority of CRM connectivity issues can be summed up very easily in two words: bad processes. Here are some ways to troubleshoot some potential issues:

How to troubleshoot lead-assignment issues

If the leads you are passing to sales are failing to arrive, you might have a lead-assignment process issue. You can solve it by troubleshooting your CRM connection, usernames, and lead-assignment rules as follows:

  1. Check your CRM connection.

    Start by checking the most obvious potential problems first. Make sure that your CRM connection is verified and turned on. Many times, the connections can come undone when you have multiple people inside the application who aren’t sure of what they are clicking on. The main reason for the connector to come undone is one of the following:

    • IP addresses become unverified in your CRM system (a cause for concern only when your CRM requires verification of your marketing automation tool). This issue is easily solved by adding your IP addresses to your CRM whitelist.

    • Someone accidentally clicks the wrong button in the marketing automation tool.

  2. Check your usernames.

    If you complete step one and salespeople still aren’t receiving leads, you should check your usernames. You might have lead assignment set up but haven’t connected your users between the systems. When you create custom fields, you should create users in each system.

    Creating users in each system allows you to a pass a lead to a sales rep through the rep’s CRM tool. If you didn’t connect your leads when you set up your custom fields, your leads will be passed to your CRM tool without being assigned to the correct person.

  3. Check your lead-assignment rules.

    If steps one and two fail to solve your lead-assignment issue, you are likely to find the reason to be your automation rules. Your lead-assignment rule might be too complex, which could cause a condition to remain unmet. This is usually the result of a complex “if/then” statement. Remember: The simpler your lead assignment, the better.

How to troubleshoot data mapping issues

A data mapping issue can be tricky to notice. It is one of the more frequent issues companies have, and it derives mostly from a misunderstanding of how the marketing automation system and the CRM function together. You need to understand the relationship between the master and the slave data to ease any future issues with data mapping.

  • Master data is a data record that is in control. For example, if you have a CRM field and a lead record with a person’s first name, your marketing automation tool will also have a matching record of the same person and the same name. Both solutions are talking back and forth to each other, so they need to know which system can override which data points.

  • Slave data is copied data. The slave data can never override the master data. For example, if your sales rep keys in a new name for the person in the CRM, that name will flow down to your marketing automation tool, but if the marketing team changes the name, the person’s name will not be changed in the CRM.

Here’s how you can troubleshoot your mapping issues, keeping in mind your master and slave data relationship:

  • Check the settings of the field. When you check the settings in your marketing automation tool for your field, you will find the ability to control all the settings pertaining to how your tool passes and receives data.

    Check to make sure that the field ID in your automation tool matches the field ID in your CRM for the field you are troubleshooting.


  • Check your master and slave relationship. Check to see which database is the master and which is the slave of the data. The master data table can write over other slave data points. The CRM should be the master of this data and should not be overwritten, and for good reason — most people put fake data in forms!

    A study from MarketingSherpa in 2008 showed that 65 percent of people give a fake phone number when asked for this information on a form. A lead’s phone number in the CRM system is a great example of this. If your CRM has a correct phone number and it was not the master, the data could easily be overwritten with the false information.

    If the slave data is the phone number listed in your marketing automation tool, and a prospect gives a fake phone number, the information will change in the marketing automation tool, only to be changed back instantly by the CRM.

Your marketing automation tool should also be the master of all reporting fields used by marketing. This gives you the control to change your reporting fields and keeps sales from messing with your reports.