Data is your friend. Since 1999 I’ve worked with customers around CRM platforms and Marketing Automation platforms. When integrated, it’s a match made in “data heaven”. However, there are some traps and considerations to take into account along the way. In this blog post, I want to try and save you some time and set you up for success.

Point 1: It’s not that complicated & neither is your organisation

When I’ve seen CRM implementations fail, there have been a few common threads, but that main one is over complicated processes. At the end of the day, all companies either manufacture or import products or produce services. They then market and sell those products or services and finally they want to service their customer base.

CRM providers like Oracle, salesforce dot com, NetSuite and others invest millions of dollars developing platforms built on decades of experience and research. Just look at the amount of thought leadership these companies push out every month. They know what they’re doing, listen to them, take their advice.

I can’t think of another way to say it other than “Your company is really not that unique”. Take advantage of robust processes as developed by the organisations listed above.

Point 2: Automating a broken business process will simply lead you to disaster faster

Much of what a CRM does is help streamline business processes. However, if your process isn’t working today, automating it with a CRM will simply help you fail faster.

It’s the sales process that typically underpins a CRM through the Opportunity object. If sales expect to see a forecast that is more than simply sales people picking a number out of the air and mixing it with a “gut feel” closing percentage e.g. 65%, then you may as well stick with excel spreadsheets.

I’ve never really understood the percentage applied to an opportunity. When a sale closes it either closes or it doesn’t, you don’t get a percentage of the deal, it’s either 0% or 100%. In defence of a percentage, perhaps it helps a sales manager to determine where they should focus their attention when coaching the sales team, perhaps.

Point 3: The type of data you will need from the CRM

When you initially review the data from the CRM and look to build the integration and determine exactly which data should move between the two platforms, there are two fundamental considerations:

  1. How will the CRM data help marketing segment their data better?
  2. How will the CRM data help marketing deliver greater personalisation?

When you apply these two filters to each field, you will quickly discover you don’t need everything from the CRM integrated with the Marketing Automation platform.

TIP: There are a range of system fields that can also be helpful. e.g. CRM Contact ID, Lead ID, Campaign ID, Account ID and others. These are helpful to marketing as they segment within the Marketing Automation platform.

Point 4: How can a CRM & Marketing Automation work together?

The combination of a CRM and a Marketing Automation platform e.g. Oracle Marketing Cloud Eloqua can be a match made in “data heaven”. However, it’s the smart combination of the two by a switched on marketing team that helps exploit the integration of the two platforms.

EXAMPLE: Your C-Class Mercedes Benz is overdue for a service.

All businesses essentially manufacture or import products or provide services. They then market and sell those products or services and then they have to provide customer service to those who have purchased their goods or services.

Through integration, a car dealer could send an email like this:

“Dear [Jenny], your [C-Class] is now due for a service. It’s been [12 months] since your last service. Please contact your Service Manager [Jason Jackson] on [03 5634 7675] to arrange a service time at your convenience.”

Critical considerations for a Marketer & their CRM

In the example above, various Objects from the CRM contain pieces of data which are used to produce the service reminder email. This data would typically be sourced from the Account, Contact and Service objects of a CRM. 

Point 5: Which data should go from the Marketing Automation system back to the CRM?

In a perfect world, marketing would be nurturing all leads, creating a lead scoring model and then passing those Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s) to sales via the Lead object in the CRM once a scoring threshold has been achieved.

But sometimes, there are exceptions. 

Those exceptions are generally determined by the type of form a contact may complete on your website. For example, a “Contact Us” form needs to be responded to immediately. Whether that enquiry is passed to Sales or Service will be dependent on the type of enquiry.

However, if you provide gated content on your website i.e. a person has to complete a form (the gate) in order to access the content, this person is probably best left with marketing to add to a nurturing campaign.


Hopefully some of the tips above will resonate and at least cause a more robust discussion as you explore the options around integrating your CRM and your Marketing Automation platform.

Last year I posted a blog to LinkedIn called “When is “Out-of-the-Box” the best solution?“. If the post above was of interest, you may also find my LinkedIn post helpful.

Good luck.

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