There are many reasons why an event organizer would want to integrate a marketing automation tool with a CRM. Having a clear picture of the entire revenue-making process, coordinating activities and tasks across departments, and making sure that no leads are overlooked are just a few. But, once the decision is made to go ahead, there are a couple of things to consider before writing the check.

Compatibility. Let’s face it. Sales and marketing departments don’t always work well together. The same is true for some sales automation and marketing automation solutions. So, either purchase the two systems together, making sure that they are compatible from the get go (in the scenario in which you’ll be using them), focus only on a solution that is compatible with the software you already have, or prepare to hire a consultant to manage the integration for you.

Agreement. Before you select marketing automation software just because it works really well with your CRM (or vice versa), you may want to ask the about-to-be-affected department whether the new software will meet their needs. While end-to-end usability from marketing through to sales is the ultimate goal of any integration, it may be better for both teams get what they want in order to be most effective rather than cobble together a system that only some of the team members will use.

Synchronization Even though two platforms are compatible, i.e. an API (application programming interface) allows one solution to exchange data with another; it doesn’t mean you’re home free. Take the time to learn how the data from one platform synchronizes with the other platform. Is synching automatic and regular? Can it be manually triggered? Does the marketing automation solution synch with users and user fields in the CRM? Can you create tasks and alerts for the sales team from within the marketing automation software?

Data Flow. Making sure that information collected by the marketing automation software flows through to the CRM is important. But, equally important is the flow of information the other way—from the CRM into the marketing automation solution. The ability for both marketing and sales teams to have the most up-to-date information on prospects and customers enhances the organization’s ability to convert leads to sales.

Systems integration is a critical topic when an organization is committed to purchasing best-of-breed standalone solutions. A good strategy to employ when making each purchase is to assume that sooner or later a new solution—marketing automation, content automation, online floor plan, or a mobile app, for example—will emerge that enhances the existing systems. Buyers need to choose applications that are flexible, open, or built on the same platform as those already in place in order to reduce the complexity of integration and increase the odds of success.


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