Not all integrations are created equal, and how your integration works can seriously impact productivity and ROI. The days when having a CRM system integrated with marketing automation platform were simply nice-to-haves are long gone. Today, any marketing team not using these technologies together will have a difficult time keeping up with cross-channel engagement along the customer journey.

Breaking down the importance of CRM and Marketing Automation integration

While both CRM systems and marketing automation platforms (MAP) provide value on their own, they’re infinitely more powerful when connected. It’s time to stop looking at the pass off of leads between sales and marketing like a baton in a relay race and start looking at it like a rowing competition. Both teams should be rowing in one boat, working in tandem to achieve the same goal. And without an integrated CRM and MAP, your teams will never be on the same boat.

According to MarketingProfs, organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates. They also experienced 38% higher sales win rates. Given the importance of this integration, it’s actually surprising that more solution providers aren’t working to ensure their systems play well with as many systems on the other side as possible. In fact, it turns out that some marketing automation providers are actually decreasing the number of CRM systems with which they natively integrate.

Take it from experience, workarounds are almost never worth it

Sure, workarounds are possible if your CRM system and MAP don’t integrate natively. But you’ll quickly find workarounds are a hassle to manage. At worst, they hinder overall productivity and limit the ROI of these solutions as a result.

Take it from Cireson, a world leader in Microsoft Cloud and System Center. The team at Cireson recently shared its experience with the shortcomings of using a workaround for its CRM-marketing automation integration. The company had to use two third-party tools to pass data between its CRM system and its MAP. As a result, the marketing team had to perform several tasks manually, decreasing productivity and increasing human error. Data was falling through the cracks and the third-party tools added to the overall costs, further lowering their ROI. Recognizing that there had to be a better way, CIreson recently made the switch to a marketing tool with native CRM integrations and almost immediately saw the value and cost savings it was previously missing out on.

Why CRM and Marketing Automation are better together

    • Ensures Sales and Marketing Alignment

      A native CRM and MAP integration ensures sales and marketing alignment. We all know the age-old divide between sales and marketing. They’ve been passing the lead baton for years but is anyone actually rowing in the same direction? With a seamlessly integrated sales and marketing power system, we can all be on the same boat. Communication between the two teams is more seamless, improving accountability, introducing standardized processes for lead-follow-ups and creating a single source of truth for reporting.

    • Allows for True Automation

      We’ve all used the phrase “they wear a lot of hats” when describing marketers. And as overused as it may be, the idea that marketers wear a lot of hats stands true now more than ever. So much, that it’s nearly impossible to do it all without some sort of automation. For example, going into a system or analyzing spreadsheets each day and manually determining which leads have enough engagement to pass to sales is not feasible for marketers, especially when your database likely contains thousands of leads. The integration between your MAP and CRM should handle this process automatically – and with a native integration it can. Native integration should also automate the entire handoff process to ensure a complete and timely hand-off so that sales has clear priorities and a history of engagement for each lead. Automation between both teams is essentially what gets sales and marketing rowing together to reach their goals.

    • Better Reporting

      With so much technology in place, reporting is of utmost importance to modern marketing organizations. In a world where many marketing teams are now tied to performance-based KPIs, having accurate and timely reporting is critical. A native CRM and MAP integration makes a big difference when it comes to reporting. It connects what happens on the marketing side with what happens on the sales side, showing a more complete picture of what’s going on. Reporting is also automated when systems are integrated so marketing doesn’t have to spend weeks scouring through data to see results and tout their successes to the rest of the organization.

  • Cost Savings

    Finally, as the tale of Cireson tells, a native CRM-marketing automation integration can lead to significant cost savings. It’s simple really – two solutions that integrate natively require no additional costs on that front. Without a native integration, you’ll have to pay for one or multiple third-party systems or expensive customizations to get the connection running. And even then, you may need workarounds to get things streamlined the way you want. Not only does the workaround cost more, but because the workaround typically limits the value of the solutions, the ROI on each is far less to begin with. Adding the cost of third-party tools and customizations only compounds the lower ROI even further.

The right tools should integrate, not complicate

With 5,381 marketing technology companies being unveiled this year, it’s obvious that technology has become critical to achieving marketing success. And as we enter the next phase of maturity for marketing technology, a native integration between your CRM system and marketing automation platform is an absolute must. A native integration not only lowers costs and management requirements, but it also exponentially increases productivity and value, delivering a much higher ROI for your business. Simply put – CRM and marketing automation are better when they’re together.

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