Should You Integrate Your CRM and Marketing Automation Systems?


CRM and marketing automation are sometimes used interchangeably but serve somewhat different functions. Marketers that can incorporate both systems experience increased efficiency, cost reduction, and higher return on investment. 

Before we get into how and why you need to integrate CRM and Marketing Automation, how do they differ?

CRM software help businesses to manage relationships and interactions with customers. It involves analyzing customer data and is commonly used in the sales department. 

CRM systems collect data on customer behavior by identifying their preferences, analyzing complaints, etc. This data is then stored in a location and is accessible across the organization.

Marketing automation, on the other hand, manages marketing tasks, campaigns, and lead generation programs.  

The software streamlines and automates these activities that would otherwise be time and resource-intensive to conduct. 

Although the two systems both serve the collective purpose of attracting customers to drive up sales through marketing, they have distinct responsibilities in achieving this goal.

Why You Need To Integrate CRM And Marketing Automation

1. It promotes consistent communication.

Sales and marketing departments complement each other within a business. The marketing team reaches out to all potential clients, customers, investors, among others. Meanwhile, the sales department builds relationships with clients.

Integrating the software creates a synergy within the two departments to communicate to the clients better. It makes the sales process more efficient and also enhances the experience across the customer journey.

2. Eases the transition from MQL to SQL.

The marketing automation systems reach out and engage with potential leads. They also collect valuable customer data to be stored and processed by the CRM.

When this information is made accessible to the sales departments, they can connect to these leads and turn them into paying customers.

Integrating these systems, therefore, makes the process more seamless and faster. The different departments can share the information quickly and thus work more efficiently.

3. Provides data related to customers journey

Integrated CRM and marketing automation systems provide your departments a complete picture of the customer journey. That enables them to be more effective in their efforts.

They can see how the lead got into contact, all the communications they’ve had with the company, etc. 

Such information helps the sales team know what elements to use when trying to convert the lead. It also guides the marketing team on which lead generation methods to focus on. So, the integration helps them draft better strategies.

4. Facilitates lead scoring

Since not all leads eventually convert, it is best to focus your efforts and resources on nurturing those most likely to buy. One of the systems on its own may not give a holistic view of the prospects.

However, when integrated, you can easily observe and monitor their habits, assign scores, and rank them based on patterns. 

Furthermore, both your marketing and sales teams will have access to this data in real-time and adjust their strategies accordingly. 

5. Identify hotspots in the customer journey

Integrating marketing automation and CRM systems help your business to analyze the customer journey more clearly. You can then identify which specific actions the leads respond to, which platforms bring them in, etc.

This information would help you draft cost-effective strategies; you would know where to focus your time and resources to maximize lead generation and nurturing. 

Without such integration, marketing and sales efforts would be based on just a handful of misleading metrics. For example, high social media engagement and low email click rates may not necessarily indicate a sales-ready lead.

Best Practices For Integrating CRM And Marketing Automation Systems

Define the activities of your sales and marketing teams

Integrating your CRM and Marketing automation means that the roles of your sales and marketing teams have to be clearly outlined. 

As seen earlier, the two can be confused to be similar and thus cause some setbacks.

Your marketing team should collect the customer data to analyze and create better profiles and strategies.

Your sales team should then utilize the CRM and all its customer data to inform their strategies when dealing directly with the customers. 

If both activities are done right, the systems will have highly accurate information that guarantees precise results from the sales and marketing processes.

Streamline processes to avoid duplication or redundancy

Data entry processes, sales, and marketing processes, especially with the two systems, need to be organized.

The different users of the systems need to understand what data should be captured by what system, at what stage, and how that data feeds into the other system.

Failure to have these processes and data streamlined will create a lot of duplication. Duplication will render the data complicated and unusable, making one of the systems redundant.

CRM processes usually largely revolve around customer information and the customer journey. Marketing automation uses this data for campaigns and promotions to boost lead generation and conversions.

Enforce accurate data entry into these tools

Knowing that both the CRM and marketing tools feed each other, you must ensure accurate data entry. Inaccurate information entered at any point would render their whole process ineffective.

Since the system is automated, the inaccurate information may not get the human correction it needs. This is dangerous when dealing with critical leads.

In a worst-case scenario, it could produce low success rates for your campaigns. For instance, if you have a prospect's name spelled wrong or a wrong email and yet continue to use that across the journey. Your campaigns might barely yield much fruit.

Acquire the right software

Integrating your CRM system and marketing automation software is possible. Yet, it is still much better to get software that already covers these technicalities, like SharpSpring.

The CRM software is easy to integrate with marketing automation tools within the same program. It would save you the hassle of dealing with different tools and getting them to work seamlessly.  

Plan and Customize marketing and sales messages

Personalization is key in your marketing and sales campaigns, especially when using automation. Yet, with two systems integrated, you must decide the best points to personalize. 

There are plenty of places within the whole customer journey, from demographic information to location, etc. Doing this will help maintain consistency across the entire journey, thus increasing your chances of success.

Make the Integration process simple

Ensure that your team can adjust quickly to the software or at least train for the process. They should be able to operate the software as this will save you time and resources along the way.

A great option, especially when dealing with more complex systems, is to use an agency. An agency comes with the necessary expertise to operate the software, which saves you a lot.

In the case of SharpSpring marketing automation and CRM, Funnelbud are a great option to try out. 

Final Thoughts

Integrating your CRM and marketing automation systems will tremendously increase your efficiency and ROI on marketing investment. 

It will also help your marketing and sales teams work together better to achieve the best results from your leads. Therefore, use the above strategies to ensure that you are doing it right.

The best starting point, however, is to use software that provides you both systems in one, like SharpSpring.


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About the Author

Priscilla Achieng

Priscilla Achieng is a lead Technical Content Writer at Funnelbud. A Content marketing professional by day, a passionate soccer fan by night, she also provides copywriting and SEO services for businesses of all sizes.