Integrating your Sales and Marketing Software – part two

Sales and marketing technologyHow to pull your processes out of those dreaded silos—and create a path forward for an integrated tool

Last time, I talked about honing in on the sales, marketing and customer-centric processes you’ll need to make sure that your integrated software packs a profitable punch. This time, more directives from Marketo and Gartner create an even clearer path for your analysis.

The people at Marketo (more specifically, one of their people called Gareth Goh, writing on the B2C blog to show us How to Integrate Your Data and Achieve a Marketing Operations Peace of Mind) says,

“Each of these individual platforms contains reams of valuable marketing data, but none of this data is very helpful if it exists in a silo. The best marketers rely on pieces of this data (from the various platforms) to successfully pull together and execute their marketing campaigns.”

Goh talks about middleware from the lens of time management: If you are pulling key customer and prospect information from more than one platform, you’re wasting time. This time costs money. Wouldn’t a great middleware program slash your resource needs in half when you’re monitoring all of these data points? Never mind save your marketers’ sanity?

He also says to start with your marketing automation and CRM systems; field data mapping (he lost me a bit here, I confess); and making sure you decide early on what your System of Record will be to mitigate risk and ensure your parent data stays safe.

Any marketing automation/CRM/ecommerce/finance master platform will be worth its weight in gold—if you make sure to draw a straight line from the questions like those that I posed last post, to your sponsors.

For example, let’s use the same questions I used to uncover the most potentially profitable processes. And then, let’s apply them to the kinds of customer and prospect data you have instead of sales models. These questions can be pulled over to your middleware review process to give you a quick-and-dirty ROI:

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  • Have I identified our most profitable target segments and is our current sales model the best way to reach them? This question changes to: Have I identified our most profitable data points in our marketing and sales platforms and figured out how to potentially use that data to reach our business goals – better and faster?
  • Is our cost of sales higher than it needs to be? This question becomes: Is the cost of having all of these silos of data, in retention or in prospect phases, higher than it needs to be?
  • Can we create a two- or three-tier model to add additional revenue?
  • Can we create a two- or three- tier model using middleware to ensure we capture all of our key data points for sales and marketing to react to as one?

You see where I am going with this. Take each of these questions and examine the costs of the siloed data against how well your sales and marketing teams can work together if these silos fell. You’ll find out pretty rapidly that your data transaction costs (the cost of each of your customer touch points being lost among your systems) are too high for your business to bear.

Gartner has a quadrant from 2015 for CRM Lead Management systems and a new one for 2016 outlining the magic quadrant for Digital Marketing hubs. I think that using these two papers together will help you see what data points will make your life easier if they are integrated for all of the sales and marketing “eyes” in your company.

But I also believe that any middleware choice you make had better be – first and foremost—a process-driven enabler of the kind of sales and marketing coherence that Chris Ryan outlines in his superb B2B Business Growth Playbook: How to Drive Sales/Marketing Fueled Gains . If you start there, you will have come far along on your journey to owning a tool that you can really use to grow your business.

Patty Tomsky

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