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||October 2010, Issue 80|
CRM vs. Marketing Automation: Whose Side Are You On?
Q&A from A Roadmap for Integrated Sales and Marketing Automation (A More Productive Organization Is Within Reach, originally presented to October 5, 2010. View the on-demand Webinar.
In a live Webinar earlier this month, Gerry Murray, research manager for IDC CMO Advisory Service, reviewed the IDC Sales and Marketing Automation Framework. He explained how to quantify the need for alignment and covered the key points for implementation. You can view the on-demand Webinar at any time.
Gerry, along with Amy Bills, director of demand generation at Bulldog Solutions, answered some questions at the end of the event. Their responses are below, along with a few bonus questions they didn't have time to answer during the live event.
Gerry Murray, Research Manager, IDC: Once the flow of leads changes, and Sales understands that there’s a big difference in the quality of the leads they’re getting from Marketing, there is a much greater level of attention; Sales starts acting on them. It does take a little bit of time—Sales needs to see the proof in the pudding, they need to see the quality increase. If Sales can commit to giving you 2-4, even 6 weeks of activity to investigate some of these leads, and if they see they're starting to get some hits and some higher conversion rates, and that people are answering the phones and have a much higher level of interest when they are actually able to make contact, that's the point when the reputation of those Marketing-qualified leads starts to really go up.
Of course, Sales needs to understand that they need to participate in the process of getting through that transition period. Once they do that, there's some buy-in because they've put some effort in, and they have a vested interest in following up and making those leads work. The best method for Sales and Marketing to work together is to have Service Level Agreements. These would cover issues such as: managing lead scoring and distribution, timelines and protocols for Sales to contact MQLs, data integrity from Marketing to Sales and back (no re-entering Marketing-generated leads as Sales-generated, no holding opportunities out of the CRM until they are about to close), full funnel visibility (dashboards) for both sides, and more.
Question: How important is a proactive sales playbook in terms of delivering the right sales content at the right time to the reps, to help address the wasted content problem? And even to help Sales in their own adoption and acceptance of marketing automation?
Gerry Murray, IDC: Playbooks can play a very critical role, particularly since the playbook vendors can develop dynamic content depending on the lead itself. For example, if the lead comes over to Sales fully contextualized (we know what they have already learned based on their web activity), then the dynamic playbook gives Sales a to-do list for that lead. Sales playbooks can be a really effective tool for helping the sales team efficiently consume, and take action on, all of the leads that Marketing is generating.
Question: Is it better to move to a new CRM platform prior to moving ahead with a marketing automation system or does it matter which comes first?
Amy Bills, Bulldog Solutions: This is a question that came up recently at a conference I attended. It arose specifically around a situation in which a company already has a CRM system in place and was moving to another—early in the Webinar, Gerry even referenced that type of scenario.
The consensus of the discussion at that conference—which was attended by some very high-level marketers—was that if you are making a choice, CRM should come first. Perhaps because it's so much more visible to Sales, and you really need Sales buy-in and compliance for this to work.
Gerry Murray, IDC: In large enterprises the answer is yes. Marketing automation can be done independently but it is never optimal without a stable CRM with consistent data definitions and processes in place. Think of the CRM as the center of the sales and marketing automation universe—everything revolves around it. Smaller companies can green field the whole automation question more easily and simultaneously implement marketing and sales automation.
Question: How do you give the benefits of marketing automation to your partner channel? How do you make decisions about sharing contact and client data and preferences? What are the expectations around them sharing that information back? In other words, how do you enable your channel with marketing automation the way that you've enabled the corporation?
Gerry Murray, IDC: Partners are typically interested in programs as well as leads—but there is so much variability in partners' contracts that it is hard to generalize. One of the large IT companies I've spoken to recently has usage incentives for their partners: $100 coupons for registering users, another one for registering deals, another for providing the funnel information on a lead. This helps get the partner using the system, and eventually the coupons are no longer necessary. But you have to be sensitive to the fact that most partners, especially the larger ones, are being asked by every OEM company to use their system—another partner equals another system. It's not ideal from their perspective.
A lot of this comes back to your partner portal. You're not necessarily directly giving them access to everything in your marketing automation system, but you are providing that portal as a window that can be specifically filtered for the type of vendor, the qualifications they have, even the individual's role within that partner organization. If you really look at the requirements in that channel, and give very customized views into the lead-generation and campaign opportunities you have, you’ll get some buy-in and some pretty high usage rates.
I think you also need to make it obvious to your partner channel what additional functionality or visibility or opportunities they will have within that portal environment as they move up through the chain in your partner hierarchy.
Question: What are the benefits of a marketing automation platform compared to a CRM system with marketing capabilities?
Amy Bills, Bulldog Solutions: The well-known CRM systems do have "marketing capabilities"—Salesforce.com, which we use here at Bulldog and which many of our clients use, certainly does. But those, compared to the firepower of marketing automation platforms, are very limited in what they can do in terms of scalability and trackability. Large-scale, integrated demand-generation programs with multiple tactics feeding into a demand waterfall really require marketing automation.
Gerry Murray, IDC: I agree with that. Whether you need a separate marketing automation platform depends on the scale of your organization, campaigns, volumes of outbound marketing, complexity of your website, etc. Most larger companies require a separate system. Smaller/simpler marketing organizations, and certainly those focused more on branding and awareness than lead generation, may get along fine with the capabilities in their CRM system.
To watch the on-demand Webinar, A Roadmap for Integrated Sales and Marketing Automation (A More Productive Organization Is Within Reach), you can access the archive here.
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Original Q&A has been edited for clarity and consolidation.
Marketing Watchdog Journal is a monthly newsletter from Bulldog Solutions, an online marketing agency that changes the way BtoB companies define demand-generation strategy, engage prospects and convert leads to customers. We welcome your feedback on this newsletter's content and design, and encourage you to share your ideas for topics you would like us to cover in future issues. Please send your comments or questions about Bulldog Solutions to Amy Bills, director of demand generation.