Gaining a complete 360-degree view of your prospects and customers is essential for today’s top marketers. This is often achieved by a combination of technology systems that include CRM and marketing automation.
Since there’s usually not one specific “all in one” technology that works for all organizations, integration of your key business apps becomes critical. Integration between a CRM such as Salesforce and marketing automation tool such as Pardot essentially marries the data and ensures users in both systems can access the data they need. Businesses with successful integration strategies turn that data into meaningful reports to help find, win, grow and keep customers.
Integration can be a major hurdle, however, depending on the internal capabilities and resource capacity of the business. Read on for a list of helpful tips on Salesforce and Pardot integration.
1. Start with strategic goals
Think about the business problems you want to solve with integrated sales and marketing systems. What is your current vs. desired state? Write these goals down and be as specific and measureable as possible. Six months post implementation, having written goals will help you determine your quantitative and qualitative ROI and what your focus should be for further improvement.
When considering your goals and strategy, make sure to answer the 4 W’s (and 1 H):
- Who needs the data?
- What data do they need?
- When do they need it?
- Where will the data sit?
- How will users access it?
2. Consider Your Salesforce Roadmap and Pardot Roadmap
Many businesses mistakenly set off on Salesforce without a strategic plan or Salesforce Roadmap. These sames businesses likely didn’t conduct a thorough discovery of their needs, goals, plans and challenges. This leads to poor or incomplete requirements, which delays or prevents accurate system configuration.
In the software world, Roadmapping has always been an important process to guide the evolution of the product. With new cloud software, it’s even more critical to build a solid strategy considering how fast new features are often developed. A strategic product roadmap will define the current vs. desired state and guide the organization along a journey.
While a Salesforce Roadmap will explain how the platform will be leveraged for sales and marketing and beyond, the Pardot Roadmap will help your team plan for deeper implementation as new features are released and organizational needs changes. You should revisit your Roadmap at least every six months.
3. Recognize the source of truth
Businesses need to determine the “system of record” for each type of data. The system of record is the authoritative data source for a given data element or piece of information. Clearly define in writing which application serves as the system of record for each data field so that it can be considered the source of truth.
If you’re integrating Pardot with Salesforce, you’re in good hands since Salesforce offers the most integration friendly CRM on the market (Sales Cloud). We recommend keeping the CRM as the system of record and building your other solutions such as marketing automation, configure-price-quote (CPQ), project management, accounting and more from the CRM.
Recognizing the source of truth as Salesforce CRM means information entered in spreadsheets, emails or other ad-hoc storage system will not be recognized as the source of truth. In fact, we always recommend all data that can be stored in Salesforce or other system reside in Salesforce.
If sales and marketing teams are still using spreadsheets or other method to manage data, that’s a red flag you need to revisit system requirements and configure your system accordingly.
You also may have different fields that are a record of source in the system but other fields that are controlled in a read-only format in another system. That has to be mapped and accounted for in the integration.
4. Identify data that needs to pass through
Identifying customer data that needs to pass between systems can be one of the biggest challenges with integration. In addition to sales and marketing data that may be stored in a system such as Salesforce, organizations may need one or more of the following for a complete 360-degree customer view: quotes, proposals, project status, order status, invoices, cash receipts, customer service records and costing for products or services sold.
When considering the data you want to integrate early in your implementation, start small. Identify the key fields required to segment your marketing lists for your initial campaigns such as buyer personas, geographic locations, company size, industry and lifecycle stage. Also consider the reports you will need to report on marketing ROI, which will help you define the data needed to get those reports.
Similarly, realize that early on, not all data needs to pass to all people. In fact, this will clutter your system and possibly decrease data quality and user adoption. You might also consider that new data fields may need created or existing data fields need changed to fulfill the objectives of what your team wants to do with that data. For example, your sales team can’t call on all prospects in the state of California if your marketing team doesn’t classify leads by state.
5. Identify data quality issues as early as possible
If you haven’t yet, this is a good time to make friends with your Salesforce Administrator. Strong data quality and Salesforce adoption is extremely critical when implementing a marketing automation system. In order for automation rules, segmentation rules, dynamic lists and reporting to work properly, the system relies on the data usually created and edited by sales reps. If they aren’t updating data fields accurately and consistently, you won’t be able to grab all the contacts that meet certain criteria.
Your data quality, as well as monthly login rate, should be at least 80% or higher in order to have good confidence in the rules and reports you’re running in Pardot. Consider installing a data quality app such as Data Quality Analysis Dashboards and ensure your sales team understands how the data will be used. Work with your Salesforce Administrator to identify data quality and adoption issues early so the data can be cleansed and maintained properly moving forward.
6. Realize there’s no magic bullet
There’s no one sales and marketing integration recipe that works for all organizations. No two organizations are completely alike – they have different processes, people, technologies, challenges and other nuances. Ultimately the system needs to work for your users so you need to consider their unique needs and build a plan accordingly.
7. Lean on your support system
Integration isn’t easy – you must develop a game plan for success and it’s a major challenge for organizations without the resources to develop, implement and support integration.
That’s when it’s helpful to enlist skilled integration specialists and developers who partner with the apps you want to integrate. When you hire the right Salesforce Integration team, you gain access to experts who have completed similar integrations and can reach your objective more efficiently and effectively.