By Brian Hansford, Heinz Marketing Director & Marketing Automation Practice Lead
working together

“A river doesn’t stop flowing just because it hits a territorial border on a map.” ~me

Here’s a common mid-market B2B scenario: It’s time for the end of month or the end of quarter reports.  The VP of Marketing goes to the marketing automation administrator or analyst and requests the latest dashboard of results.  On the other side of the floor the VP of Sales does the same with the CRM administrator.

Both administrators are segregated and isolated from working together. After a week of slicing and dicing the data that looks back on results, both VPs meet with the CEO and CFO to review the news.  And both reports conflict with each other on data, definitions, results, and what the future looks like.  The CEO, as usual, is frustrated as hell and the CFO doesn’t know who to believe.

This scenario really isn’t that far off.

Here are common contributing factors for the pain:

Marketing and Sales do not have shared definitions of leads, pipeline stages, etc.

The marketing automation and CRM platforms may be integrated, but the flow of data is limited and prevents a complete analytical story from emerging

The CRM and marketing automation administrator don’t talk to each and report on the same data points from their platforms only


Here are my recommendations for growing out of this problem:

Develop shared definitions
It’s 2013 and time for Marketing and Sales VP’s and managers to stop bickering over what leads and opportunities are!

The Right Systems and Integration
Companies are getting better at integrating platforms like Salesforce CRM and Eloqua or Marketo marketing automation.  Keep the flow of critical KPI’s data open for synchronization between the CRM and marketing automation platforms.  Islands of information isolate data in a manner that creates an incomplete and inaccurate analysis.

Let the CRM and Marketing Automation administrators collaborate
This is the most important part! I have long professed that people are the most important factors for any marketing automation initiative.  When a marketing analyst is reporting only on marketing automation data and the sales analyst is reporting on CRM data, the story is incomplete.  Marketing and sales is a business process, like it or not.  Leads come in and flow and grow into revenue and customer relationships between Marketing and Sales.

I’m sure there is someone reading that is screaming “but even in an ideal world the systems don’t report what we need!”  I agree!  Not all marketing automation platforms have equal capabilities in reporting and analytics.  And Salesforce CRM is notoriously weak in reporting critical items like full campaign attribution! The point I want to emphasize that analysis done in isolation leads to limited analysis.  The CRM administrator/analyst and the Marketing Automation administrator/analyst need to collaborate.  And executives need to support them.

How do you encourage collaborative analysis? What challenges do you face?