In this post we give you the second chapter of our Marketing Automation Mistakes eBook. Missed the first chapter? Read Chapter 1.  here.

Marketing automation and customer relationship management systems (CRM) are complimentary tools and help to keep sales and marketing teams connected, so it’s crucial they work well together. Without integrating your marketing automation software and your CRM, your data can only be kept up to date through manual input, which let’s face it, no-one has the time for., An up to date CRM system that is updated automatically with activity both from your company or by the lead will help sales teams to prioritise hot or warm leads that are more likely to result in a sale, which keeps everyone happy.

Marketing automation helps you to follow up when prospects and leads complete top-of-the-funnel activities, such as website visits, opening emails, filling out a form, or reading your blog. Marketers can use automation software to schedule and track marketing campaigns of all shapes and sizes, from targeted email campaigns, through to social or even database wide mass communications. These stats are packed full of insight, helping your marketing efforts to go much further.

How are CRM systems and Marketing Automation different from each other?

Customer relationship management is a strategy for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers as well as potential customers. A common assumption is that Marketing Automation software and CRM software are the same thing; but they’re not. The main difference between the two types of software is that CRM is sales-focused, whilst Marketing automation is marketing-focused. Naturally there is some overlap, both teams and types of software are complimentary to help each other reach the same end goal.

The importance of integrating your CRM with Marketing Automation

When it comes to integrating Marketing Automation platforms and CRM systems, a common mistake is not having a bi-directional link between the two., This means your CRM system can’t talk to your marketing automation platform and your marketing automation platform can’t talk to your CRM system. How does the integration actually work? Most CRM and marketing automation software provides an integration and external access to the database using an Application Programming Interface (API). An API will allow an external system to access and use services of the connected system, such as allowing a marketing automation platform to access a specific lead’s data from the CRM system and add it to a campaign.

Having bi-directional communication is vital, this way valuable information will be replicated in each system, logging, when a visitor fills out a landing page form etc. Likewise, if contact details are amended in your CRM, these details should be updated in your marketing automation software – if they are linked this will happen automatically. It goes without saying that inaccurate contact information will do nothing for your prospecting or sales pipeline. The sharing of information between these two systems is crucial to understanding your lead and customer behaviour, which will in turn influence and refine your marketing strategy. Your sales team will benefit from knowing which content has been downloaded, which webpages have been viewed before making sales calls. This information can be used by marketing teams to create more relevant content and trigger marketing automation activities such as follow up emails to support the sales efforts.

8 common CRM mistakes:

    1. Trying to use one system for the two different purposes – CRM and marketing automation software are completely different technologies but when paired together, they offer a powerful, closed-loop customer and prospect engagement process.
    2. Not having a clear set of rules to define the lead qualifying process- A common problem between sales and marketing is poor lead quality, using the data gathered via a marketing automation system, marketers can score and grade leads so that only the most qualified leads are passed onto to sales. Once the leads reach a threshold score and grade they are moved into the CRM and will be automatically assigned to sales reps, a good integration between the systems cuts down the manual processes and ensures that lead assignment it fair, effective and efficient.
    3. Not agreeing with what defines a qualified lead – If your marketing team delivers leads that they think are qualified but really shouldn’t be classed as leads (i.e. leads that meet your targeting criteria, but don’t have to intent to make a purchase), the sales team will waste a lot of time reaching out to people who aren’t interests and wont convert; The next time you send them leads, they won’t. A shared definition is important, it means that your marketing team can better align their efforts with the needs of the sales team, and subsequently with revenue goals.
    4. Synchronising the whole marketing database with the CRM – Don’t make the mistake of synchronising every contact in your automation system into your CRM, this will only clutter up your CRM. Leads should stay in your automation system up until they have reached the threshold score and are qualified.
    5. Not agreeing targets – Sales and marketing need to be on the same page as one another, set goals to create agreements between the two traditionally disputing teams. Harmonious sales and marketing alignment can be achieved by creating a Service level agreement (SLA), that each team commits to in order to support the other. The tools that are used make performance very visible, so it is critical to set expectations. The sales side of the SLA defines the speed and depth of the follow-up for marketing-generates leads, and generates a numerical target. Your marketing department should also have a concrete goal in order to drive strategy and reporting, a numerical marketing goal that aligns with the sales team mentality; by signing up for a similar goal it shows that marketing is being held accountable just like sales, and feels the same pressure to hit that target.
    6. Not modelling the customer journey – The sales process needs to reflect the sales organisation’s business strategy, but also be aligned with the customers buying journey; The CRM should line up with both of these. We shouldn’t make the mistake of letting sales reps make their own assumptions on how close a deal is to closing, this process should be automated on a pre-defined and agreed upon process, without knowing where your prospects are in the buying journey, how can you offer them the help and support they need?
    7. Not using marketing automation to support sales – Automation helps sales to contribute to strategy significantly. It will be consistently updating prospect’s behaviour; and alerting your sales when it’s the right time to contact a lead, these behavioural-based alerts help to decrease lead response time (the time taken to follow up with inbound leads after they convert on your site). Triggered based emails will also familiarise the lead with receiving emails from a sales representative, which will then position the sales rep as an educational resource.
    8. Not passing leads back to marketing if the contact doesn’t become a customer – A huge missed opportunity is not sending ‘dead’ leads back to marketing, don’t let the relationship between the lead and your company go to waste, just because the lead wasn’t ready for the sales team. The information about why the lead didn’t’ close along with the ‘dead’ lead should be passed back to the marketing team, to then decide whether it is worth recycling the name back into the nurturing funnel, or allocating it as a target for future re-engagement campaigns. Consider directing a lead re-engagement campaign to target the leads that have been untouched by the sales team for a certain period of time, or marked as ‘closed-lost’ by the sales team.

To learn more about the common Marketing Automation Misconceptions, why not download our tip sheet below:


marketing automation misconceptions