Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) are like peanut butter and jelly–they’re just better when they’re together. So what is a marketer to do when your MAP provider announces they are no longer going to support integration to your CRM?
Think this wouldn’t happen? Think again. It just has for the thousands of customers using Pardot in 2017 saw their CRM integrations retired, including those using SugarCRM. Today, Pardot only features a connector for Salesforce requiring a workaround with APIs.
If you are using Pardot with a non-supported CRM (also know as anything other than Salesforce), important functionality requires working with the API or hoping your CRM includes integration.
So what are the options for Pardot users?
Pardot actually suggests manually importing data periodically. They obviously didn’t check with a marketer first though as the whole point of marketing automation is to streamline and automate processes. Their suggestion is to build an integration – but that’s only feasible if you have deep pockets and lots of time, APIs require constant testing to make sure it’s the right fix.
But wait, why would you want to work on a platform that only integrates with one thing easily? Isn’t it important that you can use what works best for your business and not what’s best for your vendor?
Instead, a more efficient option for marketers who recognize the value of marketing automation and are on a tight budget is to switch marketing automation providers. Let’s face it, in most companies the marketing team’s needs are usually secondary to the sales team. Convincing the sales and customer success organizations at your company to switch CRMs just so your MAP can be natively integrated is likely going to be an uphill battle, but it’s not impossible. (If you think you need a new CRM too, here’s a tool to help you get started!)
But what if you decided to switch your marketing automation platform instead?
Switching your marketing automation platform to one that natively integrates with your CRM sounds like an easier alternative right? But simply passing data easily between sales and marketing isn’t the only piece of functionality that matters. Here are a few more reasons you should consider a switch.
- More Support – Small and mid-size teams don’t always have the bandwidth or expertise to make sure the marketing automation platform is humming. Whether it is simply the ability to call a technical support rep to get instructions on how to do something or working with a marketing expert to figure out the best strategy to accomplish objectives, companies should choose a provider that partners with them to ensure they find value.If you think about what it takes to be successful, it is so much more than the technology you choose. Do you have the people, skills, and processes to generate more leads, streamline campaigns, and prioritize follow up? Marketing tools alone can not solve this for you. Consider selecting something more than software as a service and look for software WITH a service. This can be the best way to ensure you take full advantage of a platform.
- Save Money – Depending on what you are currently paying for Pardot, you can probably find a comparable solution in functionality but pay less for it like Sugar Market. Look for something that includes the features you need and doesn’t charge more for additional users.
- Have Sales Engage More – Allowing your salespeople to track engagement of emails they send is a huge benefit. However, Pardot makes you pay extra for evers ales user you have. Instead, evaluate solutions that offer unlimited users and sales engagement without an additional fee.
4 questions to ask the provider when considering alternatives to Pardot
- What is your Sync time between systems?
Real-time or near real-time updates are ideal. They ensure behavioral-based nurture campaigns are timely and most importantly, sales can quickly act on leads. Some MAPs write overall lead, contact, and account information when they sync. It is ideal to work with a MAP that is able to do a delta sync, meaning they can only bring down changes from the CRM.
- Can custom fields in the CRM be mapped to the MAP?
Your CRM likely has some custom fields in it. Making sure that you can map that information to your marketing automation is crucial for creating customized campaigns. The best scenario is to fully replicate the database structure of your CRM inside the MAP to provide seamless matching of all out-of-the-box and custom fields. Essentially, it’s ideal to exactly mirror the CRM rather than using a third-party middleware tool to connect the two systems or have limited functionality with a MAP that only integrates with the out-of-the-box CRM fields.
- Is it an out-of-the-box solution or do you need middleware to integrate the systems?
You are in this whole mess because Pardot doesn’t support a native integration to your CRM. So the last thing you want to do is jump to another solution that doesn’t have native integrations with your CRM or the other major CRMs your company may switch to down the road. Middleware is a third party that enables the top systems to communicate and pass data between each other. However, middleware introduces another variable for the potential misalignment when syncing and can become out of date when there are changes made to either system. It can also add additional costs that you don’t need to take on.
- How do we transition from one platform to yours?
You may be a very independent and capable individual but there is no need to go it alone when transitioning solutions. Look for a provider that works with you to ensure a smooth switch. Ask them what the plan is to transition including timeline as well as how the tasks will be divided between your teams.
The ultimate goal of a MAP is to simplify your life as a marketer. But when your provider decides to dump your CRM, is your life really being simplified? It may be time to switch. And while the process may be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be scary. Take a look at this set of resources on switching marketing automation platforms guide to understand exactly what it takes to make the move.