Eliminate duplicates; improve tracking and reporting through MA and CRM system alignment.
Magic mirror on the wall, when it comes to marketing leads, should my CRM have them all?
Managing the flow of leads to sales can be a delicate process. Send too many and sales can’t keep up; leads start to cool and the opportunity has passed. Send too few and sales is left to their own prospecting devices; buying lists and, more often than not, creating duplicates of leads marketing already has, but hasn’t yet qualified to send to sales.
With a mirrored database approach, marketers are able to maintain the balance in lead flow while reducing the issues that result from lead duplication. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of a mirrored database implementation between MA and CRM systems, and what you should consider when planning one.
The Case for Mirrored Databases
Nine times out of ten, when asked to troubleshoot an issue – a lead wasn’t scored properly, it wasn’t routed to the correct rep, marketing reporting isn’t matching sales reporting – we find that the underlying problem is lead duplication. Duplicates are created innocently enough, but can wreak havoc on even the best of systems if they go unmanaged. A mirrored approach can help mitigate the risk of negative impact by:
- Eliminating the creation of duplicate leads. Without a common database to work from, sales and marketing have no insight into who the other is engaging with. As each team
works to engage leads and generate opportunities, there are often duplicate efforts that lead to duplicate leads. Marketing may be engaging a particular lead through a nurture stream, while sales is cold calling into the account unaware the lead has downloaded a couple of offers. Once the marketing lead is qualified, a “new” MQL is sent to sales, only to be rejected because they are “already engaged,” impacting conversion tracking and reporting attribution.
- Improving end-to-end lead tracking. Multiple lead records make it nearly impossible to accurately score a lead, especially when it comes to interest behaviors. In the majority of cases, the marketing lead will carry the cookie, meaning all website visits, email clicks, or form submissions are tracked against that lead record. Any sales activities like BANT data value changes, lead conversion, or being added to an opportunity, would be tracked against the sales record. And without the connection to the lead that has been converted and is working through the different stages of the sales process, marketing is unable to get a complete view of the quality and conversion of the leads they generate.
- Increasing report accuracy. Different databases will yield different results, no matter how many filters are added to target the right group of leads. Throw duplicates on top of that, and the chances of getting a 100% accurate report are pretty slim. Lead conversion reports look like everything is sourced from sales, or that marketing-generated leads are not converting. Segmentation counts are off; one record could qualify based on one set of criteria, while the duplicate qualifies based on another set. And the struggle continues, with sales and marketing bringing different views of the same data – as well as entirely different data – into calculations for overall success.
With a mirrored database implementation between your MA and CRM systems, the typical duplication situation plays out much differently. When prospecting, the sales rep has access to the marketing lead and takes ownership of the existing lead, continuing to work off the same record, eliminating any breakage in the activity tracking and creating an end-to-end view of the record for more accurate reporting. Creating alignment between the MA and CRM system requires a process that can push newly created marketing leads into the CRM system, without impacting the overall flow of leads to sales.
- Allow marketing to be a lead owner in the CRM. This might be a departure from the norm if leads are assigned as to sales as soon as they enter the CRM. In a mirrored setup, as new leads are generated by marketing they will be synced to the CRM – typically through a centralized lifecycle program – and will need a holding owner until the lead is further qualified for sales. A Marketing Queue is the ideal temporary owner, as sales can easily filter the queue out of their lead views and, when prospecting, can easily take ownership of the lead as they continue the qualification and sales process.
- Reassign queued leads as score thresholds are met. In the mirrored model, all leads regardless of score will be in the CRM. At the time of entry in the CRM, the lead will be assigned
– in this case to the Marketing Queue – and typically will not be reassigned unless a workflow in the CRM is triggered. Within the MA system, instead of triggering the sync at the point when a lead becomes AQL/MQL, a reassignment flag would be set to “true” and that would start the process in the CRM so the existing marketing-owned lead – with all its history – will be reassigned to the proper sales rep. Marketing can then send an alert or create a task for the appropriate lead owner.
- Maintain system performance by only sharing essential information. While sharing the leads themselves between systems is key to making a mirrored model work, that doesn’t mean that all the pieces of data between the two systems should be shared. Doing so could significantly impact system performance and cause sync backlogs. Marketing may need a view into a lead’s BANT information collected by sales and opportunities, but perhaps they don’t need all of the specifics around forecast or billing. Sales may want to understand a lead’s overall score and milestone activities, but they may not need to know every time a lead was simply sent an email as a part of a nurture program.
Utilizing mirrored databases enables marketing and sales to achieve tighter alignment, ensuring that the right leads are being engaged with in the right way based on where they are in the buyer’s journey. It helps create greater efficiency between the teams and is certainly something to consider if duplicates – and all the issues that stem from them – are impacting your automation efforts.
Next time, DemandGen CRM expert Augusto Bisda will break down the benefits and considerations of a mirrored database from the sales operations point of view.
Nova Kopitar is a demand generation expert, specializing in results-focused lead management, nurturing, and scoring. As a DemandGen Account Director, she works closely with clients in areas including program alignment, nurture development, relationship management, resource planning, reporting and more. She is Marketo Business Certified and Technical Certified.