Leverage Reporting in Your CRM Solution to Generate Buy-in for Marketing Automation

Shawn Naggiar, the Chief Revenue Officer at Act-On Software, wrote a great post for B2B Online today called Secrets to Getting Sales on Board with Marketing Automation.  He marketing automation-crm-reporting-highlights a few key ways to get your Sales team’s buy-in to using marketing automation.  His two main points are measure Marketing the same way you measure Sales and prove that your MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) are actually qualified by the same criteria that your Sales team uses and I completely agree.

The ability to quantify Marketing’s contribution to the Sales pipeline (and the entire demand generation pipeline) is critical for every marketer.  Put it this way: most Sales executives will say something like “if the response is not in salesforce.com (or whatever CRM system you use) then it does not exist”.  Marketers – the same is true for your campaigns.  If you are unable to track and measure your marketing programs with metrics that key stakeholders (i.e. your executive team and your counterparts in Sales) are interested in, for all intents and purposes your campaigns do not exist.  Yes, I realize this is just a bit of an overstatement, but it is not that far from the truth.  Without the ability to prove its contribution to revenue either by showing the amount of Sales Accepted responses or a campaign’s influence on opportunity creation or deal close Marketing will never be able to get complete support of its programs.

One thing I have found that really helps get buy-in from Sales for your marketing programs is having the ability to accurately report on how they are doing inside your CRM system (shameless plug that is exactly what Full Circle Insights does for salesforce.com – you can check out some of the metrics we can generate here if you are interested).  How likely is anyone on your Sales team to actually go into your marketing automation solution and check out how your campaigns are performing there?  If your company is anything like most of the business world then that probability is extremely low – however if you can provide important metrics (such as volume, conversion rates, velocity, campaign influence, etc.) inside of your CRM solution then Sales is much more likely to take them seriously because they can see concrete metrics in their environment, in the language they speak.

To be clear though if you aren’t measuring your marketing programs with the same scrutiny as your sales programs and you haven’t gotten Sales and Marketing on the same page with the qualified lead criteria this is still a bit of a moot point.  However almost all of our customers have shown an increased alignment between Sales and Marketing just due to the fact that they are measuring marketing programs inside of salesforce.com and thus using the same metrics across the entire demand generation pipeline.

The crux of the issue is that to truly get buy-in from your Sales and executive teams for spending thousands of dollars on a marketing automation solution (which is absolutely worth it) you have to be able to prove Marketing’s contribution to the bottom line – and it is much easier to do this if you measure it in your CRM system where every stakeholder believes in the numbers and can drill down to the details on every report.

Josh Rosenberg

About Josh Rosenberg

Josh earned his MBA from Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business in 2012 with a concentration in Marketing Management. Previously he worked in marketing at Zscaler, Inc. and is currently the Marketing Manager for Full Circle Insights.