For one thing, it is almost impossible to develop a single piece of software that meets the disparate needs of an entire class of entrepreneurs. One that does would almost have to be so bloated as to be unmanageable, or else all members of the class would have the exact same needs, and would lose any competitive advantage that marketing automation might give them.
In this world, there are many things that go better together than on their own. Movies and popcorn, cookies and milk, the Beatles – just to name a few.
That’s also true for marketing automation software and CRMs, and while each can be a powerful tool on its own, when they’re integrated into a central database, they truly empower your marketing to deliver the utmost in customer care while giving you unparalleled insight into your audience.
Process Before Programs
Your most important step happens before you decide on a marketing automation platform or CRM, and that’s defining your goals.
With all the changes taking place in accounting technology, even small independent practitioners have an unprecedented opportunity to break through the clutter of day to day marketing and compete
First of all, let’s stop for a bit and look at the ways your sales and marketing efforts sync together? How can you improve on that, and what will your alignment process look like?
Sketch out your sales and marketing steps on a piece of paper to break through your mental barriers and spell out an organized sales and marketing integration strategy.
A marketing consultant can be a significant asset at point in your planning. Especially one who is versed in the differences between an accounting business model, an accountancy marketing strategy, and accountancy marketing tactics.
Pick Your Adviser Carefully
Not all matches are meant to be, and that’s true of marketing automation platforms and CRM’s.
Installing a CRM that has only a tenuous connection to your marketing automation software isn’t the same as a fully integrated system that’s designed to dovetail with the brand yoou’re using.
Because the technology is still relatively new, we’re seeing something like the Wild West era of computing in the early ‘90s when buyers had to know about their computers’ OS, graphics cards, sound cards, and other details just to install some simple accounting software.
[bctt tweet=”In the early days of accounting, ‘Plug and play’ was more of a suggestion than a realistic goal.
Before investing in new software or third-party workarounds, talk with a marketing automation consultant who has experience integrating sales software and CRM’s.
A marketing expert who is versed in online databases and who has worked with multiple platforms can give you important guidance in the early stages of integration before you’ve fully committed yourself and your resources to the new system.
Name Brands Matter
Fortunately, you’re fairly safe when matching brand-name systems. Digital Access Pass (DAP), for example, is a well-known name to online marketing developers; DAP supports most of the major ecommerce platforms without the need to invest in additional connectivity tools or handle some processes manually.
If you have a marketing automation platform you like, look for the CRMs that interface with it and pick the one that most closely aligns with your needs.
Autoe Response Plus Reach (ARPReach) works well with DAP and when the two are combined, you have have a bewildering array of options.
Work with your marketing automation consultant to narrow down your choices and find the pairing that’s best for your company.
From Communication to Integration
Here are some of the basics your centralized sales and marketing database should be able to handle from first-day integration:
- Synchronize data across platforms in real time
- Automate lead transfer from marketing to the CRM
- Define user fields so individual channels can personalize their messages
- Generate analytics based on data from both the CRM and the automation system
Over time, you and your marketing automation consultant will develop your own customized uses too, such as generating purpose-built reports and creating dashboards that highlight what’s most important for each team.
Native integration makes customization far easier, so investing in systems that play well with one another from the start is vital to long-term success.
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