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There are lots of questions to answer as you consider what sort of marketing automation platform to connect to your CRM system, but one question that’s often overlooked is how will you implement the software? Will the process be painful or easy? And what do you need to know about that process before you sign a contract?
As you move into the final buying stage, here are a few questions that can ultimately guide your decision-making process and ensure you buy a marketing automation platform that can achieve your goals:
How Does the Marketing Automation Platform Connect to Microsoft Dynamics?
Some marketing automation platforms are reliant entirely on Microsoft Dynamics to function, meaning that your marketing users will likely need to log into Microsoft Dynamics in order to use their marketing automation platform. From a security standpoint, IT teams tend to like this approach because they can easily control who does and doesn’t have access to the marketing automation platform, but it also puts your marketing team at risk of downtime (from Dynamics), can significantly increase your Dynamics licenses costs, and means that your marketing team could have a difficult time separating Marketing Qualified Leads from Sales Qualified Leads in Dynamics—which could lead to conflict with the sales team.
On the other side of that coin, some marketing automation platforms offer just a surface-level integration that connects only standard fields (and not any custom Dynamics fields that may be important to your business). For some integrations like this, you may have to figure in the cost of a third-party tool that sends data back and forth or custom work on the Dynamics side to make the integration work at a level you’re looking for.
There are marketing automation platforms that sit somewhere in between as well—the emfluence Marketing Platform, for example, can be accessed via a browser or from within Microsoft Dynamics and allows for custom field integrations (as well as standard fields). You would also want to know if it’s possible to integrate to Custom Entities, if you have them—not many standalone platforms can do this.
With any of these scenarios, another important question to ask is how will the sales team get Leads and/or Contacts into the right lists? Every platform will handle this differently, so be sure to document how the one you pick will do this so that you can ensure your sales and marketing teams are in alignment.
Who Needs to be Involved in the Marketing Automation Implementation?
It’s easy for workplaces to get stuck in silos, but integrating your marketing automation platform to your CRM system requires getting sales, IT, and marketing on the same page. Depending on your use cases, you may want to additionally include your HR and/or recruitment teams and your customer success teams as well. You’re looking for:
- What skills are required to implement this software tool? Who has those skills internally, and who do we need to contract externally?
- Who needs to be a user of the marketing automation platform? What level of access does each user need? How is access/permissions controlled in the marketing automation platform?
- What use cases does the marketing team have mapped out? What data fields will they need to make these use cases happen? Do they need workflows or Flows or other development to facilitate automation?
- Who’s in charge of training? The marketing automation software company? An IT provider, like a Microsoft Partner? Self guided?
- What’s in your existing marketing automation platform that needs to be migrated? Who will be in charge of migration?
Once you have your marketing automation platform integrated to Dynamics, ask the following questions about how the software will be continuously maintained:
- Who will be in charge of continuous updates?
- Who will handle support requests?
- How are feature requests handled?
- Who will be alerted about product updates?
- What if you need additional training or marketing help?
- Who owns the relationship with the marketing automation provider?
The Full Migration Guide for Software to Software
After you document and outline the logistics of selecting the right marketing automation platform for Microsoft Dynamics for your company, be sure to check out our full migration guide for implementing a new marketing automation platform here.