Last week Jep Castelein (@jepc) of LeadSloth posted a great blogging entry entitled “Best CRM for Marketing Automation: Salesforce.com, Microsoft, or Oracle?” and explained pragmatically what you need to think about when making the move to a Marketing Automation platform. One of the most important questions he asked is “Should you look at Marketing Automation options first?” There’s at least one Marketing Automation vendor out there that says it’s a viable choice…
If you don’t already have a CRM platform in place, then you may want to think twice before simultaneously implementing both Marketing Automation and CRM. Not that it’s impossible, but it can be a very overwhelming task that will involve many resources in your enterprise, including Marketing, Sales, and inevitably at that scale, IT. From a change management perspective, it may be overly ambitious.
“Baby steps” may be the way to do it, and it may be prudent to start with the Marketing Automation first. Pardot, which is integrated with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite, and SugarCRM, still says you can use their platform independently before you make a CRM platform acquisition. This was mentioned in a previous blogpost, but it is important enough to mention again: you may get the Marketing Automation platform first, then once you’ve achieved success in increasing the number of qualified and converted leads, then you can justify the expense of a CRM system. CRM systems have more depth and can reach more stakeholders in an enterprise, so that may require more resources and a longer implementation schedule.
It’s easy for us immersed in the B2B marketing world to assume that everyone has a CRM platform already, but many businesses are still managing contacts through antiquated software like ACT!, Goldmine, or even generic business software tools like Excel spreadsheets, Outlook, Microsoft Access or even Filemaker Pro databases. So it might make sense to grab the “low hanging fruit” of a Marketing Automation platform before you make the CRM leap.
What do you think?