Change is the only constant, right? So for whatever reason, companies sometimes choose to migrate from one marketing automation system to another. Perhaps System A plays more nicely with their CRM, or System B’s functionality fits their needs better, or their campaign execution users prefer System C’s interface. Sometimes—and DemandGen has worked on several migrations where this was the case—it’s more of a “re-migration” situation than a true migration: the MA system in place has had several owners and lots of confusion, so we need to “push the reset button,” clean up the mess, and put everything back in the right place.
Whether you are moving Eloqua to Marketo, or Marketo to Eloqua, moving any MA to any other MA, or performing a reset, here are five key questions that you should answer for yourself up front, to make the process much less stressful and ultimately more successful.
Question #1: How is website and form integration going to work?
- Some forms are integrated via an API from the website into Marketo or Eloqua; can you simplify that by doing direct http posts (especially in Eloqua) directly to the forms?
- If moving to Marketo, you need to consider what API connections need to be set up to push data into form objects within Marketo from your website: unless it’s a native Marketo form, connections have to go through the Marketo API.
- Do you want to replace client-side forms on your website with native Eloqua or Marketo hosted forms? In terms of functionality, an MA-hosted form can be more easily changed or styled by the marketing team at a later date. Otherwise, you need the web team to put the actual forms (or any connection that isn’t directly to a native form) in place on the website, and then you need to integrate them via an outside connection.
Question #2: How will data cleansing and normalization processes function within the MA system?
- Think about the system architecture that allows for data to be matched and updated within the MA system, once it enters via form or list upload. All systems have their advantages and disadvantages in this area, so I won’t go into too many technical details, but data cleansing and normalization are topics that every marketer should take into consideration, but very seldom does!
- Consider to what degree you are going to depend on data normalization to make sure, for example, that lead scoring runs correctly, or that updates in the CRM and MA are done efficiently. If you are not going to do data normalization, then it’s especially important that clean data comes in. (More on this in Question #5.)
- Don’t bring dirty data over; take the opportunity to improve the quality of your data as part of the migration. I suggest doing a one-time data cleansing or appending service with a vendor like StrikeIron or ReachForce or Leadspace before you connect to the new MA system.
Question #3: Do you need extended support for custom data?
- Do you need to perform filtering, segmentation tasks, and data augmentation inside the MA system?
- How are you going to bring in data from objects such as opportunities, campaigns, ERP integrations (products, invoicing)? Are you going to be able to use the native architecture of the MA system, or do you need to leverage some sort of cloud connector, app or custom integration via FTP, etc. for queries based on non-native data?
- Whether or not you need to support custom data right now, do make sure to consider the issue up front, so that you don’t end up later with a system that can’t do something that you need it to do.
Question #4: How will your MA system connect to your CRM?
- Think about the degree to which you leverage the lead versus the contact objects in your CRM. How controlled is your account object architecture and the sales record creation capabilities in the CRM?
- Do you require unique leads or a point-of-interest configuration where every single form submission is a separate lead? What will happen if there is already a contact, and the system creates a lead anyway? (Some companies use that approach to keep track of additional sales cycles, especially with contacts that have gone dormant and are to be reengaged later.)
- Also, think about certain processes within your CRM—lead record vs. contact records and how they are used by your organization. Are specific updates or mappings to either of these objects needed (especially as not all MA platforms treat them the same way)?
Question #5: How will data be routed from the MA and displayed in the CRM?
- Migration is a good time to think about cleaning up your field set. A few ideas to consider:
- Which fields do you really need in the MA and the CRM, or can you get rid of some fields?
- Can you display data in a cleaner format, since you’re reconfiguring anyway? How about normalizing data in order to create a better data structure, like moving text fields to standardized pick lists?
- Enhanced integration between your website and the MA system will make new data available. Do you need to make changes to your lead assignment and/or routing rules to take advantage of that data?
- Your routing will become more efficient and effective for your sales organization. Do you want to make any changes in display of data in the CRM, using tools as Eloqua Discover or Marketo Sales Insight? Make allowances for any display changes or page layout changes within the CRM, based on new data and new tools and make sure that you’ve contracted with your respective MA provider for the right licensing in advance.
Bonus Question: I have enough to do already! Why should I add more tasks to my migration project?
Though it may seem like too much, taking these issues on as part of your migration project truly will make things easier! Take advantage of the opportunity to address topics like integration, data normalization, custom data support, and routing before your system is set in stone, rather than later on when any changes have to be made to a live system. Give yourself enough time with system provisioning, and overlap with your previous system so that you can give these points the attention they deserve. A well-planned approach multiplies the efficiency and thus ROI you can gain through leveraging your new MA system.
Drew Noel is a highly experienced consultant in marketing automation, revenue performance management, and CRM integration project management. As a DemandGen Account Director, he provides expertise in ongoing best practices around demand generation, campaign execution, and ways for DemandGen clients to better leverage marketing automation to achieve their goals.