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Better to use one combined CRM and Marketing Automation system or 2 separate best of breed tools?

CRM and marketing automation are critical tools for my media/marketing organization. We've been using a tool that offers both marketing automation and CRM but the maker doesn't pay much attention to their CRM component. They were and are a marketing automation tool first and foremost (and not that great in that regard, either). Hubspot is a possible alternative. They now offer a CRM tool, too. Is it a mistake to switch to another allegedly integrated solution? Or better to just find two best of breed solutions that can interoperate?

9 Replies

Gary May
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Gary May Advisor
Founder and President of Interactive Marketing and Consulting Services (IM@CS)
If you want good results, go good for both. Integrated usually means something falls a little behind. There are industry-specific exceptions however all software companies lack somewhere (development, integration, data feeds, etc.) We see that a lot in automotive...
Matt Filios
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Matt Filios Entrepreneur • Advisor
Growth Catalyst
Hi Andrew,
Great question, and one that many organizations grapple with. The recent crossover of sales and marketing technologies and the want/need of customers to have one platform, and more importantly "one throat to choke" is leading people to look at the all-in-one solution. Many of them fall short, however, as just as you described; they started as a marketing automation tool then added CRM, or vice versa.

The truth is that they are very different systems, for very different personnel in your organization. To find a vendor that truly focuses on both the sales and the marketing needs from a technology side is very rare. Getting into vendor names you have companies such as Oracle who acquired Eloqua a few years ago (and lost most of it's key personnel), Salesforce who acquired ExactTarget/Pardot (and is running into similar issues I understand), and Hubspot who actually started as a CMS tool and has added some marketing automation and some CRM to it's platform now.

For my money, Andrew, I want a best-of-breed (coupled) solution. If that's something like Net-Results, Act-On or Marketo coupled with a Salesforce.com, Sugar or NetSuite so be it. But I want my marketers to feel good about the tool they have just as much as my sales team does with theirs.

Hope that helps.
Jeff McKay
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Jeff McKay Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO, Prudent Pedal | Marketing strategy and effectiveness for professional services firms
Andrew, what system are you on now?
Gopi Mattel
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Gopi Mattel Advisor
Director, Chennai Area at The Founder Institute
We are using salesforce,com and Act-ON in combination. Happy with both of them.
Bob Smith
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Bob Smith Advisor
Consulting to Boards, CEO's and Key Management Teams, Strategic Investor and Fast Growth Companies
I live in Las Vegas and attend CES every year. There is an interesting integrated Suite by a company called Talygen. www.talygen.com and they won PC Magazine CES Product of the year in 2014 (and I think 2015).

The cost per seat seems incredibly reasonable and customers can track fulfillment of Projects or Orders for free. I think separate and integrated products push each other. Individual packages have to push their innovation to differentiate. Integrated packages have to pace and incorporate useful features. It seems like a healthy friction.
Andrew Dietz
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Andrew Dietz Entrepreneur
President at Creative Growth Group
Thanks, all, for very helpful responses. I realize this is an age-old challenge and the best solution is probably situation specific though, I suspect that for point solutions to survive they have to be superior in their specialization. The one-stop shop sure is tempting but don't think I can let this company make the same mistake twice.

BTW, this is the first time I've posted on FD and I'm encouraged by the support.
Best,
Andrew
Douglas Karr
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Douglas Karr Entrepreneur
CEO, DK New Media and CMO, CircuPress
Quite honestly, I don't think it's an accurate question because 'best of breed' depends on what breed you need. Your budget, internal resources, supporting systems, marketing talent... all will impact what the best actually is. I joke that selling these systems is like selling refrigerators to starving people. It doesn't actually fix the problem, it's just a place to houses and automates the 'food' to nurture your leads. My recommendation would be to map out internal systems, human resources, IT resources, goals, skills, and then analyze each platform based on its ability to match your needs. Implementing the best system and not fully leveraging it will destroy your chances for success.
Efrain Gerard Benavides
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CRM Functional/Solution Architect, Project Manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions
Depends on the corporate culture, weather Sales lead and drive marketing efforts...or the other way around...whatever the situation, management perhaps should look at marketing and sales collectively as a single business process, with a ROI in mind. The goal is to reduce the cost of qualified leads and customer acquisition. We should be aware that this goal isn't the same as "shorten sales cycles," because the point is to obtain the sales cycle with the best business yield-which isn't necessarily the shortest one. In team work, during design efforts, is recommended to maximize customer life-cycle profitability, not simply "get more sales." with better CRM tools.
Diverse lead sources (tradeshows and conferences, webinars, event, internet advertising, Google adwords, SEO, email marketing, etc) should be integrated into a single source for cohesive CRM (for instance, Salesforce) and marketing campaigns (perhaps residing in existing apps like Pardot), which allow easier campaign integration and optimization efforts.

Not a good integration with CRM?

Then you will have:

oNo 360o view of customers, no intelligent assignation of salespeople to leads
o no segmentation, nor adequate pipeline management in place...
oLimited use of analytics to understand and analyze sales performance and campaign management issues

The lack of a coherent sales methodology is an important point to visualize to integrate Sales and Marketing processes....all groups should agree about a harmonized sales model template...

Cheers!
Ahmed Sorour
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Ahmed Sorour Entrepreneur
Agile/DevOps Coach @ Target, Cofounder @ RevampCRM

Disclaimer: I am Co-founder and CTO @RevampCRM.

You are on the right track to consider one system for both marketing automation and Sales CRM. There are systems out there (not many) that allow you to intertwine sales and marketing pipelines. Revamp CRM and Agile CRM are good examples.

In its core, Revamp CRM allows you to automate segmentation, sales, and marketing under one roof. This enables you to notify or create tasks for your staff according to your lead/customer response to your marketing emails. Workflows also can update lead scores and send other emails. This kind of intertwined automation enables you to set lead nurturing on cruise control. It basically let you send relevant messages on a timely manner.

With the powerful integration to Invoicing and help desk systems such as Harvest, Freshbooks, Zendesk, HelpDesk and Zopim, you create a work flow that send emails and notify or create tasks for your team to act accordingly based on data coming from these systems as well as your notes, tags etc...

Dynamic and automated segmentation is your best friend to streamline most of your business scenarios.

In addition to the above, it comes integrated with 25+ business tools (Invoicing, helpdesk, chat, web forms, survey systems, etc...). It has open APIs so you can customize and extend based on your business needs. It also comes with:

- A well-integrated Gmail app that brings you contact info and notes from the CRM into your Gmail inbox and allows you to include Gmail communications into the contact profile in your CRM account.

- A Lead Clipper Chrome extension that lets you extract contact info from many web pages (LinkedIn etc...) into your CRM account.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

Wish you the best in your CRM hunt :)

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