What to Look For In Marketing Automation, Part 3: Databases and CRM Integration

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If you’re contemplating moving from an email marketing system to a more sophisticated marketing automation platform, you’ll want to give some thought to your database needs. All marketing automation platforms contain databases, which vary from platform to platform. The right database can smooth your path; the wrong one will put rocks in your shoes, causing pain at every step. A few things to look for:

  1. Human factors, ease and usability
    Consider who will work with the database. Can an average person upload or append a list? Map columns if necessary? Easily segment the database by contact attributes or behavior? Some perfectly good systems are complicated enough to require the ministrations of a database administrator. If you don’t have a DBA, this could be a problem.
  2. Cost
    Marketing automation systems structure cost differently. Some charge you according to storage space for your leads and contacts, along with fees for use. Others allow you to park all your records, then charge you for only the ones you send email to. There are additional variations on these themes; just be sure you know what you’re getting for your money.
  3. Sales accessibility
    Consider how your salespeople access and use database records. If you will integrate with a CRM system, find out whether the salespeople can remain inside the CRM system when accessing the database. Ask about synchronizing databases, and whether this can be automated. Find out whether integrating the two databases will be easy or difficult, and whether your IT department will need to get involved.

If you’re actively researching marketing automation, we have a handy Buyer’s Checklist for Marketing Automation covering 15 topics in addition to databases, to help you evaluate your options. Learn:

  • Whether a marketing automation system fits your company’s culture
  • Which organizational objectives marketing automation can, and can’t, help you reach
  • Which tools you really need, and which ones you can do without

To learn more about Act-On’s Instant-On database and total marketing automation solution, contact our sales team.

 

Up Next: What to Look for in Marketing Automation, Part 4: Forms and Landing Pages

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