“System of Record” is an IT term describing how data is managed. In the sales and marketing worlds, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is the sales system of record, but what about for marketing? Most companies operate without an authoritative system of record for marketing, instead they have prospect information stored in:

  • Email platforms
  • Online chat systems
  • Website analytics platforms (anonymized)
  • Webinar platforms

No System of Record = Incorrect Marketing Attribution, loss of marketing signals

Most of the time, these systems are not connected. This results in loss of correct marketing attribution because we attribute the lead to whatever last marketing effort we did to influence the customer. We miss the nuance in the first touch and all the middle touchpoints that helped guide the customer to purchasing our product.

  1. Customer sees a social post about your product, visits the website browses around a bit and leaves
  2. Customer attends a webinar on the product and the problem it solves
  3. The customer finally goes directly to the website and requests a quote, springing sales into action.

Without connecting these platforms, we lose chapters 1 and 2 of the story! We see a user that mysteriously came in direct and asked for a quote and we falsely believe that webinars and social aren’t that important.

Lost Performance Data

With this data loss comes lost visibility into how marketing influences prospects, we also lose critical insights into which marketing campaigns, ads, ad groups, and settings inside each channel are the most effective, preventing optimization.

Lost Marketing Signals

Some of the most interesting marketing happens when you know what a prospect is interested in and where they are in the buying cycle. Without those signals in ALL the platforms, you can’t deliver consistent, personalized messaging across all platforms. Personalizing messaging helps shorten the sales cycle and you’re missing out on it without this data.

When customer signals stay isolated in little data kingdoms, you lose the opportunity to take action on the sum of those signals. A customer attending a particular webinar may match well with a customized email newsletter, but you can’t do that if your email and webinar platforms don’t talk to each other. Taking a signal from one platform and taking action on another platform is difficult or not possible when the systems don’t talk to each other.

Solution: Marketing Automation Platform as the Pre-Sales System of Record

The solution is that we need a system of record for prospects that haven’t made it to sales just yet. Marketing automation platforms like ActiveDEMAND are well suited to be this system of record because they:

  • Replace many disparate systems with 1 system
  • Integrate with many other systems and pull/push data between them: this enables marketers to accelerate buyer journeys
  • Integrate tightly with the sales CRM to move leads on to sales when appropriate

By centralizing the collection of signals from prospects and putting those signals in the same place you improve attribution drastically. Add on the ability to take action on those same signals and you’re really cooking with gas.

Why Not Put All The Data in One System?

If having a single marketing system of record is great, why not have 1 system of record for both sales and marketing? We prefer the combination of a separate marketing automation platform and CRM for these reasons:

1. Simple, Clear Ownership

Sales and marketing each own their own system, and they can simplify or enhance their platform according to use. It also makes it easy to enforce divisions where they make sense. Bulk emails and marketing communications come out of the marketing automation system and are controlled by marketing, 1:1 sales communications are logged and controlled inside the CRM.

Using 2 systems that tightly integrate with each other forces important conversations around the integration:

  • What is a lead and when do we pass it off to sales?
  • How does sales give us feedback on which leads turned into business?
  • How does sales tell marketing to keep their hands off a lead?
  • How does marketing help sales during and after the sale is made?

2. Purpose

Sales and Marketing’s purpose-built system will do exactly what they need to and won’t be overly-complicated because it needs to be everything to everyone. The sales CRM can focus on helping sales keep in touch with clients and drive them towards a sale, while the marketing platform can focus on performing marketing activities.

3. Data Cleanliness

CRM’s are good, but the data must stay clean for them to be the most effective. Dumping garbage quality leads directly into the CRM is a great way to ruin it. Instead, low quality leads should stay in the marketing automation platform and be nurtured until they’re ready for sales.

If the data gets to be a real mess, having separate platforms is also nice because you know which group needs to fix it!