Salesforce.com vs. Marketing Automation: Which Should I Use for Reporting?
A lot of our clients use Marketing Automation tools like Eloqua, HubSpot and Marketo in conjunction with their Salesforce.com or other CRM system. A frequently asked question from them is: Which system should we be using for reporting – Salesforce or Marketing Automation?
The Simple Answer
The simpler answer is, pick one and build good process and behavior around it. More often than not this system of choice ends up being Salesforce.com since it contains Opportunity and Sales data for closed loop reporting. Also APIs allow Salesforce to pull in the Marketing Automation data related to campaigns and user responses.
There are various benefits to using Salesforce for reporting over Marketing Automation.
- The reporting is more flexible than the Marketing automation tools. With the ability to use custom objects and create custom report types the sky is the limit.
- Salesforce typically has more users that allows you to share information across the organization using reports and dashboards.
- Marketing Automation reporting is often limited to out-of-the-box reports which are not ideal for every business. While these tools also have APIs, at this time they are better at pushing data to Salesforce than pulling from it.
The Not So Simple Answer
The weighted answer to the above question is, you should get the report from the system that best answers your business question. If you are looking for marketing campaign centric reports based on responses to an email or blog post, you might get better answers from your marketing automation software.
Some Areas to Use Marketing Automation Software for Reporting Over Salesforce
- Web traffic conversion metrics – Since most marketing has moved online these days traffic conversion is an important metric for many businesses and that data point rarely captured in Salesforce.
- Most marketing automation tools will provide you with an accurate count of names acquired or touched in a month whereas that can be a challenge in Salesforce which splits names across Contacts and Leads.
- Pulling every touch point with an end user into Salesforce can be an overkill for the Sales Team and if your customer base is highly active it can end up being costly to store all that data
- Marketing tools are getting better (than Salesforce) at allowing marketers to track Marketing spend, helping them to calculate ROI of Marketing
The Key Takeaways
Picking one system or a combination or both can really inform your business. Whatever process you choose, please keep the following in mind:
- Keep it simple – Reporting needs to be done often, so you should be able to repeat your process easily every time you do it.
- Make it Scale-able – Whatever process you choose, it should grow with your organization’s needs.
- Work on Maintaining Good Data – Reports are only as informative as the data. If the data is no good, no one will believe the reports and will undermine the whole purpose of reporting.
- Apply the Learnings – Again reports are only useful if you’ve learned something and applied those learnings to inform your behavior or processes to improve business results.
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