I LOVE manually copy-pasting campaign details from Marketo into Salesforce and Asana!
– No One Ever
Few tasks are more thankless than duplicate data entry. And the time wasted doesn’t end there. All that manual input causes data hygiene issues that eventually impact your reporting and creating system errors.
According to Scott Brinker, teams are solving this problem by building an “aggregation layer” over their stacks, creating a unified means of managing four key functions: governance, UI, workflow, and data management.
But if it was that easy, everyone would have perfectly coordinated workflows across their martech. So how do you get there and what do you have to watch out for on the way?
Before You Start: Readiness Conditions
According to Jeto’s VP Product, David Desrosiers, despite what marketing copy implies (guilty 🙋♀️), not all teams are ready to integrate! Certain conditions need to be met:
- An in-depth understanding of current systems setup: “Of the companies I’ve interviewed, about a third understand their current workflows in detail, a third are in the process of reworking them, and a third just have no idea,” David said. “You need to interview internal people, ideally people who have been on staff for a long time who understand how and why things were done a certain way..”
- A fixed stack: “If they are still trying to make a decision about the right PM tool, let’s say, or they just went through an acquisition and things are changing, I recommend sorting it out before beginning to integrate.” David said.
- Systems that are integration-friendly: This is much less of an issue than it used to be in the past, according to David, “everyone’s moving to the cloud, and all those systems have decent API integrations.”
- A healthy appreciation for the incremental nature of building a working integration: “We’ve had clients who haven’t even finished onboarding Marketo want to start an integration project,” David said. “It’s essential to use an agile methodology with integration projects. You add one piece at a time, make sure this piece is working as expected, thoroughly deployed, before adding more.”
Step 1: Map the Current Workflow
Once you meet the conditions for getting started on your integration, the first thing to do is to map the current state of the workflow you would like to optimize.
Here are some of the most common integrations people ask for:
- Sharing/dedup-ing data across platforms: For example, your team may want to automatically share campaign-related information like launch date, name, owner, location etc. with another system.
- Work status updates: Project managers, content marketers, and directors may prefer to look in a project management tool for updates. By automatically syncing work progress across different systems, that becomes possible.
- Marketing content: Typically, some content is repeated across multiple platforms. Some teams go even further in their quest for efficiency by pushing content like webinar titles, dates, speakers into WordPress, Sitecore, or even social management platforms.
Here’s an example of dedup-ing data between Marketo & Salesforce using Jeto!
Whatever the case, the first thing you’ll want to do is document answers to the following question to make sure you describe your workflow in sufficient detail:
What are the tools in the mix?
This list could include:
- your project management tool (Asana, Monday.com, Workfront)
- your CRM (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics)
- event software (eg: ON24, GoToWebinar)
- CMS (WordPress, SiteCore)
Who is involved? (roles)
This is less about people’s official titles, but rather their function in the process. This can vary a lot across teams. Take campaign execution workflows, for example, most teams have the following roles represented:
- Client/Campaign Requester: someone untrained in Marketo, but who produces content for a campaign.
- Technical Producer: the Marketo specialist who builds the program.
- Approvers: members of the team who review and approve.
- Project Manager: person in charge of the project
What is the current process?
Document each step of your current process using the following formula: [ROLE] does [CAMPAIGN ACTION] inside [PLATFORM]. So for example: “Campaign requester submits a request for a campaign inside Asana.”
Once you have all those answers, map it out in a flowchart. Here’s an example of a flowchart our team built of an existing (non-optimized) campaign management workflow across Marketo, Workfront, and Jeto:
Step 2: Describe the Ideal Workflow and Integration Capabilities
Now looking at your flowchart, you can start imagining a more ideal workflow. Look for junctures with:
- Duplicate data entry
- Manual work
- Avoiding errors
- Ensuring clean data for reporting
- Tool switching
Based on what you learn, apply the three questions from step 1 to imagining an ideal scenario. Describe the tools involved, roles, and use the user story formula of [ROLE] does [CAMPAIGN ACTION] inside [PLATFORM].
As an example, here’s what the workflow we showed earlier looks like after being optimized for efficiency by David and his team:
💡 Download our Campaign Process Builder. Improve campaign operations in three exercises.
Step 3: Prioritize Integration Capabilities
The next step is to decide, out of the capabilities you conceived in step 2, which to develop. You want to ask yourself, which capabilities are critical, how you would measure ROI, and can you quantify time saved or potential additional revenue.
There are numerous prioritization methods available, here’s what our team does:
- Attribute a number to each inefficiency found based on a scale of time spent.
- Attribute a number related to cost (this one is trickier, but remember the goal is just to compare so the number does not need to be illustrative.)
If you’re interested in further insights on prioritizing frameworks/matrices for integration projects, here’s a great article from Blended Edge!
Step 4: Build an Integration Development Roadmap
According to David, it’s key to remember that integration is not a “start and finish” project –it’s an ongoing process. “You want to constantly have your finger on the pulse of your systems and always rethink and improve. It’s a scrum methodology, you have to be as agile with your systems as you are with your processes.”
Here are some considerations:
- What are the resources on staff available to achieve the project?
- Check pre-existing solutions by exploring community boards, Marketo communities like the MO Pros.
- Look into your own history: what has been tried, did it work, why or why not?
- Beware of systems that are being phased out, are error prone, or lack documentation, as they will be much harder to integrate.
This is the most technical step. Without the proper and without the proper development resources, most teams contract this out. And generally you can either build your own integration or utilize an iPaaS solution like Workato or Zapier.
According to David, though iPaaS are low-code products, you still need a background in solutions architecture to manage them.
“You need to be able to do data transformation, data mapping, error handling, and very advanced logic. It also helps to have basic knowledge of certain development languages in order to take full advantage of iPaaS.”