Eloqua offers some great tools and insights for sales teams, particularly when integrated to your company's CRM system like Salesforce or Oracle CRM On Demand. But, what happens when you don't enjoy an automated integration between Eloqua and your CRM tool? This is the situation my team has found itself in for the foreseeable future, so we've had to look for creative ways to be good partners with our sales organizations. The good news is: even when Eloqua isn't integrated to your CRM, there's still a ton of valuable insights and process improvements you can deliver for your marketing and sales partners. Here are some tips from our team to yours:
- Align Eloqua's data architecture with your CRM. Just because your two systems don't talk to each other directly, doesn't mean they shouldn't speak the same language. Going through the same mapping exercise and naming conventions your team would step through when building a working integration will make many processes much simpler, and will allow for cleaner, more comprehensive data. Make sure that column headings in CRM exports and field names in Eloqua match perfectly as this will allow for automated mapping when importing data to Eloqua. Also make sure that picklists and boolean variables match between systems, and create a comprehensive data dictionary that can be shared with stakeholders who might be involved in providing direction for segment or report building. You can find a handy Data Dictionary template here. Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy's courses on Data Cleansing and Integrations provide great background on how to arrive at the most effective data architecture for your organization.
- Set a schedule for regularly importing and exporting new data from both systems, and stick to it. Knowing how fresh and accurate data is in each system, and being able to inform stakeholders on when the last bulk updates were made is a great step to building trust. Marketing users will have assurance that Eloqua contains the latest contact and account data available for targeting their campaigns. Sales will gain confidence in marketing's responsiveness to lead generation goals, and will know that their work to keep CRM records clean and updated is being incorporated in marketing's activities.
- Take advantage of form notifications. Our sales teams consider form submissions to be a high-value activity, and doesn't want to wait until we synchronize data between Eloqua and our CRM. Form notifications are the perfect way for marketing to recognize the value and time sensitivity of these activities. To keep this process manageable, our team worked with IT to set up a collection of vanity email distribution lists and shared mailboxes we can add and remove individuals from as personnel changes occur without having to update all of our Eloqua forms. I've seen it happen a number of times where forms on websites or in campaigns are tied to an individual's email address, that individual no longer works there, and form notifications fall through the cracks. In one particularly horrifying instance, while at a previous employer, I uncovered an old web form with some workflows triggering email alerts to a mailbox that hadn't been monitored in 2 years, and form submissions weren't captured in a system like Eloqua. I found hundreds of hot leads with Fortune 500 companies desperately trying to get in touch and make purchases, all of which went unanswered. Don't let this happen to you!
- Collaborate on and implement lead scoring models. This is where the magic happens, and we become true partners to our sales organization. Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy has an excellent course to help guide you through facilitating lead scoring for your organization, as well as a handy matrix template for capturing relevant information on profile and engagement criteria of interest. Our sales teams were looking for marketing to deliver insights that would help them prioritize leads. To deliver on this expectation, marketing has implemented lead scoring models aligned to each sales organization's market and product portfolio. We then set up automated reports on contact lead scores, containing all the key relevant contact profile fields, and send these exports to sales at their desired frequency so that they have a prioritized list to reference when following up with leads.
- Leverage Prospect Profiler. Onboarding our sales teams to Prospect Profiler puts a punctuation mark on our successful collaboration with sales. They have a keen interest in gathering intelligence on the specific behaviors leads have taken as part of their qualification process. In our case, external activities for things like webinars, demos and tradeshows are considered of particularly high value to sales, and they want to view these alongside standard Eloqua activities like form submissions, landing page views or email opens. Prospect Profiler gives them the full vantage point of marketing activity they can't get in our current CRM environment. Sales takes the lead scoring reports we send to them, and then looks up those records in Prospect Profiler before embarking on their outreach and lead qualification processes. To learn more about Prospect Profiler, check out this Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy course.
Here's a handy visual outlining key steps to achieve tips 4 and 5:
For easy access, here's a rundown of all the key courses from Oracle's Marketing Cloud Academy that I found particularly helpful in maximizing Eloqua's value to your sales organization in the absence of an automated CRM integration:
And here are those two handy templates I mentioned to help you on your way:
Do you feel more confident now that Eloqua can deliver ROI and process efficiencies despite not having a slick, automated integration with your CRM up and running? I hope so, and please share any feedback or additional tips you have to offer on how your team has found success and delivered value to your organization without the presence of an automated CRM synchronization. I've found collaboration with sales stakeholders and data alignment between Eloqua and our CRM to be the most fundamental building blocks in realizing the power Eloqua can deliver. Our team has already seen a marked growth in trust between marketing and our sales stakeholders, and I anticipate seeing this relationship continue to blossom while delivering increasingly more dramatic process efficiencies alongside higher quality leads. Remember with lead scoring and CRM alignment, everything should be iterative, and subject to refinement, so don't be afraid to experiment until you find what works best for your unique business environment.