Aaron Kerzner

Blog Series: Breaking the Status Quo of Sales & Marketing Data Integration (with SugarCRM) - Part 2: What it Takes for an Automated Integration Platform to REALLY Deliver for Business Users

Blog Post created by Aaron Kerzner on May 2, 2017

In the previous post in this series, we shared highlights of the history of data integration, to set the stage for the breakthrough of automated integrations for marketing, sales, and support business users.


Marketing, sales, and support teams need to quickly adjust their processes to adapt to the continuously evolving preferences of their buyers. Their system integrations therefore need to be easy, flexible and self-managed by these departmental users. This allows them to react to ever evolving business conditions and ensure their connected systems are delivering.


These users don’t have time to invent solutions - they need to be pre-built. They need to amplify the key features of those systems to help you get more out of both systems, together. And, with more and more systems in play between these departments, the integration platforms need to do this for an ever expanding set of systems.


With that in mind, breaking the status quo of integration requires these breakthroughs:

Breakthrough #1 - A wide breadth of pre-built connectors

There are a growing number of systems that marketing, sales, and support teams use to engage customers. A data integration platform tailored for business users requires pre-built connectors to these systems such that integrations can be activated without requiring any code.


Automated data integration platforms need to span a wide range of systems including CRM,  marketing automation, webinars, events, data enrichment, power dialing, e-commerce, subscription management, and support.


Breakthrough #2 - Deep integrations to enable key features of the connected systems

Automated data integration platforms need to enable the key use cases of the connecting systems. Data syncs limited to only contact data are usually not sufficient to meet the use cases.


A key data object for marketing and sales integrations is the opportunity object, as opportunity data answers the question, “What sales results have we driven?” This is key for connecting sales and marketing activities to business outcomes.


Breakthrough #3 - Multi-directional integrations enabling continuous data updates

Connecting multiple sales and marketing systems requires multi-directional syncs. As customers engage across multiple touchpoints, data integration can’t simply be a handoff from one system to another. There is continuous interaction with data gathered and updated every step of the way. One day a customer is on the website, the next day they attend a webinar, the next day they speak to sales rep, etc. - and any data updates collected through these interactions need to be kept in sync across multiple connected systems.


An important technical breakthrough here is having a mechanism for managing conflicts. What do you do when the data from one system doesn’t match a connected system? An automated data integration platform allows customers to configure a system of record on a per field basis, to determine the winner for such conflicts.


Breakthrough #4 - Easy to use, self-guided interface

For an automated data integration platform to cater for business users, it needs to simplify work that has traditionally has been complex. Just a few of the things a user needs to be able to do cleanly and intuitively are:

  • Field Mappings: Mapping fields across two or more connected systems
  • Data Workflow Triggers: Managing rules for when data should sync - for example a marketing system should house your marketing database - without cluttering up a CRM system - and only sync leads over to the CRM system once they are marketing qualified
  • Error Notifications & Management: Provide error notifications to users and provide them a means to quickly review and resolve those errors. An example of an error is a field mismatch - if you have a field in one system that is a numeric field, for example, the field in the connecting system needs to usually match that field type. Another example is matching values to picklists between systems. If one system requires a set of values for a field, then data passed into that system will need to also match those values to avoid causing errors.


Breakthrough #5 - “Just works” behind the scenes

Providing an integration platform to business users means “under the hood” operations that used to be managed by IT teams, now need to “just work” so that the business teams can rely on the systems having up-to-date data.


A key aspect of this is system performance, including rapid sync times and handling of peak volumes. When sales reps are following up on leads from a marketing system into your CRM, every minute matters.


These are the key breakthroughs that allows Bedrock Data to deliver maximum value for Sugar users when connecting various systems to Sugar.


In our next post in this Breaking the Status Quo of Data Integration series, we will explore the top use cases for SugarCRM integrations with Bedrock Data that these breakthroughs make possible.