Avoid The Most Common Integration Breaking Mistake

Why do Integrations fail?
 Do you want your Integrations to Succeed?
 There is one simple thing you can do to

What is that one thing?
 Feed it healthy data.

Many marketers forget about their integration when creating new forms.
 They mindlessly import records with no consideration that the data has to feed not one system but two or more.
 Many IT departments change their CRM and what salespeople can enter without considering that the data must serve marketing too.

And when the data from these “on the fly” forms and imported funny fields hits the “next” system via the integration.. things break and contacts are LOST:

  • The CRM system rejects a hot lead because:
  • “PC Maker” is not a valid industry
  • “Not Interested” is not a valid job level
  • Segmentation fails because the CRM is passing wrong options
  • Closed Loop Reporting fails because the campaigns, companies, other fields don’t match

Even worse, in a poorly designed integration these errors may result in these rejected records being lost forever in the CRM system.
 And even in a well designed integration, many companies may not have designated a role for monitoring these situations.

How Can You Avoid It?

First: The Integration Itself

Make sure your integration has a well defined error tracking system that records every error that occurs, going back months.
 And tracking errors isn’t enough. Automatic notifications must go out to the appropriate people.
 Every 4Thought Marketing integration contains these elements.

Imports

Define processes for your imports. Make sure they’re followed. Stop Bad Data before it even touches your system
 (4Thought has an Import Add On for Eloqua that will STOP bad data in its tracks.)

Form Creation:

Have a process for form creation that considers data integrity across all systems.
 TEST that form data gets all the way through to CRM, with all common options… especially new ones!

When it’s Too Late

Assign the part-time role of Data Steward, with the responsibility to:

Chase down and fix integration errors
 Pursue the underlying form or Import that caused it
 Talk with the person who created the form/import about avoiding the issue in the future
 Implement a Data Washing Machine that changes bad form entries and bad imports to a valid “Other” option.

New Personnel… and Processes

A lot of the above problems are caused by new untrained team members introduced during turnover or growth. Clear processes can help reduce these issues so that when new people create forms, perform imports, or otherwise feed your integration data…they feed it healthy data.

Summary

Simply feeding your system healthy data can have a dramatic impact on whether your integration is successful or not. It’s nice to think that every integration should be able to handle every situation in an intelligent, human like way, but today they basically move data and maybe make a few pre-defined changes. It’s up to you to make sure the data you feed your integration is healthy not only for Eloqua, but also your CRM and other integrated systems.