Congrats– your business is growing and is seeking more sophistication in your marketing tools!

After countless sales pitches and conference calls, your organization has decided to upgrade to a larger and more robust marketing automation (MA) tool. Granted, a migration can be an arduous and lengthy process, but it doesn’t have to mean 70 hour weeks – if you plan ahead and prepare. Whether you are moving from a homegrown database or a smaller marketing tool to a more powerful solution (like Marketo) that grows with your firm, there are many tasks to consider.

Benchmark and Set Goals

A new tool should not just do the same thing as the previous with more bells and whistles, it should bring improvements that are measurable to your organization. Take the time with your team to benchmark the current state of business, including:

  • Sales cycle
  • Marketable leads
  • Leads that have interacted with your brand in the last three, six, or nine months
  • Opportunities created or closed won

Next, create goals for the next 9 to 12 months after implementation that are attainable. Good goals are an increase in marketing qualified leads (MQLs), active leads, and opportunities generated. These goals will provide data to present to your C-level leaders to prove the tools’ viability and value.

Identify Features That Are Changing

At this point, you and members of your organization are accustomed to how to process leads, run reports, and capture data. Some of this data may be coming from vendor-specific fields. These are fields created by and are unique to the tool, which may not be the same in your new tool, or available without some additional work. For example, Pardot natively pulls Google Analytics fields, and Hubspot has a field ‘Found Site Via’ that is something they offer, but other tools do not.

Consider auditing your field list in your current tool and in your CRM to determine which fields will remain. It’s important to understand what data you might stop receiving, which data you no longer need, and which data points to replicate with a new system. Also, consider how this change will affect your CRM as a whole: will it use up more of your API calls? Will it add a lot of new features to your tool? For example, Eloqua has a plethora of features, including a custom object that will need to get pushed into your CRM. Who should see that aside from Eloqua?

Consider Tech Integrations

Many organizations have lots of moving parts that drive their day-to-day strategy. When a new tool replaces an old one, you must consider if this will affect any other parts of your automation or CRM strategy. How does your new tool integrate with the rest of your stack?

When implementing a more robust marketing automation tool, it may integrate easier with your add-on tools with a native connector vs. what you currently have. For example, Marketo connects seamlessly to webinar software like ON24 and WebEx and ‘talks’ to your marketing campaigns. Data quality tools like RingLead can also dedupe and populate data right from several MA tools. ExactTarget has a whole suite of metrics that could replace harder-to-capture data.

What to consider:

  • CRM
  • Financial tools
  • Website
  • Data appending tools
  • Data/business analysis tools
  • Tech/IT

Schedule meetings with the key stakeholder in each department to make sure that every part of your technical and data strategy are considered, as well as provide each team insight into the big change that is happening.

Don’t Underestimate the Complexity

As is true for Marketo and many larger-end marketing automation tools, they have to be implemented in a certain way to ensure that the systems ‘talk’ to each other properly. This is where an implementation partner comes in, as they will help not only with your Marketo migration but in preparing your path for success.

As part of your migration, it’s also important to see what fields will be sent to your CRM or other databases, and what kind of settings your CRM needs to let the new tool ‘see’ to leverage all the new fancy features you’ll be getting. Perkuto’s ‘Master Planner’ Catherine Champoux suggests managing a Marketo implementation like a project, to effectively organize and execute all the many working pieces in front of you.

Many marketers ask about data from fields you are losing that you want to keep– is it possible? One way to do this is to map these fields to a new field created in your CRM and develop a strategy to mimic or create this data in your new tool. Keep in mind that many of those proprietary fields cannot be overwritten by anything other than the tool that created it, so make sure to test and migrate to new fields where necessary.

Create a Feasible Timeline

In a perfect world, your Marketo migration would be ready just in time for a key holiday campaign, or for next month’s trade show, but rushing to complete the project often results in sloppy work, or creating ad hoc solutions that are not future proof. Work with your team to document when each piece will be performed, and any dependencies. Always pad this timeline to allow for the time for large amounts of data to migrate, for hiccups or troubleshooting, and like any other project, always test multiple scenarios.

Collaboration, Communication, and Documentation

A common problem is that the champion and ‘architect’ of a recently implemented technology leaves the organization, and didn’t document or knowledge transfer any information that only they knew. This results in questions like, “Why did they do that?” or “How do we do this simple task?”

A few simple ways to prevent this loss of internal knowledge include:

  • Gather key members of each team that will use or be impacted by the tool as “super users”
    • Over several meetings, gather information to make sure all aspects are considered when implementing the new marketing automation tool
    • Coordinate with these members to begin training and adoption where necessary
  • Document each change and all information in a shared document or workspace – not email.

Use Migration As An Opportunity to Be Better

A Marketo migration is a perfect opportunity to optimize your sales process, inject energy into your marketing strategy, or simply clean up your database. Take some time (and with your super users) to ask the following questions:

  • Aside from the technology, what else was/is a pain point with our current process?
  • How can we super-charge our marketing/sales/engagement process?
  • What new features or tools are we getting from this new MA tool that we can leverage to improve our organization?
  • Are there current processes should we do away with entirely?

Implementing a new marketing automation tool can be exciting! At last, you get all the features you’ve wanted and can make significant strides towards achieving new innovations. While a new tool won’t show value in a blink of an eye, (and neither will its implementation,) you want this tool to alleviate headaches, improve your business, and grow with you. Taking the time to consider all the factors will go a long way in setting your team up for success.

Considering a migration from Pardot, Eloqua, or Hubspot to Marketo?  Our team of experts can help map out timelines, discuss concerns or anticipated challenges, and prepare your team for success. Start the conversation.