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A key feature for marketers that have been using marketing automation for some time or are selecting a (new) marketing automation platform is the integration into their CRM. And be aware, selecting the right solution can’t be done by checking some websites or checklists. In-depth knowledge and experience can help you select the right solution that really helps you achieve what you want.

CRM integrations and marketing automation: not all integrations are equal

When looking at comparison websites (like G2 or others) won’t help you much in selecting the right solution, as they generally just have some green checkboxes or a score:

The case above for example doesn’t show a specific CRM, nor does it reflect any of the functionalities that a CRM integration includes. There is a big difference in functionalities, costs, and ease of integration. To get a true comparison you need to define exactly what needs you have (preferably KPI-based) and compare solutions in demos and/or proofs-of-concept.

Workflow builders vs. native integrations

Often marketing automation vendors will point out integrations that can be achieved by using workflow builders like Zapier. Although these are great low-code and affordable solutions, they don’t have the level of integration needed. Also, there is a big difference in these workflow builders, both in costs and functionality.

The other solution that vendors often offer is a native integration into your CRM. Usually, well-known CRM platforms like, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, and Netsuite are supported. These native integrations offer great functionality, including marketing automation functionality within the CRM (Sales users don’t need to log in to automation), email integration, and full-funnel reporting at a real-time pace. These solutions are offered for example by Hubspot, Act-On, and Marketo. 3 Examples here:



Some best-of-breed solutions are better than all-in-one platforms

Some of the CRM vendors offer an all-in-one (or cloud/experience) solution that supposedly solves all problems and is an answer to all your demands.  In fact, this is often not the case. Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics both have an offering for example. Although Pardot (or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing) may be a fine solution for some marketers, others have different demands as to usability, costs, and functionality. Often the native integrations (as shown above in the videos) have better functionality and show a better ROI. To find out what works best for you, schedule a free discovery below and we’ll show you the differences.

Data infrastructure is key when integrating a CRM

When integrating your CRM and marketing automation you’ll need to define your data infrastructure at the start. Not doing so will 100% result in a mess. Make sure you line out all the data points and flows before starting! We have developed a blueprint for CRM integrations that we happily share with you in a free discovery meeting, we can also explain all the different solutions mentioned above. Go ahead and plan a meeting now: