Most large or growing businesses today either already make use of a CRM system or will do so at some point in their life cycle. The reasoning behind this is simple: the benefits of utilizing a CRM system are crystal clear for sales teams, who have been relying on them heavily for years to keep track of prospecting outreach and follow up, ongoing opportunities, and global dashboards to measure and track key KPIs. It is only recently that marketers have also become aware of the benefits of utilizing CRM systems for their teams, to consolidate marketing and sales data for precise, relevant measurement.
One such benefit allows marketing teams to extend the marketing funnel, enabling them to understand not just the cost-per-lead from their ad campaigns, but additional metrics, such as cost-per-MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), cost-per-SQL (Sales Qualified Lead), cost-per-purchase, and return on ad spend. This type of visibility into key metrics is crucial, since the tactics that produce success at one stage of the marketing funnel are often counterproductive the further down the funnel you go. For example, a marketer who is only measured on a cost-per-lead basis would be highly incentivized to go after small fish who will gladly fill out a lead form. These types of leads may be stingy on price and if they do purchase, they often go for the smallest package. On the other hand, a marketer who is measured on return on ad spend, the furthest level of the funnel, is incentivized in a way that is aligned with the interests of the business owner. These types of marketers are much more likely to eschew tactics that produce singles (e.g. going after tiny leads) and seek out homeruns (e.g. going after enterprise leads or leads likely to sign massive contracts).
A second benefit to marketers leveraging CRM systems is the ability to understand the customer lifetime value of their marketing efforts, a metric that allows a business owner to double down on an ad campaign that may have appeared to be a loser by looking only at the initial sale. Without this kind of visibility, which is only afforded by a CRM system, neither business owners nor marketers can make optimal decisions on how best to manage their growth efforts, missing out on opportunities to scale winning strategies and eliminate those that underperform before they drag performance down.
However, assuming business owners and marketers understand and appreciate the value of CRM systems, the following questions present themselves: what CRM system should they utilize, and how can they track their marketing data in their system of choice? While the question of what CRM system to use for what type of business goes beyond the scope of this article, the two industry leaders are Hubspot and Salesforce, both of which are used frequently by our clientele. While there are some technical differences on how to pass marketing data into Hubspot and Salesforce, in both cases the same general principles apply. Let’s dive into what marketers should be considering when doing so:
1. Set Up Ad Tracking Parameters
Regardless of whether you are using Hubspot or Salesforce, you will first need to ensure that your ads are tagged with the appropriate tracking parameters. For Salesforce, this will involve tagging your ad campaigns with UTM parameters, which are the same parameters that are used to pass data into Google Analytics. More info on those parameters and how they pertain to Salesforce in particular, check out this help article. In comparison, Hubspot uses a combination of UTM parameters and their own type of parameters called HSA parameters. More info on those can be found here.
2. Capture the Tracking Parameters in Your Lead Form
In order to pass your ad tracking data into your CRM system, you first need to transfer it from your URL (which is where the parameters get appended on ad click) to your web lead form (where data is captured in preparation for your CRM system). The best way to do this is to use something called Hidden Fields. Hidden Fields are form fields that exist on your page and are available to capture and store data, but they are not visible to the user on your website. Hidden fields can be configured on nearly any webform, whether it’s a form on a custom coded site, or a template on a landing page builder such as Unbounce or Wordpress. Some documentation on how to configure hidden fields for different web builders or setups can be found below:
Wordpress: Many plugins offer this functionality. Here and here are two good ones.
Custom Coded Site
There are two things worth noting here:
#1-You are going to want a hidden field for each value you want to capture. For example, if you want to capture the Campaign, Medium, and Source, that would be three hidden fields that are needed.
3. Pass the Tracking Parameters to Your CRM System
Once you have captured the appropriate values using your hidden form fields, the final step is passing them to your CRM system. There are a few different ways to do this::
#1-Use Direct Integrations: Many of the most common web builders have direct integrations with Salesforce or Hubspot and make it as simple as selecting your CRM system and mapping out which form fields should be associated with which fields in your CRM system. If this piece of functionality is something that your web builder offers, we would highly suggest taking this approach.
#2-Use an Integration Tool Like Zapier or Integromat: Zapier is a tool that we use frequently at Stackmatix as it quickly and easily allows you to set up integrations between various platforms without requiring custom code. Whether it’s Squarespace, Unbounce, Webflow, or Wordpress, Zapier has great integrations to both Salesforce and Hubspot that are intuitive to set up, easy to test, and allow you to quickly get the data into your CRM system.
#3-Set up a Webhook: For more tech-savvy readers, setting up a webhook may be a good alternative to pass the data into your CRM system. A webhook is a service that allows one program to send data to another as soon as a particular event takes place (e.g. whenever a form submission happens, pass data to your CRM). While webhooks are a viable option, if you can do either #1 or #2, we would generally recommend those approaches.
4. Test that the Integration is Working
We recommend doing a few test form submissions with dummy tracking parameters in your URL (e.g. things like ?utm_source=test123&utm_medium=test123, etc.) to confirm that the data is making its way properly into your CRM system. This should be a fairly straightforward process where you can quickly ascertain if things are working as desired or whether something is amiss.
With CRM adoption and usage at all time highs, it’s imperative that marketers of all types begin to take advantage of the measurement and analytical opportunities available. By tying end of funnel purchase data back to decisioning, performance is measured and decisions are incentivized and aligned with the key KPIs that drive business success. It’s a win win for everyone involved, and allows for more efficient ad spend and higher revenue over time.
If you’re looking for this type of partner, Stackmatix could be your solution. From pre-seed to Series C, we aim to build integrated technology stacks that create consolidated data sets and analytics across all sales and marketing activities to maximize revenue and marketing return. Kick off an email thread at email@example.com for a free growth consultation to explore how we can help you to zero in your measurement and scale your business.