There are many scenarios in which it is beneficial to consolidate multiple marketing automation portals. Some examples include when a company is acquired by another company or when a company decides to centralize their marketing efforts and reporting for their various divisions or brands. When you are considering consolidating multiple marketing automation portals, there are many things you need to keep in mind. Typically, if you are consolidating portals that are on the same platform, there are fewer considerations than combining marketing automation portals that are on different platforms. Here are seven considerations you should address before you begin your marketing automation migration project.


1. Take an inventory of all the assets in the portal you are migrating.

To get a full understanding of the level of effort required for a migration, you first need to understand the volume of assets such as templates, emails, landing pages, workflows, lists, forms, campaigns, images, and files that need to be migrated. You may be surprised when you take this inventory at all of the assets you have accumulated inside your marketing automation portal. This is a good time to perform some spring cleaning and review which assets actually need to be migrated and which ones aren’t needed anymore.


2. When migrating from one platform to another, there are going to be functionality differences.

If a company you acquire uses a different marketing automation platform than your company, there are going to be differences in functionality and how tasks are executed. After you complete your asset inventory, take a good look at the workflows and automation components you plan on migrating. Be sure to take note of the different types of use cases and tasks they are executing. Depending on the marketing automation platform you’re migrating to, you may have to re-engineer those workflows/automation components to work within the new marketing automation platform. Make sure you budget the proper time for this review and include stakeholders from both companies. For example, in one system, multiple workflow rules may be used to send autoresponder emails and internal notifications to team members. In the new system, these tasks could be executed via actions tied to forms or through one combined workflow. Having a plan for how you will execute common scenarios in your new platform will save you a lot of time when you start the migration process.


3. Review and compare the lead management processes for each company.

If you are combining marketing automation portals, it’s important to understand how each company/division/brand manages inbound leads. Can both brands use the same process or are there unique situations that need to be accounted for? Important considerations include:

  • What data is being collected
  • How are leads being evaluated, scored, and prioritized
  • What constitutes a marketing qualified lead
  • Which companies are considered target accounts
  • What the general buyer’s journey looks like
  • What notifications or internal alerts are needed
  • What metrics are being tracked

 
You may find good parallels across both companies/divisions/brands and identify areas where a customized process is needed. This is very important for tracking and reporting purposes as well as in how you will configure assets and workflows/automation rules mentioned in items 1 and 2.


4. Determine how your branding needs to be handled once you combine platforms.

When you combine marketing automation portals, it’s important to plan for how you will host and distribute content related to your brands. For example, in an acquisition, you may want to continue to market to prospects under the brand you are acquiring, rather than the brand of your parent company. In that case, you’ll need to make sure you can host emails, landing pages, and related assets separately from the parent brand. This can typically be achieved by creating an additional subdomain or an additional root domain within your marketing automation portal. Note, you may need to purchase additional functionality from your marketing automation platform vendor to handle your desired scenario.


5. Field Mapping and Data Normalization

Just as you took an inventory of the assets you’ll need to migrate to the new portal, you need to perform a similar exercise for objects, fields, and data. A crucial step in the migration process is to create a field mapping document that compares fields, field types, and field values across both marketing automation portals. This will help you identify which fields need to be converted from one field type to another, which fields can share data from both portals, which fields need new values pertinent to the new brand/division, and which unique fields for the new brand/division need to be created. Where you can, it’s best to have combined fields that all brands/divisions can utilize and limit the number of new fields to only the fields that are important to the brand/division you are migrating. This exercise will pave the way for the data normalization that will need to occur before importing contacts and accounts from the portal you are migrating.


6. Perform a review of contacts and accounts across both marketing automation platforms.

A very common occurrence when companies are acquired, or when a company combines their brands or divisions into one marketing automation portal is an overlap of contacts and accounts that exist in both systems. (This is common when consolidating CRM systems as well). It is important to compare all contacts and accounts in both marketing automation platforms to identify cases where contacts or accounts exist in both systems. Once you do this, it’s critical to develop a plan for how these contacts and accounts will be handled after the migration.

For example, say a contact/account is a customer in the marketing automation portal of the company you acquire and only a prospect in the parent company’s marketing automation portal. How should this case be handled? Is that contact/account still a prospect for the parent company? Should that contact receive emails from both brands? Which salesperson should own the relationship going forward? These are important scenarios to consider in achieving a smooth transition from a people, process, and technology perspective.


7. Review implications surrounding your CRM system, especially if you have an active integration.

If you have a CRM system integrated with your main marketing automation portal, you must pay extra close attention to fields and data, syncing criteria, lead assignment rules, automation, reports/dashboards, and account, opportunity, and contact ownership. Combining marketing automation portals may impact these components significantly and you’ll need to develop a plan for the components that need to be addressed to accommodate leads from the new company/division/brand. Many of the other considerations above can be applied if you need to combine CRM systems as well.


In Summary

Combining multiple marketing automation portals is no small task. As you can see from the considerations above, proper planning is crucial in helping to make the migration process smooth, not just from a technical perspective, but also from a process perspective. Ensuring your teams are properly informed throughout the process and setting proper expectations will also pay huge dividends.


Need Help with a Project like this?

Measured Results Marketing has helped numerous companies combine multiple automation platforms, and can help you through every step of the process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to assist you with your marketing automation or CRM system migration project.

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