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“Hundreds of duplicates...”

“The sync is very slow ...”

“The data in our CRM doesn’t match what is in Marketo...”

 

Sound familiar?

 

Many clients experience common challenges when syncing data between Marketo and Microsoft Dynamics. Typically, these challenges can be grouped into three categories: problems withfield management, duplicates, and slow performance. The good news: these problems can be corrected. But first, it’s important to understand how the sync from Marketo to Microsoft Dynamics actually works. 

Understanding How Marketo Syncs to Microsoft Dynamics

A Marketo instance can be synced to one— and only one— Microsoft Dynamics CRM instance. And, once you’ve synced your instance, the connection is permanent. For illustration purposes, it’s much like the movie Avatar. When the Avatar makes the bond with the flying Banshee, they’re synced for life. 

 

 

Once a record is synced between the two systems, Marketo maintains data consistency using a periodic sync, which means Marketo is continuously syncing your data with Microsoft Dynamics all day, every day. And, be aware that the process is done using a background sync in batches, not in real time. 

 

The first sync will take some time, (read: be patient) but once it’s complete, Dynamics will check for updates and run another sync every five minutes. Of course, the sync cycle time is dependent on data volume and the average throughput is 10-20K records/hour.

 

A word of advice: monitor your sync status. 

 

In your Marketo Admin, there is a sync status screen that can help you keep tabs on the current throughput and backlog of the sync process. Be sure to check these numbers regularly, to ensure the sync between the two systems is running smoothly.


Best Practices to Avoid Common Sync Challenges

Taking a proactive approach will ensure maximum success in the syncing process. Our recommended best practices include:

Field Management 

  • Create a Data Dictionary 

At Perkuto, we believe documentation is crucial for understanding how fields are used and whether a field will be blocked from updates. By creating a data dictionary, you’re not relying on your memory but rather, you’re setting yourself up for success with the sync.  An example of what your data dictionary might look like:

 

 

Even though it seems like a tedious activity, a data dictionary is definitely time well spent. Consider the benefits:

  • A smoother process for new integrations 
  • Important information is easily shared with other members of your marketing team, including new users working in Marketo
  • You ensure consistency in your sync, every time

A data dictionary is also extremely useful when using a third party layer to connect Dynamics and Marketo, as you are not able to see the field mappings in the field management section, like you can when using the native connector.

 

  • Set Field Blocking Rules

Blocking updates to a field allows you to write to the field once, and then retain the original value for the lifetime of the field. This can be useful for a field like Person Source— and, should be noted in your data dictionary.

 

  • Be Selective with Your Fields 

Be honest...do you really need every field synced? You can keep the data flowing faster between Dynamics and Marketo by only including the fields that you truly need. Be sure to always add new, custom fields to Dynamics first, and then sync them to Marketo. 

 

Field mapping is user-friendly in Dynamics. Once the sync user is connected, the schema is inherited into Marketo, so you can view it by various entities such as lead, contact, account and opportunity. This part of the process is simple, just check off which fields you would like to sync and you’re good to go. 

 

Managing Duplicates 

There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing your sync just created a boatload of duplicate records. Duplicates are often created by one of two missed steps.

 

  • Merging and Deleting Records

Best practice is to create a process to manage duplicates in your system, and follow that process, every time. You can create a Smart list to discover duplicate records, and analyze the list with this in mind: 

 

If Microsoft Type is Empty on both records:

 

This means the duplicates live only in Marketo. Action -> Merge in Marketo. 

 

If Microsoft Type is Empty on one record and not others: 

 

Action -> Sync the ones that are missing Microsoft Type to Dynamics, and then merge in Dynamics, and remove the orphaned record from Marketo. 

 

If Microsoft Type is not empty on both records: 

 

This means that the duplicates live in Dynamics and Marketo. Action -> Merge in Dynamics and delete the orphaned record in Marketo.

 

It’s important to have processes in place to prevent and manage duplicates. Also be sure that your sales team is not unintentionally creating duplicate records in Dynamics. Train your sales team to search for leads first using email or Full Name, then teach them how to update an existing record vs. creating a new one.

 

  • Sync all Records

 

A partial sync can lead to a duplicate disaster! Instead of a partial sync, early-stage prospects can be assigned to a queue and hidden from sales to avoid clutter in Dynamics, then sync all records when you are ready. 

Reducing Slow Performance 

We’ve heard horror stories of a sync taking hours and slowing down Marketo in the process. If you’re experiencing latency in your sync, follow these tips to improve system performance:

 

  • Centralize your Sync Campaigns

 

Create a single global sync campaign to add new records to Dynamics, and avoid using the use of the Sync Person to Microsoft flowstep elsewhere.

 

If you are using the Sync Person flowstep in various campaigns, it is more difficult to find your trouble spots, such as campaigns trying to sync records to users that are no longer in Dynamics, or, syncing and assigning records from out-of-date logic. The end result: excessive Sync Person to Microsoft flowsteps will result in sync errors and unnecessary flow steps in your campaigns. 

 

  • Create a Master List Import Engine 

 

Marketo automatically de-dupes based on email address and updates existing records with information you’re importing. So why not use Marketo to get new records into Dynamics and update existing records? Simply create a master import engine to get records into Dynamics through Marketo. Once created, you can use it for all your imports.

  • Be Careful with Mass Data Updates

 

Mass data updates can clog the connector and cause significant backlogs with your sync. A better approach is to schedule data updates in batches and after-hours when large updates are necessary. Also be aware of what happens when updating specific fields in Marketo, as this waterfall effect will impact the time it takes for the data changes to take place.

 

  • Keeping Routing in Dynamics 

 

Dynamics should be the system of record for lead routing and assignment whenever possible as it’s better equipped for this task. For example, you cannot re-assign someone to a different user from Marketo; this must be done within Dynamics.

Evaluating your Syncing Processes

 

If you can confidently answer “yes” to the following questions, you’ve got the right processes in place and can call yourself a Syncing Superstar: 

 

  1. Do you have a data dictionary that captures field mappings and permissions?
  2. Have you reviewed and customized your fields with field blocking?
  3. Were you selective when choosing which fields to sync to Marketo from Microsoft Dynamics?
  4. Are you careful when merging people in Microsoft Dynamics?
  5. Do you have a defined process to handle records deleted from Microsoft Dynamics?
  6. Do you sync all records from Marketo to Microsoft Dynamics?
  7. Do you have a central sync campaign to manage records syncing to Microsoft Dynamics?
  8. Do you batch your list uploads and use a master list import engine?
  9. Are you careful and deliberate with mass data updates?
  10. Is your lead routing managed in Microsoft Dynamics?

 

How’d you do? If you scored strong, you’re well on your way to marketing and sales data harmony. 

 

Special thanks to my colleague, Lindsay Khan, Solutions Architect, MCE, MCSA, for her collaboration and contributions to this article.

 

This article was originally published on Perkuto.com

On Wednesday November 13th at 1pm ET, myself and Hilary German, both members of the team at Perkuto, will be discussing some of the considerations to make when syncing information between Marketo and Dynamics. We will be talking about best practices when it comes to data models, improving sync speed, and we will have time dedicated to answering questions towards the end of the presentation. 

 

Click here to register if you are interested in attending. 

Don’t get me wrong—when I hear Microsoft Dynamics (DCRM) marketers express a bit of jealousy over marketers who are using Salesforce with their Marketo instances, I completely understand. I mean, a quick look at the flow steps available in a Marketo/DCRM environment versus a Marketo/Salesforce environment gives even a non-technical marketer a good idea of which integration may offer more immediate flexibility and ease of use.

 

However, DCRM offers a number of benefits and advantages to the businesses and enterprises that use it. With 40,000 companies and 4.4 million users across the globe, it’s here to stay—and so our advice to marketers who are working in a DCRM environment would be to embrace using it and become adept at working with its nuances. With that in mind, here are three tips on how marketers can more effectively use DCRM and Marketo to achieve success.

1. Bypass import blunders by building a Marketo list import engine

It’s no secret that importing leads into DCRM is laborious on a good day and agonizing on others—and this is only exacerbated by the fact that any existing Dynamics records that fail during the import also lose their field updates, meaning you’ll need to go back, record-by-record and manually update each one with the correct information. Joy!

 

But don’t start pulling out your hair just yet. Remember, Marketo can automatically dedupe based on email addresses, updating existing records with new information you’re importing. Aha! That means that you can effectively use Marketo to get new records into DCRM and update existing records. You can accomplish this in one of two ways:

  • Standalone import program: You can create a standalone import program, then simply clone it so that you can track each specific individual import list, or
  • Master import engine: You can create a master import engine to use every time you need to import records into DCRM via Marketo.

2. Tweak the connector to change lead owners in DCRM (with a little help)

Working with Marketo, we’ve all gotten used to how quick and easy it tackles everyday activities like assigning tasks and changing owner records. However, making these tweaks in DCRM isn’t something that you can do right out of the box—you’ve got to enlist the help of your resident DCRM administrator to make a few simple changes to the way your system is set up.

 

For example, if you want to have the ability to change the record owner once it’s been synced with DCRM, asking your DCRM admin to do the following will let you tweak the record owner in Dynamics and Marketo:

 

  • Request that your admin set a custom option set field called  “New Owner” Along with your sales reps’ names, you’ll be able to sync that field to Marketo using this field in a “Change Data Value” flow step to set the new owner value.
  • Create a DCRM workflow that monitors for changes in the “New Owner” field, assigning a new owner based Marketo’s changed data value.


3. Don’t stress the native connector

Literally, and figuratively, that is. The more volume you place on the native connector, the slower you will find your instance. If you feel that your instance is operating at a slower rate than normal, check the Campaign Queue in Marketo, and also check the Sync Status in Dynamics (Admin permissions required) to see the number of inserts and updates and the direction they are running in. Make it a habit to check these numbers regularly to ensure the sync between the two systems is running smoothly.



A spike in the numbers usually indicates that something out of the ordinary is happening. For example, if you have a smart campaign running and are syncing records to Dynamics from Marketo, make sure that you are only syncing records with email addresses. The system will retry syncing records that fail, and if an email address is not present (or any of the other fields required for the sync, for that matter), you’ll slow down your system. A large volume of records appearing in the Sync Status section will cause a delay in new records being created, as well as a delay in record updates.

Put your org on the proper path

Ready to set your business up for success? By avoiding lead import pitfalls, working with your Dynamics admin to build in a little more flexibility and keeping tabs on your sync status, you’ll be moving your marketing and your business in the right direction.

 

These tips are based on a post authored for Perkutoby one of our former Solutions Architects, Paul Wilson. Thanks, Paul!

 

Hello everyone!

 

Unfortunately I need to defer today's meeting to the new year.

 

I hope everyone has a great last few weeks in December and I look forward to seeing you in January!

 

PW

Hello all!

 

My apologies for being MIA for a couple of months - if you are free to join today I will provide you with an update form my side of the fence, and would love to hear what's on your Marketo / Dynamics todo list to the end of the year.

 

If you're free to join please register here: https://nation.marketo.com/events/2601-october-msd-mug

 

Thanks!

 

PW

Tyler Technologies is hiring a Senior Marketing DATA Manager. If you know anyone, send them my way and I'll route the resume direct. Thank you.

Marketing Data Manager | Plano, Texas | Tyler Technologies

 

Karen W. Sesona | Marketo Admin & Marketo User Group Leader | 5101 Tennyson Parkway, Plano, TX 75024

I have not checked the blog posting in a few months and I wanted to know if there was a way to receive email notifications if someone posts a new item to this User Group Blog?

Dave Wormell

User Group Meeting

Posted by Dave Wormell Sep 12, 2016

Has the Dynamics User Group Meeting been rescheduled yet?

Yesterday's announcement that Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn caught almost everyone off guard. I think it is a brilliant move for Microsoft - in one transaction they become a serious player in the social network space. Despite attempts by Microsoft to make Skype into a quasi social network that plan failed miserably. The acquisition of Yammer in 2012 was also a miserable non-starter that went no where. So LinkedIn adds serious credibility to Microsoft's position as a key player in the workplace.

 

I think one of the most important benefits for Microsoft in this acquisition is the "self maintaining" nature of LinkedIn data. Yes, there are thousands of records that are stale where folks haven't updated their profile but the majority of LinkedIn users pretty much update their employer and job role as their 2nd activity (following setting up Outlook on their new work laptop). This can provide Microsoft with a stream of (mostly) accurate insight about companies and people.

 

Here's where some speculating on my part comes in. I have seen in recent releases of Dynamics a renewed commitment to bring that platform forward from it's formerly stale position in the Gartner CRM Magic Quadrant. Imagine a salesperson opening up an account in Dynamics and being able to see the public LinkedIn profiles of all the relevant executives from that account. As either a one off, or as part of a subscription offering you can send an InMail to those executives. Now extend that perspective into the opportunities tab in Dynamics. If one of the contacts associated with an opportunity changes employers (leaving the opportunity) the owner could get an alert letting them know they have to dig for a new contact.

 

Where this could get very interesting is when you combine Dynamics and Marketo. Imagine seeing LinkedIn data through Dynamics into Marketo where leads in Marketo can be targeted in programs because of LinkedIn data. Think about where Marketo Sales Insights might go as an iPad/tablet app with 3 engagement scores based on a lead's engagement with marketing content, the lead's engagement with sales delivered content, and an overall account engagement score based on relevant LinkedIn posts by people within that account on topics relevant to your business.

 

The landscape of data enrichment and social networks was destined to collide at some point, and I believe that is exactly what Microsoft is going to do with the LinkedIn acquisition.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on where you potentially see this going for Dynamics/Marketo users!

 

PW