Deciding When to Sync Leads to Dynamics CRM

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You’ve just integrated Marketo with your CRM system. Now you’ve got a big decision to make: when do you send all of those great new leads you are generating into CRM?

You have two primary options:

  • Sync all leads to CRM almost immediately, generally upon lead creation
  • Sync leads to CRM based on rules, generally upon marketing qualification

As with most things, there are pros and cons to each approach.

Sync Leads to CRM Immediately



You don’t need to create and manage sync rules.

Sales will need to be trained to recognize which leads are qualified and which are not yet ready for follow-up.

The sales team has visibility into all leads right away, so they are less likely to create duplicates.

Some junk or invalid leads will end up in CRM.

Leads may not yet have all of the information necessary to decide on lead assignment or follow-up.

Sync Leads to CRM Based on Rules



You can keep most of your invalid or junk leads out of CRM.

Sales might create new leads or contacts in CRM for people you already have in Marketo, thus creating duplicates and splitting activity history across multiple records.

Sales will not see unqualified leads.

Someone has to create and manage the sync rules.

Which option makes the most sense for you depends on a number of questions, such as:

  • How complex are your assignment rules for new leads?
  • How much information is required to complete or route a new record?
  • How many new records does the sales team create?
  • What tools or processes do you have in place for dealing with duplicates?
  • What marketing resources do you have available for monitoring sync rules and failures?
  • How much time does the sales team spend prospecting as opposed to qualifying MQLs?

This decision can be impacted based on your CRM system. One major reason for the difference is that Salesforce customers generally rely on territory assignment rules for lead routing from Marketo. Dynamics customers instead usually assign leads to specific owners. Another reason is that you can sync leads to Dynamics without having all required fields populated (it just enforces that they be populated next time you open and try to save the record in CRM). For this reason, we are not reliant on having particular information populated at the moment we sync to CRM. We can simply assign leads directly to a marketing user in CRM until they are qualified and ready to be reassigned to sales.

One common approach for a Dynamics CRM client would be:

  • Upon lead creation:
    • Sync lead to CRM, assigned to a marketing (or telesales) user.
    • Assign the lead a “Not Sales Ready” status.
  • Upon qualification:
    • Assign the leads an “Open” status.
    • In CRM, set up a workflow to assign to the appropriate sales (or telesales) user.

In Dynamics CRM, we would then edit the default views, such as “My Active Leads” and “All Active Leads” that sales uses so that leads in a “Not Sales Ready” status do not show up in the views. This ensures that a sales user only sees the leads that are new or already being worked on by them. However, if they search in the database for a particular record, they will still be able to find those leads that are not sales ready and see all their relevant email, web, score, and Interesting Moment activity. This helps minimize the creation of duplicates (assuming you have duplicate detection on). Meanwhile, marketing can view all of the leads in any status from a customized view that includes the “Not Sales Ready” leads.

This approach can be particularly successful if the sales team is not accustomed to marketing’s involvement in the qualification process. Knowing that the rest of the leads are in CRM for searching, reports, and lists if they really need them can make sales feel more comfortable with the change. It can also allow the more proactive reps to compare the qualified and unqualified leads and give you regular feedback on the accuracy of your scoring model for continued refinement.