In a recent article we provided information on how chatbots integrate with CRM systems, including common integration methods and ways to ensure your integration fits into your sales operations as well as possible.
However, for many businesses a CRM is only one part of a wider effort that involves both marketing and sales, with customer relationship management leading onto marketing automation. This means that for many businesses chatbots not only need to integrate with a CRM but also with a marketing automation platform, for example Marketo, Hubspot or ActiveCampaign.
A successful integration between your chatbot application and marketing automation platform means:
- Accurate, meaningful data maintained at every stage of the sales and marketing cycle.
- Campaigns set up to be automated from start to finish.
- Conversation marketing used in its powerful form, not only to generate leads but to nurture them all the way through the conversion process.
There is a lot of crossover when it comes to integrating CRM and marketing automation platforms. Most marketing automation platforms will have a built-in CRM, with enough functionality to meet most users’ requirements. However, many platforms will co-exist with a separate CRM (Pardot as an additional tool to Salesforce for example), and in these cases data flow may require more complicated and even custom-built integrations.
In this article we’ll explain what form these integrations usually come in, look at some of the options when it comes to the most popular platforms, as well as offer some insight into how a chatbot application should fit into the entire marketing and sales process. For many B2B businesses, this is how chatbots really come into their own – not only as a communication tool but a way to automate and connect activity across all of your marketing channels.
Basic connections between chatbots and marketing automation platforms
Once again we have to thank automation platforms like Zapier and Integromat for providing integrations that any user can set up and see working within minutes.
Zapier can be used to connect most well-known conversational marketing and marketing automation platforms in just a few simple steps. These integrations work by offering a set of ready-built triggers and actions that can be used together to create an automation. Users of popular platforms will be familiar with the actions and triggers that are offered as part of the integration, and can simply select the pairing that leads to the desired end result.
When triggers and actions are selected, you will be able to modify your automation by adding conditions and branching logic. This level of customization should be more than enough to integrate your applications and start making your chatbot an essential part of marketing cycles and campaigns.
In many cases a third-party integration won’t be needed. Many of the biggest platforms will have natively built apps following their own connection procedure. How easy these are to use depends on the platform, but usually they won’t require code to set up and will have the features you need to introduce a chatbot into your existing workflows.
Integrating chatbots with Marketo
Marketo is one of the most widely used marketing automation platforms out there. This means that, depending on your choice of chatbot, integrations are likely to be facilitated by a third-party, or will be native.
Instabot is an example of a chatbot solution that uses Zapier to set up simple but powerful integrations with Marketo. Examples of Marketo triggers and actions include options to add and update leads, as well as actions and triggers that run from Marketo to your chatbot.
When your chatbot or conversational marketing platform doesn’t have an integration already in place, it’s likely to have an API that allows for a custom integration build. In most cases though, Marketo integrations will be easy to find and can be set up without any code.
Integrating chatbots with HubSpot
HubSpot is probably best known as a CRM platform, but given the extent of its functionality we’ve decided to include it as a marketing automation platform and not just a CRM.
Again, due to its popularity, the best chatbot solutions will provide out-of-the-box integrations with HubSpot that can be set up quickly by non-technical users.
HubSpot is very well supported by Zapier and typically there will be a large number of actions and triggers for you to choose from to set up an automated action.
HubSpot’s developer tools are also very comprehensive, offering the potential for high levels of customization. All of this means integrating a chatbot with Hubspot can be as simple or as complex as your processes require.
Integrating chatbots with ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is another platform offering marketing automation, as well as a CRM, email marketing and sales engagement.
ActiveCampaign’s ability to automate complex processes means that its chatbot integrations can be particularly powerful. A chatbot integrated with ActiveCampaign can be used for inbound lead generation as well as lead nurturing, so that the influence of your chatbot can be felt (and measured) throughout the conversion journey.
Instabot has worked with ActiveCampaign to create a native integration that is both easy to set up and can lead quickly to powerful campaigns that otherwise would have required a highly complex custom build.
Other platforms will also provide integrations with ActiveCampaign through Zapier, while ActiveCampaign’s API can be used to connect to chatbots that don’t have an integration already built and ready to use.
Chatbots and marketing automation data flow
Integrating chatbots with a single system is usually straightforward. However, businesses with larger marketing operations will often have both marketing and sales automations systems running on different platforms.
This makes the flow of data between applications more complicated. Data has to be sent and recorded accurately so that your single points of truth remain reliable. Automated actions need to be configured to run smoothly.
Scaling your marketing and sales operations with a chatbot in the mix is likely to involve connecting multiple platforms, all of which will be talking to each other and involved in a cycle of lead generation, lead nurturing, and closing. The best chatbot providers will allow for a cyclical flow of data, meaning that data can be sent both from and to your chatbot from other applications, so that automated conversational marketing is informed by CRM data and vice versa.
The ability to connect with other kinds of platforms is important here too. Leads from other channels, for example social media, will also be part of this cycle. Chatbots can be deployed in multiple locations, for example on your marketing website as well as in-app or on social media pages.
How to connect these moving parts will be determined initially by your choice of platforms. Other technical considerations that might make the difference between a successful and a problematic integration may include UTM and customer marketing parameter attribution. This feature adds an extra layer of control when it comes to choosing the information received by your chatbot, helping to maintain accurate attribution at every point of your automated marketing process.
Choose a chatbot with the right integrations for your team
The full power of chatbots can perhaps be seen most clearly when they are part of a large-scale automated marketing and sales process, bringing leads into a CRM system while also nurturing them across various channels with your chosen combination of conversational marketing campaigns and tactics.
Instabot’s ability to integrate seamlessly with multiple platforms, as well as its powerful developer tools and dedicated onboarding and customer support, make it an ideal chatbot for users looking for integrations with marketing automation and other platforms. Contact Instabot today to learn how to get started.