The 5 Ws of Planning Your CRM and Oracle Eloqua Integration

The 5 Ws of Planning Your CRM and Oracle Eloqua Integration

Whether your CRM and Eloqua platforms are mature or new, every integration story should include the 5 Ws to gather the necessary information for a happy ending:

  • WHY – Capture the goals for this project and identify how success will be measured.
  • WHO – Select a core team that includes the five key roles.
  • WHERE –  View the data from the perspective of each CRM and Oracle Eloqua platform.
  • WHAT – Determine the entities, programs and fields required to support the business goals.
  • WHEN – Create a project plan with tasks and milestones that will meet the launch date.


In today’s marketplace, prospects self-educate before they talk to sales. This puts more responsibility on marketers to not only source leads, but to engage them before passing qualified leads to sales. Prospects expect communications that are targeted and relevant whether they are at the top of the funnel or on the cusp of a purchase.

Integrating your CRM and Oracle Eloqua platforms reflects this shared responsibility for the sales funnel, providing a unified view of leads and customers to sales and marketing.

For your specific organization many of the WHY questions will be addressed when choosing your CRM and Marketing Automation platforms.

  • Why this solution?
  • Why now?

In WHY phase, you need to understand the business goals for the integration and how will it be measured. For example, your goals might include:

  • Improving alignment between sales and marketing.
  • Increasing marketing efficiencies to deliver highly qualified leads at a lower cost.
  • Boosting sales


Your core team should include players that have the knowledge and authority to make decisions and configure the platforms.

Outlined below are five key roles required for your core integration team. For some teams one person may represent multiple roles; other teams will require multiple people to represent a single role. I have worked on Eloqua CRM integrations where we were a team of two. In other integration projects, multiple people represented a single role, for example, in complex integrations the role of the Eloqua admin may require a solution architect and a technical lead.

Sales Representative

It’s imperative for someone on your core team to articulate the sales needs and speak to how sales uses the CRM in their day-to-day work. For example, what data is needed in order for sales to receive and follow up on a new lead?

CRM Administrator

Eloqua does all the heavy-lifting in initiating the calls for both the push and pull of data between the two systems. All field mapping is done in Eloqua. For this reason, the bulk of the CRM Admin’s time will be as a SME advising the team on the CRM data structure covering everything from the relationship of the entities to the individual field values. Beyond this advisory role, the CRM Admin tasks may include:

  • Create Eloqua as a CRM User
  • Provide information on number of records that will be imported to Eloqua
  • Add new fields to CRM if needed
  • Enable sales tools
  • Configure tracking for change of email address
  • Assist with troubleshooting
  • Confirm accuracy of data pushed to CRM

Marketing Representative

This person is the voice of the marketer and should clearly communicate the requirements for what data is needed for targeting, personalization, scoring, routing and reporting. The representative needs to understand and discuss use cases about the data that supports the Eloqua campaigns.

In addition to understanding the day-to-day needs of the marketer, this person should understand the marketing KPIs. This role should also have a breadth of knowledge for the Eloqua instance that includes governance, segmentation and data sources into Eloqua (list uploads, forms).

Oracle Eloqua Administrator

The Eloqua Administrator translates the business requirements of sales and marketing into the design solution. This role is responsible for understanding the Eloqua data model and applying it to building the programs and configuring calls for the integration. The Eloqua Admin will also help identify any limitations or risks for the solution. Many organizations use partners to help with the technical configuration.

Project Manager

The project manager keeps the project on time and budget. They identify scope, milestones and document changes that impact deadlines or budget.


Perspective is everything. Eloqua and CRM are two different systems and therefore differ, from their data structure to their terminology and unique keys. It’s imperative that you understand the data source and how it impacts your integration solution.

This is the discovery phase. Level-set around the business goals within the context of each of the two platforms. To get started, include two foundational discussions:

  • Lead Life Cycle Discussion
  • Eloqua Data Model Review

Lead Life Cycle Discussion

Whether your sales and marketing teams completely align, or you are just beginning to define your lead life cycle, reviewing your lead process should be one of the first discussions for your core team. Focus on the sales and marketing roles and responsibilities for each stage of the funnel. Use this discussion to flesh out key requirements around what entities are being used, and the type of data that must be mapped. For example, you should discuss:

  • What is a lead? (Do marketing and sales share a common language for prospect, lead, etc.?)
  • How are leads assigned and worked (by telemarketing, inside sales, regional, by product)?
  • If a lead is rejected, does it go back to marketing for further nurturing?
  • When is a lead converted?
  • What is the relationship of contacts to accounts?

Oracle Eloqua Data Model Review

The Eloqua data model review introduces terminology, entities, field types and data management models from the Eloqua perspective. As with the Lead Life Cycle Discussion, this is a foundational discussion that sets the stage for future requirements discussions.

For a more detailed look at the Eloqua data model, read Key Considerations When Planning Your Oracle Eloqua Integration:

Additional Data Sources

The integration solution must also take into account other data sources. Capture additional data inputs such as form submissions, list uploads, automated import or third party apps. Minimally, the data may require cleansing before integrating with your CRM; however, multiple inputs may require a larger data architectural workshop to document the data structures and relationships.


This is the define phase. It’s time to get into the weeds and discuss what data sales and marketing needs. Ultimately you will define and document:

  • The overall solution for the entities that will be mapped between the two systems and the relationship of the entities within Eloqua.
  • Th list of fields to map for each inbound and outbound call.
  • The requirements of the lead management model for how sales receives and manages leads and contacts from Eloqua.
  • The supporting programs needed for lead management and data integrity.

Once the documentation has been approved by the core team, you can move to the develop and deliver phases.


The project plan includes the tasks and milestones leading up to the integration launch date. Managing to the project plan is the responsibility of the project manager team member. In building out the timeline, carefully consider these questions because they can impact scope and timing:

  • Are the platforms mature, new or a migration?
  • Is this integration part of a larger organizational implementation?
  • What is the scope of the Eloqua integration. For example, does it include Lead Scoring or Closed Loop Reporting?
  • Will testing be done in an Eloqua sandbox?
  • How many rounds of testing are required? For example, will testing be done for the DEV, QA and UAT CRM environments?

Handing You the Keys

While every integration is unique, the same principles apply, from team member roles and responsibilities to discovery and delivery. The 5Ws of integration will get you started down the right road and help avoid wrong turns.

By | 2019-02-25T16:17:30+00:00 February 25th, 2019|Eloqua, Integration, Oracle Marketing Cloud|0 Comments

About the Author:

Heidi Huffman joined Relationship One in 2010 and has not had a dull day at the office since. As a Senior Marketing Cloud Consultant she thrives on creating solutions with her clients, and enjoys the never-ending learning opportunities. Heidi has always loved language and has a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Colorado. Although, we sometimes wonder what the B.S. really stands for.

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