Everything you have always wanted to know about marketing automation. Article #5
In the first two pieces of the marketing automation basics series I was talking about the definition of marketing automation and the trends that are shaping it. The third piece was defining the difference between marketing automation and email marketing and then about its most characteristic features. Today I will talk about what else you will need for the operation of a successful marketing automation platform.
Lots of companies, when embarking on the journey of implementing marketing automation, think that they are buying software only. They believe that this is the alpha and the omega of finally having their ROI reaching the level that they couldn't before. Also, while marketing automation is precisely for that, improving processes and increasing revenue, failing to implement it in the right way might not bring the best result possible. Sure it will bring results, by its very nature, but to make the best of it, you need more than purely just leading technology solutions.
Would you buy a Ferrari and then keep it in the garage?
It happens, when companies invest in a marketing automation platform, without a predefined strategy for using it.
What else is there to add to the best in class software solution?
We cannot overemphasize how having a plan from the beginning can make or break your operational success. It's not about automating old processes; it is about having a strategic approach that will lead you to reinvent your ways of working.
"...defining processes is critical to successful marketing automation strategies and helps you achieve quality, consistency, and collaboration."– Eric Dukart, COO, Sundog
What are the processes and tools you need to rethink?
So that you could align your sales and marketing teams you need to define what a sales-ready lead is, what is the level of qualification that the marketing teams need to do so that your sales can work more efficiently with the received input.
You need to define measures for lead nurturing and actions to take when a lead is not moving quickly enough through the funnel.
You need to define the processes, milestones and feedback points for lead follow-up - usually in the form of a service level agreement (SLA).
With marketing automation, you can redefine your metrics, and you can start measuring and forecasting metrics that executives really care about, such as current and pipeline revenue and profits.
It starts with defining the metrics that you will report on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Determining the ROI of your campaigns and setting key performance indicators to get timely feedback.
How is your database? Is it up to date? Is it well maintained? Or is it dirty full of duplicates and bad records? Do you have records that are missing at worst or incomplete at best? How will you ensure that the database gets cleaned and maintained? How can you make sure that your MAP's output is not going to suffer from the bad data input?
Most companies underestimate the importance of content - both in terms of quality and quantity. It is a more significant challenge than just to put something out there for coverage. High-quality content is a must for consistent lead generation and lead nurturing.
It needs to take buyer personas into consideration so that the messages and content resonate with the audience.
Starting with a content calendar is a must, to have it mapped out for each stage of the buying process by persona.
As for leads, both extremes can be challenging. Having too many leads without being able to qualify and prepare them properly can be equally detrimental than not having leads at all. Marketing automation helps to manage the flow of leads, their journey through the funnel more efficiently. Without leads going into the funnel, there will be nothing to nurture, so in case this is what you are suffering from, put a plan in place and get more - with content, social media, trade shows, and promotions.
Needless to say, when it comes to marketing automation, it is also about people. Technology, strategy, and content will not cut it without the capable people who will make it all happen. Your employees and partners are the critical assets to your success with marketing automation.
When it comes to carrying out successful marketing automation campaigns, you need to make sure that your team is capable of managing demands and lead lifecycle processes. You will need to be able to analyze the data coming from the system, and it all requires a technical aptitude.
You'll need to evaluate the skills of your team. If you don't have the right skills on-staff, you'll need to augment your current staff with training, external consultants, or additional hires.
"Success of marketing automation is not just about technology. That's the easy part. This is all about change management and adjusting the way the company thinks about the customer experience. It requires support and alignment by key stakeholders, a commitment to developing better processes (not doing it the way they have always done it but with automation) and defining clear use cases on what problems they want to solve and how they will use the technology to solve the problem – this all drives marketing automation adoption and success."
– Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO, The Pedowitz Group
To maximize the impact of how marketing automation can be beneficial for your company, you need to understand the fundamental features, and then you'll need an expert to guide you through the process of finding the perfect fit for your expectations.
This is our mission at Capture, you bring your problems and expectations, and we bring you solutions to help you with becoming a better marketer and to create an ideal customer experience.
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