5 Important Steps before Taking the Plunge
A growing number of our business-to-business clients are using or becoming interested in marketing automation. They certainly are not alone. Today, 53 percent of Fortune 500 B2B companies have adopted some form of marketing automation technology—a 112 percent increase from 2013. What business wouldn’t like the concept of automating repetitive tasks, nurturing prospects with personalized content, and ultimately generating more revenue?
Unfortunately, the reality is that the marketing of “marketing automation” in many cases has created unrealistic expectations. If companies don’t take the time to develop a comprehensive implementation and management strategy, they’re likely to have to defend something that isn’t trendy to any CEO: lack of return on investment.
If you’re curious about marketing automation for your business, here are a few of the common challenges that we see businesses wrestling with.
Lots of Sizzle; Not Enough Steak
There are some really fantastic platforms available today that specialize in B2B marketing automation. It is easy to get caught up in the “bells and whistles” of the technology and lose focus on how it will actually grow your business. A critical first step before shopping for technology partners is comprehensively auditing your current sales process and marketing and communications assets to determine your unique needs. What are your challenges today? Not enough new leads at the top end of your sales funnel? Poor conversion rates in the middle of your funnel? An overwhelmed sales team? Not enough content? Consider working with your marketing and communications agency partner to develop an unbiased assessment of your needs.
Too Many Programs, not Enough Integration
One of the primary benefits of a strong marketing automation strategy is the ability to gain valuable insights from data to inform future marketing decisions. Many B2B organizations have adopted numerous marketing and CRM technology services over the years. Red tape and big budgets can often lead to adding more expensive tech to an existing pile of dusty software subscriptions that operate independently and don’t integrate with one another. Are your programs isolated or are they talking to each other? Is it possible to save money and increase efficiency by consolidating the number of platforms you are working with?
Lack of Investment in Your People
Implementing marketing automation into your company can often be daunting and expensive. In many cases, companies invest all of their dollars in the actual technology and fail to allocate enough resources toward the actual execution that may involve hiring new talent, training sales staff, creating new content and ultimately ensuring your people are getting the most from the tools.
If you’re curious about marketing automation, consider these five steps as you start the evaluation process:
#1 – Evaluate your company’s content marketing strategy and assigned content creators
#2 – Build target audience personas
#3 – Develop a lead scoring methodology
#4 – Map out communication channels, touch points and key messages
#5 – Consider the training investment required to ensure sales team are getting the most from the new system
By having a clear plan in place, your company can harness the full potential of marketing automation today and in the future.