Marketing Automation(MA) changes the dynamics of lead generation and sales for an enterprise but the question is, “does it really reach that far?” According to a 2011 survey by Focus, less than 25% use their marketing automation platforms to full potential; and only 33% of companies who use both CRM and marketing automation feel the two are integrated well.
Prescription for 4 Common Marketing Automation Malaises
The promise of qualified leads and eventually conversions needs a lot more than just the technology. Below are four typical malaises to hit and turn fatal for marketing automation setup and prescriptions to bring it back to health in each case.
Small Heart Syndrome
“We will implement the complete thing, if this bit works”
Such organizations are swayed by the stats about marketing automation success but are unsure about leveraging the tool.
Scared of the change, unsure about technology, skeptical of marketing automation success stats, scared of failure…the list is endless. And unfortunately their biggest fears do take over and marketing automation fails.
Marketing Automation comes with a defined process. It cannot be implemented in silos.
- Get more knowledge about Marketing Automation and how it can benefit the organization, before actually implementing it.
- Leverage a Marketing Automation consultant to get the assessment of the automation tools available and what is best suited for their environment.
Content Impairment Disease
“We have 3 pieces of content we can send them repeatedly to our list. In any case who reads content!”
With or without MA implemented, such companies never go too far. With targeted content used wisely bringing in more leads than outbound activities together, this diktat can be suicidal. A well-implemented MA solution, tightly integrated with the existing CRM system will fail if the content doesn’t work for the target audience. The best of MA tools without the right content are as good as spam machines.
Content is a last hour job before the email blast, content creation happens once or twice a year – for rest of the year the same content is reused, documents once created are not updated until the company changes its branding.
MA tools generate leads only when you feed them with targeted, well-timed content.
- Change mindset about content and role of content in lead generation
- Create targeted content, which can be leveraged for lead generation and create loads of it
- Leverage external help to manage the content – from strategy to creation, if required
“Sales and marketing are 2 different departments and never the twain shall meet”
Organizations, which live by this motto, shouldn’t really go for MA tools in first place. Even if an organization understands that sales and marketing need to work in tandem but doesn’t offer them the environment where they can collaborate and build a synergistic relationship, they are setting up Marketing Automation to fail. In some cases, Marketing Automation may just complicate the issues even further.
Sales questions role of marketing in revenue generation, sales often claims the leads provided by marketing are useless, only low hanging fruit [ready to buy prospects] converts, sales and marketing often fight over promotional spend.
The underlying assumption for any good MA tool is that marketing and sales work together to generate revenue for the company.
- Management needs to bring in the change, wherein marketing and sales collaborate, not compete.
- Roles and expectations of marketing and sales are clearly defined. Both the teams need to interact more to ensure they are aligned to convert “ready” prospects into sales and “not ready prospects” to engaged leads.
- Processes and terminology should be finalized before implementing a MA tool.
The IT Challenge Syndrome
“IT has implemented Marketing Automation, now this should work”
Organizations that expect their IT departments to deal with anything that is labeled technology generally don’t succeed with their software implementations. More so in the case of Marketing Automation, where if IT doesn’t understand the role the tool is expected to play, the tool will never be able to run its full potential. Besides, an improper implementation is more an impediment with huge overhead than an enabler or a doer.
Anything related to software is IT’s headache, all technology is plug and play, once technology is implemented everything will happen on its own, legacy tools and latest software all go hand in hand.
Technology [and the IT department] is the enabler – Marketing strategy is the doer.
- Match company goals with the product and share with the IT department to implement.
- IT should be made to understand the role of the tool, and processes need to be well defined.
- If required, a MA consultant should be hired to get the implementation right.
- The IT department also needs to align the existing infrastructure with the MA tool and get rid of the redundant software that may have been used in past to mange marketing automation.
Getting marketing automation is not difficult. Getting Marketing Automation right is probably the biggest challenge. Way beyond implementation and integration, success of Marketing Automation lies in the hands of the organization and its outlook towards Marketing Automation.
If you want to implement Marketing Automaton in your organization, define what you need from the tool, sync your sales and marketing, define your processes, enable your IT, create some rocking content and set roll. If required, leverage a consultant to set things up for you but don’t live with a half hearted implementation.