So, you’ve decided to take part in the renaissance and implement marketing automation technology into your organization. How exciting! As I’m sure you’ve heard, organizations all over the world are finding massive success automating and streamlining their marketing tasks and workflows.
Marketing automation is not only your key to streamlining the consumer experience, it’s also an extremely worthwhile investment for your organization. According to a Marketo benchmark analysis, “businesses that use marketing automation can grow their pipeline by 45%, enjoy 25% higher revenue, and allow sales reps to spend 22% more time selling.”
Undoubtedly, your company needs to take advantage of marketing automation to stay competitive in the modern marketplace; and you will inevitably adopt some type of marketing automation platform in the near future.
This can be a little intimidating. I get it. You’re a marketer, not a technology expert; but to implement an effective martech stack, you need a bit of both. Take a minute to channel your inner techie, and let’s learn how to get the most out of your tool. Here are top 5 considerations before firing up your marketing automation technology:
1. Have a clear marketing strategy
As Bill Gates once said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
First and foremost, have a plan! You must have a clear marketing strategy outlined and defined. Otherwise, you’ll only be using your fancy new tools to aimlessly spam your entire email list. Instead of contributing more mess to your prospects’ junk email folders, you need to develop a plan to optimize your new technology and not be among the 56% of companies that say they need to improve their marketing automation execution.
If you’re planning nurture streams, for example, begin by mapping your buyer’s journey and identifying pain points to address depending on where a prospect is within that journey. Always think in terms of developing the right message, targeted to the right person, and at the right time.
Also be aware that in your marketing automation optimization strategy, it’s critical that sales and marketing are aligned. Roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and there must be agreement on exactly what constitutes a qualified lead, so work with sales to establish agreed-upon lead scoring thresholds.
2. Get your data quality down-pat
To say that data can be overwhelming would be a gross understatement. The good thing is, marketing automation is here to help you make data management more bearable. But to get the most out of that data, you need to be meticulous about ensuring data quality. According to Ascend2, 54% of companies say their most significant challenge to data-driven marketing success is a lack of quality data and completeness.
A successful data strategy consists of de-duplication, cleansing, and appending. De-duplication will recognize any duplicates already in your database, prevent more from being entered, and merge any existing duplicates. Cleansing both standardizes existing data (such as titles and company names) and removes bad data (such as contacts that are no longer with the company). Appending fills in missing or incomplete data by adding additional contacts to an account or filling in missing fields (such as address or phone number).
Ensuring data quality is an absolute must; as they say – quality in, quality out. Load-up your marketing automation tool with clean, actionable data (SDRs are great for this) that will seamlessly align with your targeted buyers; then leverage that data in discrete, well-segmented programs.
3. Create valuable and relevant content
If marketing automation is the vehicle that drives your marketing campaigns, content is what fills the gas tank. Start with an audit of your existing content library, and see what you can repurpose or may need to create.
For many marketers, this is the fun part. Creating content that converts is what marketers live for. The opportunities to channel your creativity are endless; you can make videos, blogs, eBooks, articles, landing pages, advertisements, and the list goes on.
According to a HubSpot benchmark, companies who increased their blog post frequency from 3 to 5 times per month to 6 to 8 times per month nearly doubled their lead generation. But to strike a balance between quality content and to have ample quantity to effectively increase demand generation, businesses should focus on planning ahead, telling their story, and engaging with their audience.
Keep in mind that while that content matters, relevancy matters more. Research shows that 81% of customers want brands to understand them and how to approach them. Make sure to utilize buyer’s journey mapping and develop customer personas so you can create and deliver the right content to the right person at the right time.
4. Recruit talented people
Are you fortunate enough to have qualified, competent marketing technology professionals currently available at your fingertips? If so, good for you! However, marketing tech talent are like this years’ popular Christmas toy: sought after and hard to find.
Many teams lack expert level skill and talent internally to take full advantage of all marketing automation can do. To optimize your instance, that means you need to get ready for some heavy tech-recruiting or consider outsourcing that skill.
Remember that in the wide scope of things, marketing automation is still a relatively new technology, and the most significant factor in determining the success of your implementation is having the right people with the proper training and experience.
5. Integrate your technology
When deciding on the right marketing automation tool for your organization, know that you’ll be connecting it to your existing tech stack. Be sure to integrate the contacts in your CRM into your shiny new technology. If there isn’t an option for seamless movement of data, that should cause pause for moving forward.
And don’t just take the vendor’s word for it – talk to their other clients about their experience with the platform. This extra step will get you much closer to having the ability to operate your marketing automation platform at maximum capacity, which in turn will maximize results.
By integrating marketing automation with your CRM and sales strategies, you will reap the benefits of combining marketing automation with the human touch. You’ll be taking a more holistic approach to sales and marketing, and will be able to confirm that a prospect’s digital behaviors are what they appear to be.
The bottom line
In conclusion, marketing automation is the opposite of one of those set-it-and-forget-it solutions. It’s a journey, and you need to be there every step of the way to make sure you get the most out of your new tool.
For best results, combine marketing automation with your CRM and outreach, and this seamless integration will optimize your marketing and sales strategies and drive unprecedented campaign performance.
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