The State of B2B Marketing Automation reported that 53 percent of B2B organizations are using marketing automation and 98 percent of B2B marketers agree that effective marketing automation is critical to long-term business success. However, it also found that companies only use basic functionality of the software and as a result, marketing automation efforts often fail.
Marketing automation is just one part of a holistic digital marketing strategy; for an investment in software to be worthwhile, a comprehensive game plan must already be in place. Consider the following five tips and follow along using our comprehensive Before You Invest Marketing Automation Checklist to determine if your business is ready to benefit from marketing automation software right now:
Download the Before You Invest Marketing Automation Checklist to determine if your business is ready to benefit from marketing automation software
1. Digital marketing strategy and objectives
Defining your goals will lead to more success. Are you seeking new customers or return customers? Are you interested in driving sign-ups for free trials or pushing sales of one particular product? Outlining your preferred outcome will give you a clearer path to victory. Otherwise, implementing marketing automation risks becoming an aimless investment.
2. Lead Generation Process
Marketing automation is all about nurturing leads, not creating them. Therefore, it’s important that your businesses already has a pipeline full of leads and a system in place for consistently replenishing it. Some businesses turn to purchased lists for leads, but this method is counterintuitive to the purpose of marketing automation, which is to send authentic messages instead of spam. Start at the top of the sales funnel with a content marketing, blogging or social media plan for bringing in leads if you don’t already have enough in your pipeline to serve the demand from marketing automation.
3. Database of contacts
Merging your existing CRM allows for improved segmentation. A mere list of contacts doesn’t allow for much selectiveness when segmenting a target audience for a campaign. You will have more success implementing marketing automation if you have an existing CRM that you can merge into the system’s database, so you don’t have to start building customer profiles from scratch.
4. Digital marketing expertise
The software isn’t self-sufficient. One reason marketing automation efforts fail is that businesses don’t completely understand its features and therefore underutilize it. Make sure your staff has the time for the software setup, training, integrations, campaign planning, content development, and ongoing management required to launch and sustain the program’s momentum. If in-house implantation risks overloading your team, consider bringing on an agency partner.
5. Consistent content production
A strong content team is needed to feed the beast. Marketing automation is essentially a vehicle for getting your content in front of customers. Drip campaigns need a bevy of well-developed resources to be successful—without it, sending personalized materials relevant to where customers are at in the sales process would be impossible. Because you can’t repeatedly drip the same content to prospects, marketing automation demands a rockstar production team of internal marketers and external partners who can regularly create click-worthy articles, videos, whitepapers and more for the sales department to have on reserve.