Key marketing automation takeaways from SouthWiRED 2014: Avoid a fiasco
Katie Melick and Mathew Sweezey from marketing automation software company Pardot spoke on their platform at the 2014 SouthWiRED (formerly Digital Atlanta) conference. The duo’s presentation, titled “#FailSafe: Steps to Avoid Marketing Automation Fiascos,” provided insight on how to correctly implement marketing automation to maximize marketing and sales wins. They offered the following three points to make your automation efforts failsafe.
Step back. If you’re just starting to use marketing automation, or if you already use it and are experiencing subpar results, step back from implementation to review your current process. Diagram the existing process in its entirety onto a whiteboard and take a look at all of your current steps and ask why you’re doing them.
- Define your goals for automation. Is it better visibility in front of prospects? An easier way to track multi-channel campaigns? The ability to prove value among campaigns? Speeding up the number of leads you generate? Once you determine your short list, stick to those goals. An easy way to do this is by determining some quick wins. Figure out the highest amount of value you can get in a short amount of time. These quick wins will help boost confidence in the new system and stay concentrated on your goals.
- Align your system and determine your rollout. Assign an owner for your marketing automation platform and make sure they’re knowledgeable about the vision and goals for its use. Then, get buy-in from other groups. The sales team deals with prospects and might want to give input on email content, cadence, etc. And most importantly, determine your rollout strategy. Marketing automation touches different departments – marketing, sales, copywriting and more – so make sure you help them understand what’s going on. Base the rollout strategy on your initial goals.
Slow down. Understand the technical foundation needed to run your marketing automation system – email authentication, tracking codes, CNAMEs, templates, custom redirects, testing and scoring. Maximizing your platform to its fullest potential requires a variety of technical tactics that must be implemented to effectively track visitors, personalize their experience and score them.
- Once you’ve established the technical foundation, start small. You need to authenticate emails, warm up your IP address, establish a simple drip and rollout programs gradually. This is very much a process and sending out thousands of batch emails in the first day is not the right play. Start simple and use data to adjust your small campaigns before building out a huge nurturing drip program or implementing dynamic content.
Focus on your steps. Nurturing requires a strategy – how do you find out what stage of the sales funnel your audience is in, and then move them from one stage to the next? Once you can answer these questions, you can more effectively develop supporting content to help progress them in their current stage or move them through the funnel.
- Lead capture is paramount to getting new customer opportunities. You’ll need to coordinate with the marketing and sales teams to decide what fields, default and custom, are most important. You then have to determine what content has sufficient value to customers so they will be willing to give up their personal information.
- Tracking is then important once you have captured new prospect. Tracking on your website is easy after implementation. Use that information to find out a prospect’s interest in your organization and when they might need to be contacted and given more information.
Focusing on each step in your process will help you optimize each to be most effective. Over time, you can continue to adjust the strategies as you get results and collect data. Overall, marketing automation is a process that requires meticulous planning and execution. When done right, you can truly convert and close leads at a better rate for less effort.
For more information on marketing automation and lead nurturing, watch “Lead nurturing: A key component in your sales strategy,” a Dodge webinar featuring Mathew Sweezey.