Setting yourself up for marketing automation success
Getting the most bang for your marketing automation buck requires more than just installing software and hoping for the best. Instead, companies considering marketing automation must lay the foundation for a responsive and customized program that reliably targets qualified leads and transforms them into satisfied customers. Without a good footing, a company can invest a lot of time and resources only to see lackluster results.
Following are five key elements that should be in place before a company starts down the marketing automation path.
A CRM tool. Underpinning any strong marketing automation program is a robust customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Essentially a tricked-out database, CRM software gives your marketing automation technology the information it needs to identify and pursue qualified leads, allowing you to reach the right person, at the right time with the right message. Without a good CRM system, any efforts to locate and capture potential business may fall short.
A clean database. Effective performance also depends on making sure your database is accurate, up-to-date, and houses the names of people who are potentially interested in your product and have opted in for communication. Not only will this help you maintain a high email deliverability but also protect your company’s reputation and long-term marketing potential. Applying marketing automation tools to this kind of “clean” database lets you identify and segment more qualified leads, giving sales greater insight into which prospects are interested and where they are in the buying cycle.
Quality and diverse content. A deep stable of well-developed collateral is essential for launching and maintaining a marketing automation program. Companies should have quality materials that address each stage of the buying cycle. For instance, prospects who are just getting to know your company will appreciate more education-focused material, such as infographics, ebooks, blog posts, articles and webinars. Since people absorb information differently, it’s important to have an assortment of content types (articles, blogs, videos, webinars) to meet diverse learning needs. That way you can meet customers where they are and communicate in the way they appreciate.
Staff resources. To execute a marketing automation strategy, companies should have dedicated resources that own the program and can optimize the marketing approach, develop content, troubleshoot issues and report performance. Depending on your company, this can be an internal person/department or an external partner. The decision to use in-house resources or work with outside experts will depend on your company’s mission, available resources and marketing knowledge.
Time. Achieving success with a marketing automation program doesn’t come at the flip of a switch. It requires time and commitment. For most companies, it takes about a year to substantially increase revenue. According to one industry source, only about 8 percent of companies using marketing automation experience a revenue boost after six months. However, approximately 30 percent see an increase after a year, and 40 percent after two years or more.
When designed well, a marketing automation program can be a valuable tool in driving revenue and improving long-term business performance. Companies looking to launch this type of program should commit to laying the appropriate groundwork so the resulting effort is both efficient and effective.