4 tips to ensure your marketing automation experience is a positive one
Sales and marketing automation platforms have become common place in Australian businesses, yet despite the increase in usage, there still seems to be several misnomers about the software. The big automation players do their best to educate their users, but the practicalities of operating and maintaining these platforms is causing some businesses to question their investment.
The technology is not the problem. When implementing an automation platform, it should be aligned to your broader sales, marketing, and product development strategy. In doing so you can identify what assets you will need to create and how they will be used as well as what automations, dynamic lists, and workflows to build up. Additionally, you can nurture your prospect lists and maintain engagement with them, increasing your chances of conversion.
The problem, as we see it, is the separation of automation from the overarching strategy. This causes issues as it cannot produce the results people want if it is not integrated with, and underpinned by, strategy.
But first, why is this important?
Implementing an automation platform allows you to serve tailored messaging for prospects based on where they sit within the sales and marketing funnel. By tracking engagement, you can easily see what has piqued their interest and what has failed to grab their attention. This in turn enables you to personalise and adapt your sales pitch or serve up more personalised content and, as we all know, personalised interactions win business.
Beyond engagement tracking and increased personalisation, a good platform can help reduce overheads by automating manual processes. You can also roll out multiple activities and tactics from one central core. This core then quickly becomes a source of customer and prospect data that you can use to guide your decision-making and future activity.
One of our industry bugbears has long been around the data often used to measure marketing success. Social media impressions, number of users on a website or other “vanity” metrics alone don’t reveal much. Fixating on them can totally derail your sales and marketing strategy as your efforts become increasingly tactical in nature.
Instead, we encourage our customers to embrace automation as a means for sourcing data across a broader picture. This takes some of the guesswork out of marketing and allows business leaders to make more evidence-based decisions. However, it is still a long way from perfect – understanding the limitations of these platforms is crucial to managing your own expectations around your investment.
Mogrify’s top 4 tips to maximise your automation investment
Tip #1: Do your due diligence!
Marketing automation was initially dominated by two main incumbents, HubSpot and Marketo. In their heyday, these platforms offered better functionality than other providers. But times have changed, and other players have caught up and even overtaken in some respects. Now, most functionality developed in one platform is quickly rolled out across other automation platforms.
Falling for the brand name here could come at a significant, and unnecessary cost. Even when set against a really good ROI, some incumbent platforms tend to incur significant costs for small to medium businesses. In addition to which, they have limited flexibility with their payment plans. This means you may have to opt-in to rigid 12-month contracts.
Tip #2: Strategy!
This was mentioned earlier but it is so important to see an automation platform as a cog in a broader strategic machine. Who are you targeting? What are you saying and why? Do you pivot or evolve if engagement is low? These are just a snippet of the strategic questions you need to ask yourself when rolling out an automation platform. Then consider that it is not enough just to be able to use a platform, you need access to specific expertise in order to infuse sales and marketing strategy into it at every level.
Tip #3: Look at the data you are starting with
If you are yet to implement a sales and marketing automation platform, you will need to identify where your data will come from. Wherever possible, start collecting strategically relevant data so that you have current information to start with. You can build on this quickly but the more (good quality) data you start with, the quicker you will, build up insights and see results.
Tip #4: Get buy-in from the key teams (together)
Sales and marketing alignment is old news - but it’s vital. Implementing an automation platform forces both parties to work together if they aren’t already. Mogrify practices/ preaches alignment of Sales, Marketing and Product. So the product team is the other corner of the triangle that Mogrify strongly advise including.
Together you need to identify when a lead is marketing qualified and when it is sales qualified and create the funnel together. But also it’s crucial that you don’t miss the opportunities for product development. These can open up new demand within your target markets and drive your business in exciting new directions.
Interested to learn more?
Sales and marketing automation platforms are a bit of a hot topic in our industry at the moment. Reduced resources have encouraged people to think about how to maintain cost-effective communication with their prospects and customers. Keep an eye out for Mogrify’s upcoming automation guide by following us on LinkedIn. Or if you prefer to discuss a strategic and holistic view of automation specific to your business, connect with me/ get in touch.