We recently reported that, while marketing professionals understand marketing automation can streamline essential processes, many do not leverage these systems to their full advantage. In fact, only 14% of B2B marketers report their use of marketing automation as “good” or better (source).
So, what’s holding them back? According to Ascend2, the biggest inhibitor of successful marketing automation implementation is a lack of effective strategy (source).
In today’s post, we’re providing you with our top tips for marketing automation implementation success.
1. Establish goals and KPIs.
The main goal of any marketing automation platform is to nurture potential customers with personalized content—ultimately guiding them to make a purchase.
But marketing automation goes far beyond sending a few emails. Before you even draft your first email, it’s important to identify the specific goals and objectives you’re looking to achieve with your new marketing automation platform.
To determine your goals, consider your overall company objectives. For instance, is lead generation a priority? Increased revenue? Brand awareness? Make sure your marketing automation goals align with these high-level objectives. Ask yourself, is my goal specific, measurable, actionable and realistic?
Once you’ve established your goals, assign each a specific key performance indicator (KPI) and a time period in which you’d like to achieve each goal. This will help you determine whether or not your new technology is living up to expectations. Some sample KPI’s to look at include:
- Cost per lead
- Average lifetime customer value
- Conversion rates
- Website traffic
2. Find the right tool.
Not all marketing automation platforms are created equally; success often relies on which tool you choose. Once you’ve established your goals, it becomes easier to select the tool or vendor that will best help you to achieve them.
Here are three considerations to keep in mind when selecting a vendor:
- Feature set– Begin your selection process by analyzing the features each platform offers. Keep in mind the goals you previously established and determine which platform offers the right requirements to meet them.
- Usability– Remember, marketing automation platforms are supposed to simplify your marketing processes – if a tool isn’t easy to use, then it probably won’t help your case.
- Support– No matter which platform you select, your team guaranteed to run into a few problems during implementation. As you do your research, identify which vendors are known for providing the best customer service.
3. Get the right people on board
Successful marketing automation implementation requires that the right personnel be involved from the start. Far too often organizations will appoint one person to execute marketing automation efforts. Although having a point-person in charge of implementation isn’t a bad idea, the process is often too much for one person to handle.
In order to be successful, your company will need to take a collaborative approach to implementation. Here are the individuals necessary for a successful marketing automation implementation:
- Email marketing specialists
- CRM managers
- Sales leadership
- Content teams
Prior to getting started, discuss your collective goals and outline any new responsibilities. Consider lead routing, personalized content creation, lead scoring, email segmentation, and more.
4. Prioritize sales and marketing alignment
In order for your MA implementation to be successful, it is imperative that your teams are aligned – especially sales and marketing. As you are probably aware, sales and marketing alignment can have a huge impact on your business objectives. In fact, research suggests that companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate (source).
One of the greatest benefits of marketing automation is that lead management processes become streamlined. However, when sales and marketing teams understand and treat leads in different ways, misalignment becomes a huge obstacle standing in the way of implementation. To ensure marketing automation success, sales and marketing should work together to develop an implementation strategy. For a more detailed look at sales and marketing alignment, check out the following blog posts:
- 3 Best Practices for Sales and Marketing Alignment
- Sales and Marketing Alignment: A Q&A
- 20 Sales and Marketing Alignment Statistics
5. Invest in training.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often the most neglected step in marketing automation implementation. In fact, 32% of marketing professionals stated that a lack of skill using the software was the main inhibitor of marketing automation success (source).
These platforms are often a big investment for your organization – be sure you make the most of your purchase and make sure your employees are able to properly use them. Proper training may seem pricey, but ultimately, this step will save your organization in the long run.
Luckily, most vendors offer training as a part of your original investment. Be sure to ask about different training options before committing to a vendor.
6. Prioritize Data Hygiene
You may have heard this phrase before: garbage in, garbage out.- It’s true! Data quality issues are often overlooked, but ultimately, data is the foundation of your marketing automation system. If you can’t reach your prospects, your marketing automation efforts will have been in vain.
Establishing a hygiene process early on can help your business reap the rewards of marketing automation much faster. In fact, 51% of marketers say enriching contact data quality is their most significant barrier to achieving email marketing success (source).
Avoid these issues by cleansing your marketing data regularly and implementing the proper controls to keep your data clean. Learn more about data hygiene here:
- 4 B2B Data Management Tips to Help You Convert More Leads
- Get Your Marketing Database in the Best Shape [Infographic]
- How to get More from Your B2B Data
Marketing automation can change the game for your marketing team—your efforts will be unified, easier to track, and more cohesive. But it’s important to take the implementation process seriously—otherwise, your new platform will be a wasted investment.
For more information about improving your B2B marketing campaigns, contact ZoomInfo today.