Marketing Automation is either the bright new future or an expensive distraction depending on who you talk to. Much has been said about the transforming abilities of the systems out there from the major players such as Eloqua, Pardot, Marketo and Silverpop through to smaller niche providers such as Leadsius, SalesAutoPilot and Nurture but what is the reality?
From CMFGs experience working with clients implementing marketing automation, there are a number of critical factors to achieving success and making most of the marketing automation’s benefits:
The right type of business – providers will claim all businesses can benefit from marketing automation; however it really comes into its own when dealing with large numbers of potential customers and a wide range of products or services. If you have a small pool of potential customers and are a single product / service provider it will be significantly harder for marketing automation to deliver major benefits.
The right cross function approach – in worse case scenarios marketing automation is seen as almost a replacement for marketing personnel. In others it is seen as just the responsibility of the marketing department and not relevant to sales, operations or any other area of the business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing automation only works when it is seen as a cross business tool where all parties have bought into the processes and can act quickly where required. That requires buy-in and support right from the top of the business.
The right sell-in and support – the number one reason for marketing automation failure is poor planning and support for implementation. It genuinely changes how people and departments need to work so should probably be treated as a major change programme rather than a software implementation. Don’t underestimate that amount of planning, work and training it will take. Think in terms of 6 – 12 months before you have a system that is really working for you.
Get it right and your marketing will be significantly improved. Get it wrong and you will have spent a small fortune and distracted both the marketing and sales teams from achieving their objectives.