For anyone working in B2B marketing, it’s hard to ignore the meteoric rise of marketing automation in recent years. However, if you stop falling short of Ripple’s rewards, you’ll find that the fun of marketing automation isn’t as obvious as you might think.
Only 2.8% of B2B enterprise marketers say campaigns used by marketing automation are meeting demand generation goals, according to the Survey of 100+ B2B enterprise marketers from organizations income above $250 million.
Recognize the limitations of marketing automation
It’s important to understand what marketing automation is for and what its limitations are.
Marketing automation works well when there is a well-defined process; it doesn’t automate your marketing but facilitates and scales your current processes. In short, marketing automation is a workflow tool, not an automation tool.
Plus, marketing automation means you need to involve more, not fewer, employees. In addition to being a marketing manager, database manager, app CEO, and content strategist, you probably also need a marketing engineer who can help you get the most out of your new system.
Finally, marketing automation ignores the fact that potential customers are constantly changing their interests, needs, and motivations. Marketing automation can give you an edge, but it doesn’t tell you why a potential customer is so involved.
Prepare your organization for marketing automation
All of this doesn’t mean that investing in marketing automation is a useless task. However, the effort, resources, and strategy required to get the most out of an AM tool are often underestimated.
If you’re considering implementing marketing automation, prepare your organization in the following seven ways.
- Know your ideal customer profile
To get the most out of your automated marketing tool, you need to go through the process from scratch to define your ideal customer profile and your buyers’ personalities.
Marketing automation is based on rules that segment and send messages based on each recipient’s profile (location, industry type, etc.). You need to know what this is before automating messages sent to them.
- Collect the correct lead data
Early in your marketing automation journey, it will be clear that data quality is everything. The quality of data you collect through web forms or social logins determines what you can do with leads. Therefore, it is essential to collect enough data to find clues in the database.
- Don’t make a unilateral purchase decision
A big mistake occurs when the acquisition of new technology is driven by a CMO that doesn’t involve the content, email, CRM, and SEO teams, who end up dealing with a technology that has little participation in research or discussions.
This inevitably leads to (mis)ownership issues within marketing about who is responsible for the platform once it is launched.
- Test first on a small subset of your database
Most organizations hope to start using automated marketing. Rather than running campaigns across your entire customer database and causing a huge increase in sales or deactivation, take the time to test small samples to see how they respond to your new marketing skills.
- Make sure you have enough content
Marketing automation programs often start in earnest and then scale up because the organization has few white papers or blog posts to send to customers and prospects.
The content is certainly not “one size fits all” and care must be taken to ensure that content produced and imported in incentive programs is fit for purpose.
- Know your industry benchmarks
Industry benchmarks are an excellent way to set some minimum performance expectations. Benchmarks also put your performance metrics in context and keep you from focusing on metrics that might look interesting but don’t affect the outcome.
- Be patient
Ultimately, it takes time for marketing automation to work. It requires discipline and dedication, as well as acceptance from various stakeholders, both in the marketing field and in the sales organization.
If implemented correctly, marketing automation can truly be a boon to B2B marketers looking to send relevant communications to their leads and potential customers. With all the excitement surrounding this emerging technology, it’s up to these same marketers to be aware of the issues that may arise and prepare their organizations for them.