3 Tips for Marketing Automation Tools - dummies

3 Tips for Marketing Automation Tools

By Mathew Sweezey

Marketing automation is already having an impact around the world, as it becomes an increasingly global trend. These tips come from McRae & Company, Scotland’s leading marketing automation experts. Why Scotland? Companies that operate in a specific geographic region are just like many businesses that have small addressable markets.

These tips should help you see some key points for smaller companies, or those in international markets. They also show you the impact that marketing automation is already having around the world as it becomes an increasingly global trend.

  • Tip #1: Ensure that you have executive sponsorship.

    First and foremost, marketing automation is the business response to the changing behavior of the modern customer. Whereas sales teams were once the gatekeepers of product information, these days the empowered buyer conducts her own research and speaks to a salesperson only when she is ready.

    Understanding the self-guided nature of the buyer’s journey is essential to grasping the significance of marketing automation for an entire organization, and it’s imperative that this message be understood from the top. In truth, nothing hinders a marketing automation initiative more than missing executive sponsorship.

    Without strong leadership, the investment appears inconsequential to many departments, and the necessity for alignment is significantly underplayed. At a time when executive teams are more ROI-focused than ever before, it’s easy for marketing automation to be erroneously dismissed as yet another expense. Time and effort must be spent presenting the full business case to senior management to secure support and capture the imaginations of the rest of the organization.

    If someone is not on board or simply does not understand the concept, it’s crucial to address this in the planning stages and highlight the need for operational change in today’s era of the empowered customer. Frankly, without a senior management mindset behind it, alignment will not succeed.

  • Tip #2: Consider what you really need.

    As more vendors have entered the marketing automation arena, the temptation for small enterprises to progress with the first vendor they come into contact with (generally, those with the largest marketing budgets) can be easy to succumb to; this is always a risk.

    Rather than there being one-size-fits all solution, it’s crucial to remember that most platforms are designed with specific budgets, resources, and priorities in mind. At the selection stage, it’s important to consider areas like product complexity, market maturity, and sales cycle length.

  • Tip #3: Develop a demand generation strategy with both sales and marketing.

    Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) incorrectly view content creation as the most significant hurdle to overcome when planning for marketing.

    Yet, the reality is that prior to this stage, and perhaps even prior to the evaluation of a marketing automation solution, the marketing team, sales team and executive sponsor should spend significant time crafting a demand generation strategy that aligns with the business objectives and considers precisely how a lead will move through an improved funnel.

    The better defined this strategy is in the planning stages, the easier it is to identify exactly the kind of content that is needed and to maximize its effectiveness. An all-encompassing demand gen strategy is the true king of modern marketing and should cover all areas — from scoring rules, lead-nurturing tactics, and renurturing loops to buyer personas, handover points, and key performance indicators (KPI).

    This streamlining ensures that marketing’s efforts are in line with the expectations of the sales team and, underpinned by marketing automation, and it empowers small-staffed SMEs to achieve, and often outdo, the results of larger competition.