Marketing automation

Marketing automation systems

So I really think any firm that reaches a certain critical mass (what that is, I can’t define yet) should be thinking about using a marketing automation system. Maybe the tipping point is when you have a CRM system, a dozen sales reps and at least one marketing person dedicated to lead generation. Anyway, if you have more than that, you should definitely be thinking automation.

What can marketing automation do for me?

The short answer is – empower your marketing team to create high quality leads for your sales team. Often, marketing “generates leads.” And often, these leads are considered crap by sales reps. This gets to the whole marketing/sales alignment which is another topic. The short of it is that sales is marketing’s customer. And sales people should be spending time on closing deals – not cold calling or qualifying leads. A good marketing automation system combined with a review of your marketing/sales funnel is powerful. And it can automatically feed high-quality, “sales” leads to the reps.

What do marketing automation systems do?

It varies but basically, it gives your marketing team the ability to work with your database, send emails, create landing pages and track all sorts of metrics. It empowers marketing people to implement campaigns without having to wait for items such as web pages being published by the web team. Potential con? You publish something that hasn’t been reviewed and approved. But a good firm finds a way to use templates and a simple review process so this is not a hindrance.

What’s the ROI?

This is a question you really should press the vendor on. If they can’t give some good examples of case studies w/ proven ROI, then it will be much harder to justify. If I was at one of these firms, I’d spend time working with existing customers. The benefits are hard to quantify. How do you measure a marketing manager being able to create his/her own landing page in hours instead of waiting for the web team to create it? How do you measure the ability to send emails (or segmented emails like a re-send to people who did not open the first one)? It’s not easy. There are a lot of intangible benefits which always makes it tough. So I don’t have an easy answer.

What do I need to do to be successful?

This one is a little bit easier. Any marketing automation system needs to be tied very tightly with the CRM system. Hence, marketing and sales need to communicate. It you align sales and marketing, then marketing automation is simply the way to implement the process.

So why am I promoting marketing automation systems?  Easy.  I’ve been a marketing manager for ten years.  I’ve seen how my lack of access and ability to do what I needed to do – IN A TIMELY MANNER – has cost my employers millions of dollars in potential revenue.  I have been responsible for driving tens of millions of dollars of revenue annually. In order to optimize my work, marketing automation has been irreplaceable.

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