B2B Marketing Automation Shelfware
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
But when the reality crashed into the great idea the b2b marketing automation platform turned into one very expensive email engine with the eventual day of reckoning for not having put it to more use.
B2B Marketing Automation is Hard
In fact it is so hard and the marketing department is so busy that some say 70% of marketing automation platforms are just very expensive email engines. Here is what I hear over and over again:
- I’m going to start next month
- I’ve got to get one campaign out before the next board meeting
- I’m coming up on renewal or budget time; how am I going to make a case to keep this going
- This thing is too complex
- We never have enough time
- We don’t have enough data
- We go from one fire drill to the next
- We’re just not sure where to start
- Nobody owns it
- Everybody owns it
All Good Reasons
Like my business performance expert friend Dick Haab says; there are either reasons or results when its time for accountability. Ouch
Are You Stuck?
What can you do to break the log jam and get on with it? The number one thing is to just get into action. Sure, a bit of planning is essential. Most plan and plan and plan and never get into action to execute campaigns and deliver the b2b lead generation your sales team is hungry for.
The Key to Action
We call it “butt on line”. This just means that you either assign to yourself or someone else the accountability for a specific action by a specific date. We also call it the “what by when”.
Outcomes vs. Actions
The devil hides in this detail; outcomes are made up of lots of actions. You can’t “do an outcome”. You can do an action. Actions are things that one person can do without help from another person.
The Path to Results with B2B Marketing Automation
Start with the desired outcomes – put them on a whiteboard. What must happen to bring about those outcomes; list the items. These may be sub-outcomes or actions. If they are sub-outcomes then list what must happen to bring about these sub-outcomes. You may have to do this three or four times before you get down to where you have only actions.
Accountability vs. Responsibility
This is another area where the devil is in the details. An accountability is something that one and only one person is responsible for. There is an old saying that goes “if you want a dog to starve to death make two people accountable to feed him”. Responsibility can and typically is shared. For example if I see a misspelled word on an email that is set to go out tomorrow I am responsible to say something even if it isn’t my accountability. It should be a specific person’s accountability to correct the misspelled word prior to the day and hour of the send.
What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know
Unless you’ve hired outside help you will be getting into what you don’t know you don’t know when you first dive into b2b marketing automation after the vendor’s fast start process in over. You should expect to make lots of mistakes. It’s OK if you relax and test. You’ll begin to pick-up the distinctions critical to success.
Performance Is a Function of Distinctions in B2B Marketing Automation
All the classes in the world will be of limited value when implementing b2b Marketing Automation. You need to get out there and start having experiences, making mistakes and learning first had what works and what doesn’t. Making mistakes gives you the key to performance – distinctions. Every week you won’t make old mistakes anymore… but you will make new mistakes. Soon you’ll know how to get a simple campaign out and get results. You will have the distinctions to do that over and over again.
Deeply experienced outside help will just assure that you make fewer mistakes, that those mistakes are less costly and that you make mistakes faster. If they are really good they’ll do it with you and not just for you. If they do it for you they’ll be handicapping you. If they do it with you they’ll be enabling you.
Teach Try Teach
The right outside help will do a little teaching, assign some accountability, drive to action, debrief, teach and drive yet again to more accountability. Before you know it your business is really doing basic b2b marketing automation. No longer are you just sitting on top of a very expensive email engine.