Marketing Automation Adoption Tactics
Perhaps the time has come for marketing automation at your company. It’s a big decision and you both want it to work and more importantly payoff.
You’ve noted that some of your most serious competitors are adopting and you have a quiet concern that waiting any longer to adopt could put your organization behind the power curve and place you at a competitive disadvantage in the market.
What are the key tactics to consider at this stage to limit your risk?
Below are eight tactical considerations that come from our experience installing marketing automation platforms over the last five years. Our objective is to give you the best shot at both getting great results and keeping your sanity during the adoption process. Not tending to these tactics is a great way to get poor results, waste money and possibly lose your job.
Tactic #1: Choose the right marketing automation vendor
- Ease of use – In one sense all marketing automation platforms are all easy to use. Some are much easier to use than others of course. Some platforms are dramatically more intuitive and easy to use than others; participate in lots of demos and ask lots of hard questions.
- Capable – Can they do what your executive team expects and what you need? Remember that your needs will evolve over time. We know of at least 60 different marketing automation platform vendors; there is probably a very nasty shake-out coming. Most top platforms will soon, we suspect, all have equivalent capabilities
- Pricing model – I have two favorites: http://www.actonsoftware.com/ (In any given month if you send to an email address it’s active and you can send as many times as you wish – www.leadlife.com is the other with high volume and support bundled into primarily two price points – see their site for details.
- Support – available, quick and effective.
- Resources – there should be an eco-system of quality and competent resources to help you fill in the gaps in your capabilities to operate a platform. Remember, the resources need to both exist and available if they are to do you any good. The fact that they exist is meaningless if they are not available.
Tactic #2: What’s realistic for your situation; resources
- People – if you are starved for staff then the system had better be super easy, the support great and the econ-system strong. Fewer people may mean fewer campaigns. Once up the learning curve and once your various campaign assets are collected you can do much more with less.
- Content – More is better, relevant essential… and the combination rare. Your ability to do a campaign pivots off of content, offers and data. If you don’t have the enough of either you will want to set or manage expectations accordingly. Ask yourself if you have enough content to drive a quality nurture campaign. Quality and appropriate content is second only to a quality database in terms of success factors.
- Data – Some say the right data is responsible for as much as 70% of a campaigns success. Volume of data is not as important; lots of the wrong data rarely pays off well.
- Attributes – the ability to segment, select and suppress is the key to effective campaigns and lowered un-subscribes; make sure you evaluate your attributes early.
- Website – the website must have the pages to support have the necessary forms, easy navigation, similar branding and good content. An active blog is also important.
- Offers – An offer is something the target perceives as worth some action on their part… even if it is just downloading without having to give up any personal information to say nothing of devoting the time to reading or viewing the offer information.
Tactic #3: Data
- RFM – Understand who your best customers are and why. RFM stands for Recency, Frequency and Monetary analysis of your transaction history with your customers.
- Profile best customers – add the attributes necessary to support selects. Once you undertand your best customers from RFM and profiling; go get everyone else that looks like them into your data in sufficient numbers to make your revenue plan work.
- Condition – assess and maintain. Dunn and Bradstreet suggest data decays at 3% to 5% a month. Without good maintenance your pipeline, reports and results will suffer. Read More.
- Volume – know how much volume you’ll need to meet the organizations revenue objectives. Use a simple calculator to determine the volume.
- Determine target engagement stage – this is done through offers:
- Aware – know the problem and aware that there may be a solution
- Consideration – evaluating solutions
- Transaction – getting ready to make and defend a purchase decision
- Attributes – determine and acquire the attributes you need to make the selects necessary to execute a relevant campaign.
- Maintain – find a way to do some maintenance on your data set monthly.
Tactic #4: Make sure your website is optimized for marketing automation
I won’t cover web design other than to say that your website should have and support the delivery of content that fits the three stages of the buying process:
Tactic #5: Explain marketing automation to your sales team
Marketing automation is a win for sales – don’t count on them understanding this. It does change the dynamic in a positive way. It’s not CRM’s pain. Other than providing feedback on the level of qualification to marketing and doing the appropriate follow-up marketing automation is a win for sales teams.
Most salespeople spend most of their time doing three things; looking for someone to sell to, doing administrative tasks and if there’s time… selling.
Effective marketing automation should begin to diminish the time sales must spend looking for someone to sell to and eventually may even eliminate this onerous task for at least some of your salespeople.
The fundamental win for your salespeople is that when they follow-up on a fully qualified sales lead that has been effectively nurtured it typically is a different and better conversation that what they have become accustomed to with their self-generated and un-nurtured leads. Above all these leads typically close faster, for more and have a better lifetime value.
Finally, marketing automation is largely a black box to most in sales; their only real interaction is to receive leads and provide feedback via the CRM i.e. salesforce.com
Tactic #6: Know your content strategy
- Get clear on the content you need
- Full content coverage
- Content at the right stage for the markets mindset;
- Assess current content
- Gap analysis – what is the gap between what you have and what you need in terms of quality and coverage?
- Prioritize – revenue opportunity and demands typically drives the prioritization process.
- Reframe – which pieces of content can be re-purposed?
- Media Mix – what media have proven to be most effective and do you have the content for those media?
- Optimize – Once you begin to use it invest time in refining the “message to market” match.
- Analytics – which pieces is the market accepting and acting upon and which are being ignored.
- Relevant – Analytics will be one indicator. You may also wish to survey the competitive offers for perspective.
- Delivery preference – is your market more attuned to mobile, email, paper or what?
The acid test for content is as follows:
- For each product or service you offer you have the content to fully educate your prospective buyer until they can fully defend and explain a decision to buy from your company.
- Content must be designed to service the following three stages; awareness, consideration and transaction.
- It must be east to read, attractive, credible and relatively devoid of sales fluff. It should have a clear next step called out and a related offer that makes sense to sustain movement along the education continuum.
Tactic #7 Start right – adoption one line at a time
Don’t try to boil the ocean. Pick one market niche and one product or service and wrap marketing automation around it. Run the model, test and tweak until it is meeting expectations. Don’t attempt to apply marketing automation to more than one market niche and one product/service at a time initially if at all possible.
I project that many marketing leaders will have otherwise promising careers cut short with their employers because an expectation of a result and result timing is set with senior leadership that is not realistic initially with the resources available.
Marketing automation can and does deliver amazing results, cost efficiencies and b2b lead generation results but the path to get there is not a perfectly straight line.
Tactic #8 Project ROI, run, measure
You probably had to sell somebody on allocating the budget to try marketing automation. At that time it is probable that you directly or indirectly set some level of ROI expectation. Now is the time to go back and confirm those expectations and make any adjustment necessary prior to starting.
Expectation management is critical to your career.
With advice from others who have experience with the kind of market you are working with and other variable that are similar to your situation gain a consensus on what kind of range you can perform within and have a prayer of exceeding. Re-set expectations with this information in mind. If there is to be a problem you want to address it now and not later.