The jury is still out on whether marketing automation is easy or difficult. A recent article in MarTech Today would have us believe it’s easy—even though the author starts out by telling us that experts say it’s “complex.”
What is it about marketing automation that generates such a wide spectrum of opinion on its ease of use? The source of this discrepancy is likely the prerequisites for optimizing marketing automation: a clean database, spot-on audience segmentation, well-developed nurturing campaigns, and plenty of high-quality content. That is, marketing automation cannot overcome major weaknesses in existing marketing programs.
But if you’ve got your marketing ducks in a row, marketing automation software can help you work wonders when it comes to customer engagement. For one thing, it will allow you to personalize and automate your email blasts. Just how effective is this feature? According to Gartner, companies that automate lead management processes will increase revenue by at least 10 percent within six to nine months. This 2009 stat was substantiated in 2014 by Forrester, which reported that marketing automation implementations increase sales pipeline contributions by an average of 10 percent.
If you could use help organizing your marketing program in order to optimize a marketing automation (MA) solution, platform-independent service providers, such as Marketing Automation Partners, not only support highly rated MA platforms, like SharpSpring, but also offer professional guidance for all your marketing activities. Outsourcing your MA platform to experts will make your implementation truly easy.
Once you’ve selected your MA tool—guided by an expert provider, whether independent or not—develop an implementation plan that includes training, process modification, and organizationwide communication that supports end-user adoption.
Avoid overly complex projects when you first put your MA tool to work. Select a specific business need, such as nurturing prospects that register on any of your website’s lead pages. Determine an email strategy and what results you expect as it progresses from step to step, such as percentage of recipients who click on the emails.
MA enables A/B testing to help you pinpoint the most effective email messaging. It also gives you ample opportunity to test how the way you’ve built out the logic flow in your MA system.
For many businesses, MA has become the central hub for their marketing machinery. Yet, too many are currently being promised an “easy” and “intuitive” process by new entrants to the MA space. Sure, their products may be easy enough to wield, but keep in mind that generating marketing qualified leads and real sales is a complex, integrated undertaking.
Be sure as you vet vendors that you only short list those that have the expertise in marketing to help you build an efficient lead-generation operation—one that shortens the sales cycle and helps you close deals faster than ever.