Gone are the days where sales is short on quality leads, where marketing has to manually set up a batch and blast email campaign to every email address it can find and hope someone takes the bait, or where executives have to wonder how they’ll make their quarterly revenue goals.
Good riddance to that and welcome to the age of marketing intelligence.
Technology is changing at a rapid pace, providing companies with unprecedented intelligence that would have been unheard of just ten years ago. One of these rapidly growing solutions is the marketing automation platform (MAP). And it’s changed the way marketing generates leads.
Marketing automation platforms, (such as Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, Pardot, Act-On, etc.) help to streamline, automate and analyze marketing. In feature/functionality speak, that means the platform manages your email marketing, landing pages and forms, campaign management, lead nurturing/scoring, lead lifecycle management, CRM integration, social marketing capabilities, and marketing analytics.
Companies that use marketing automation well increase the efficiency of their sales and marketing, to help accelerate the conversion of names to qualified leads and ultimately increase revenue. And what revenue-driven company doesn’t want that?
To get you started, here are 5 tips to make sure you’re ahead of the pack:
1. Set Your Goals
What are you trying to achieve with marketing automation? Are you trying to increase leads? Re-engage cold leads? Move leads through the funnel more quickly? Think through your goals as SMART— goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound. You can’t establish a successful marketing automation strategy if you don’t know why you’re marketing in the first place or if your goals are too vague to ever achieve.
2. Perform a Content Audit
The emails you send should be prompting an action from your audience, like downloading a relevant piece of content that will move them along the sales funnel. What white papers, guides, or infographics do you have that match your audience’s sales stage? Does the content fall into specific themes or talk about certain products? Do you have a variety of content types tailored to your audience? Audit your content and categorize to the sales stages and themes that best fit your audience’s needs. Then check for gaps so you can get started on additional content creation.
3. Launch a Cross-Functional Internal Committee
Marketing automation platforms are powerful tools, but they still need people to manage them. You need to get the buy-in of Sales and Marketing to turn your MAP into a well-oiled machine. Align your strategy between the two departments, starting by defining your terms (like lead, prospect, marketing qualified leads, sales accepted pursuits, etc.). Then go through the journey from prospect to client and agree on how your company will communicate with prospects through that journey. When does Marketing hand off the lead to Sales? Are you setting up nurture campaigns or calling campaigns along the way?
4. Know Your Feature Wish List
You know your goals and objectives, the content you have and need to get you started, and internal agreement around the road you’ll take to achieve your objectives. Now it’s time to start thinking about the features you need to fuel that process. Will you need to score leads? Use progressive profiling? Trigger communications when your audience takes a specific action? Match the features back to the strategy your internal stakeholders agreed to and start looking for a MAP that has the tools to power all your digital needs.
5. Ask For Help If You Need It
Implementing a marketing automation platform for your company is making a commitment to improved, intelligent communications. So you need to give it the time and thought necessary to make it successful. Make sure you’re able to pull in other team members, or outside consulting resources, to help plan the rollout, content writing and design, email writing and scheduling, analytics and campaign setup, and so on to get you on the road to success.
Tracey Ellis, MBA is Founder & President at Leadous, a Minneapolis based company focused on driving lead generation through Marketo- a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). With over 15 years of sales & marketing experience, Tracey specializes in strategy development, lead generation, digital marketing, planning & performance management and product lifecycle management. In 2012 Frost and Sullivan awarded Tracey with Product Strategy of the Year. Tracey was also a SAP Finalist for Most Transformative Solution in 2013.
Tracey currently serves as President of the Business Marketing Association - Twin Cities Chapter.