Leonie Mercedes
Leonie Mercedes 5 March 2019

Is Your Business Ready for Marketing Automation?

This article considers the three main questions you should consider when embarking on marketing automation, and covers the key steps you must take before making an investment and building your first campaign.

In many ways, marketing automation has been a godsend for B2B and B2C companies alike. Marketing automation software helps organisations automate the process of sending potential customers the most relevant messaging at the best possible time, so that sales teams don’t waste time on low-quality leads and marketers have more time to make more important decisions.

According to Sirius Decisions, marketers who use marketing automation to get more leads see a 451% increase in qualified leads, and nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

But before marketing teams can hope to achieve numbers like these by investing in their own marketing automation platforms, they must ensure their business – including its people, systems and infrastructure – are ready.

This article considers the three main questions you should consider when embarking on marketing automation, and covers the key steps you must take before making an investment and building your first campaign.

#1 Is your house in order?

By this, we mean: do you know what kinds of data and content your business holds, and where it is kept?

Before investing in marketing automation software, it is important to do some work to ensure that it is possible to automate your marketing processes. This means working out where all your company data is. Which teams have access to which sets of data?

To start getting your house in order, first bring all your data together, ensuring that everything is properly indexed and that there are no gaps as you do. Then bring together your content. This can include white papers, webinar recordings, eBooks… Keep these organised so you know what assets you have when you’re building automated programmes and content campaigns.

Note areas where your content is strong. For example, might a specific eBook be a good starting place for a new campaign? Are there any customer segments that might appreciate being alerted to this webinar recording?

At this point it is also worth thinking about what kind of message it is that you want your prospects to receive, as well as the themes that might tie together the content you produce.

For further guidance on building a marketing plan with marketing technology, download Act-On’s Building a High Performance Marketing Plan with Marketing Automation.

#2 Is your team on board?

For any marketing automation campaign to succeed, it is crucial to have all hands on deck.

Firstly, the C-suite will need a compelling business case for investing in a new platform. Explain what automating marketing campaigns can offer the business, emphasising results of successful campaigns, such as higher conversion rates and better quality leads, rather than features of the platform.

Next, bring the sales team up to speed. Let them know how marketing automation can benefit them, as it offers visibility of what leads are ready to be contacted, as well as a sense of who they are. Tracking each action taken, such as downloading an eBook or streaming a webinar, tells the team more about what the lead is interested in.

It makes sense to give the sales teams a heads up, because if all is well, and the first automated campaign is successful, they will receive an influx of new leads that they need to be ready for.

#3 Do you have firm goals in place?

Decide what it is you want to achieve, and determine how a marketing automation platform can help you meet that goal.

The case you presented to the C-suite for investing in a marketing automation platform will serve as a good place to start for establishing goals. Are you more interested in increasing leads, transaction value, or conversion rates?

Act-On suggests selecting someone in the company who can set measurable goals, to increase Q2 leads by 10% for example, and create a strategic plan to achieve those goals. The business should then choose someone who can implement and monitor the automated programmes you are creating.

Finally, someone should be assigned the task of managing and producing content, including emails, landing pages, and supporting campaign content.

If your business does decide to invest in a marketing automation platform, bear in mind that it may take some time before you get a positive return on your investment. There may be some snags to work out with data quality, and there will be a transition period as your team gets to grips with the platform. However, as long as you learn from your first efforts and stay agile, your first successes shouldn’t be far away.

To learn more, you can download Act-On’s Making Marketing Automation a Reality eBook, published in partnership with Digital Doughnut sister company London Research.

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