Leonie Mercedes
Leonie Mercedes 26 March 2019

How Does Marketing Automation Success Depend on Company Culture?

In this post, we’ll consider three important cultural considerations for organisations looking to implement marketing automation software.

Implementing marketing automation technology will inevitably bring major change to any business, demanding a rethink of the organisation’s working processes and structure. For this reason, whether a business is successful in its adoption of marketing automation almost entirely depends on how well it copes with change, and this requires a cultural shift.

Success relies on people, not platforms. For marketing automation success, it’s not just a case of teams learning the system and what it can do. It’s not even just about how well teams work together to implement the platform. It’s about having the right attitudes in place – customer-centricity, data literacy and collaboration.

In this post, we’ll consider three important cultural considerations for organisations looking to implement marketing automation software.

#1 Everyone needs to be on board

Because a marketing automation system relies on data from different business functions, everyone in the organisation will be affected by its implementation. For the system to work well, individuals across teams, including sales, customer service and finance, should be at least aware of the system and what it is capable of.

Business goals should no longer be confined to individual teams, or channels, but should instead take a broader view.

During any big change in an organisation, some resistance is to be expected, especially if teams have been doing things in the same way for a number of years. But if the project leader is transparent and honest about what marketing automation can offer, how it can help people do their work, and what to expect during the transition, some of that resistance may start to fall away.

To help inspire your team, identify the opportunities and quick wins marketing automation can offer, explain what will change, and be open about any difficulties that they can expect. You don’t want them to feel they’re in the dark.

There must be harmony between marketing and sales

Breaking down silos also means taking down that metaphorical wall between sales and marketing. “Both sales and marketing have to believe in what you are trying to achieve,” says Lucy Dawson, Co-Founder and Directive of Ratio Creative. “There has to be a benefit for both parties.”

For the sales team, the benefits of marketing automation are clear – they can see which prospects are most engaged, where they are in the sales cycle and when is the best time to get in touch. But to make these benefits possible, a closer relationship with the marketing team is required.

Before running any campaigns, consider working with the sales team to understand how they work – what tools they use, what actions they take and when – and then discuss how marketing automation can optimise those processes.

The sales and marketing teams must work together to determine what a good lead looks like. Lead scoring is one of marketing automation technology’s many capabilities. To take advantage of it, sales and marketing must agree on how leads should be scored, and what next actions should be taken at different touchpoints in the customer journey.

Alignment between these teams means that customers are receiving a consistent message from the company, no matter where they are on their journey, an important consideration for branding.

Designating project ‘champions’ will keep you on track

To maintain momentum after implementing the marketing automation technology, it’s a good idea to designate a project manager, or champion, who is committed to the initiative’s success and can relight enthusiasm when things get tough.

“It is really important that you have a [project manager] that takes on board the implementation goals and milestones but also really focuses on the soft skills, the training, the education, the wider adoption and understanding within the organisation,” says Adam Sharp, CEO and Co-Founder of CleverTouch Marketing.

Ensure you’re communicating your wins to your champion – keeping them updated on your progress, where you’ve been successful, and how marketing automation has supported that success.

But business-wide change can only really come from the C-suite. Marketing automation is intimately tied to strategy, so ensure that senior members of staff understand how marketing automation works, and what it is capable of by using the reporting function to demonstrate which marketing activities are contributing to revenue.

For more information about the importance of culture, ownership and process in marketing automation success, download Act-On’s ebook Making Marketing Automation a Reality.

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