Leonie Mercedes
Leonie Mercedes 1 April 2019

Seven Questions You Must Ask Before Investing in Marketing Automation

Considering adopting a marketing automation platform? Read this first

For many businesses, introducing marketing automation can be transformative. Marketing automation offers a greater understanding of the customer by drawing the dots between different types of data, while allowing marketing teams more time to work on exciting new projects as routine processes are taken care of in the background.

But before you invest, it’s important to ensure the business is ready for it, on a structural, strategic, and cultural level.

In this post, we’ll run through seven key questions you must be able to answer to ensure you’re ready to make your marketing automation project a reality.

#1 Have you built a business case?

Adopting a marketing automation platform is a complex undertaking and so success really does depend on having everyone on the business on board.Before you even start shopping for a platform, it is crucial for everyone in the marketing team to agree on why it makes sense to invest in marketing automation, how the technology will help the organisation reach its goals and how these goals align with business objectives.

This understanding must extend beyond marketing to other teams, including sales, whose co-operation will be critical to marketing automation success.

For further guidance on building a business case, download Act-On’s The Business Case for Marketing Automation ebook.

#2 Do you have buy-in from stakeholders?

Of course, in order to get the investment for marketing automation, you must gain support from your company stakeholders – the board and the CFO – though given the nature of marketing automation technology it also makes sense to get the head of IT or the CTO on board, along with the head of sales.

Remember that everyone needs to understand and engage with what you’re doing with marketing automation in order to support it.

#3 Do you understand the customer journey?

For marketing automation success, the organisation must thoroughly understand the customer and the journey they make with the business. For every step of the customer’s journey, set objectives and establish metrics – this will help you determine how marketing automation can help.

#4 Is your business obsessed with the customer?

Fundamentally, the positive outcomes offered by marketing automation software depend entirely on how well the business knows its customers. For this reason, everyone in the business must understand and believe that it is the customer is the priority and focus. This may require something of a cultural shift in the business, certainly if the adoption of marketing automation is accompanied by a change in long-standing company processes and structure.

The good news is, it is this cultural shift that will make the implementation process easier on the business, as everyone will be pulling in the same direction.

#5 Do you know which platform you should choose?

This is one of the most important steps of all. Only when you know what you want to achieve with marketing automation are you in a position to select the most appropriate technology.

Work with any teams in the business who will also be using the software to help make this decision – in particular, the sales and marketing teams must be aligned in this process – and consider any additional marketing technology you may need to integrate with the system as your business grows.

Ensure the vendor will train your team on how to use the system, and that they will be available to support you if things go wrong.

#6 Does your organisation have the capabilities and skill sets to make marketing automation work?

There are two ways of building the capabilities and skill sets that marketing automation demands in your business. You can either establish a centre of excellence, in which a smaller team of MA specialists support the system’s operation, or train everyone on the marketing team how to use the platform.

Which you choose will depend on the size of your business, or whether most of your marketing activity happens through agencies.

#7 Are your data capabilities up to scratch?

Your ability to make the most of the efficiencies offered by marketing automation depends on having a good data strategy. This means ensuring your data is clean, complete, organised, and that you have a robust approach to data capture going forward.

This is also important for ensuring your business complies with data privacy laws. Find out how your organisation is capturing data about customers, the channels you’re using, which teams hold what, and check that all the data you are collecting is mission-critical. Your KPIs will give you a good indication of what data to capture.

For more recommendations on how to prepare your business for marketing automation, download Act-On’s ebook Making Marketing Automation a Reality.

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