5 Keys to Marketing Automation Implementation Success


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Last month, I participated in a FOCUS round table call hosted by Craig Rosenberg (the Funnelholic ) where the focus was on defining marketing automation success and how to get there. (Listen to the recorded round table here.)

In looking at how to define success, I highlighted 4 lessons learned and 5 keys to success.

Let’s start with the lessons learned from the past 3-4 years:

  1. That if sales and executive management does not see and experience tangible results that are fundamentally different from before the project started, then the program initiative support from top management and the sales team will sour.
  2. The skill sets required by the marketing team are different and more demanding than originally thought or anticipated. The concepts and processes are challenging for the current crop of B2B marketers. We need to think like our buyer – outside-in vs inside-out thinking. Focus on buyer needs and problems, not your products. Build relationships and conduct conversations vs “broadcasting” and promoting the product. Think like a publisher and develop relevant content for buyers. Develop analytical skills to identify and spot trends in target markets/customers
  3. Lead nurturing/management requires thought, planning, patience and constant testing to determine what works and what does not work.
  4. To quote Jeff Ernst of Forrester, “the full benefits are hidden behind old company habits.” ((4/26/11 research report, B2B Marketers Must Better Prepare for Marketing Automation. It takes 2 years or more for companies to move beyond simple lead scoring and drip campaigns to multi-touch lead nurturing that use the much more powerful and effective behavioral-based targeting capabilities.

The five (5) keys to successful MA project are:

  1. B2B marketers must figure out exactly HOW marketing automation will optimize and augment the current marketing plan. The project plan and business case must clearly articulate how the investment in automation ensures a client acquisition strategy and plan that delivers better results (over 12-24 months) than one without that investment.
  2. Marketing leadership must focus on developing a strong and supportive relationship with sales leadership and the top “A” reps. Remember that marketing automation is all about “sales enablement”, so make sure from the beginning that the top reps and sales team understands EXACTLY how automation will make them more money.
  3. Develop and execute a campaign in the 1st 90 days that delivers a significant WIN for the sales team. Sales and executives suffer from ADHD when it comes to results.
  4. Good users of Sales Force Automation realize the benefits of MA earlier and to a greater extent than bad SFA users. If Salesforce.com is broken, fix it before you try to put in MA or you will regret it.
  5. Marketing’s #1 goal is to serve sales – they are your #1 customer so make sure you meet often to gain agreement on lead definitions, prospect qualification rules, attributes of ideal client and business/market targets. Assume nothing and over communicate, especially in the first 90-120 days.

Lots to think about, but after doing these projects for over 12 years, the ability to succeed has gotten harder not easier. Under promise and over deliver to overcome the ADHD factor and your marketing automation project may live to see year 2 and beyond.

Listen to the entire audio of the roundtable here.

Henry Bruce

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Henry Bruce
Henry Bruce is the founder of the Rock Annand Group, a client acquisition strategy consulting firm focused on the B2B software industry. Henry is a passionate B2B sales and marketing strategist and blogger who brings over 30 years of operational software experience to his engagements. Henry specializes in developing programs that deliver results in 90 days or less.


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