How to Achieve ROI on Marketing Automation


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As the marketing automation market heats up and companies begin to look for that pay-off, begin able to achieve a quick ROI is incredibly important. Here are a few thoughts on how to get to ROI fast!

1. Trite but true – it’s really about EQUAL helpings of people, process, technology and data. The marketer who thinks just getting this stuff turned on, a campaign out the door and building it only in a marketing silo will take a long time to get to ROI. I just had an interview with a Rachel Spasser, VP of Marketing at Ariba who is just now having to go back and do critical process re-engineering work and said she would be in a much better place if she had known how important this work is to ROI and to do it in the beginning. (

  • Before you buy, as part of your implementation or as a way to get things jump-started, conduct a business process review which produces a Revenue Marketing Playbook (that’s just what we call it). This type of strategy works helps knit together in a cohesive framework of people, process, technology and data. This is REALLY important for building buy-in and creating a shared vision for what can be across all key stake-holder groups – marketing, sales and executives.
  • Identify from this process “low hanging fruit” campaigns and/or use cases. This can be an area such as automating a costly manual process or implementing a special drip campaign. This is a big pay-off item for marketing automation ROI.

2. Revenue Marketers (that’s marketers who have revenue accountability and use MA integrated with CRM) sound like a VP of Sales when you talk to them. They obsess over the lead pipeline, contribution of marketing to sales pipeline and conversions from Inquiry to Close. A great example of this attribution is Evan Whitenight at ReachForce – listen to this interview (

  • From the beginning of your implementation, obsess and institutionalize about metrics and start with what you CAN measure. It will begin with efficiency based metrics such as open rate and click through rate and over time, move to metrics that matter – % contribution to pipeline and key conversions %s from inquiry to close. Have an end-game in mind and get there as fast as possible.

3. Align with sales immediately. An easy way to do this is to forget doing broad based campaigns to start and focus on working with sales and providing campaigns that help them achieve quota. The faster you get sales on board, the faster you will get to ROI. An often over-looked component to ROI is what will sales do with the leads when they get passed over? To find out more about the value of sales and marketing alignment, listen to this interview from Heather Bennet at M5 Networks for a glimpse into the value of aligning sales and marketing (

  • Do sales quota focused campaigns with signature from rep
  • Create a lead management process including what gets passed to sales, why and when (lead scoring helps here)
  • Recommendation #3: Create Service Level Agreements between sales and marketing. Marketing agrees to deliver a certain quality lead and sales agrees to follow up in a prescribed time frame and complete updates in CRM.

4. Final recommendation to ROI is to take it one step at a time. Once you begin to realize just how much work needs to be done for marketing to be able to produce predictable and sustainable revenue, it can feel over whelming and make no mistake about it – this is the objective of marketing automation. Listen to this interview with Jaime Davenport at NuBridges as she outlines “baby-steps” to ROI.–nubridges

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Debbie Qaqish
Debbie is a nationally recognized speaker, thought leader and innovator in the demand generation field, with more than 3 years of experience applying strategy, technology and process to help B2B companies drive revenue growth.


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