Marketing Automation WILL NOT Help You Make More Sales

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When was the last time everything that was meant to, or should have happened from a marketing perspective, actually happen? Marketing automation vendors would have you believe that their tool is the answer to all your needs – think again. These are the days of under-resourced and under-funded marketing departments. The funny thing is, in many instances, the finance departments are the ones enthusiastic about implementing this automation play as all they can envision is savings down the road. In reality, what ends up happening is that marketing turns their focus on feeding the automation beast vs. marketing. Marketers are very often reluctant to buck the automation tsunami as they do not want to appear “old school”.

Today’s customer is well informed and expects customized service targeted to their needs, role, intent and interest. This means B2B marketing firms must be able to communicate with customers at various stages of the sales process and keep up with different buying behaviours or risk losing business. It’s a shape up or ship out scenario.

How do we provide this level of engagement? Many believe it’s through marketing automation. I agree, but only up to a point. I believe that it’s a great tool; however it works only if you have the right process and people in place.

Technology is a means by which your processes could become simpler and more efficient. But if you’re thinking marketing automation will help you close more deals, you’re betting on the wrong horse. It’s like saying the wand makes the magician.

Process Is the Magician That Makes the Marketing Automation Potion Work

Yes, marketing automation may capture buying signals and buyer preferences, but it’s what you do with the information that makes all the difference. And that involves PREPARATION. By all means get the latest technology to boost your lead generation and qualifying and selling process. But don’t count on it to do all the work for you. Use it to rev up your sales process.

I read a recent report by Forrester Research on B2B marketing automation. I think Forrester is bang on when they say you need to be prepared to handle the technology. If you’re considering investing in it, stop and ask yourself if the existing process is ready for marketing automation. Determine where you want technology to take you. ‘Think big but start small’. Make a plan!

Marketing automation may seem like the new fast car but lack of readiness will make it a perilous ride. Simply pushing more leads to sales, rushing campaigns out the door and lack of supporting resources and data are not your road map to success. No automation in the world, no matter how advanced, can be a substitute for proper process, planning and preparation.

I second the points that the Forrester report makes:

  • Prepare for the right process, content, data and people
  • Prepare to develop an integrated lead-to-revenue process model
  • Prepare for being a content marketer
  • Prepare the organization for database marketing
  • And don’t put technology ahead of organizational readiness

Successful implementation of any kind of automation involves matching it to your process, giving it data to work with and using the outcome to achieve your goals. You need to prepare your people to use the technology. So don’t go out on a limb and invest in the most expensive market automation unless you’re sure you have everything in place to make it work for you.

Is your B2B organization planning to invest in marketing automation? How will you prepare to use it? Share your thoughts.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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