Part of the point of marketing automation is to reduce your workload of repetitive tasks. Yet for many businesses, marketing automation technology stops with installation; they never take the next steps to full implementation, instead using the system as a kind of glorified email marketing management tool or data storage warehouse.
Only 15 percent of B2B marketers feel they’re getting the most out of their marketing automation systems, according to research from SalesFusion. Here’s how smart marketing automation management can make you part of the lucky few and box out the competition.
Make a Habit of It
Automation is sometimes seen as a “fire and forget” technology. Once you set your nurture program flows, your automated email triggers, and your coordinated ad campaigns, you’ve just started. The real magic of marketing automation comes from its ability to evolve. Each event is an opportunity to collect data and analyze it so you can build on prior success and refine your control of the software. Make your marketing automation software an ongoing part of your overall marketing strategy instead of treating it as a one-time solution, and you’ll see improvement in your marketing efforts across the board.
Bridge the Sales Gap
A disconnect between marketing and sales can be costly. You could lose well qualified leads by failing to hand them off to sales when they’re ready, or you might waste time and effort on prospects who still need more nurturing before they move on to sales. Marketing automation helps coordinate efforts across your entire organization, making sure that marketing and sales work in concert. With access to all data, both sides of the aisle can see a lead’s entire buying journey and cooperate to provide seamless transitions at every stage.
Set Achievable Goals
Marketers have faced one central question for years: How do we know what’s working? Marketing automation provides the answer, but only if you know how to look. If you want to see how your investments in marketing automation are moving the needle, you first have to know where the needle’s zero point is. Automation excels at analytics and tracking over time so you can establish where you are now and define where you want to go. Clarity about your goals is essential to meeting them, and marketing automation allows you to quantify them and track progress.
Define Processes Precisely
Some marketers who realize only incomplete gains from their marketing automation investment wait until after implementation to define key processes. A smarter strategy is to work with a marketing automation consultant who will help you establish the processes by which you generate, score, and nurture leads before you implement the system. Automation can help you understand your buyers and the steps they take along their journey, but only if you have a firm grasp of what turns visitors into prospects and prospects into buyers in the first place.
Test One Variable at a Time
When handed a complex, powerful set of new marketing tools, it’s no wonder some businesses want to unbox them all at once. And that’s a good thing – but save it for sandbox mode at first. Your best bet for finding out what works for you and your market is a systematic approach. Roll out a single feature or technique, assess its effects, and then move on to a new addition from there. By taking a measured approach to implementation, you get to see how each change affects results individually instead of seeing success without being able to repeat or build on it.
The potential of marketing automation technology is vast. Make the most of it with a smarter-but-not-harder approach to it, and you’ll reach markets your competition isn’t even seeing on the horizon yet.
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