Marketing automation does a remarkable job of reducing errors and eliminating busywork for businesses that use it. With automation technology, you’re able to connect with customers one-on-one and build better relationships with any number of leads at once, something marketers couldn’t manage even a decade ago. The power automation has to revolutionize the way B2B companies do business is limited only by the experience of your marketing team – and that’s where some organizations find their greatest challenge.
Here’s how to overcome difficulties and optimize your marketing automation program.
Start with a Strategy
What do you need your marketing automation platform to do for you? While it’s a powerful tool, automation isn’t quite at the point that it can think and plan your marketing strategy by itself. You and your marketing automation manager need to give it its orders based on well-defined, concise objectives. Whether you want to speed up your lead lifecycle, integrate disparate elements of your omni-channel marketing strategy, outline precise marketing segments, set lead scoring benchmarks, manage content marketing activities, or develop nurture programs, your system can do it – but first, you need to define your strategy clearly.
One of the greatest challenges many B2B companies have after installing marketing automation software lies in knowing where to start. You may not need all the tools the system has to offer, or you may not need them yet; either way, part of your initial strategy should include a schedule for training and getting the system online based on what you need most. Having these stepping stones to full implementation simplifies automation that would otherwise be complex enough to present its own set of problems.
Enhance Data Quality
Computer programmers have a blunt, but accurate way of describing what happens when a database gets fed inaccurate information: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Its corollary is that accurate data going into the system will produce accurate analytics. Prepare for your marketing automation upgrade with data enhancement and verification to give it clean data from the outset. Your marketing automation manager will also oversee data migration to ensure that all viable records make it into the new system easily.
Define Data Protocols
After cleansing the initial supply of data to populate your system, your marketing automation manager can define how incoming data will be collected, aggregated, and retrieved. Standardizing data sources, including forms, transactional data, and customer service records, lets you and your marketing automation system draw on this expanded universe of information to derive insights about everything from individual leads to sweeping market shifts.
Keep Content Flowing
Automation is intensely content-hungry, and not every B2B business is prepared to feed it what it needs to operate at full strength. Part of the software’s power comes from its ability to carry on personal conversations with any number of leads at once; that means it needs to have an extensive library of topics to discuss. Lead nurture programs designed to bring promising leads to sales readiness take entirely different kinds of content than top-of-funnel SEO or white papers designed to solidify a buying decision for a lead who’s already gone most of the way toward making it.
Put the Right People in Place
Although marketing automation systems have gotten vastly easier to use with each generation of the technology, they still need trained personnel to reach their full power. Your marketing automation consultant can help train your in-house staff or manage your marketing automation system for you. In either case, you’ll have people with the expertise to make your marketing automation plan a success from the start.
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