Picking the Right Marketing Automation Software: Part 1

Congratulations! You were able to convince your CMO that he or she needs to invest in proper marketing automation software, and a budget has been allocated for you. Now you are in the hunt for the correct technology tool that will help you reach your marketing goals for the next two to five years.

Most of us in marketing and sales have sizable goals and are under a lot of pressure to drive more revenue – in less time than ever. Today, you may be using an email solution, and feel like you are doing just fine. But what we want you to take away from this article is that with marketing automation you can do some of what you are already doing – in addition to some entirely new things – in a more efficient way that will help drive your business.

Related: What is Marketing Automation?

Ask yourself why you needed a marketing automation tool. Let’s accurately touch on some of the challenges we are faced with on a day-to-day basis:

Challenge #1: It seems like you always need more qualified leads, to drive more revenue and close deals faster. In general, it may feel like more is being added to your plate.

Challenge #2: With these added demands, you or your team may feel like you have more programs to build – including webinars, emails, landing pages, etc. If you are trying to scale up your online marketing efforts, this can take you or your team some time to get done, and it can be very overwhelming.

Challenge #3: You have a leaky funnel!

There are 2 points to this:

  1. You can’t just focus on growing top of the funnel. You can bring in 30,000 names in a month, but if they are not the right people and have a low likelihood of converting, who cares?
  2. Every sales funnel leaks. The cost of a lost lead rises dramatically the further down the funnel it leaks. And due to the complex buying processes today, there is more room for leaks.

By identifying where we are leaking and defining ideal prospect profiles, we can qualify out bad leads sooner.

Challenge #4: You may have some disconnect with sales around what a lead is and when they are qualified. How can you ensure your marketing and sales teams are on the same page? How do you handle getting the best leads to sales at the right time?

Challenge #5: To ensure you get the budget you need to hit your goals and protect what you have, how do you prove and demonstrate the value of your marketing programs, and show overall marketing ROI?

You want to be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is your top performing channel?
  • What is your top performing program?
  • What would you do with more budget?
  • What program would you cut?

Related: Can Inbound Marketing Reduce the Cost of Lead Generation?

Before we get into the top reasons for marketing automation, you may be wondering, why now? Why does this matter today?

First of all, your buyers are more empowered than ever before. They may have 3,000 messages per day that are vying for their attention, so there are lots of places that they can get information. And armed with this info, they are forming opinions and drawing conclusions well before they choose to interact with your brand.

In fact, if you look at some data points, from folks like Forrester, they say that anywhere from 66-90 percent of a buyer's journey is self-directed before they interact with you. When they are interacting with your brand, at every stage of interaction, 87% percent of them demand something that is a meaningful, contextual, and relevant (based on a recent report from Edelman).

Given that there is lots of noise, the customer is self-directing in how they research products and services, and it’s up to marketing to make sure they find what they are looking for. Another way to think about it is – if you don’t do it a competitor will.

In part two of this article, we are going to highlight where marketing automation can help you at different points in the marketing and sales funnel and how we can address some of those challenges in a more streamlined and efficient way.