Will Marketing Automation Software Be Your Magic Wand?

Congratulations, your CFO and your CMO have approved your budget to use the best marketing automation software. But let’s be very honest and true here. Is marketing automation software the answer to all your pain points and questions?

Here is what will happen to 70 percent of marketing managers of B2B organizations that want to implement a full Inbound marketing program for their companies.

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

First, the learning curve will be very steep even if the marketing automation vendors promise that they will do the onboarding. But they are supporting thousands of clients, so they might have a 30-minute meeting with you each month, and share some videos and documents. Then, let’s say that you were able to figure all this out with your team; here will be the second bump: Your marketing automation isn’t delivering, and you don’t know what to do about it.

Related: 5 Ways to Improve the Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

This is a story about marketing automation, but more importantly, your marketing automation software. You bought a marketing automation system because you thought it would solve lots of problems. You thought it would bring you a flood of engaged prospects, who’d convert into a torrent of paying customers, and that it would save you time. After all, you just press a big green “go” button, don’t you?

You weren’t alone: 50 percent of Fortune 500 B2B companies have bought a marketing automation system. (In fact, 44 percent of those firms have actually got three!) Over 50 percent of technology firms have already got one. And half of all B2B businesses are expected to have at least one by the end of 2016. That’s why it’s surprising why at Flawless Inbound we are busy focused on helping our B2B clients choose the correct marketing automation software, but more importantly, help them with the full customized onboarding and operation, and campaign building for those tools. But back to the story.

With all the hype, it’s no wonder expectations have been running sky-high. But if you’re being honest, the reality hasn’t been that great so far, has it? Marketing automation hasn’t really delivered what you wanted. The right people don’t engage. Your open rates are still rubbish. Leads still fall out of the funnel. MQLs still don’t turn into customers. And the worst thing is that it is starting to make you look bad. Sales wants to know where all the hot leads are. Finance wants to know when it’s going to pay for itself.

And, you’re having to stand up in meetings and show off some frankly pretty unimpressive numbers. This is usually the first call that I get from a marketing manager and CMO of a B2B mid-size to large organization. Saher, what should we do now you ask?

If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone. Nearly 35 percent of marketers are unhappy with their current marketing automation systems. Also, a Massive 85 percent feel they are not using the software to its full potential. In fact, it looks like hundreds of companies are ditching the system they initially bought – and probably switching to another one. (Which will almost certainly be equally disappointing.)

So why is this happening?

  1. Your vendor lied to you about how simple and fast-to-implement their system is. (Because they wanted you to buy their software.)
  2. The media lied to you about how marketing automation would instantly transform your results (They were simply repeating vendors claims.)
  3. That so-called ‘analyst’ firm lied to you about how quickly your marketing automation would deliver (Their survey was probably sponsored by a vendor anyway.)

Here’s the actual, painful truth. Marketing automation isn’t easy. You don’t just push a button and make it work. It doesn’t transform your results overnight. It’s not a silver bullet. But on the positive side, there were lots of things that weren’t lies.

Marketing automation really is incredibly powerful. It can strip away costs from your sales and marketing processes (as long as you’ve established them in the first place.) It really can generate more sales-ready leads. Way more, in fact. It can also transform your lead to revenue ratio, establish, then lower your cost of customer acquisition.

It can also keep sales primed with a stream of hot-to-trot buyers. And deliver a whacking great financial contribution to the business. One that you can actually measure – and prove which marketing activity delivered it. All of which makes you look incredibly good in front of your CMO or VP of sales and marketing. But it takes time, thought, planning, collaboration, and effort.

There are seven things that you need to get absolutely correct!

1. Strategy: Setting smart goals for your marketing automation program, and agreeing on a plan with sales on how marketing will help reach your revenue goals.

2. Team: The right people, doing the right things, that make things happen. Whether they’re in-house, in an agency, or a mixture of both.

3. Process: An agreed way of taking leads all the way from awareness to action, including the vital hand off from marketing to sales (and back to marketing again if they’re not yet ready to buy).

4. Systems: The right marketing automation software. Configured in the right way for your business, and integrated with your website’s CMS and your sales team’s CRM.

5. Content: Useful, informative and entertaining content, that compels buyers to do something. (Like read another ebook, download a case study, complete an assessment or even pick up the phone.)

6. Promotion: A well-planned promotional program of getting content out to people, and a clear understanding of what action to take based on what they do with it.

7. Measurement and Reporting: Tracking how you’re doing, reporting back, experimenting and improving – using data to drive your decision-making.

If you’re not sure where to start or need to focus if you’ve already started, let’s connect for a quick chat to do a quick diagnose and discover what is working and what is not working. Get some help from the no-nonsense marketing automation experts. We’ve turned around more marketing automation programs than we’ve had hot dinners – and we can do it for you, too.

We bring on three major pieces:

  1. A full team of trained inbound marketing specialists
  2. A full process and framework that works
  3. Expertise in the marketing automation technology stack.