Marketing automation is gaining a lot of popularity nowadays and has become quite the Buzz Word in the Marketing Space. More and more businesses that are looking to add a performance marketing channel are incorporating online marketing automation platforms. And this does not only go for big companies with large marketing departments. Even mid-market companies and small enterprises are bringing these tools into their operations.
If your business is one of the companies researching marketing automation, you know those platform comparisons are an overwhelming task. With so many specifications and features, it can get taxing to decide precisely what you want. More on that, if you do not have a clear understanding of your goals, processes, and technical needs, it would be impossible for you to separate great-to-have wants from your company’s non-negotiable needs.
Therefore, do yourself a favor, stop Googling different combinations of Marketo versus Hubspot or Marketo versus Pardot, and so forth – at least for now.
Take a breather and switch your focus into things that matter – your goals. From there, examine how technology would come in and assist you in attaining those objectives.
Thankfully, you can apply business priorities to initiate your marketing automation research.
- Define Your Goals
The first thing is to determine your objectives and priorities, and don’t put technology first. Tech can quickly get you wrapped up with its success statistics and slick product demos. These statistics and demonstrations show you an idea of an optimal final result. But the barriers and the challenges, and the ‘how’ are often not illustrated.
So, if you are serious about bringing-in marketing automation in your business, begin with your goals. Have a clear description of your company priorities plus more precise objectives across sales and marketing.
- Look at How Marketing Automation Would Help
After defining your goals, it’s time to scrutinize how tech should help you attain those objectives. It is an essential multi-stage step. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you start researching product comparisons or planning a couple of product demos. No, that will come later.
This step involves scrutinizing your objectives and identifying the difficulties your team members are supposed to overcome to perform an excellent job.
The steps towards determining an alignment of objectives with tech include:
- Identify your present state
- Explore a perfect state
- Describe the future state
Here’s a discussion of the steps:
- Identify Your Present State
Examine the entire scope of processes, technologies, and tools that your team members are currently using to attain the goals pinpointed above. Decide which systems and tools work well, and the under-performing ones.
As you look at the current state, monitor how data flows in your company. Is a significant amount of data moving from the marketing department to the sales section across siloed platforms? Does your business have a data island where there is no migration of data? These and many more questions will help you know your current status.
- Explore a Perfect State
For an effective marketing automation process, you need to inspire your team members to dream of what they think an ideal work status would look like. And this includes tools and processes. It could be that your marketing team is frustrated because they lack a feedback system from the sales team to share consumer insights. Likewise, your sales team could be disappointed because they do not have a system or a tool for passing on leads to the correct salesperson.
Fine, there could be such systems installed, but the marketing department chooses to do things manually. It would be best if you encouraged your team members to visualize more perfect scenarios that would help them perform more efficiently.
The idea at this point is not to solve problems but to dream big.
There is a lot that this step can unearth in your business. For instance, while exploring a perfect state for your company, a marketer or a team member may respond, ‘I need to have lead scoring tools.’ This statement could potentially unearth extra factors, such as:
- The sales department is receiving many leads from the marketing section, but they are of low quality.
- The marketing department is generating leads, but they cannot be able to act on such data. For example, they cannot personalize content, or they can’t segment audiences.
- The marketing section is uncertain about the tactics that produce a closed sale or deal since sales and marketing platforms are not adequately integrated. So, it becomes hectic to replicate success.
To keep this conversation about a perfect state on track, you must have a consultant to help uncover such deeply rooted needs before even thinking of marketing automation.
- Describe the Future State
Finally, at this stage, it is where demos and product comparisons come into play. At this juncture, you have the picture of how your business’s data ecosystem, current processes, and a vision of solving challenges.
You know precisely what the nice-to-have functions are, and the non-negotiable (the must-have) functions.
If you are still not very sure where to start your research, you can check out a few websites that provide extensive platform comparisons and marketing automation reviews. After exploring these sites, you can outspread the research, and include blog posts and reports. From there, you can go ahead to vendor demos and content.
Why should you power-up your marketing with marketing automation?
Automation can help your business gain an overall growth. More precisely, you will have an increased ROI.
For your business to grow, it needs to generate better leads, nurture the leads, personalize the consumer’s journey, and, most importantly, create valuable data to help you make informed decisions.
Now that you are well armed with this detailed info, you are adequately prepared to evaluate the ideal marketing automation that will work efficiently for your business. You now know all the platform integrations and data that you might need to implement in the automation process. Not to mention all the work you did while exploring the conditions of a perfect state. You will find this information valuable when the time comes to implement a solution. All the best!