Everyone on the internet is talking about the importance of marketing automation to make processes more efficient and effective. As of today, more than 51% of companies are using marketing automation in one way or another. However, if everything was hunky-dory, you wouldn’t be here seeking marketing automation secrets, would you?
Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey highlights how 68% of CMOs expect their mar-tech budgets to increase year on year, indicating how marketing automation will become more prominently seen across all industries and at different scales.
All for good reason.
Marketing automation has proven to drive a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. The study by Nucleus Research shows how adopting automation can increase conversions and sales for a business while reducing the cost of achieving the numbers.
But implementing marketing automation is more than just knowing what it is and its benefits.
While everyone on the internet has a set of tips and tricks to share for choosing the right solution to implementing it into different processes in an organization, there are not enough people talking about the mistakes. Mistakes have led to thousands of dollars being lost trying to create an effective automation process.Implementing marketing automation is more than just knowing what it is and its benefits. Read more - via @webengage Click To Tweet
Table Of Contents
In this article, we’re going to talk about the marketing automation secrets that you shouldn’t do when bringing in process automation. Secrets that the management gurus have been keeping away from you.
- Not getting everyone on board with marketing automation
- Assuming marketing automation is easy
- Using marketing automation to simply run things on autopilot
- Using marketing automation to eliminate data silos ‘only’
- Not having a strategy for marketing automation
- Not integrating marketing automation with your existing stack
- Overlooking team onboarding and training
- Using the ‘set it and forget it’ approach to marketing automation
- Running irregular audits on marketing automation
- Not proactively learning from the community
- Choosing the wrong marketing automation tool
- Not accounting scalability of the software
- Setting the wrong key performance indicators (KPIs)
Things you should not do when using marketing automation
1. Not getting everyone on board with marketing automation
Marketing automation is not meant for one person or one department. You need to have all your stakeholders and key teams onboard.
Unlike what most articles suggest – identifying repetitive marketing tasks and automating them with software. Look at it from the perspective of adding another moving piece in your organization that may impact how you do things, and how that will affect the other departments.
Consider it similar to building a culture.
If not everyone is on board with the idea of automation, there will be functions running in silos, manually, which may hamper your growth in the long run due to frequent disconnects.
2. Assuming marketing automation is easy
Internet gurus will say marketing automation doesn’t just make it easy for you to run various functions but is also easy to implement. That’s far from the truth because, by its very nature, marketing automation is meant to be extremely detailed to solve complex workflows.
It takes a lot of upfront knowledge to set things up correctly and be able to tap into the various data points available to you.
Take for instance your sales lead scoring strategy. If you do not have a well-defined target audience and an ideal customer’s persona, or if you are not collating the right kind of data, it will negatively impact your sales performance. The team might end up chasing leads that are less likely to convert and lose out on the opportunity to follow up with those who are closer to making a purchase decision.
A recommended approach to adopting marketing automation is to focus on learning the smallest of nuances that come with it. The idea is to understand the ins and outs of it, technical and non-technical, to be able to set up a workflow that scales with you and helps you achieve growth.
This is where you should ideally be looking for a marketing automation software that offers a powerful support and success team, and a well-made knowledge base that gets you up-to-speed.
3. Using marketing automation to simply run things on autopilot
Too many management gurus out there are promoting marketing automation as a solution that helps organizations run their marketing campaigns on autopilot. Some of them even restrict the use case to CRM and email marketing.
If you want to see success with marketing automation, you need to know that it includes CRM, email marketing, SMS marketing, social media, lead management, content marketing, multi-channel campaigns, and much more, and how it makes them all work in tandem so that you can get results at scale with an omnichannel strategy.
4. Using marketing automation to eliminate data silos ‘only’
Many organizations run multi-channel and touch campaigns to generate leads, nurture them and move them along the sales funnel. But to cater to the needs of each channel, they leverage individual solutions in the hope to keep their running costs at bay. They only bring in marketing automation to eliminate data silos and get a holistic view of their campaigns.
It’s important to know that a marketing automation tool can help you not just bring all the data onto one dashboard. Good software will also help you run those different processes and campaigns from one place. When you need a comprehensive view of your growth strategies across marketing and sales, you also have campaign visibility to make better business decisions.
So if you’ve been recommended marketing automation to consolidate your manual marketing efforts’ data, it’s time to rethink your approach.If you’ve been recommended marketing automation to consolidate your manual marketing efforts’ data, it’s time to rethink your approach. Read more - via @webengage Click To Tweet
5. Not having a strategy for marketing automation
Marketing automation tools do not replace the importance of having marketing strategies. They are enablers that make it simple to execute the marketing strategies with more ease, coherency, and in tandem, across all the platforms to keep communication consistent with prospects and customers, at scale.
If you are winging it by just importing all the data you have to start sending automated emails, for example, you’re not going to see promising results from marketing automation.
The foundation of good marketing automation is creating a well-documented plan that takes into account:
- Marketing goals
- Defining assets required (content, ads, etc)
- Data management
- Audience segmentation
- Scoring and grading
- Lead handling
- Folder structure
- Templates and assets library
- Third-party integrations (including CRM)
- Team management
- Reporting and analytics
Don’t just pay attention to the benefits of marketing automation. Have a concrete plan on putting those benefits to work.
6. Not integrating marketing automation with your existing stack
Implementing marketing automation in silos is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The idea of using the software is to not just simplify marketing, but also how it works with the other departments such as the sales, support, and success teams.
One way to ensure that marketing automation becomes an enabler for all the departments with a seamless flow of information is by integrating it with your CRM. This will also ensure that the process you set up takes into account the needs of all the departments involved. This will reduce spending on unnecessary, redundant solutions to cater to individual needs.
Just to clarify, a marketing automation tool is not the same as a CRM.
The most effective growth strategies have all the teams aligned; not just from a process perspective, but also how information flows and is used between the teams.
7. Overlooking team onboarding and training
To be able to leverage marketing automation, you need to provide the team with proper onboarding and training. No matter what their experience in marketing, sales, or support looks like, your learning program needs to include how you intend on using the marketing automation software and the processes you have set up, to make sure everyone is on the same page and avoid creating siloed use cases across departments.
A good marketing automation software comes with a thorough knowledge base and learning centre that helps make this phase easy. It also provides one-on-one training sessions to ensure the solution is set up to cater to your specific needs.
A good practice is to also create your own documentation for ease of understanding the platform, its use cases, and how teams are meant to put it to work. It ensures a strong marketing automation implementation and also helps boost the productivity of your teams.
8. Using the ‘set it and forget it’ approach to marketing automation
Everyone talks about setting up marketing automation. But not too many people reinforce how important it is to measure the effectiveness of marketing automation and how it needs to be optimized from time to time.
Marketing automation should not be set and forgotten.
Similar to how you measure the performance of your marketing campaigns and improve them based on the response you get, your marketing automation should be able to adapt to the change in strategy as well.
This might sometimes include simply updating the links you have added to your multi-channel drip campaigns. But sometimes, it may require you to change the workflow you have set up for a better flow of information or campaign effectiveness.
9. Running irregular audits on marketing automation
Continuing on the point above, it is also important that you make regular audits a part of the process. With an expansive feature set, comes extensive use across different departments. This leads to new processes, workflows, and information getting gathered in the system.
If you are not auditing your marketing automation efforts, you may soon lose control over what you intend to achieve through the platform.
A good practice that should come from management gurus is the need to audit marketing automation every quarter. This typically includes reviewing each of the processes you set up initially, how they have evolved, the new processes created and why, and how they’re impacting communication with customers as well as within departments.
These audits will also ensure that you do not run into overhead costs due to usage limits and everyone is following a streamlined process to ensure nothing breaks or gets blocked by the other.
10. Not proactively learning from the community
Your approach to marketing automation may be based on your current and future needs. But your knowledge of the platform you’ve put to use or the goal you’re trying to achieve, may not be complete.
Do not restrict yourself to learning about marketing automation and its capabilities within the team or the stakeholders. Proactively participate in communities and forums, or network with other similar companies to see how they’re using marketing automation.
There will be times when you learn from their mistakes or identify opportunities to make your marketing automation strategy better.
11. Choosing the wrong marketing automation tool
A lot of management gurus come with preformed opinions on marketing automation and their experience with various software. While their opinion may count, it should only be a guiding light for you – the importance of doing your own research while evaluating a marketing automation tool, cannot be skipped.
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Apart from the obvious pricing, there are a number of other parameters that you should be gauging a marketing automation tool on, including:
Consider how simple or overwhelming it is going to be to use the software across various departments that have teams with varying levels of experience. The goal is to find an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that makes learning and implementation of marketing automation easy.
Make a list of the features you need and the problems you need to solve for them before signing up on a marketing automation tool. It’s important to find a solution that comes with a feature set that addresses both your current and future needs; moving platforms during scaling can be tougher.
Take an account of the tools and software you’re making use of across different departments. A marketing automation tool should seamlessly integrate with your existing technology stack or have the capability to be tailored into it. If the information is not offered upfront, make sure you ask the provider for the same during the demo.
When you’re jumping into a new domain, you need someone to guide you through the features, processes, and customizations. Since marketing automation looks different from business to business, it is important to look for software that comes with a reputation for providing the best customer support experience.
Another parameter that most miss out on, are the resources a marketing automation tool comes with. There are going to be times when you’d rather read through a how-to or watch a video to implement a process, or simply jog your memory; not everything requires reaching out to the software’s customer support team.
User base and reviews
Take a look at the existing user base of the marketing automation software, how they put it to use and what they have to say about its capabilities. It’s a good idea to choose one that caters to an industry or a few companies that are in a similar space as yours. This is indicative of their understanding of your industry and potential use cases.
The pricing structure of a marketing automation tool may vary from platform to platform. Make sure you have clear answers to what base price you will need to pay. Keep track of the features and benefits that may add to the running costs, and other parameters that the pricing may vary on. As a rule of thumb, the simpler and more transparent a pricing structure is, the better.
Set up and onboarding
Once you have signed up on a marketing automation tool, you’re going to need some level of assistance during the set-up phase. So take into account if there are any set-up and onboarding fees included, what their typical onboarding process looks like if there are any migrations or integrations you’d need help with and for how long will they offer assistance.
12. Not accounting scalability of the software
As your business grows or your marketing and sales strategies evolve, so will your marketing automation needs. That’s why it is important to look for software that helps you scale automation as you go.
A lot of management gurus will ask you to look into your current needs and look for software that fits your budget. You need to predict how your needs may change in the next three, six, and twelve months; take it as a long-term investment instead of a one-time software that you would need to change later.
13. Setting the wrong key performance indicators (KPIs)
A lot of organizations start to play the blame game on marketing automation for not being able to generate enough leads or convert them into customers that actually drive in revenue. But if you think about it, that’s logically incorrect.
Marketing automation is an enabler, a tool that helps streamline how you run your marketing and sales campaigns. Generating leads is dependent on the marketing campaigns you have strategized or the advertising campaigns you are running.
Similarly, converting these leads is not just dependent on the automated workflow you set up, but also the strategy behind it. It also depends on how quickly the sales team is able to identify warm leads and their approach to moving them ahead in the sales funnel.
So while marketing automation brings all your efforts onto one dashboard, your goals or KPIs need to be distinctly defined per process.
This will help you use the insights offered by the platform towards fixing the leaky funnel where your leads seem to be dropping off, instead of changing the entire funnel.A lot of organizations start to play the blame game on marketing automation for not being able to generate enough leads or convert them into customers that actually drive in revenue. Read more - via @webengage Click To Tweet
Looking into these unsaid factors may seem overwhelming. But owing to the need to be present on multiple channels and create an omnichannel strategy, requires backing your team with automation that can take care of repetitive and redundant tasks and keep all the data moving back and forth, safe, secure and organized.
Marketing automation is no longer a mere good-to-have but one of the must-have things for an organization that is scaling rapidly.
So, bottom-line – automation is for everyone and you have easy access to a number of tools in the market. Ensure you are not ignoring these marketing automation secrets and losing big dollars in revenue.