There is no question that I like marketing automation. I study it, write about it and consult with our clients on how to better utilize it to maximize their day-to-day lead generation activities. I have active accounts with multiple platforms and am always evaluating new tools that either complement or claim to do something better than the others. If I wore a marketing automation t-shirt, it would say “Fanatic.”
Spending so much time thinking about and working with marketing automation solutions has given me an in-depth understanding of what you can and cannot do. I also interact with lots of people who still think of marketing automation as an email tool, because they haven’t taken the time to truly understanding what you can accomplish with fully integrated marketing automation platform. For this reason, I’ve developed this list of the top 5 reasons you need a marketing automation expert on your team.
1) Data Quality and Accuracy
The number one mistake I see companies’ making with their marketing automation platform is moving too quickly to hit the send button and start blasting content out to the world. I don’t blame them. When you buy a sports car, you want to see what it can do. But establishing a plan for how you will manage data is critically important to the long-term success of your database marketing programs, and that is really what marketing automation does.
Your marketing automation expert should not only be responsible for managing the system, but also understanding how each action is going to improve your level of understanding of your prospects and customers. There should be no one-off messages or stand-alone content. Everything needs to have a purpose and eventually lead to an active sales opportunity.
2) Safeguarding the Customer Experience
Simplifying your ability to send out messages and see what your prospects and customers are doing is a double edge sword. It gives you great insight, but it also makes it possible to quickly and permanently destroy your customers’ and prospects’ opinion of your organization.
This can happen in many ways. The most common is over communicating. Many companies purchase a new tool and think it gives them a license to email more frequently. Another common problem is getting too personal too quickly, and freaking prospects out with the overuse of personalization.
Your marketing automation expert needs to understand and protect the customer experience to ensure the integrity of your customer and prospect relationships. Without this, you’ll discover your audience dwindling as your opt-out list grows.
3) Campaign Integration
Being able to profile and segment your prospects and customers is a key benefit of marketing automation tools. By working closely with your marketing automation expert, you will be better able to align offers to the audience and be able to prioritize which campaigns offer the greatest opportunity for sales. More importantly though, you’ll also be able to streamline how responses to each campaign are handled and produce more meaningful metrics to measure success.
4) Prospect Acquisition
Utilizing your marketing automation solution to focus only on your outbound lead generation activities is similar to buying a car and never purchasing gas. Eventually, you’ll run of fuel to go anywhere. That’s why it is critical that you include your marketing automation expert in your planning process for inbound marketing activities such as advertising, PR and trade shows. With their insight into how the system works, they can dramatically improve the acquisition of new prospects by streamlining the response process and using A/B testing to optimize performance.
5) Enhanced Lead Qualifications
Seldom do prospects decide to purchase a product or solution from a company on their first interaction. Sales take time and numerous interactions to learn about the different features, functions and benefits a company can provide.
Your marketing automation expert needs to understand this and can help you leverage these interactions using progressive profiling to slowly collect more detailed information about each prospect. In this way, they can better qualify opportunities and deliver more valuable information to sales when that particular prospect is ready-to-buy.
Investing in a marketing automation solution is a big step for most organizations. It’s a decision to be more strategic in how you target and interact with your marketplace. Including a full or even part time marketing automation expert into that plan is the best way to ensure you get the most from your investment. If that isn’t an option, then you should find a partner to help set the foundation and provide direction as needed. This including providing marketing automation implementation and support as well as on-going advice for how to incorporate your solution into your programs daily.