Just because you need marketing automation software doesn’t mean you are ready for it.
It is easy to think of marketing automation as a tool, but in reality it is a complete philosophy; a new approach to marketing focused on behavioural cues, quality and results. While you certainly can go out and purchase your favourite platform, this would not be the wisest or most effective approach. You cannot buy your way to marketing success- most businesses could benefit from organisational changes before leaping into a technology-driven solution.
The key to success with marketing automation is an overall inbound approach. This, when combined with quality content and behaviour-based marketing will lead to more, better quality leads. The software provides the tools you need to implement this strategy, but the tools are only as good as the brains behind them. Preparing your entire team for this new approach to marketing is critical to your ability to determine the best software platform for your needs and, more importantly, to your success with marketing automation post-implementation.
Before you start comparing vendors,we recommend that you should take a look at these basic requirements before purchasing marketing automation software.
- Steady, reliable lead flow. Sure, marketing automation will likely increase your lead flow, but the focus is on quality not quantity. The software will help you effectively monitor and interact with your highest quality leads so your team spends its time efficiently. But if you’re having trouble with lead flow, the software won’t fix that problem. It’s awfully difficult to determine an increase in the value of your leads if you don’t have many leads to work with so be sure to focus your efforts on establishing a good volume of leads for your marketing automation engine.
- An inbound marketing approach. This is a foundational requirement for marketing automation software because its capabilities are built around inbound practices. If your organisation is still marketing with an outdated approach then no amount of features will improve prospect receptiveness. Your messaging needs to focus on content prospects actually want to consume.
- Content. Marketing automation will help you master the art of getting the right content to the right people at the right time, but it all hinges on a solid base of quality content. If your team is struggling to create content now, it will only become more difficult as demand increases. The marketing automation engine needs quality content to operate. A lack of this will handicap your marketing efforts.
- Familiarity with email marketing. Most organisations start with email marketing and realise some success with it before they become interested in a more powerful solution. Marketing automation software can do everything your ESP (Email service provider) can do but that is only the very tip of the iceberg and calling it the next step up can be misleading. There is more to marketing than email. Marketing automation is significantly more robust and the features beyond email marketing should not be taken lightly. You should already be familiar with email marketing so you can quickly move beyond the foundational email capabilities to using the features that will catalyse growth, such as lead scoring, CRM integration, behaviour-triggered campaigns, progressive profiling forms, social media scheduling, etc.
Don’t invest in marketing automation prematurely. Make sure your organisation is ready for it before you commit. A little extra planning up front will have a huge financial impact down the road. If you’re having trouble determining if you’re ready, we can help. We can assess your organisational readiness and help you close any gaps that need filling pre-purchase and we can help you choose the best platform and implement a strong strategy from the very beginning. Contact us today if you are ready for MAP and want to know more.