The most common questions from customers who are get started with marketing automation

Published on in Marketing Automation

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Everyday I am in contact with new companies looking to get started with marketing automation (MA). Most of the time, people are well-informed when it comes to the topic, as MA gets a lot of publicity nowadays. But often, people lack the full understanding of what to ask for when it comes to functionality or technical capabilities.

Similarly, it is common to underestimate the importance of integration - in what environment MA must work - along with the other tools. In the best case scenario, they have a specification of exactly the functionality they’re looking for and they have thought about how the platform with fit into their process of working. However, in many cases I have to take it from the beginning.

Below I have listed things that you might not have thought of when it comes to marketing automation, but that often seems to pop up when you have decided to get started.

1. How much do we need to include our web agency in order to get started with marketing automation?

This is really up to you to decide. The MA platform is not intended to replace existing forms, call-to-action suits or similar activities. However, we want to connect all conversion points to the MA platform. In many cases this might require the assistance of the web agency. In other cases, the new system will trigger the need to actually change the forms / landing pages and create them within the MA platform. In these cases you may need the help of the web agency to, for example, add new iframes on the website. Unless have web development knowledge or know how to create a form or a website you will not be able to do it yourself.

A basic checklist about what you can "create" in the MA platform:

1) E-mail
2) Form
3) Landing Pages

2. Our sister company also wants to get started with marketing automation, can use the same platform?

Both yes and no. This depends on how you work today, what systems you employ and how well they can be integrated into one system. Below I have listed two points that you should keep in mind at this:

a) Do you operate in more than one CRM system today?

If yes; it can be difficult to work in the same MA platform if you want to integrate the systems. You can not connect the MA platform with two different instances of the CRM system.

If no; awesome! Depending on the CRM system you are working with, the process of integration will vary.

b) How different is your work processes and offerings?

The platform will need to be adjusted in accordance to how diverse your situation is. This can affect everything from the overall structure of the system, what will and will not be visible for one company or the other, down to details such as  naming conventions of marketing activities and so on.

3. When can we see that the investment in a marketing automation platform has generated returns?

In one way of looking at it: from day one. A well implemented MA platform gives you immediate guidance to understand how to best spend your next dollar to acquire new customers. There are no "campaigns" to generate short-term revenue, but a process that ensures that every penny invested from now on will provide the best possible return. With that said, it is common to receive a direct return almost immediately, within a few months. What is important to take into account is how your company will use the MA platform. How long sales cycles do you have or how well you’re doing with content and other activities online and offline. This means that the results differ considerably from occasion to occasion. We have implemented more than 200 MA platform which has included guidance, advice and training that resulted in very satisfied customers. Whether we can show a profit for your company is thus entirely dependent on your company, your ambition and allocated resources. We have never seen anyone who has implemented and integrated MA, and after a year or two decide to throw it out and say, "No we will return to Excel and taking notes on napkins"

4. Do we need to connect the marketing automation system with our CRM system?

It is a strong recommendation. If you do not start with this directly, you should at least keep in mind that this should be planned in a next step. Otherwise you will not reach the end goal of the integrated marketing and sales process; creating a full "Lead to Revenue" process, ie, the ability to track and influence a visitor on the your website all the way until they eventually become a customer. For this to work marketing and sales need to integrate their work - and thus their systems: MA and CRM. If you take a look at Gartner's Magic Quadrant regarding MA platforms, your greatest opportunities of a successful and complete "plug and play" integration are with the major CRM options, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or SugarCRM.



if you are in position to sell into a MA system to its President, can you name the most important benefits of getting started with this?

I. Do you know what marketing activities are generating the most customers today?

If the question can not be answered you are in need of a MA platform. The platform will support the marketing and sales department and to bridge the gap between them so that important information isn’t lost. Qualified leads created from marketing are sent directly into the CRM system. In this way, you can ultimately keep track of your ROI.

II. Do you have common goals for marketing and sales?

If you don’t - you should. To be able to have common goals you must work in an integrated environment with common systems, common definitions and measure the marketing department's most important task: to develop Sales Qualified Leads to Sales Department. Not "brand awareness", “Most viral Youtube-video of the month” or "Good looking brochures to the fair."

III. Call the "warm" calls instead of calling.

With an MA platform, all your activities are traceable, all the clicks on ads, website visits and seminar attendees come into the system automatically. Their buying journey can be followed step by step. We will be able to track the buying journey from the IP number to the converted e-mail and then deliver leads to sales with detailed history.

IV. Set up automated workflows to facilitate both marketing and sales work.

One of the many benefits of marketing automation is precisely that; to automate marketing efforts. In the platform you can set up different streams based on what the visitor has shown interest for. In some cases this may mean automated emails based on previously downloaded materials. In other cases it may mean "personal message" from specific salespeople, who in turn can maintain dialogues with hundreds of potential customers in an automated way.

Do you have other questions or want to look at options for getting started with marketing automation? Download our guide here >>

/ Mikaela

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