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2016: The Year For Marketing Automation

If you want your business to become a thought leader in your particular industry, good news! There’s always room in the marketing wolf pack for businesses who aspire to become the alphas. It’s true that marketing automation (“MA”) used to be for the top dogs of the business sector. Major multinational companies aside, 68% of top performing small businesses use MA. What once may have seemed elusive and “fancy” is becoming increasingly mainstream, and it’s setting big and small companies alike up for success.

Before your business takes the plunge and invests in marketing automation, there are several internal factors that you should bring to the conference room for discussion.

Set Your Expectations

Visitor tracking, email marketing, lead nurturing, real time sales alerts, forming landing pages, and automated lead assignment are some of the features included in many marketing automation programs. Understanding what you want and having a sense for what’s most important is time well spent. Consider sitting down with other key organization stakeholders and discussing some of the following points.

  • What are you hoping to achieve by incorporating marketing automation? What are your current marketing challenges?
    • Is your business looking for tighter, more segmented leads?
    • Are you hoping to iron out some of the red tape between your marketing and sales teams?
    • Do you want a better understanding of where your best and worst leads are coming from? (Marketing automation provides closed-loop reporting to help prioritize and allocate your spending.)
  • What is your time frame? As with any long term investment, to see tangible results takes time. What specific progress are you looking for:
    • In three months time?
    • By Q3?
    • By the end of 2016?

It seems obvious, but you wouldn’t get on a bus without knowing where it’s going. That’s it’s crucial to understand and communicate your expectations at the onset of making the investment. Failing to do so can set your team up for disappointment, frustration, and unexpected expenditures.

Get Organized

Objectives aside, does your business have the right structures in place to begin marketing automation? It’s critical to have other aspects of your business working efficiently to be able to comfortably embark on a new investment. With that being said, have you considered the following:

  • MA may need to be connected to your other software systems and database to achieve maximum results. Think of your marketing tools as a puzzle. Your website testing tool is one piece, your content creating tool is another, your CRM system (if you have one) is also one, and your MA software could be another piece! Be sure to know what your business is currently working with before talking to vendors so that you’re prepared with questions about how programs will work together.
  • Automating your marketing will require content. Do you have a content strategy? Who is in charge of overseeing its production? Is content being created frequently enough? How often can you publish quality blog posts, webinars and events, and how many?
  • Your team’s skills. Have you considered training your team? Hiring a new one? If you’re a small business, do you have one person to control all marketing automation efforts? Whichever way you decide, whoever is running your automations must possess some marketing, sales, analytics, and project managerial skills to accomplish the task at hand.

While you’re still in the organizing stage, gather some resources which can help streamline your goals and thoughts for introducing marketing automation.

Anticipate Results and What To Do Next

With proper planning and execution, your team should expect results. Excite and motivate your marketing and sales teams about increasing business traffic within the next few months. You should also consider who is going to handle the new flux of information and leads.

Which Software Is Best For Your Business?

Some of the top MA software companies are Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo, and Oracle Marketing Cloud. Each vendor offers strong elements to their software package, so we recommending choosing a vendor based on whether it can match your objectives with its platform. Once you’ve narrowed down to your list to three top candidates, you may want to take them for a test drive, or schedule a demo.

Here are a couple other great resources for selecting the best MA platform for your business.

Partner With An Implementer

Feeling overwhelmed? That’s completely normal and okay. There is a lot of information on the web about MA and your resources are limitless. New Perspective is a proud Hubspot Partner. We specialize in Inbound Marketing and helping businesses adopt and implement marketing automation. If you would like to discuss marketing automation, give us a call or schedule a conference with our team. We look forward to speaking with you.