Custom Fit Without a Shoehorn — The Right Marketing Automation Tool
Check out these five steps to successfully implement a marketing automation platform
Choosing a marketing automation platform can be overwhelming. There’s so much to consider — from your current landscape to anticipating where your organization is headed. Thankfully, we’ve been able to help guide our clients in the right direction by implementing and executing strategies to make the most out of these robust tools. Outlined below are key considerations and questions to ask your organization that will help set you on the right path.
But First, Some Backstory
Anyone who has implemented a marketing automation platform will tell you it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. That’s because these tools can help marketers simplify personalization, demonstrate ROI and create a better user experience — all outputs of good digital marketing. And, they’re growing at a rapid rate! Just look at companies like Salesforce and Adobe who recently acquired companies to fill gaps in their platform. For example, Adobe purchased Marketo to bring their platform fully into the marketing automation space, while Salesforce acquired Tableau to further strengthen the analytics and reporting portion of their platform.
As if further proof of this growth is needed, Forrester reported that global spending on marketing automation tools is expected to surpass $25 billion by 2023. So, where does that leave your organization? Hopefully not in the dust.
In our experience, we’re seeing clients purchase these tools either because they already have a relationship with the platform, particularly Salesforce and Pardot, or they need additional functionality and reporting to support marketing programs, including lead generation.
Where do you stack up? Take a look at these guidelines to find out.
Five Steps for Successfully Implementing a Marketing Automation Platform
1. Define your current and near-future tech stack.
This can be a cathartic or frustrating task, depending on your organization. What’s important is understanding where all of your data is coming from, who leverages it and who is the owner. Use these questions to help frame your fact-finding mission.
- What does your technology stack landscape look like today?
- What technologies are in place to track a user through the customer journey, and do you have access to the data?
- If you’re looking to implement automation software, how will you connect it to your current infrastructure?
- If you already have marketing automation in place, are you able to track the customer journey through to a sale?
- Do you need to refine your data for greater accuracy and more actionable information to better enable your sales team and measure ROI?
2. Create a holistic list of needs for all parties that interact with customer data.
Marketing automation tools are powerful because of their ability to automate tasks and route data. How can a tool make stakeholders’ lives easier while getting them the data they need? Use the below questions as a framework to determine data needs for your platform.
- What are specific outputs and outcomes for marketing, sales and customer service?
- How will automation work, from the standpoint of pushing data to all points of your sales process?
- What needs must be met to help you refine what important data should be sent and to where?
- What is your strategy for how you will get the data and user from point A to point B?
3. Consider how everyone at your organization will interact with the new tool.
Everyone working with the marketing automation tool, applicable websites or CRM should be clear on how all the tools work together to deliver a unified customer experience. Automation can make marketing and sales professionals’ lives easier, but people need to be present at each step of the buyer journey. Start with these questions to make sure you’re on the right track.
- Do you have people identified who can respond in a timely manner to contact form requests sent to you by the platform?
- Is the sales team educated on how take advantage of lead scoring and prioritized prospects based on propensity to buy?
- If a business unit decides to change a connected tool, like a CRM, do they know the ramifications of how it will potentially affect the automation platform?
4. Confirm your organization’s needs before making a final decision on a platform.
In addition to understanding the unique structure of your technology landscape and needs of your various teams, it’s important to fit a marketing automation platform into these needs rather than the other way around. Keep in mind what you really want the platform to do for you. Purchasing a platform first and defining your needs second is a common mistake that often causes headaches down the road. Once you’ve defined what you need, ask yourself these questions.
- How much does the platform I want cost?
- Can I get a discount because it’s part of a larger platform I already have a license to? For example, with a platform like Salesforce, you may have the CRM system for your salespeople and therefore may be eligible for a discount if you buy Pardot.
- How many of your current systems will integrate with the platform, either natively or with little effort?
5. Be honest and realistic with yourself.
Marketing automation is a big undertaking, but one that can result in significant time savings and a unified customer journey — from website prospect to customer — if done correctly. Take your time to document and understand your organization’s needs, not only now but in the future. Then, select a platform you feel will help support and grow your marcom programs toward success.
Now, don’t you feel better reading this article knowing you’re not alone in this crazy marketing automation world? Let’s start a conversation and discuss how we can help you align your digital marketing to your new technology.
Godfrey helps complex B2B industries tell their stories in ways that delight their customers.