This week we’re joined by Andrea Tarrell, CEO and founder of Sercante. Sercante is a marketing and technology consulting firm that’s focused on connecting automation platforms. Andrea also runs a weekly blog on TheSpotForPardot.com; and she joined us to discuss a common problem with businesses that know they’re behind in the world of digital marketing.
Whichever you’ve chosen, the key to keep from drowning is to stop and prepare a strategy in order to find value and measure results. Don’t just use these programs as nothing more than glorified email tools. Don’t just rush into unplanned marketing automation. Establishing your steps beforehand will keep you from slowing from a run to a crawl. Instead, you’ll progress from crawling to walking to running.
“In theory, [marketing automation] is simple…but it isn’t easy.”
1. GET THE SALES TEAM ONBOARD
Before you begin down the long and tangled road of marketing automation (or even if you already have), it’s imperative to sit down and work through a strategy about who your ideal personas are.
Investing in marketing automation isn’t a marketing or an I.T decision at all. You should have the support of your sales team 100% before you begin.
“Marketers are owning more of that pre-sales process than ever, and the line between marketing and sales is becoming blurred.”
Marketers are always thrilled to get leads – but their sales teams aren’t always as impressed. They know that not all of those leads are ready to be converted. However, they also want to be the ones identifying hot leads, rather than allowing marketing to do any segmentation ahead of time.
“[Sales] has an unlimited number of people they could follow up with. So if your leads don’t fit their high-value profile, they’re just not going to pick up the phone.”
2. KEEP THEM ONBOARD
And as discussed in a previous episode with Malika Waller, aligning with sales requires a constant dialogue that identifies success and qualified leads. And this dialogue needs to happen over and over again, because the market is always changing and you need to remain grounded.
“Map out, ‘What does lead nurturing look like for my company?’ It’s really hard to automate a process that doesn’t exist.”
But having a nurture plan laid out and quarterly goals or reviews for the system isn’t the only thing you need to keep from going overboard too quickly with unplanned marketing automation.
3. TEST A SMALL CONTROL GROUP
Once you’ve decided on the nurture process that you want to have, then pick the marketing tools to match. Try out that automation process on a small test group.
Testing will allow you to discover any hiccups to your plans, without the stress of any mistakes happening on a large scale.
You may discover that you need more content to support the drip campaigns you’re trying to create. Or more specifically, you need content that sales has requested specifically for leads that are deeper into the funnel. On the other hand, you might realize that you don’t have a system in place to identify or measure the results of your automation. In short, planning is the (shocking) solution to preventing unplanned marketing automation.
You might realize that you need to go through your CRM . It may be Salesforce, or even spreadsheets…but you need to clean out a lot of obsolete prospect data that hasn’t been touched for a long time. Programs like BrightVerify or NeverBounce are great for that.
4. AFTER THAT…BABY STEPS
“When it comes to reporting marketing data, information overload is a good way to have everybody tune you out.”
The bigger you start off, the harder it is to isolate different factors that may have influenced your success or failure. After you start small, it’s easier to identify what elements needs to be cropped out or added. What needs more finessing? What worked beautifully?
“I definitely recommend the crawl-walk-run approach. Set quarterly goals of bites you can actually chew.”
Pick out a small handful of sales reps – not your best, necessarily…but your hungriest. Let them run this pilot program, and see if their numbers improve.
Ultimately, the goal is to be able to give a number – preferably one preceded by a dollar sign – that signifies how much marketing contributed to pipeline revenues.
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