Any successful business has its own set of guiding principles. Marketers need to apply this same practice to their marketing automation strategies. 

While many view marketing automation as a cure-all for lead generation or engagement, in reality it takes more than just technology. Implementing marketing automation without a solid strategy creates challenges that weigh heavily on a marketer’s influence within their organizations. 

To succeed at marketing automation and improve your stance with both sales and the C-suite, try the following:

Forget the Bells and Whistles: Find Your Organization’s Needs 

The saturation of vendors in the marketing automation industry makes it incredibly difficult for marketers to distinguish what technology is right for their organizations. 

Marketers act like Goldilocks, hopping from one platform to the next, trying to find one that works just right. Adopting a big name platform seems like the best option to many. However, I caution you to pause before purchasing and consider what your organization’s needs truly are. 

Inventory your marketing and sales processes — find out what’s working and what could benefit from automation. If you prioritize greater visibility into lead activity and campaign performance, look for a solution with greater reporting capabilities. If email nurturing is your sole focus, find a tool with enhanced nurture logic and email templates to support you in your development of compelling campaigns. 

Ultimately, if you purchase based on need versus the bells and whistles advertised, you are primed for better results. 

Walk Before You Run with Marketing Automation 

Jumping into marketing automation headfirst and launching campaigns left and right might seem like an effective approach, but no one ever won a gold medal for implementing the most complex marketing campaigns in the least amount of time. 

Take it slow. Simplify your activity. 

Before you facilitate an initiative with marketing automation, get the content or offer you want to promote in good shape. Think who your audience is, the cadence in which the messages will be sent and how the sales follow up will work. Understand how you’re going to define and measure the success of your efforts. 

Learning Opportunities

Marketing automation isn’t a set it and forget it tool. Monitoring and testing is critical to long-term success. Improve outcomes by using marketing automation to conduct A/B tests regularly on the content, design and timing of your campaigns and making iterative adjustments based on results. 

Sell Your Sales Team on the Benefits and Show Results 

Getting your hands on the right technology and establishing a good campaign momentum is half the battle: Getting your sales team on board drives the success of your automation initiatives. 

In other words, if sales ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy. 

You’ve done the legwork, mapping out processes and identifying how automation can help, so win your sales team over by educating them about the solution you’ve selected and showing them how it benefits their work lives. Say for example, your sales team is interested in monitoring lead activity or getting alerts when a lead takes a particular action. Demonstrate how they can do that from inside the customer relationship management (CRM) software. 

Additionally, ensure your marketing automation solution integrates seamlessly with sales’ existing tools, like their CRM. In fact, 60 percent of marketers report stronger or exceptional communications when integrated with their sales team’s CRM, according to a study commissioned by Salesfusion. 

Show the results of your efforts. Providing sales with proof regarding how your initiatives and use of automation improved lead activity and shortened conversion time will earn you fans for life. 

Putting these three drivers of marketing automation success into practice will lead to greater satisfaction and greater credibility within your organization.

Title image "Dive!" (CC BY 2.0) by  Robbie1 

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