Marketing automation can be great tooling in order to achieve your marketing KPIs. However, marketers often find themselves confused about how exactly to use marketing automation to the fullest. When results don’t show overnight, we blame the tool.
Marketing automation is like your career path, when you are starting out with your education. Your end goal can be to get this amazing job, but when you first begin your studies the journey to the top can be overwhelming.
A good study plan is key to breaking your path into smaller mid-goals along the way. And eventually you will notice that your investment in a plan pays off.
Having a clear plan about what you want to achieve with marketing automation can help you reaching the top faster. At spotONvision we often see companies going through four similar stages on their way to become marketing automation heroes. These stages can help you identify how you can get more out of your marketing automation and how to benchmark against others. Do you recognise yourself in these stages?
Stage 1 – Focus on your building materials
Stage 1 begins with implementing a platform and focusing on the basics. Setting up a good foundation, will help you later when you are scaling up your marketing automation activities and when the team grows.
Standard ways of working in marketing automation are key:
- Use a strong naming convention for your folders and assets, to help a new colleague onboard into your activities.
- Set up privacy compliant data management processes to record opt ins.
- Also, start recording lead sources for your different promotion channels.
- Lastly, think of integrating your CRM with your platform from the very beginning, as it will help you feed contacts to your new campaigns.
Once your fundamental processes are in place you can start experimenting with your first single touch campaigns!
Stage 2 – Let the automation begin!
Stage 2 is all about building on your foundation and ramping up your activities. Building your first multi-touch campaign is a big milestone, but you will find yourself running several types of campaigns soon after. Think of adding different content types to your campaigns, for example by integrating a webinar tool. Remember to constantly evaluate your campaign performance and to improve your campaigns.
Running marketing campaigns means:
- That lead generation often becomes a major focus point in stage 2.
- This means experimenting with promoting your campaign assets via channels like social media.
- The lead source tracking you set in place in stage 1 becomes crucial in identifying your best performing sources.
When your multi-touch campaigns grow you can think of adding features like progressive profiling. Enriching data on your contacts helps identifying the best leads for your sales team. The findings will also help you build an efficient lead score model to automate your lead management processes.
Stage 3 – Data, data, data
As your database grows and your automation becomes more and more sophisticated, two key areas will need your attention: database maintenance and sales enablement.
Marketers often underestimate the effect that database health can have on your campaigns. Having a well-segmented, active database is much better for your results than a large, inactive database of old contacts. Such contacts might have changed companies during the years you’ve had them hidden away in your database and will only pollute your reporting.
How can you further help sales close the leads you deliver them?
At this stage you will need to focus on database maintenance:
- Investigate which of your data processes need to be updated.
- Make sure you still record opt-ins and opt-outs in a compliant manner and that you regularly clean out contacts who no longer match your target audience.
- Work on improving the quality of your data and implement data cleaning programmes for all different data sources.
When you work with an external partner like a call centre, take extra measures to confirm the leads’ opt-in. Ask your call centre to register new leads by submitting a form you’ve created inside your marketing automation platform. Set the form to send a double opt-in email to the leads. Those who confirm their opt-in are safe to add to your database, and you’ll have a proven opt in recorded in your database.
With your campaigns steadily feeding marketing qualified leads to sales, take time to listen to your sales team’s feedback. How can you further help sales close the leads you deliver them?
Sales enablement steps:
- Think of sales tools like ready-made email templates with late stage content that your sales team can send out to prospects in a few minutes.
- Set up alerts for prospects visiting your website, so your sales team can reach out to prospects at the exact right time.
The more comprehensive your marketing activities become, the more crucial it is to keep your reporting up-to-date. Invest in setting up or fine tuning closed-loop-reporting to track contacts from first touch points to confirmed sales. This will greatly help you prove your campaigns’ ROI and boost co-operation between the marketing and sales teams.
Stage 4 – Above and beyond
Have you had multiple rounds of improvements on your ongoing multi-touch campaigns? Are contacts steadily entering your database from external sources? Is your sales team constantly praising the quality of your marketing qualified leads sent to your CRM? Are you reporting on all your activities from first touch to completed sales? You may ask yourself, what to tackle next?
It’s time to re-evaluate whether your entire marketing automation environment is still a good fit with your customers’ journey. Do you have relevant campaigns for all phases of the journey, from engaging new contacts to converting them, from onboarding new customers to upselling to them, and from saying goodbye to re-engaging old contacts? Do you make use of trigger-based campaigns to reach out to your contacts when they react to something? Think of website clicks, chat requests, event sign ups, and re-opening your content or old emails.
Often this stage results in more integrations and partnerships. Think of integrating your webshop, retargeting campaigns, chat or real time selling tools such as Enspark.io and other apps you use in your marketing mix. More data on the total journey of a contact will help you understand your audience better and help you adjust your tactics to better reach them.
Just like your education, marketing automation is never done but there is always more to learn and improve. The more your activities grow the more maintenance and evaluation rounds you will need. However, with a good plan, you’ll be improving a solid foundation that will help you grow.
If you want to learn more about our approach to marketing automation or if you need help with your marketing automation, please feel free to reach out to our automation heroes at email@example.com or via +31 (0)20 705 58 88.