Marketing Automation ROI: Myths and Facts
One of the biggest myths around Marketing Automation (MA) software is that it's a magic bullet that solves all your marketing problems. The truth is that many MA implementations have failed and are less successful than they could be.
Lauren Carlson, CRM Market Analyst for MASG, sent me an amazing article about the myths and straight facts about marketing automation. Below are the highlights.
Marketers believe that MA will allow them to better communicate with buyers and stimulate interest in their products or services. But MA is not a solution, it is a software platform–out of the box, it will do absolutely nothing.
Your success with MA hinges on your starting point. If you have been struggling to manage leads because manual processes are in your way, MA might be a good solution for you. But if you are struggling due to lack of process, MA will only compound to your problems.
Fact: Marketing Automation is One Big IF/THEN Statement
The notion that MA will fully automate your marketing efforts is a myth. MA provides insight into buyer behavior, activities to support that behavior and workflow-type rules for lead scoring. The “automated” part of that equation is the equivalent of saying that a nail gun automates building a house. It might make building a house easier and faster, but without a blueprint as a starting point, you still don’t have a house.
In order for MA to work, you need to have something good to “automate” in the first place.
Fact: There is More To the MA Price Tag Than the Software
Marketing Automation is often justified as a way to reduce headcount or cut expensive marketing initiatives. In reality, MA comes with a fair amount of sticker shock. The price tag of MA is not limited to the software itself. It normally takes about three months for marketers to realize that from a content perspective they are unprepared for an MA system. And they discover that they need to assemble progressive nurture paths, develop a scoring methodology, segment content throughout the pipeline, and use a variety of mediums to stimulate interest. These are hard to do. They take time and cost money, and in many cases require more people.
The good news here is that after that first year of proper MA implementation, you should be able to report on ROI down to the penny and begin to predict what spending a dollar will result in.
Fact: Results are Multifaceted and Aren’t Always Immediate
Many marketers hear they should start seeing results from MA soon after implementation. All it takes is to start sending out the messaging. Then the leads will start rolling in. Right? Myth.
Most marketers will list goals for MA such as “more leads,” “better leads,” and “better reporting.” None of those will be realized within six months of implementation. The results that organizations do see from MA within six months are often overlooked. The immediate value of MA, if implemented correctly, is the revision of process. Marketers who us MA to establish a process are doing it backwards. You need to have something worth automating before buying MA.
In the first months of implementation, marketers should take the process the team already has in place and streamline it by using MA technology.
Success with MA takes time. I tell customers that if you have all of your content in place and a solid plan, you will start seeing different (better) leads around the six-month mark as nurturing starts to precipitate leads out of the funnel and into sales.
Here are four ways to make Marketing Automation work for you:
1. Get executive buy-in for the purchase you’re about to make.
2. Assemble and assess your content. MA will require lots and lots of content.
3. Determine milestones. List what you want to achieve and when.
4. Be stingy with your leads. Don’t hand off every single lead to sales.
The Bottom Line
Good marketing is hard. Nothing will change that. Marketing Automation provides the much-needed platform for marketers to carry out their lead generation and management plans, but their own expectations get in the way of results. The more preparation marketers make prior to purchase, the better prepared they will be in terms of actual returns on their sizable investment.
OnPath specializes in B2B Lead Generation and Appointment Setting programs for enterprise clients who sell complex products and services. Our clients are located throughout North America including Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. OnPath has a NATO secure 9001 certified 150 seat Call Center Telemarketing facility. OnPath is also a certified consulting partner for Salesforce CRM and Marketo Marketing Automation.