Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Get More from Marketing Automation

Marketing and sales are notoriously independent.

But when the two team up, the results can be the stuff of legends.

One golden opportunity for teamwork between the two is the adoption of marketing automation.

Marketing automation uses software to qualify, score and nurture leads on an individual basis until each becomes “purchase ready.”

To pay off, marketing automation demands that marketing works with sales to perfect the “handoff” of purchase-ready leads; and sales works with marketing to perfect the “take-back” of not-yet-ready leads.

But merely introducing the software doesn’t mean marketing and sales, after years of acting like Lone Rangers, will suddenly partner up.

Mac McConnell, writing for Marketing Automation Software Blog, identifies three reasons organizations “get stuck” after adopting marketing automation—and how to tackle the issues:

Lack of fresh leads. Many organizations that adopt marketing automation soon discover they simply don’t have enough leads to fill the pipeline. In such cases, the marketing department should “go back to the drawing board,” McConnell advises, revisiting lead-generation activities that may have been discarded because they were thought to be low-yield. Tradeshows and rented direct marketing lists are prime examples. “Cast a wide net and revitalize tactics that have fallen out of favor.”

Lack of content. Other organizations can’t kickstart marketing automation because they don’t generate enough content—the gas that makes the engine run.  The correction here is simple: the marketing department has to get on the stick.  “Start working on fresh content that actually helps your buyer meet their goals, not yours,” says McConnell. Research reports are ideal. Buyers also crave short pieces, like checklists, executive briefs, industry overviews and glossaries.

Lack of a lead-scoring model. Marketing automation’s “secret sauce” is lead scoring, but many organizations never enjoy the recipe because marketing and sales can’t agree on definitions. The solution? Bring the two departments together, McConnell recommends. Insist they reach consensus on which attributes of a lead are important and which behaviors represent “buying signals.” That’s the only way leads can be scored.
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