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From the Trenches

The Answer Is Yes, You Do Need Help Setting Up Marketing Automation

Will Davis | May 29, 2018
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You realized you needed marketing automation, went through the painstaking process of vetting vendors, and landed on a technology you believe is the best move for your marketing team and your business. But now you have the quandary of how to actually get from signing a contract to realizing the impact that the technology can have.

In my time at Right Source, I’ve seen dozens of clients through the exciting and challenging process of implementing marketing automation. What every single one of them has realized during the purchase process is that — plot twist — this tool you bought for incredible efficiency and time savings, can actually be a wildly complicated time suck to get up and running.

I’ve seen folks thrive using onboarding services available through technology providers … when they have the right talent and time in house to connect their new platform to their strategy.

But unfortunately, more often than not, when you’re just kicking off your marketing automation journey, you don’t yet have the team and know-how in house to connect this shiny, new marketing engine to your broader strategy. And that can have a negative impact for years to come.

If that in-house team is lacking in your company, then finding an experienced agency partner to sit shotgun as you drive your implementation process is critical for success. But just in case you (or someone above you) are not totally convinced yet, let’s think about this from the perspective of why you made this investment in the first place…

You bought for efficiency

You and your team are excited about the incredible time and efficiency that marketing automation promises, daydreaming for weeks about the countless hours you would save automating the previously un-automatable.

With marketing automation, the sooner you can be up and running the right way the faster you can see results from your investment. Think “time to value” here.  Having a partner on your side who has experience with setup, implementation, and adoption will make sure you don’t waste all the time you hoped to save with a setup that isn’t efficient or effective.

Let’s also take the long view for your new tool: even after you’re up and running, your eventual success with the efficiencies your new platform affords you will depend almost completely on your team. To maximize the technical support your marketing automation provider may offer, you’ll need either in-house staff or a partner to make sure that the platform is implemented properly, and you realize the efficiency benefits you have been dreaming of.

We’ve written before about the motley crew required to keep your marketing automation ship — if you’ll indulge my nautical metaphor — afloat and on course. But most teams, 63% of them if you want to get technical, realize that they don’t have know-how and man power in-house to care about all critical marketing automation functions, from strategic planning to day-to-day maintenance. But the data also shows that the companies that DO have the right support are much more successful in the long run.

Make sure you have support in place to build a foundation for every aspect of marketing automation, including finding the right team.

You bought for customization

Today’s buyers demand personalized experiences — a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t cut it. But you know that already, my savvy marketing friend. That’s why you are investing in a powerful tool to better serve your buyers.

Of course, you also know that you need to create different content to serve different buyer personas and for different stages of the buyer journey, and you have to serve your buyers the right communications at the right time. Now you have a tool that can help you with that customized content delivery. But do you have enough personalized content to address all that? Without it, you won’t get the full ROI of your marketing automation purchase.

This customization also applies to the structure of how you set up your tool. No two companies run marketing activities in exactly the same way, and your marketing automation tool should support both a best practices approach but also be customized to work around your team’s most effective marketing practices.

It turns out, adapting software to the humans is much easier than forcing humans to adapt to the software.

This might seem counterintuitive, but it is critical for the adoption and long-term success of the tool at your company. By having a set-up partner in your corner who understands internal processes and how your marketing works at a strategic level, you can wrap the tool around what is already working. This way you avoid frustrated users who then drive low utilization rates, which in turn means the tool that could have been a perfect fit for your business gets blamed for not performing. And you wind up right where you are now, in an expensive and time-consuming software conundrum.

Protect your time and investment: make sure you have a partner on your set-up team that understands how to make this new tool work for your company and its customers.

You bought for data

This is a biggie. Marketing automation collects, organizes, and makes your hard-won data useful, so it’s obvious that you would want to make sure that your new tool is set up to do right by you and your data.

You are also now fighting a battle against your new arch nemesis: duplicate data.

Duplicate records in your marketing automation platform could mean significant costs for you long-term, as with most platforms you are paying by the number of records within the platform.

An agency partner supporting your transition and ongoing marketing automation efforts can help you strategize how to organize your data. Your partner can do spot checking that marketing automation platform providers aren’t incentivized to do, or more commonly, don’t have the time within the scope of your work together.

Your strategic partner may also recommend and implement other tools like Siftrock or LeadGnome to ensure your records are all squeaky clean.

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Want to protect your data? Get a partner in your corner.

You bought for ROI

Marketing automation acts as the glue between sales and marketing departments, funneling critical data between the two to enable better conversations that shorten sales cycles and ultimately impact your business’ bottom line.

You invested a pretty penny because you believe in the impact that marketing automation can have for your business, but you need to get the tool set up to integrate with your CRM, turning it from a data repository to a powerful marketing and sales enablement tool.

A partner can help you get the most out of your new tool, going beyond what platform providers traditionally offer as tech support. For instance, have them set up automation that supports your customer retention with alerts that describe customer statuses and trigger dedicated nurture streams for customer marketing.

In a world where increasing your customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%, increased customer retention capacity can’t be ignored.

Getting strategic support beyond what providers can offer in lead scoring will also significantly impact your bottom line. Building a lead scoring model with a partner who understands your customer base, sales qualifying criteria, buyer personas, and the content you have out in the wild is critical. Hang with me here: an effective lead scoring model built with an understanding of your business means you qualify better leads, which means better conversations and shorter sales cycles, which translate to real revenue.

Protect your investment

Too often I have seen customers come to us at Right Source who have bought the dream but can’t live the reality.

Don’t start your marketing automation journey on rocky footing. A strategic partner can take you beyond scope of services provided by marketing automation companies so that time, resources, and effort are not lost.

Don’t miss the opportunity to maximize the impact of your powerful new tool. Get the support you need.

If you’re ready to get your marketing automation journey off on the right foot, we can help. Get in touch today.

 

About Will Davis:

As Right Source’s chief marketing technology officer, Will Davis oversees the intersection of marketing strategy, consulting, execution and technology for our clients. He focuses first on business objectives and then on helping clients leverage marketing and technology to deliver against those objectives. A recognized leader in content marketing, Will has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in government and politics and broad experience developing marketing strategies that help organizations reach milestones and grow. You can find Will on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

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