How to make the most out of your marketing automation solution

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog on how to choose the right marketing automation solution for your business. So let’s assume for the purpose of this follow up blog (and humor me here!) that this is where you are: you’ve trawled through your options; selected and met your shortlisted suppliers; made the decision; selected your perfect partner.

(And here’s that blog!)

Well if that’s genuinely the case, firstly, take a bow! You’ve taken a fantastic first step and you’re now well on the road to revolutionizing your marketing strategy with the help of automation. However, as much as it probably feels like the hard bit is over, choosing a marketing automation solution is merely the tip of the iceberg to achieving marketing greatness. Implementing it is where the fun really begins.

We know marketing automation software will ultimately help us scale, be more efficient, save us time (in the long run) and gallop towards greater ROMI, but one of the very first – but pretty fundamental! – things you need to do to maximize the full potential of your marketing automation platform is to be proactive and implement processes right from the outset. According to a DemandGen report, 76% of marketers who have implemented a marketing automation tool said that if they had to do it again, they’d do more preparation by building better processes from the outset. So the more advanced your internal processes are the more successful you will ultimately be at implementing marketing automation for your business.

Marketing automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You now need to fully align what you expect to achieve from the implementation with your current business systems and processes. And what’s nice about being a marketer for a marketing automation business is that we are in your shoes. We are marketing ‘Marketing’ to marketers, so we not only need to think and act like you but we are using the very tools we’re marketing for our own purposes as well as helping our customers and prospective customers do exactly that.

So to support you right from the get-go, we thought you would find it useful to have some checklists to work through.

Step 1: Setting the tone

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Have you defined your sales funnel?
  • How do you segment your database?
  • Who owns the marketing automation program?
  • How will the marketing automation tool work with your CRM system?
  • What ongoing training or support will you receive?
  • Have you defined how colleagues will be using the marketing automation technology?

Step 2: Implementation & launch

  • Have you identified where you are going to start with your first automation program?
  • How are you documenting the workflows for the handling and processing of leads resulting from the program?
  • Have you set your campaign objectives?
  • Have you established the messaging for the program?
  • Are you developing the program assets internally or are you outsourcing this?
  • Have you defined the program length?
  • Have you thought about how the program will be measured?

Step 3: Optimization & Evaluation

  • Have you thought about what happens after the program launches?
  • Now your first automated program is up and running, how are you going to optimize it?
  • How are you going to ensure that the program(s) grow, evolve and scales as time goes on?
  • How are you planning to assess the maturity of your program(s) after implementation?
  • Have you determined a baseline?
  • How are you going to communicate the initial learnings of your first automation program to key stakeholders?
  • What next?

Remember, without a successful plan in place you are far less likely to realize the full potential of your marketing automation software. It’s only ever going to be as good as the implementation and commitment behind it. If you don’t have the internal resources to support the process, the investment will be a waste of your budget, so think about hiring a specialist consultant to help you with planning, implementation and of course execution. It seriously will be money well spent.

Marketing automation can truly provide you with a platform to help you manage your programs and increase the impact of your strategy, but having an organized approach can really make all the difference.  Even the greatest of tools are only as good as the people who implement them (no pressure!) and the systems that are built around them. Learn to walk before you run and don’t try and automate 100% of your processes from the outset, but if you commit to it, self-educate (we can help) and your hard work will honestly pay off. If you successfully implement marketing automation, you’ll be in the top third of marketers, so take those first steps on your journey and join them today. Good luck!