1. It’s not easy.
All right, maybe you knew this one, because you’re a reader of this blog. And you’re smart. You need patience, time (at minimum, months for full-scale implementation of the most powerful programs) and a clear marketing plan. You need content to support the plan. You need technical know-how to run the platform.
2. Clean data is key.
As I’ve written about previously, dirty data will sink you, and marketing automation (MA) databases typically contain up to 25% erroneous data (at least by the assessment of ZoomInfo’s CEO, Yonatan Stern). Keeping it clean from the start will improve tracking stats, which in turn will maximize the depth of the your analytics. Tightening up the numbers also increases credibility and enhances productivity, saving everybody time and money.
3. Getting started is half the battle.
Before we even talk about installing the software, let alone using it, people in your organization need to understand the purpose and philosophy behind MA. And in order to understand that, you need to establish the value of a new customer, the average purchase cycle, and the different phases of the customer journey. Maximum usage of your platform requires interdepartmental collaboration and a shared understanding of what types of leads—and lead behaviors—require which types of treatment.
4. >50% adoption rate is predicted by 2015.
This number comes courtesy of Sirius Decisions. What is significant about it is that it suggests that if you’re not doing MA by 2015, then your neighbor (i.e., competitor) probably will be. Therefore, if your business really is the right candidate for it, think about starting as soon as you can … or getting more value out of your existing investment in the platform. This way, you can be ahead of the competition when everybody starts riding the train.
5. It can track some marketing activities better than Salesforce.com or other CRMs.
One of the great benefits of MA is robust reporting. In addition to capturing rich information about Web-based conversions, MA reporting can show a given time period’s newly acquired names/touches (vs. Salesforce’s splitting contacts and leads). The reporting can also allow the direct linking of marketing spend to return-on-investment, which makes chief marketing/revenue officers happy, as well as chief financial officers, of course. Finally, MA systems allow budget-conscious marketers to store touch-point data more cheaply than Salesforce, where it may not be that useful for sales anyway.
Check out our helpful 14-pg. marketing automation primer.