I spend a lot of time speaking to groups and, well, to anyone that will listen to me about the importance of knowing your “Why” before developing your what. The main reason I do this, let’s be honest, I see many marketing departments fail with their marketing automation implementation because as a result of believing a marketing automation tool will fill their largest holes.
Quickly stop and write down the top 3 things you would like to do with your marketing automation. It’s ok, I’ll wait…
If you are like most, the list may include items such as;
- Generate more leads
- Qualify leads better before handing to the Sales team
- Attribute revenue dollars to marketing efforts
There are more than this to be sure. But it’s enough to begin with for our exercise today.
I will argue these three desires aren’t marketing automation goals, but instead marketing strategy goals. Here is how you can tell…
- Do you have a mapped out plan for lead generation including;
- Where you will find leads
- Who you will pay for to be a lead
- What message will resonate extremely well to drive potential leads to action
- What your budget is to get leads; think $ per lead and internal resource hours per lead
- Do you have a “qualified lead” document defining, who are your target companies, who are key contact profiles at those companies and where they are at in the purchasing process?
- Have you defined and documented your sales process to know where marketing can be leveraged and how it influences the selling process while enabling the Sales team?
If you don’t have a defined plan, translate: written down, documented, and communicated to those that matter, plan, then marketing automation is putting the cart before the horse.
Building a marketing strategy, even at the most basic levels, like we are exposing here today, must be completed and agreed upon by all of those that matter, prior to a single mouse click in your marketing automation tool.
Having this concise plan leads to success in two ways. First, it is a road map for what you are going to leverage your marketing automation tool for. Marketing teams are stretched thin as it is. Having a document all of the major stakeholders agree on as “marketing’s priorities” provides something to refer back to as map of what is in and what is out of bounds for current marketing efforts. Second, if the results are not what you desire it becomes very clear the required action isn’t “fix” the automation tool but instead to “tweak” the marketing strategy plan.
Are my examples above overly simplified? Absolutely. Are they real-world issues nonetheless? You bet. It takes time and energy to develop a marketing strategy that has the likelihood of executing at a high level.
Sometimes that can be developed with just internal resources but other times getting to success is much quicker by bringing in an outside pair of ears and hands. Feel free to reach out if you think having some guidance and assistance will help your organization build a winning plan.