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4 Key Problems with Marketing Automation

problems-with-marketing-automationBy Jay Adams – President and CEO, MakesBridge.

Marketing automation is considered to be a game-changing technology for any enterprise, given the positive impact it has on sales, marketing, revenue, and business flow. However, some recent stats indicate another side of the story.

“85% of B2B marketing professionals with an active marketing automation platform feel that they’re not using them to their full potential.”

This quoted statistic indicates that marketers are unable to capitalize on their investments in marketing automation platforms. Why is that so? What are the issues marketers have with their marketing automation platforms?

In the following, we are sharing four key problems with marketing automation that we have observed modern marketers are facing despite having a reliable automation tool.

Hazard #1 – Technology Indigestion Leads To Underutilization and Frustration:

Many organizations dive into the deep end of the pool without a plan to gradually adopt and adapt to marketing automation. This includes trying to do too much at once, not having sufficient training support and not having enough time to tackle their best-laid plans.

Here are a few suggestions for digesting the platform in bite-sized pieces:

  • Create and prioritize a list of top sales and marketing challenges then focus your adoption of the platform accordingly. In other words, don’t try to eat the entire platform at once. If you need to drive qualified meetings, set up a simple automation routine to alert sales reps when prospects take action on your website. Once that’s in place, work on the next priority.
  • Access the video tutorials that demonstrate the whys and hows of executing key features offered by your provider.
  • Research and find proven practices that provide step-by-step setup examples.
  • Avoid fluffy LinkedIn posts and ebooks that are more about building traffic than providing specific deployment guidance.

Hazard #2 – Shortage of Content and Messaging:

Worthwhile content drives most of marketing automation. But quality content is costly to create, particularly if you’re publishing ideas across several targets and supporting multiple sales funnels. Here are few helpful solutions:

  • Limit yourself to one very solid post per week.
  • Your articles’ top priority is to be instructional and informative – so write in an outline format and be succinct. This technique aids in absorption of key teaching points by readers and you get an added bonus of a faster easier writing style.
  • Tell a story to break writers block. By taking a storyteller’s mentality you’ll better organize your thoughts around a central theme and produce ideas for a stream of messages. We’ve seen this technique work particularly well in auto-drip sequences where marketers commit to a central idea and use each message to build upon it.
  • If you’re looking for a good read on the topic, I suggest Seth Godin’s book “All Marketers Tell Stories”

Hazard #3 – Regression Back to Mass Email and Other Old Habits That Crush Staff Productivity

A tell tale sign that a user has lost sight of why they bought a marketing automation solution is they discontinue refining dialogue marketing and process automation and drift back to simple mass email blasting. We see too many companies setting up a few auto-triggers or nurture drips and calling it a day.

Here’s a chilling short story of how falling back on old habits kills productivity. A very sharp Makesbridge user recently chatted with our support team to request instruction on how to manually export a list of email clickers so she could then divide and distribute them to her inside sales team. The impulse to export clickers is a Year 2003 habit! Instead, she should be asking how to use an automated workflow to pull and distribute clickers to reps. The old habit would cost her dearly.

Here’s the breakdown of losses we attribute to the old habit:

1. She loses over an hour each day based on the following calculation:

  • Manual daily export – 20 minutes
  • Export duplication – 15 minutes
  • Breaking up lists for each rep – 20 minutes
  • Drafting and sending email with CSV to 10 inside reps – 20 minutes

2. Significant loss to competitiveness

  • Automated competitors are calling within 5 minutes.
  • Automated competitor’s Sales Reps close more meetings because they get real time alerts and have access to interest data and profiles in email.
  • Competitors are better at follow up because clickers are added to “to-call” lists.

The solution to breaking old habits is to create new habits. Create your new automation habit by setting reachable quotas for new automation routines.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself questions like:

  • How many prospect activity alerts do you want to send to sales this month?
  • What is the activity alerts criteria? What contact profile information should it contain? And how quickly should sales receive them?
  • Would you like to send follow up reminders to sales?
  • What feedback are you getting from Sales Reps about prospect activity time lines? Are activity timelines helpful to them? Are they acting upon what they see? Can sales offer any refinements to the messaging based on prospect feedback?
  • What are the call lists you want to provide for you Sales Development Reps?
  • What are the two or three funnel performance charts you want to provide to your executive staff.

Hazard #4 – Lack of Process Integration Chokes Adoption:

Marketing and sales are integrated processes that work arm in arm. In many cases marketers find themselves unable to link campaign responses, qualification, and sales follow up. If you follow the recommendations made in this article, you are already on your way to alignment successfully transferring communication responsibilities from marketing to sales. But if you’re still having issues setting a roadmap for your marketing automation platform, follow this simple process:

  • Step 1: Draw a practical sales funnel from demand generation through nurturing to sales hand off and customer cross sell, up-sell and down-sell.
  • Step 2: List you quotas for each step of the funnel. (example: new interested leads, alerts to sales, voice mails left to clickers, web seminar sign ups)
  • Step 3: Identify and prioritize challenges and pain points in your sales funnel.
  • Step 4: Identify what features of your marketing automation platform can be used to cure the pain.
  • Step 5: Set your metrics of success for each pain point.

Upon reflection of the hazards and common sense remedies you see that marketing automation can deliver on its promise to improve business performance and increase competitiveness. The key theme of reaching success is to break your processes and sales funnels down into compartments. After you do this you’ll have a digestible agenda to build consensus and define a roadmap.

By Jay Adams – President and CEO, MakesBridge
Website: Twitter: @makesbridge