8 Steps to Guarantee Marketing Automation Success

EmailMonday gathered an impressive list of statistics about marketing automation usage and its relevance for businesses in 2016 and beyond. Some key statistics from various sources include:

• 91% of the most successful users agree that marketing automation is very important to marketing success across all channels (Ascend2).

• Approximately 11 times more B2B organizations are now using marketing automation compared to those in 2011 (SiriusDecisions).

• Best-in-Class companies are 67% more likely to use marketing automation (Aberdeen Group).

• 79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than two years (Gleanster Research).

• 42% of CRM users will increase marketing automation spending in the near future (Software Advice).

• 54% of CMOs have started or finished marketing automation software implementation (MarketingSherpa).

• The most commonly used marketing automation applications include email marketing software, CRM, and marketing automation suites (Software Advice and Research Now).

• In the B2B environment, 69% have used marketing automation for customer acquisition while 50% have used it for customer retention (ACT-ON and Gleanster Research).

As noted by other research, leveraging available automated processes for marketing can add efficiencies, fill in talent gaps, maximize limited budgets, and more effectively target those platforms and channels were customers and prospects are now located. In determining the process for adding marketing automation to your SMB, there are some best practices that you will want to consider before you dive in:

1. Review what you are using now before changing anything.

Like most companies, you are most likely using a wide range of offline and online tools, having added certain marketing tools as they have been introduced while still keeping old traditional software. You need to know what you have in order to determine what type of marketing automation you can employ that brings it all together and removes any duplication of effort and helps you have more time for other aspects of your business.

2. Research available marketing automation solutions.

In order to know what you want to automate and what this solution will do for you, it’s important to study the existing solutions. Whether you implement the marketing automation solution or you hire someone to do it, you need to understand why it works for your business. This can help with future strategic decisions related to your marketing effort and other technology investments.

3. Organize existing data to prepare for automation.

Automating with a mass of unorganized data definitely defeats the purpose, so you need to spring clean your data. This means getting rid of duplicate and inaccurate information before transitioning from multiple systems to just one.

4. Map out your transition to an automated marketing process.

You may even want to consult with a marketing professional who can suggest a specific way to approach the transition as well as the best automated marketing solutions for your business niche and specific strategy. Typically, you will want to have a centralized marketing database, an engagement engine, and an analytics engine as part of your new automated marketing solution.

5. Align the automated marketing processes with the sales processes.

It’s critical to get your sales team included in the marketing automation process. They will most likely have insights about the type of automated system that would work best for what they are trying to achieve. This alignment can further your ability to qualify leads and turn them into customers.

6. Create a timeline for the marketing automation transition.

A best practice is to take a stepwise approach to automating your marketing processes. The last thing you want to do is change everything at once. If anything goes wrong along the way, you could end up losing customers and traction. By automating specific aspects of your marketing at one time over the course of six months to a year, you are ensuring everything integrates and is seamless to the customer and prospect.

7. Train your staff to use the new marketing automation solution.

Ensure that they know how and why this marketing automation solution works for your organization. Even though it is automated, your staff still needs to know what it is doing and what the results mean. After all, overusing the automation can backfire so they need to know the frequency and quality of the messages they are adding to the solution. There are still decisions to be made about marketing content used for the automated processes like email marketing and campaigns plus analytics to analyze and changes to make based on the results from these metrics.

8. Continually review results from the marketing automation effort.

Your marketing automation processes do not operate in a vacuum. It’s critical that you continue to monitor them and assess the results you get from the investment. The analytics you get from the effort will guide you toward any changes that need to be made and will serve as the benchmark for the type of technology or tools you add in the future.

This is the year for your business to transition to marketing automation to ensure the greatest efficiency and return on your marketing investment. By following these best practices, you can increase the results gained by automating your marketing processes.

This comprehensive guide to Marketing Automation will start your journey down the road of marketing automation success.

Author Bio: John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. He was recently named #3 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and has been one of the Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for the past three years.

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