Marketing Automation Service Implementation: How to Maximize the Returns?

Author: Anirban Chakraborty | Categories: Marketing Automation, Demand Generation, Oracle | Eloqua

Marketing automation platform offers multiple features and a wide-ranging list of potential benefits to users. But if you’re not using Marketing Automation to the full extent of its capabilities, you’re not maximizing your investment. Getting the most out of investments in advanced technology platforms is a struggle for most of the companies. There are ’n’ numbers of stumbling blocks that you may encounter, such as lack of staff or high turnover, lack of processes, poor data, and more. But can you really afford to only use part of a high-cost application? There’s more to Marketing Automation than just great e-mail campaign management. In order to maximize your engagement opportunities – and your ROI – you need to maximize your use of everything Marketing Automation has to offer.

Here is the research study by Aberdeen group on the pressures driving the B2B Marketers towards automation:

 B2B Marketers

The need to increase new customer acquisition revenue is the strongest driving force for Marketing Automation.

Moreover according to Sirius Decisions – research and analyst firm, “Only 25% of organizations are fully realizing the potential of their Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)”. This is for a number of reasons, b2b marketers often describe themselves as “self-taught” professionals and there is no B2B marketing school as such which can impart formal training of such type, even the organizations don’t spend much on marketing skill development. Having said that there are certain organizations utilizing their marketing automation to the fullest and are doing really well. That ultimately leads to a huge gap between the average and the best-in-class organizations. The gap is almost 7 times when we consider the inquiry-to-close ratio between the average and the best-in-class organizations. Thus, we need to know what the best-in-class organizations is doing, which the rest need to follow, as the rewards are huge. The benefits of doing it right are enormous, for best in class organizations the average performance in terms of revenue was 59%. If you look at the industry average, the average performance increase was just 9%.

To build a fully optimized and automated marketing machine that drives revenue you need a roadmap, you need to know where you are today and how to bridge the gap between the present scenario and where you want to be.

Marketing Automation creates gaps, which can be broadly categorized as (given in the Figure below):

Marketing Automation

And the most important factor for you to be successful is that you need to look at Marketing Automation as beyond a tool and its functionality. It must be viewed as a process that helps generate new business opportunities, manage business inquiries, improve potential buyers’ propensity to purchase, and increase alignment between marketing activity and sales results. And it must be supported by the proper skills, processes, organizational readiness and alignment.

Key Steps in Creating the Roadmap to Success:

  • Knowing the current state

In the context of demand generation and marketing automation, this means understanding your customers:

  • Understanding who they are,
  • How do they buy today,
  • How they choose between you and your competitor?
  • How are sales leads generated?
  • Is your sales team driving those leads?
  • Are these leads coming through partner channels and is marketing supporting them?
  • What does a good lead look like to sales?
  • How is marketing supporting them?
  • What is the qualification process of a lead?
  • And finally what happens to dormant/inactive leads
  • Determining the Final State

Once you know where you are, you need to determine where you want to be in future by designing an achievable and measurable future state. This means figuring out what processes you need to put in place, what matrices you need to have and what market automation platform you need to implement.

  • Mapping up all steps and milestones with measureable progress.

Typical Roadmap to Success:

A timeline or an implementation roadmap exemplifying how this happens can be categorized in the following phases:

Strategy and Planning

  1. Initial Planning and Installation: This phase includes the bulk of work typically spanning around 60 to 90 days. It involves all the analysis work, creating the demand-gen framework, implementing the tools and also some campaign planning.
  2. Launch Campaign: This phase involves launching of the campaigns, setting up the visibility for sales, starting with implementing the basics of closed loop reporting in terms of measuring the impact of your activities over the sales pipeline.
  3. Evaluate and Optimize: This involves evaluating sales impact and adoption, lead scoring review and adjustment, process adjustments and adding newer campaigns.

Key Components of the Framework:

  • Who is your customer: This is about defining your ideal customer profile. A Lead Forward Revenue back analysis will not only provide insights into a lead management process but will also tell you who your ideal customers are based on the criteria’s like type of buyer, role/function, industry, motivations and pain points.
  • Understand the Buying Process: By identifying who your customers are and how they buy, you can segment and map out the way you need to engage with them. Thus, it is important to know the entire buying process and where your customers are in the buying process and thus engage with them accordingly.
  • Develop a content strategy: This is very essential in terms of customer engagement. You need to determine who owns the content and how the content is organized. You need to look at content in the context of the buying process and develop it with a purpose of assembling and categorizing it by objective.
  • Lead Management Architecture: Create an automated lead management system that nurtures and moves prospects through the buying cycle to close and continue to communicate relevant, personalized and timely content to the customers.
  • Where does Marketing Automation (MA) fit: You need to consider all your offline and online channels and make sure that your website is the main repository for all information and bundled with web analytics pushing all the information into the MA engine and finally route it to your nurturing campaigns, lead scoring system, and CRM
  • Integrate the tools: Integrate platforms for a common view of the customer across channels; right information should flow across your CMS, CRM and MA platforms.
  • Campaign Planning: This involves mapping your messages. Having defined the content strategy and buying cycle, you need to look at your different buying groups and provide the right message at the right time.
  • Create a Calendar of Activities: You need to consistently drive volume and velocity of your activities; it is critical as multiple interactions result in better scoring and helps to identify highly engaged prospects.
  • Tracking and Reporting: Add Lead Scoring and identify/route prospects by their level of engagement, close the loop by bringing in opportunity and revenue information.
  • Empower your sales team: This is the most important part which involves giving visibility to sales in terms of lead acquisition, activity of prospects so that they can engage with the prospects better.

The maximum value out of marketing automation can be achieved by realizing the key steps discussed above, and thereby setting up successful revenue engine.

In a recent Webinar we have discussed this subject in more detail Click here to watch the on-demand webinar now.