In the first post of the series we addressed point 1 of our implementation methodology: the need to have the top of the funnel active on multiple social profiles and other channels before moving forward with Marketing Automation. The 8 Key Challenges of Implementing Marketing Automation In this post, however, we will illustrate the importance of points 2 and 8: why a well-defined and monitored set of KPIs and marketing and sales processes, combined with a consistent alignment of the organization through the construction of a cross-functional team Line of Business, is essential to ensure correct planning of Marketing Automation, with excellent results in terms of implementation. The scenery When an organization approaches Tech edge for assistance in developing Marketing Automation functions, it typically does so through one of two channels: Marketing or IT. The conversation then always turns to how to configure the software solution of his choice in the shortest possible time, or turns into a discussion on why the investment already made in that direction has not brought the desired results. In the B2B field, the momentum and urgency to implement Marketing Automation is almost always the same. The quality and/or quantity of leads generated by marketing are always considered less than optimal, and perceptions of marketing’s contribution to field sales can vary widely. As a result, leads generated by marketing are often ignored by the sales department and remain gathering dust in CRM systems or, worse, in Excel sheets that may never be converted. This, in turn, has a direct impact on the conversion rates of marketing-generated leads, turning them into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why is this so and what can we do about it? Marketing Automation technology allows companies to do two fundamental things: Industrialize a one-to-one communication path in which to take care of one’s customers, educating them properly and maintaining their loyalty in the most appropriate way for individuals, based on their behavior. Score each customer based on the actions taken to ensure that only consumers who have a high probability of being interested in the product or service are passed on to Sales. In short, it is a different approach from that of traditional marketing, and it is precisely here that the first difficulties begin to emerge in creating a Marketing Automation function that lives up to expectations. Traditional marketing is generally based on campaigns, while Marketing Automation it is based on the customer journey, the Customer Journey. Furthermore, traditional marketing focuses on the initial phases of the buying cycle (eg awareness and interest), while the role of Marketing Automation extends to what is normally a responsibility of the Sales department, i.e. the analysis and qualification phases. Instead of managing them through human interaction, we can leverage the customer nurturing capabilities offered by Marketing Automation technology, combined with relevant content, to provide consumers with the information they need to move into the evaluation stage of the marketing cycle. purchase. All this without having to request the intervention of the Sales department, at least up to a certain point. Ultimately, in order to optimize the use of marketing automation, the Marketing department must develop new types of content and deeply understand its customers. Create the bond Since most marketers don’t have as deep a level of customer insight as the sales department does, they will need to work directly with sales executives to turn their experience and knowledge into content. that can be used in the Marketing Automation process. Nine times out of ten, however, things don’t go quite like this. In most of our customer interactions, the first meeting is attended by a good percentage of the Marketing and Digital teams, sometimes together with the brand owners, while the Sales department is very rarely involved. If you want to take full advantage of Marketing Automation and get results that can really make a difference, however, you need to interact with them too. In addition to Sales, it would also be important to involve the Customer department, in order to truly understand their needs, purchasing behavior, information requirements and communication preferences. For each “Customer Persona” (or “typical customer”) defined, it is necessary to interview at least a couple of sales and customer managers if you want to obtain a truly significant result. Another big advantage of this type of approach is that it allows you to obtain the approval of the Sales department already during the planning process of the Marketing Automation and related investments. The commitment and actions undertaken by Marketing in this process are generally considered by Sales as something very far from the modus operandi of the past, with the possibility of obtaining very different results. Involving sales managers in the planning process helps greatly increase the likelihood that upon launch of the new Marketing Automation feature their team will land the guaranteed leads with higher reverence and priority, starting a chain reaction that will increase the chances that the investment made will bring the desired results. Set standards So you involved Sales, Digital, Marketing, IT and whatnot and configured different Customer Personas with their Customer Journeys. By doing this, you have increased your chances of success. Collaboration and joint planning, however, are not only useful in the initial stages of development, on the contrary: it is good to ensure that they continue and the best way to do this is to develop a process and a range of metrics capable of involving both Sales and Marketing, providing measurements in capable of reflecting continuous joint ownership. To achieve this, it is good to create a set of KPIs capable of measuring not only the traditional marketing metrics linked to campaigns (open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, etc.), but also the key points of interaction and passage between Sales and Marketing: Sirius Sirius Decisions suggests that developing joint processes between Sales and Marketing throughout the sales process produces nearly 4x more results than marketing automation technology implementations without this integration. Ultimately, it would be much more important for companies, rather than knowing open rates and click-through rates, to create a set of KPIs and reference standards capable of measuring: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL, leads qualified by Marketing): in other words, leads that have been nurtured through nurturing actions based on customer behavior, and which through automatic scores provided by Marketing Automation are considered ready to be passed on to Sales. Sales Accepted Leads (SAL, leads accepted by Sales) : percentage of MQLs accepted by Sales, which undertakes to follow them. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL, leads qualified by V e n d t s) : percentage of SALs contacted by the Sales team and considered real opportunities. And, finally, Closed Deals or the concluded agreements. Take action In order to be able to track these KPIs in a manageable way, it is important to ensure a full integration between the Marketing Automation system and the CRM, as well as having Marketing and Sales reach an agreement on SLAs, reaction times, follow-up and sales pipeline management. Since most Marketing Automation solutions are in the Cloud, integrating with standard CRM packages shouldn’t prove too difficult, also because many solutions have ready-made APIs. The last point, however, may present some more difficulties, but including CRM and Sales already in the planning process can help to obtain approval.