Your decision to implement marketing automation should be driven by these three factors: need, time and cost. The first step is to identify all your primary needs. Have discussions with your teams to understand their main pain points and what would help them do their jobs more efficiently. Next, ask yourself if this is the right time for the company to be thinking about implementing marketing automation. Evaluate and understand how a marketing automation platform could not only help with your current needs, but also support your growth plans.
The other key element to consider is your budget. Implementing marketing automation software will cost you. Depending on your specific business needs and scalability plans, you may need to budget anything between a few hundreds pounds to a six-figure sum per year.
Even when you’re clear on your needs and you know that the time is right, it’s only natural to procrastinate. Mainly because you’re well aware that implementing an entirely new system is not easy – you’ll need to work on optimising your existing processes and change management, and align teams and adjust targets. As my clients say “Marketing automation changes the way you do and think about your marketing!” The only other thing that you don’t want to be missing out on is the perspective of time. Weigh up the costs: what will it cost you to implement marketing automation now? What are the costs of not implementing it right away? To help give you an idea, I’m going to describe three scenarios below that demonstrate the cost associated with waiting it out:
Consolidated data and actionable reports – a dream that you and your team share
Think about how your people get the job done and how long it takes them. Managing data in multiple systems and manual reporting can often result in non actionables and not being able to tell the full story. This costs your business not just time, productivity and efficiency, but also holds you back in terms of gathering and building in-house intelligence while advancing your execution process. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself:
- What is my top performing content?
- How long it takes my team to create a marketing campaign?
- What type of campaign works best for my customers, leads, partners, etc?
- How is your marketing boosting customer lifetime value through upsells and cross-sell programs?
If you can’t easily answer these core questions, then it could be that you’re putting off marketing automation implementation which could result in more costs to your business further down the line.
Your marketing team has no time for marketing
Are your marketing team too busy putting together HTML emails or getting the code to look right across multiple devices? Are they formatting the data into pivot tables or pulling information from various sources for your Monday meeting? Do they feel like repetitive tasks are taking up all their time and there is no time left in the day for strategy or creativity? If the answer is yes, then I’d encourage you to have a look at how marketing automation can help your marketing team do better and to squeeze more out of the hours available.
Sales team say (and think) marketing is not helpful
Maybe it’s not difficult to imagine the scenario where a marketing team is attracting lot of leads but failing to qualify them and pass them onto sales. As a result, sales think marketing is not contributing to the success of the company; and to make it even worse there is no feedback loop between these two teams on how things could be improved. Aligning marketing and sales teams is not a quick fix and should not be treated as one. There will always be bottlenecks, questions about lead sources, and different opinions on the best practices. Having marketing automation in place will certainly help you optimise your processes and practices, improve team accountability, and give a bird’s-eye reporting view of the company’s pipeline.
You have to put technology to work in order for it to grow and scale faster. Instead of rolling it out as another distraction for your team, I’d recommend researching how marketing automation could sustain your growth even if you think it’s still too early. Time flies and if you’re still waiting around for the ‘right time’, chances are it could be too late!