Marketing Automation assures the timely delivery of the right message to the right person
Rob starts by pointing out that although some organizations use available Marketing Automation tools to impinge SPAM upon users (which is a bad practice), in fact the purpose of Marketing Automation is to focus the sales pitch (format and content wise) towards the right prospect.
Some companies have spent and still do, millions in building proprietary Software tools aiming to achieve “Marketing 1o1” with their clients and prospects, still not getting even “within a mile” of what some existing $200 off-the-shelf tools can deliver. Marketing Automation is a suite of tools that can accomplish a number of things such as having a centralized knowledge base concerning one’s clients, doing Client Relationship Management and beyond by allowing to effectively manage prospects and “suspects” as well. Suspects being people who don’t even know about your brand but have either established contact or are mapped as having potential to become customers.
With such toolkit one can easily track what “suspects” are looking at via Web-browser properties (pages, videos, eBooks download, other)
Although this sounds a lot like “Big Brother”, the real point is that these tools by profiling visitors enable accurate marketing content distribution therefore, reducing SPAM. As an example, Rob explains that if someone visits a given shop’s website and downloads a pricing list pretraining a given product family/ or scope, that is a strong indicator of that person being a Hot Lead for business, so maybe it is time to invite him/ her for a live chat or to invest in specific tailor made campaign messages towards such a person.
While profiling clients, Marketing is able to provide accurate qualified Hot Leads to Sales
What is the available Toolset towards Market Automation?
From Microsoft Dynamics to Hubspot there are several ones that Rob mentions, but choosing the platform and whether to outsource or not, depends on the marketing campaign at hand (do you need blog posts, copy, video, and do on …). Nevertheless, “money talks” and when launching a marketing campaign, you want 90% of your budget to be available for the campaign, so spending more than 10% on Software is not a good idea.
Now the learning curve is steep, mainly due to the variety of features and options combined with the temptation to going over the teaching and coaching available material (in some cases a lot) directly to a hands-on approach. So, it needs to be a well thought process to ensure a successful endeavour (process flow; trigger; workflow; redundancy actions), comprehending: how to engage the “suspect” into becoming a Hot Prospect, how to make that prospect become a client and then how to delight the client so that he remains a client and may even refer the brand to other prospects.
One good place to start is the automation of Website simple market processes (like a form on the contacts page) and add some relevant profiling questions.
The challenges of dealing with a new client.
Rob mentions the need to be on the same page followed by the need to be disciplined and properly document the project. Then work process wise the starting point should be a brainstorm activity where both using what can the company do for the client as well as what have prospects and clients been asking about to list some potential campaigns and content (eBooks; blog posts FAQ, other).
Sometimes success gives you problems
Rob recalls as one own “horror story” that having launched a successful campaign when first starting this activity over 10 years ago the contacts list started to grow steady, but Hubspot (which he was using at the time) charges by the size of the database, so costs would arrive prior to ROI in an almost exponential way. So, there was the need to shift to another product and the horror story came with the painful process of moving everything to another tool.
What about ROI?
The ROI cycle can be of 6, 9 or 12 months, depending on the sales cycle, but it also depends on other aspects, as an example if you got a picture out of your Marketing Automation toolset that some Hot Lead has a need or is confused about two or three potential products/ solutions and the person who either contacts that prospect via phone or answer a phone call from the prospect instead of being focused on the apparent dilemma, just goes about and say something like “Hello, How can I help?”, one may find itself in a situation where all the investment performed so far within the Marketing Automation context, is useless because when the profiling was finally achieved, it is not leveraged.
Now, choosing the right partner (Marketing Automation agency) is also a key factor and first, the company needs to decide if it’s going to do everything internally or to partially outsource. Then once having a shortlist perform a proper due diligence (and try to get a “partner” to work with and not the cheapest one, because that will most certainly impact negatively the client’s ROI).
ROI is about cost and revenue, so having been doing an analysis of expenditure versus return for a certain period of time enables the company to settle a benchmark, and when that is achieved the objective should be to maintain it. Prior to having an own benchmark, one should resort to market generic benchmarks like the one performed recently in North America where the majority of CEOs and Marketing VPs stated they would be reserving 11% of their turnover on Sales and Marketing. Now if a brand-new business the investment needs to be higher whereas if a long term based company with established client base, then it may go as low as 5%.
How to choose a good Marketing Automation Outsourcing provider?
Platforms and Software, due to market dynamics will eventually lay off some people and that is a great place to start, meaning being aware of that and then trying to get those people. In general, currently it is possible to do a proper assessment on a potential provider resorting to tools like Linkedin and Outsourcing Websites looking at referrals, recommendations and endorsements.
Conveying to clients that a part of the work to be done for them will be outsourced can pose no problem if properly introduced, meaning if the client understands that he pays less because he is dealing with a company that doesn’t have a heavy overhead structure but nevertheless it is still a successful company with pleased clients and that assures the outcome of contracted work, then usually it is understandable.
Conveying Involving all relevant stakeholders (Marketing; Sales; Customer Service and Operations) from the very beginning is key to ensure a successful Marketing Automation implementation, Rob remembers what happened in the past when organisations gave Marketing the task of implementing CRM tools and then Sales were told to fill all the fields continuously, No-Go.
The great thing with Outsourcing, mainly with different time zones is that A challenge can be set, worked overnight and the client will have a result the next day (which they love).