Marketing automation is a hot topic and promises to help deliver more effective marketing programs. How can you set yourself up for success? You want to get organized, and look for quick wins to get value fast garnering the confidence of your team and stakeholders.
At UBM Tech, we have been using marketing automation since 2010. I want to share a few simple lessons I learned from our experience and some smart learnings from a recent marketing automation user conference.
I recently attended Eloqua Experience 2012 in Orlando, Florida and came away with two critical building blocks for early success with marketing automation:
- Getting your data and systems organized
- Start with a simple lead scoring system to extract immediate value.
Focusing on these building blocks you can launch a system that returns value now and will scale with your growth.
Two sessions, in particular, hit it on the head for me:
- Keeping a Clean House in Eloqua 10” presented by Ryan Schwartz, from DocuSign. Inc.
- “Sales Transformation through Account Scoring” presented by Nicolas Draca and Saad Hameed from LinkedIn.
First, you have to get and keep the system organized and usable. The system will likely grow to contain myriads of assets and will likely be used by many users. It may also be supporting many different business groups and divisions, all in one marketing automation instance. For example, at UBM Tech we have 6 different business units and 12 different businesses. Chaos could occur. Here is how to get your data and system organized:
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities on the team.
- Create standards for foldering or “architecture”.
- Create a naming standard that tells not only what an asset is but where it goes. Preferably develop a tool or use Excel to help generate these names.
- Aim for flexible standards. You can find stuff; it is where you would think it would be.
- Educate users on standards, guidelines and responsibilities, at the very beginning
These guidelines will build a marketing automation system that is, as presenter Ryan Schwartz described it, “clean and sophisticated, repeatable and predictable.” Setting up standards and organizing upfront will allow you to find and efficiently use and re-use valuable assets, it also helps you define reports and metrics, critical to use as your compass and ROI tool.
I’m sure no one purchased marketing automation dreaming about organization and structure. It is important to show company executives and stakeholders immediate value. An effective way to do this is develop lead scoring to identify and classify different levels of engagement or sales readiness. Lead scoring evaluates a prospect’s area and level of interest by adding and subtracting points from a prospect’s lead score based on their behavior. The lead score is a simple metric used to understand a prospect’s point in the buying cycle and the steps needed to convert the prospect to the customer. Communications based on lead scores are tailored to provide the most effective messaging and contact at the critical moment (right message, right time). It is the heart of marketing automation.
A marketing automation system also allows you to use a wealth of online behavioral data as well as traditional customer and prospect data. The scope and power of being able to harness online behavior was well expressed in a session with speakers, Nicolas Draca and Saad Hameed from LinkedIn. “If you aren’t online looking/downloading assets you are likely not going to buy anything.” If you want to turn prospects into customers, you can garner a great deal of data and knowledge by their online behavior and digital body language. An effective lead scoring and marketing automation system turns online behavior into actionable insights.
The key to effective lead scoring is keeping it simple. The best advice to getting started came straight from the LinkedIn presentation:
- Experiment – dive in to apply your lead scoring system
- Build upon foundation of Lead Scoring – set up a simple system and develop it as you learn
- Statistical analysis – define metrics based on data so you can easily measure
- Team effort – organize and collect input from the key stake holders, this way you get more buy in from the get go
The successful launch of a marketing automation system should produce immediate results. The right approach takes two efforts, one focused on system architecture and organization and the other on lead scoring. A few simple steps and the frameworks build a system that delivers now and is building towards the future.
What are your thoughts and experiences of transitioning to a marketing automation strategy and platform? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it.