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4 Reasons Your Marketing Automation Solution Fails

There are many sounds of failure:  A big boom or a loud crash, lots of yelling.  To marketers, the silence of leads not moving through the funnel as your marketing automation solution fails is one of the worst.

Marketing automation has been touted as the silver bullet for lead generation and pipeline management.  It is the panacea for elevating the CMO to a seat at the board room table.

Yet there are many cases when marketing automation doesn’t deliver on the promise.  Here are four reasons why.

Lack of Organization’s Commitment

For a process change to succeed within any company, it needs organization buy-in.  Management at all levels needs to be 100% behind the change.  Implementing a marketing automation solution without commitment from marketing and sales leadership is destined for failure.

The lack of commitment manifests itself in poor communication.  Nobody knows what’s going on or who’s involved.  Team members fear job loss because they will be replaced by a tool.

Without support, leads that are delivered to sales through the marketing automation system are deemed weak or invalid.  Many times sales organizations claim they have no insight into the activities of their customers even if the information is integrated into their CRM.

A marketing automation platform without a champion means nobody extols the benefits and value to the team.  For example, if the benefits of dynamic content or signature rules are not supported by leadership, the team won’t see value in using that functionality and the mantra “I’ve never needed to do it before, so why start now?” will continue to reign.

A Clear Definition of Success Is Missing

If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you’ve arrived. The marketing automation solution will fail without clearly defined goals that are aligned to business needs and challenges.

This type of failure is when quantitative and qualitative goals like reduced funnel leakage, improved conversion ratios, increased pipeline, and better lead quality are not defined.

Accompanying a definition of success should be a plan to get there.  Without a plan, there is no time table, resource allocation, and sequence of steps to build out the marketing automation solution and begin using its inherent functionality to meet the needs of the business.

Functional Capability of Tool Doesn’t Meet Business Needs

“The tool doesn’t do what we need it to.” or “This marketing automation tool is too complex” is a clear sign of failure.  Without out a clear definition of business needs – the purpose and usage of the marketing automation system - there is going to be a huge disconnect with how the platform functions.

Inevitably the tool is blamed for failure.  However, the root cause is the buying organization not clearly articulating their needs in terms of volume and functionality, and matching the selected solution to those needs.

Defining requirements before reviewing and selecting a tool, ensures the solution matches the need.  As marketers, we know this is what our buyers do, but somehow we still forget to do this for ourselves.

Lack of Tool Expertise

The existing team doesn’t know how to use the tool, so the marketing automation solution is ignored or is not used to its full capacity.

Marketing automation solutions require an understanding of data structure, logic, and programming.  Without a conceptual grasp of how these platforms work, the marketing automation solution will fail. No matter how much organizational commitment there is, if there is nobody on the team to understand the tool, its capabilities, and how to leverage those capabilities, there is going to be failure.

A variety of different options can be used to harness the power of the marketing automation solution:

  • Bring in experts to share knowledge
  • Consider the skill set of the marketing team to see if they have the necessary skills or should be educated for a smooth product launch
  • Ask whether a new resource should be added to the organization to manage the tool

Marketing automation has become the foundation for a lot of technology companies’ outbound marketing.  Though its use is growing exponentially year over year, marketing automation solutions are not bullet proof. They need a strong organizational foundation and commitment to deliver on the promise of engaging leads and filling the pipeline with customers.

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