Marketing automation tools are everywhere these days and there’s no question they can help deliver the right content to the right prospect at the right time. But buying the software only gets you to the starting gate, not the finish line. If you’ve already purchased software you may be thinking the hard part is over, but in reality implementing a marketing automation tool is a long, evolving journey. Choosing the tool is only the beginning. The next steps are the trickiest and most crucial to get right.

Here are some important things you need to consider in order to get marketing automation working optimally for your business.

Identify Strategy and Business Goals

Marketing automation software like ClickDimensions and Microsoft Dynamic Marketing are exciting tools for lead nurturing and lead generation. But before you purchase marketing automation software and begin sending automated emails, assigning roles, and creating buyer journeys, you need to take the time to develop a thorough content and lead generation strategy.

The most common mistake we see is people starting with the email marketing function, thinking this will drive “open end traffic” to their website. But they haven’t mapped the buyer process to their website or identified a next step in the conversion strategy to understand if the email drove the person to convert for proper tracking.

First you must determine what your goals are. Are you trying to just keep in touch? Are you looking to see if the person is actively looking for your type of solution? Are you trying to add people to the pipeline?

Identifying your business goals BEFORE implementing a marketing automation tool provides important decision points in how you set it up. It also helps you align your sales and marketing functions to get everybody in sync on what the actual goals of a campaign should be.

If you’re struggling how to identify your goals or what strategy would best help you meet your goals a digital marketing audit is a great place to start. Learn more about what a Digital Marketing Competitive Analysis can do for you.

The Importance of a CRM

A CRM allows sales teams to keep on top of opportunities by tracking and cataloging every potential prospect who is “ready to buy,” see where existing customers are in the sales cycle, and share this information with colleagues. In the past many small and medium sized businesses were hesitant to make a major investment in a CRM system like Microsoft Dynamics 365. But companies who haven’t gotten on board with implementing the right CRM and marketing automation tools will fall behind quickly. Blueprint and Quick Launch Blueprint are partially pre-configured CRM options that provide a more affordable CRM option.

Check out our podcast with Rick McCutcheon, Dynamics 365 MVP and sales expert to learn more about aligning sales and marketing and how to map your sales process.

Align Marketing Automation with CRM

If you have not properly set up your CRM and mapped out your sales process then it’s likely too soon to implement a marketing automation. You will need CRM data and sales process planning (identifying the buyer journey, creating lead scoring, and outlining a lead nurturing plan) before you are able to align it with a marketing automation tool. Having people download something on a landing page is not a “lead” unless that content and the fields you ask for in the registration process have been identified as part of the sales process. Without sales process planning you can’t use the marketing automation tool for much more than a glorified email marketing platform.

Importance of a “Power User”

Implementing a marketing automation tool isn’t a simple DIY project for one person. It’s recommended you include people from sales, customer support, marketing, and often an outside consultant who has a framework for implementation and can help the marketing people project manage all activities in the mix. Your marketing automation tool likely comes with a directory of Partner Agencies that are able to assist you in managing your tool from setting up workflows to creating marketing strategies—use them!

To help customers use their marketing automation tools to the full potential, ClickDimensions customers and partners have unlimited access to ClickDimensions Academy. This free training resource includes webinar training sessions and a self-guided, 24/7 eLearning portal and ClickDimensions Help can assist with set-up. Although both services are really helpful for technical expertise, they’re not always useful in getting your plan developed or getting alignment on the sales and marketing front. Investing in a marketing agency to help run your tool will not only give you marketing leadership and support, but will also help you with your long term online strategy. This will help you invest in someone on your team to go through training and ensure you have a Power User in-house making adoption much more successful for the company as a whole.

Marketing CoPilot is fully stocked with Power Users for B2B companies needing marketing automation management and support. We’re a certified agency partner on many tools and we welcome conversations from companies struggling with strategy and execution regardless of the product you are interested in using .

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