Marketing automation system: what’s the value?

Do you get value from your marketing automation system?

Most businesses these days have a marketing automation system that allows them to do more, track more and perform better.  Well, you’d think it would.  Sometimes, that’s not always the case.  How much value do you think you get from your system?

Often with a MAP, we’re sold the dream.  I’ve talked about this before.  Ultimately, they’re pretty awesome pieces of kit, but more often than not, they’re heavily under utilised.  Like with many other SaaS products, only 30% of the power of the software is used, leaving the rest to sit there doing nothing.

Most are sold the dream. Automation of labour intensive tasks.  Knowing how well you’re performing. Getting visibility of how a contact progresses through their journey with you. All valuable stuff, but are you utilising all of it?

B2B marketers are sold the marketing automation platform dream – but does it really perform like you expected?

Worse still, don’t you find that the senior management (who know how much they’re investing in the software) often think that it’s easy to do marketing now that you’ve got this amazing piece of kit.  It’s just a push of a button now, right?

When we get under the hood of a marketing automation platform, we often see recurring things across clients that are being underutilised.  Do you fall into the trap of any of these?

Syncing with the CRM

Or rather, not syncing with the CRM.  The syncing process is usually automated and happens like magic every night.  But, if it’s not set up right or the CRM hasn’t been set-up well, then there’s a problem.  This is typically an easy fix, as it’s the touch of a button, but it’s not as simple as it seems.

In most organisations, if the MAP isn’t syncing, it’s usually a symptom of a bigger issue within sales management and therefore some thought is required with regard to sales reporting and how to manage contact data.

Reporting on activity, rather than performance

Even though you’re running all your inbound marketing through the same piece of kit, the reporting is never enough.  In most cases, MAPs report on activity and the performance of the activity,  not the performance of the marketing function.  It’s hard to get marketing qualified leads and sales information out of the MAP.  And when you’re spending the best part of a person’s salary on the software, you’d like to think that it would give you this.

It will, but you need to work the data, set up some clear criteria (that requires clean data) and a series of automation rules that allow you pull out and report on how many leads you’re really generating.

What’s more annoying, MAPs generally report on conversion points on a website, not the channel.  So when your boss asks what’s the best converter – and you say ‘webinar’, they’re going to think ‘let’s do more webinar’s then!’.  It’s not as simple as that.  You need to know where those people came from: email, digital advertising or social…

We see so many teams simply rely on the out-of-the-box reports generated by the MAP.  These are simply too basic and give you little information on the numbers that the board really want.  To get more, expect to export the data and work it in Excel – ideally into a dashboard, or better yet, use a data platform to visualise the performance.

Automation rules for list hygiene

Dirty data means poor results. Too often we see hundreds of lists, but little segmentation and little list hygiene. Simple things like suppression lists for repetitive soft bounces, managing out-of-office responses and inactive contacts are all not only useful, but make your results look better.

Where are those nurture emails?

MAPs are all about leading contacts gently towards sales, so why do so few people nurture? Too many times, I’ve seen no nurture flows, automated drip feeds or follow-up. If you’re basing the marketing qualified lead criteria on a score, then this has to be a must. More importantly, engaged contacts are the lifeblood of your future pipeline – so keep talking to them.

Tracking and conversions

Whilst the marketing automation system will track an individual and show you how they’ve interacted with you, they won’t track a channel so well and show how that channel converted or the ROI against it.  So no matter how sophisticated your MAP, you can’t forget about UTM tracking too.  Some MAPs will recognise the UTMs and report to some extent, but others won’t.  Your analytics platform will though – regardless, giving you another version of the truth.

What people tend to forget though is that no matter if the MAP is tracking what it’s doing, you still need UTMs to get the full picture.

If you don’t think you’re getting all you can from your marketing automation platform, don’t despair.  The account managers at most of them are super-helpful and most things can easily be fixed – so try your support team first.  If you’re not getting what you want though, why not talk to us?  We’d be more than happy to have a chat and we’re super-helpful too.

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