Why Use Marketing Automation?

B2B sales lead generation is significantly more successful, costs less and is more sustainable using the right marketing automation platform for your situation. While you are gaining this advantage for your company our objective is to help you advance your career, limit your risk, and achieve your performance goals.

Initially it is a challenge to sort through all of the claims from vendors, really understand your needs and wants in both the short term and the long term and make an optimal choice that doesn’t break the bank.

The other complicating factor is that the market is changing rapidly, there are more than 50 vendors as of the date of this article and at the level of capability labels many of the systems sound alarmingly alike. For installations of any size and consequence I recommend the peerless Raab Guide and the related website for some of the best system choice analysis available anywhere.

Critical perspective

My associates and I have used the granddaddy of marketing automation platforms – Eloqua and we’ve installed far simpler systems. My associates and I also have history as IT professionals, Sales, sales leadership, marketing leadership, marketing consultants and sales consultants. We are and have been involved in a wide variety and large volume of campaigns – we would like to believe that this gives us a useful perspective on marketing automation platform selection. The survey refers to several barriers to technology adoption that may surprise you;

  • Implementation issues
  • Lack of marketing and IT alignment
  • IT integration with the (marketing) organization
  • Lack of technological ownership by marketing
  • Lack of skills within the marketing team/users

These are not insurmountable barriers unless they are ignored or given too little attention. When you read what is written here it comes from the perspective of a deep background in IT, IT leadership, sales, marketing, as well as sales and marketing leadership. We believe all of these perspectives are critical to mitigation of the barriers to successful adoption of marketing automation for b2b sales lead generation.

How to know for sure

The list below is the list we talk our clients through just to give them a broad view of the marketing automation scene for B2B sales lead generation. As consultants we know what we like and what we need to achieve the goals for a client but there is no substitute for using this guide to assure that you leave no stone un-turned in pursuit of the best fit. We believe the best fit means the best ROI and the least risk to the careers of those involved.

This list is NOT comprehensive even though it is long. It is just what I use to work through the marketing automation for B2B sales lead generation discussion with clients. The devil in all this is actually using the system to see how the critical functions will work for you. Any one capability may sound the same but ease of use could be dramatically different. I recently saw a campaign design approach that was so easy that my 13 year old could design a powerful campaign.

Remember; marketing automation is just that – automation. The true determinant of success is and will always be:

  • Your list
  • Your message and content
  • Your offers
  • Your landing page design
  • Your editorial calendar
  • Your execution
  • Your analysis of results
  • Your website
  • The relationship between marketing and sales

Garbage in – garbage out with Marketing Automation

Many companies who adopt marketing automation end up using it as little more than a expensive email engine.

I predict that in the relatively near future that the winners and losers in many market segments will be determined by how well they use marketing automation. Having marketing automation and using it reasonably well will not be an option in many industries within 3-5 years. Using it well and being relevant will determine who wins and who loses.

The surest way to lose is to be late to the game and to not give it the sustained effort it requires.
Finally, remember that having the capability is one thing… how you execute that capability is the real issue.

Campaign Management

  • Add to SFDC campaign
  • Create SFDC campaign
  • Auto SFDC integration
  • Multi-step with trigger/branch function
  • Decision steps, alternate actions
  • Event based automated emails
  • Report on opportunity and revenue
  • 2-way synch with SFDC including all leads
  • A/B List testing
  • Multivariate List testing
  • Advanced de-duping
  • Auto add to dist list
  • Auto add/remove from dist list
  • Build criteria based dist lists
  • Database cleansing
  • De-dupe list imports
  • De-dupe on email
  • Detailed activity profiles in Salesforce.com
  • Real-time synch with Salesforce.com
  • Suppression list
  • Track inactivity
  • Trigger tasks for sales team
  • Upload from excel
  • Ability for Sales to opt leads out of campaigns
  • Asset sharing across campaigns
  • Coordinated offers across all messages
  • Highest-value offer shown on form
  • Data elements are user created for form
  • Data elements are admin created for form
  • Validation rules – definition options
  • For international programs – support for UTF8 encoding
  • Dynamic list selects
  • Campaign action logic
  • Start and end dates for campaigns
  • Campaign release or list change function
  • Step Jump
  • Auto-generate current system editorial calendar

Email

  • Creation (html, text & mobile)
  • Deliverability testing
  • Dynamic content
  • Rule based dynamic content
  • Rule-based dynamic forms
  • Dynamic signature/sender details
  • High deliverability history
  • Support of third party deliverability verification services
  • Reporting
  • Batch schedule
  • Track email bounce-backs
  • Track email click-throughs by individual
  • Sales alert of click-through
  • Track email opens by individuals-trackable emails from sales users
  • Hard bounces versus soft bounces
  • Review email delivery by list, by campaign, etc
  • Preview test
  • Spam test
  • Control delivery volume
  • Browser test
  • Fast step through; see sequence of emails and web pages to verify user view of campaign flow in advance.
  • Rules test and branch flow for sequence verification
  • Personalize with system tag data
  • Salesperson as originator – email appears to come from sales resource assigned to the territory.
  • Pre-populate with live connection
  • Embed RSS feed in email
  • Powerpoint-type content builder: drag-n-drop capability
  • Unique IP
  • Outlook Integration
  • Spam Review and recommendations
  •  Send from own domain
  •   Embed personal URL

Forms

  • Change Salesforce values
  • Create, with no IT help
  • Field level rules for overwriting in SFDC
  • Hidden fields to update SFDC records
  • Integrate w/landing pages
  • Integrate w/Salesforce
  • Ability to host on your site
  • Host forms and pages on external server
  • Post data from external vendor on forms

Landing Pages

  • A/B testing
  • Multivariate testing
  • Branded
  • Creation
  • Dynamic content
  • Edit HTML code in editor
  • Import graphics
  • Integrate with SFDC
  • Integrated forms
  • Own URL
  • Reporting
  • Self-publish
  • Cookie deposit

Lead Nurturing

  • Behavior triggered
  • Lead score degradation
  • Lead scoring
  • SFDC change status triggered
  • Sales ability to adjust score
  • Different score paths for different regions
  • Both Webex and GoToMeeting webinar integration

Surveys

  • Integrated Surveys
  • Flexible result delivery
  • Real time result delivery

Website

  • Known visitor tracking
  • Additional visits in activity history
  • Unknown visitor tracking
  • Visitor notifications to sales
  • CMS system integrated
  • Cookie deposit

Reporting

  • Ability to create custom reports
  • Dashboards
  • Number of Canned Reports

Implementation

  • Fast and easy to install
  • How long to for 100% up and running including lead scoring
  • Costs of implementation

Interface

  • Intuitive to use
  • Attractive
  • Easy to Navigate
  • Simple
  • Up to industry standards

Other

  • PR/Communications Management
  • Tradeshow management
  • Invitation management
  • Direct Mail Management – PURL capability
  • Telemarketing interface
  • Role based security

Training

  • Training included
  • Additional Training Options
  • Training hours recommended

History

  • Leadership
  • Team
  • Growth rate
  • Years in business
  • Years with current model
  • Cash
  • Fuel for growth

References

  • Available and Relevant

Pricing

  • Pricing model?
  • Number per limit
  • Set Up fees
  • Training fees
  • What happens to pricing when additional features are added?
  • What price increases can I expect?
  • Support

Intangibles

  • Uptime (independently monitored)
  • Speed of Service/Scale
  • Activity Driven content
  • Webservices API

Support

  • Best-practice templates (How many)
  • Best-practice Consulting (SMB specific)
  • Regional User Groups
  • Online Community
  • User Conferences
  • Tech Support
  • Dedicated customer support contacts (How many? For what?)

Company Specific

  • SMB Customers
  • Large company customers
  • International customers
  • Technology Vertical Customers
  • Segment specific experience – proof of efficacy
  • Users