If you answered the questions in my last blog, you’re ready for the next step – implementation. Implementing marketing automation is a bit complicated, but hopefully these tips will make it go more smoothly:
- Know that automation on its own won’t bring success. You need a clear strategy and objectives. Map out what you want to do, what kind of reporting you want and the kind of data and CRM sync you’re looking for. These notes can help you draft functional specs for implementation – a road map for kicking off and documentation for once it’s up.
- Get sales and executive management to agree on the specs before you start. You don’t want to wait until everything is set up to find out that the lead scores are off or that the c-suite doesn’t think the reporting is capturing the right information. This doesn’t mean you can’t refine later, but why not get it nailed down at the start?
- Once you have your specs, I highly recommend hiring an expert to do the initial set up. (Good ones will even do the specs with you.) Their experience is valuable in knowing how to start, showing you what works and providing training on your specific instance. Trust me – that specialist will be worth every penny you spend and I have recommendations for every platform!
- Also, before you’ve got it set up, identify the person on your team who will own it. And train them! I’ve seen a lot marketing automation fail because someone inexperienced made mistakes or did sloppy work. If you don’t have someone on staff, you’ll need to hire someone, but be prepared to offer a competitive salary and I still suggest investing in training and clearly communicating your automation objectives. Just because they’ve worked with the software before doesn’t mean they understand your specific strategy (and they may come with some bad habits).
- Training is a great idea for anyone who has a login. Anytime someone new joins the team, make sure there is an onboarding process and they take advantage of it. You should be able to develop one pretty easily by sharing your specs and using the software’s docs site and training materials. The main thing is not to blindly hand access to someone who isn’t ready. Recently, I’ve seen emails go to the wrong list, emails go with broken links and even an entire multi-touch nurture program fire all in one day because someone new didn’t understand how to use the software.
- Once it’s up, choose some pilot projects to try before you dive too far in. A database email or two offering an asset. A warm up email from a couple of your reps. Test 100 or so names on each and see what you learn. It’s better to find any issues in small programs, especially when testing email delivery, scoring and lead routing.
- Once you have a few projects complete, continue to take it slow. Most marketing automation has the ability to set up dynamic content, auto responders, drip campaigns and all sorts of fancy stuff. But until you have some experience with the platform, keep things simple. Manual, even. A batch email means you can identify any mistakes and also test subject lines, deliverability and content before you build a multi-step nurture.
- But, once you feel confident, go for it. See where you can make your campaigns more effective and increase relevance for your recipients. Consider testing accelerators, engagement notifications, dynamic content and anything else that will improve the prospect experience and bring return. Marketing automation can be fun!
- Keep up with your software. Make it a point to attend user groups, go to new feature webinars and try to learn how to do one thing better once or twice a year. Deeper marketing automation skills means both more effective campaigns and personal career growth.
- And don’t forget the analytics. Demand generation professionals can’t work without reporting that shows what’s working and they need to review it regularly to focus on campaigns with the highest ROI. Set your reporting up early – you’ll thank yourself over and over and over. Some thoughts on reporting are here.
Looking for some help in implementing your marketing automation? Refining the one you have? Contact me and we can talk.