There are some great marketing automation programs on the market. The two marketing automation that we most often use or run across are HubSpot and Pardot. They are both great tools with lots of benefits. The challenge is that for a lot of startups both tools are more powerful than they are able to take advantage of. Many marketing automations tools come in at $1000 a month, especially when you add a few hundred emails to your email list. There is also a mandatory training session that costs money and usually a one-year commitment. The promise of scores of inbound leads is very enticing for startups. There are a few questions you should consider before investing in a marketing automation platform.
Do You Have the Resources to Manage Marketing Automation?
These systems help automate many manual processes, but they also take time. There are things that need to be done on an almost daily basis with the system. There is also time needed to understand the system, set-up the many features, integrate into your website, and help other team members use the system. If your organization doesn’t have a resource available to do that your roll-out will fail.
Will You Create the Content to Drive Platform?
One of the biggest inputs for marketing automation platforms is content. This means regular blogging and downloadable assets. Blogs are shared on social media, help with SEO, and can be used within email campaigns. Downloadable assets are used to help collect the information that becomes your leads and powers your website tracking. The creation of content must be continuous and frequent, especially for blogs.
Do You Have Enough Visitors to Your Website?
For marketing automation to work best you need to have lots of website traffic. Unfortunately, this does not happen overnight, it takes time to build. The marketing automation systems work best with lots of email accounts to message and lots of website visitors to lead score.
Do You Have a Process and resources to Turn Leads Into Sales?
Marketing automation does not often translate into unassisted sales. To prove this point download a white paper from a marketing automation company and then visit their site a number of times. There are very high odds you will receive a direct email and/or a call from a live salesperson. For many B2B companies, a sale resource is still needed to help close the sale. They need to follow-up on the leads and use the lead scoring to see which of the leads are the hottest.
Have You Tried Any Free (or Nearly Free) Marketing Tools?
You can create your own inbound marketing machine with free and/or nearly free tools. There is a great suite of tools like Hootsuite, Mailchimp, LeadIn, among others. These tools are usually easily integrated into your website and to your sales CRM. Many of these tools are easier to use than the marketing automation platforms. Yes, a combined platform would be more efficient overall, but when you add the complexity and cost you could be better off with the standalone systems to start.
If you need help with your marketing automation program or if you would like some help building your own machine please contact me and we can talk about how the VA Partners approach can benefit your organization.