Get Started With Marketing Automation: A Plan for the First Thirty Days

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Marketing Automation

In the recent Gleanster Research paper, “The New Rules of Digital Engagement,” analyst Ian Michiels offers straightforward guidance for implementing marketing automation, drawing on findings from the 2012 Q3 Marketing Automation survey and the Q4 2012 benchmark report on Revenue Performance.

First, evaluate your existing processes

Consider whether your existing process is working well. Automation will only accelerate mediocre results unless organizations address people, process, and technology value drivers. Take the time to re-visit marketing and sales processes before implementation, and let impending automation be a forcing tool for improvement. Once you’re satisfied with your processes, you can get on with the actual adoption.

Don’t over-engineer implementation

The most common mistake organizations make is over-engineering the implementation process. There’s no need to create complicated and highly customized communication strategies. Survey results show that within the first 30 days, Top Performers are capable of using more features and benefits from marketing automation than most other organizations accomplish after the first year of adoption. How do they do it? It turns out that Top Performers simplify adoption by limiting configuration and customization on a new implementation.

The top five milestones for the first 30 days
Marketing automation milestones

  1. Integrate key systems. Add tracking code to your website HTML so you can follow visitor behavior and optimize your website. Integrate your CRM.
  2. Templatize. Keep it simple; do just one or two templates for email and for landing pages. Keeping it simple also makes this content more consistent, always a good thing.
  3. Audit your existing content. Figure out where it fits in with your buyer’s journey, then use it. You might find yourself dusting off effective assets you’d forgotten about.
  4. Do one or two nurture campaigns. Start with the leads you can do a trigger campaign to; they’re usually the most responsive and you’ll probably close the most and learn the most. Keep the nurture campaigns simple; save the many-branching ones for next year.
  5. Standardize metrics. Sales and marketing should work together to define metrics and nomenclature. It doesn’t matter whether you call leads “marketing qualified/sales accepted/sales qualified” or “cold/warm/hot”; what does matter is that everyone in your company uses the exact same terms, and that you agree on metrics that clearly and cleanly let you put the a lead in the correct bucket.

There’s much more in this timely free report, including the four key areas to focus on in your 2013 marketing plan – and clear guidance to help you get started. Download “The New Rules of Digital Engagement” now.