Reality Still Bites. Especially in The Valley of Death.

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Marketing Automation

There’s no substitute for real-life experience, and Eric Albertson and Sid Smith of The Albertson Group delivered plenty of it in a recent webinar, “The Real Secret to Higher Quality Leads and More Revenue.” The focus was on the mix of pieces it takes to run a successful marketing automation program, and for every piece, there was a good story to show how the principles play out in the real world.

Eric began the discussion by talking about the need for marketing and sales alignment. He illustrated the point with the story of a company whose business model was processing and printing statements. The company had been steadily losing market share to online providers. They (finally) hired a marketing person to stop the bleeding. Management wanted, and marketing proposed, to send a new campaign to the entire target market; the messaging was quite different from what the sales team had actually been saying to prospects. So different, in fact, that the sales team revolted and threatened to quit if the company went through with the campaign. Management knew that what the salespeople were using wasn’t working…but they felt they couldn’t risk losing their entire sales force to competitors. They put the campaign, and the marketing automation system, on the shelf. You can write the ending to this one yourself, can’t you?

Getting the alignment right with management, as well as between sales and marketing, is the single most important element of all the factors that contribute to successful marketing automation implementation. No platform can overcome a pointed misalignment among the key players.

Key places to align:

  • Goals. Get goals in writing, and in agreement.
  • Concrete wins. Commit to numbers of leads and delivery dates. (Yes, this can be scary.)
  • The Valley of Death. This is the time from when you launch marketing automation to when your management begins to see results. In the Valley, management sees only money going out. Try hard to set a realistic expectation about when they might see results; the most-seen mistake is a too-short timeline. Depending on your market, six to nine months is not unrealistic.
  • Align with sales through nurturing, which is what your sales people are already doing. Marketing will do it in a more formalized, systematic way.
  • Get clear on a mutual definition of what “Sales ready” means.
  • Listen and do perception checks in a regular, scheduled ongoing dialog with sales.

Get these right, and your alignment issues will be behind you.

The rest of this webinar covers other key factors, woven with fascinating stories of real businesses with real problems. Topics include:

  • Process (this segment introduces the butt-on-the-line icon, which is exactly what it sounds like)
  • The ideal client
  • Data
  • Understanding your buyer
  • The Big Idea
  • The blueprint


Make sure to check out this webinar to hear the rest of their stories, and learn some fresh ideas for maximum marketing.

Do you have a best practice that works really well for you? A horror story? Please share!