Do you own, or are you contemplating purchasing, a marketing automation platform (MAP)? According to Sirius Decisions, a staggering 85% of MAP adopters don’t believe they’re using their MAP to its fullest potential. How do you make sure you don’t become part of that statistic?
HubSpot notes that the ideal marketing automation platform allows companies “to buy and sell like Amazon”—meaning that the MAP delivers customized content that is useful, builds loyalty, and keeps customers coming back for more. Yet the reality is that many marketing automation investments fail because companies undertake them with the misconception that the MAP will provide all the pieces missing from their current processes. This is not the entire picture. One of the most important things you must do is to understand, in addition to all the great things a MAP can do, just what it can’t do if not deployed under the right circumstances.
• It can’t provide the results you want without a clearly defined plan, timeline, and leader—and not just an overall plan, but rolling 30-, 60-, or 90-day plans.
• It can’t magically create agreement between Sales and Marketing about what qualifies as a lead.
• It can’t give you the ROI you want if you only needed an email platform in the first place and the original investment was overkill.
• It can’t automate your processes without enough content to fuel its purpose.
• It can’t deliver payback if your sales team can’t uncover and develop the volume of deals and customers needed to realize a return on it.
Does one of these situations apply to you? Not to worry—there are solutions. MAPs should be doing what they do best: automating the consistent capture and response to inbound leads, and driving awareness and interest with new leads. Your CRM system (such as Salesforce) should be doing what it does best: tracking a prospective customer’s history, needs, and preferences. The gap between the two is the qualification and nurturing of leads into sales-ready opportunities—a crucial step in your lead management process that is going by the wayside if you believe it is being handled by your MAP.
Lead qualification requires timely and persistent follow-up to uncover the needed details about the account; where are they at in their process, who are the buyers, influencers, how defined the projects are, budgets, and timelines. Answers to all these are what transform a hand-raiser into a genuine, fully vetted sales-ready opportunity that your sales team actually wants. The important role of lead qualification, development and nurturing should be handled by a dedicated team of resources, either in-house or through a partner, who can address the process execution steps that are not being done, and were never intended to be done, by your marketing automation platform.
To learn how you can provide the right framework to get the most out of your MAP, download our eBook here.