5 Things You Must Consider Before Purchasing Marketing Automation Executive Summary

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As part of a recent Focus Webinar, David Raab — Principal of Raab Associates Inc — presented a webinar entitled “5 Things You Must Consider Before Purchasing Marketing Automation.”

Several factors (including the relatively low cost of the software itself) have caused marketing automation to reach a stage where many companies make the decision to buy marketing automation without really knowing why. The purpose of the webinar was to raise certain questions that should be answered before purchasing a marketing automation system. These questions include:

1) What programs will achieve my specific business goals?

2) What do I need to run those programs?

3) How will the programs happen?

4) What can I do already?

5) How do I fill the gaps?

This is an executive summary of the webinar and the insights shared by David Raab.  And as Avitage specializes in helping companies take ideas such as these to execution, in the coming weeks we will be sharing specific processes, practices, methodologies and checklists to execute on these ideas outlined by David.

What kind of programs will achieve my specific business goals?

The first issue to consider before purchasing marketing automation software is your specific business goals. Often goals are stated too generally. In this case, organizations should identify specific, measurable business goals before considering the purchase of marketing automation software. It is not enough to say you want lead generation or revenue to increase; rather there should be numeric goals set by logical calculations. How many new leads will there be and how much extra revenue will they generate?

Once the specific business goals are established, you can begin to consider what kind of programs will help achieve these goals.  Here are some of the types of programs you may consider:

1) Acquisition: SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email

2) Nurture: Web forms, Segmentation, Content Streams, Behavior Tracking

3) Sales Support: Lead Scoring, Lead Transfer, CRM integration

4) Marketing Cost: Media buying, data acquisition, landing page creation and content creation.

What do I need to run these Programs?

Once you have chosen the necessary programs, you need to assess what resources they need to run. Do this by creating a program flow with the various steps leads will go through: Receive email, click on landing page, fill out form, receive download, new lead call…etc. For each of these steps in the flow, you will need to know the content necessary for each step, data required and how each step will integrate with other systems. This is not an assessment of what you already have in place; rather it is an assessment of the resources needed to make these programs run efficiently. It is beneficial to be as thorough as possible.

How Will the Programs Happen?

For each step identified in the previous flow, an organization needs to know how that step will actually happen. What are each step’s staffing requirement, training requirements, incentives, and system requirements?

At this point the organization has not even considered the technology aspect of marketing automation. In order to have a good marketing automation program, goals and processes must be identified first.

What Can I do Already?

After identifying all of the necessary goals and processes, step back and identify what your organization already does well. Look at the list of requirements and highlight the capabilities that need the most attention. In some cases this may be fairly obvious. If you want to start email campaigns and have no previous experience doing so, then this is easy to identify. However if you have an email campaign in place that could be better, this could be harder to point out.

How do I Fill the Gaps?

By identifying the resources and capabilities your organization already has, you will be able to identify gaps that exist. Looking at each gap, try to identify the impact, cost and priority of filling this gap.  The results of this gap analysis will lead to a starting point for your marketing automation program.

A good starting marketing automation project will:

1) Require only slight changes to your current processes

2) Require a small extension of capabilities

3) Generate cooperation from outside your span of control

4) Be easily measured in lead quantity, revenue or savings

5) Be Highly likely to succeed.

This full webinar is available as part of www.Focus.com(registration required).

For more information on designing and executing an automated lead management program, supported by marketing automation tools, visit Avitage’s Automated Lead Management Services microsite.