Not sure how to get started with implementing marketing automation for your SMB? These 5 tips from MTA experts will help you make the leap effectively.

As 2019 is just a month away, you must already have started planning your marketing roadmap for the upcoming year. If marketing automation is not a priority for you, it should be. It improves employee productivity, aligns sales and marketing and ultimately increases revenue.

In this article, MTA experts share 5 marketing automation tips that will help you choose a best-in-class marketing automation solution for your SMB.

Note: Most of the tips mentioned in this article are equally applicable to any other MarTech software that you want to implement in your marketing stack.

1. Understand the Importance of Marketing Automation for Your Business

I don’t really need a marketing automation system.”

This is probably the most commonly held misconception by SMB owners and marketers. They feel that since the reach of their business is quite limited, they can get by with existing tools, no matter how outdated they might be. This mindset ends up being a serious hindrance to the growth of their business. A marketing automation system is an end-to-end solution for your business that can help you right from acquiring leads to closing sales and nurturing and retaining clients and customers for the longer term. 

While explaining the contribution of marketing automation systems to the growth of a business, James T Fletcher (CEO, JTF Marketing) says:

“Failing to understand the full extent of what marketing automation can do for a business is an expensive mistake. Not only can the technology help attract new customers, but it can also increase a company’s chances of continuing to grow through further profits from retained customers, all while making them feel important and valued by the brand.”

2. Strategy Comes First

Since you now know the importance of marketing automation software, you might be wondering about how to go about choosing a tool with so many options available in the market?

For that, you need to be clear on your strategy before you actually shortlist a software. Scott Brenneman (Associate Director, Merkle) recommends the following 3-step exercise:

  1. Define a vision and your roadmap to achieve your vision. Make sure that your team is aligned with your vision
  2. Figure out the technology you need that supports the vision
  3. Integrate your data to understand customer engagement

Brenneman aptly concludes:

“Marketing technology should support the marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the marketing strategy. Nicholas Carr described the concept well in a 2003 Harvard Business Review article, ‘IT Doesn’t Matter,’ and it still holds true. The trap to avoid is focusing on technology as an end in itself.”

Also Read: 7 Free Email Marketing Tools for SMBs

3. Use a Unified/Integrated Marketing Automation Tool

The purpose of introducing any automation tool is to promote efficiency, save time and resources. Many times, SMBs use different tools for different functions. Their main reason for this is to be cost-effective, but it ends up hampering productivity due to task-switching. And if the different tools don’t offer cross-channel integrations, then reporting becomes a nightmare.

Calvin Scharffs (VP of Marketing, Lingotek) says:

“The downside to maintaining several MarTech applications is the tendency to operate them in silos with little integration between them. This requires more staff, more time, and more resources to manage. Add on the demands of a 24/7 content delivery cycle, and it makes managing consistency, quality, and updates even more difficult.”

4. Be Agile in Your Approach

No marketing automation software is perfect. No matter how state-of-the-art the solution promises to be – it will fall short in some areas and you will have to look for other alternatives for that particular function.  In such cases, make sure that the solution fits well in your existing ecosystem and doesn’t operate in a silo, so that you’ll always have a unified view of your data.

Mark Floisand (CEO, Coveo) asserts this by saying:

“An agile approach to building and maintaining your MarTech stack ensures you continue to take advantage of more sources of interaction data as your technology footprint grows. This will add further relevance and personalization possibilities for every customer. Not only does this have an immediate impact on cross-selling and upselling opportunities, but it also influences overall satisfaction and customer lifetime value.”

Also Read: 5 Trends That Will Define the Future of Marketing Automation

5. Track Your Goals on an Ongoing Basis

When you are running your marketing activities, it is necessary to track each activity periodically to know if they are aligned with company goals. An ideal marketing automation solution should include analytics and reporting to the extent that it assists you in tweaking your strategy.

Bonnie Crater (President & CEO, Full Circle Insights) says:

“As marketing works to generate the leads needed to meet revenue goals, it’s critical to have a way to measure performance against objectives on the fly, and the right MarTech tools can make that possible. Dashboards are a great way to measure progress at set intervals. Predictive analytics can also enable marketers to spot patterns in data that indicate ways to improve performance. MarTech can let marketers know in real time if they’re meeting the goals identified in the planning phase.”

Also Read: 5 Best Practices for Successful B2B Marketing Automation

Conclusion

You might find it daunting to choose a marketing automation solution for your business as it will become an important component of your workflow. If it doesn’t fit in well then it might disrupt the entire flow of your work.

To reduce that hesitation and help you choose the best-fit solution for your business, download this Marketing Automation Buyer’s Guide for SMBs.

 

Originally posted on MarTech Advisor, written by Indrajeet Deshpande.