Marketing Automation requires Subject Matter Experts
For those of you that are thinking of using inbound marketing to drive leads into your sales funnel, you will have realised that marketing automation is complementary to that process. But do you realise that to achieve a heightened success, the agency that you choose to engage with to deliver your services needs to be a subject matter expert in your field.
Gone are the days of any agency being able to deliver those services, to ensure the greatest ROI on the marketing automation investment, find an agency that specialises in delivering results in your sector.
Let’s put this into perspective, a large number of Inbound Marketing agencies partnered with Hubspot will have direct experience of working with their target client base, be that technology, manufacturing, or e-commerce sales. These marketers lean on their industry experience to ensure that they completely understand your ideal customers and can build automation processes that will target and engage your prospects in the way that they behave online.
Sure any agency can do their research and come up with positive results, but are you wanting to spend your hard earned money on allowing a non-specialist agency time to learn about your prospects before being able to suggest a roadmap to achieving marketing automation and those all important results?
Achieving automation isn’t as simple as you think
From initial conversations I have, most people assume that marketing automation is simply a process of collating pieces of content such as blog posts, webinars, ebooks or Slideshare presentations into a series of steps that are automated by platforms such as Hubspot or Marketo. Automation is then triggered when a visitor accesses the content and signs up or registers their details on a landing page or call to action.
For me, this is a part of the automation process. Most companies that are adopting, have adopted or are interested in adopting the process will come to realise that it changes organisations and how they work internally, particularly by bringing marketing, sales and often IT teams together.
More than this, marketing automation lends itself mainly to the middle of the funnel activities in marketing and therefore is concentrated on getting prospects to convert into leads. As we haven’t managed to build software that can generate topics of content geared up around your buyer personas automatically and then write it, there is still a need for human interaction.
This is where your subject matter experts come into their own!
So how do we implement Marketing Automation?
Now, this is the million dollar question! How do we implement marketing automation?
There are a number of steps involved in moving your organisation into marketing automation, not simply because there are steps, but because as you start with the process, you will come to understand the internal change in culture that this usually means.
Independent departments suddenly become reliant on each other to ensure success, stakeholders, clients, and staff need to be educated around how the changes will affect lines of communication and change teams are often required as the tech implementation is mapped and goals are set.
Be under no illusion that this is not a quick fix, quick implement solution that can be discussed, written up and installed in weeks. Any agency worth their salt will need to do extensive research, often over a month or two not only to help you set the goals that will form the basis of the implementation change, but to learn about your companies’ internal culture and to work alongside your teams to educate them about what lies ahead and how that needs to come together. At Paul Sullivan Marketing, we often are providing workshops around elements of the inbound marketing process during the “educational period” so that sales marketing and sometimes IT teams grasp a fuller understanding of the strategic impact marketing automation has.
What should we consider then?
Firstly be clear on what the goals are from the outset, the consultation process is a good time for open engagement with you the client and your internal staff to voice their concerns and contribute ideas. You can often find hidden gems during this process that have been positioned in roles that they cannot excel in. A marketing automation process will bring the creativity out of your staff given half a chance.
Work out what’s in it for you? Claire Wood of Deloitte recently said “During our studied transition towards marketing automation, there were a number of things we needed to consider, such as the why, what’s in it for us, what’s in and what’s out, to be realistic, what does the change involve and to understand that engagement is key”.
In all honesty, Claire’s speech was one of the most attention-grabbing from a non-agency person I’ve had the pleasure to sit and listen to, follow Claire on Twitter @ClaireEMWood.
- Be clear on your goals
- Enable open engagement throughout the company, don’t inflict it on your staff
- Don’t bombard people with information, ensure time is given to digest feedback and progression
What’s in it for us?
- Timeliness of response
- A personalised experience for your clients
What’s in and what’s out?
- Be clear to avoid scope creep, set goals and targets and stick to them
- On timescales
- Be deliberate about every action and intent
- Know that staff will need re-education
- Clients will need to be informed of the way that lines of communication will change and get their feedback ahead of implementation
- Marketing automation doesn’t fix process, it changes them
- As well as planning each stage of delivery, run educational campaigns to update and inform staff and clients
- Take your time to prepare effectively as the automation project gathers pace
- Understand the volume of work that is involved up front, not mid-way through
Engagement is Key!
- Ensure you get as much employee feedback as possible, before during and after the project
- If necessary, ensure there is global communication around the marketing automation project
- Make sure all stakeholders are committed to the project and are aware of and maintain their responsibilities
Now you understand the need for subject matter experts
So, in closing, you can see why subject matter experts are needed from your agency perspective. With such a huge investment in a marketing automation project taking place internally and financially, you can’t afford to work with a non-experienced agency.
The quality of information, content and working experience around these change projects is paramount to you, your stakeholders and your budget holder. The implementation of marketing automation, inbound marketing and a closer working operation between sales and marketing at your company is a huge and on-going project.
Inbound campaigns are constantly monitored for their effectiveness. Creative content offers and automation strategies are required and in many cases, ongoing training and education for you the client needs to be maintained.
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Bias Digital is a Digital Consultancy that specialises in working with companies and organisations in Finance, Fintech, Technology, Professional Services and Property sectors. If you would like to find out how our experienced consultants can help your business transition into marketing automation call 0203 637 4426