Marketing 3.0 Automation, Necessary But Not Sufficient
In our last b2b marketing blog we shared "7 Marketing 3.0 Lessons from Inbound 2012." The first lesson "Marketing automation is necessary but not sufficient." While choosing and implementing the most appropriate technology for the business is important, it is the human issues that are the hardest to get right. Here we are referring to the new roles and collaborations that must be put into place and the processes that must be implemented across multiple organizations for marketing automation to deliver the desired results.
There are two tectonic shifts that make getting the people and process issues both essential and difficult.
1. The first of these are changes in the customer buying process. Buyers stay digitally connected throughout the buying process, and they engage with sales much later in the journey. The implications for marketing are clear: a tight relationship with sales is now essential.
- Marketing can never completely hand-off leads to sales
- Lead nurturing is an early part of the sales process
- Marketers play a vital role in enabling the sales team. They need to understand and be comfortable with their company's sales process because they are now part of it.
- Being able to align with sales and effectively manage the lead development and hand-off process with sales is a critical success factor. We have found that the most effective companies have frequent meetings between marketing and sales to refine lead scoring so leads transferred to sales are well qualified, and to examine the lead backlog to ensure leads are being followed up in a timely manner.
2. The second shift is in data analytics, again highlighting the need for business relationship changes. The flood of data from customer touch points and marketing automation systems, such as HubSpot and Marketo produce huge amounts of potentially valuable data, and create unprecedented opportunities to develop deep knowledge of the customer and real-time predictive analytics.
However effectively transforming data into information and knowledge requires that the data be cleaned and analyzed appropriately. In addition, you have to communicate this new knowledge effectively and in a timely manner.
Implications for marketing are:
- Every marketing function must learn and use automation technology
- Marketing needs people who understand both marketing and IT functions.
- These changes in automation and information flow require changes in processes, both within marketing and between marketing and sales and finance.
Making these organizational changes is particularly difficult, because although marketers may understand their expanded role and the importance in the sales process, people in the other functions, (i.e. sales, IT and finance) won't learn this without marketing educating them and proving the value of this new approach and Marketing's new and expanded role. Given the scope of these changes, their value must be established up front, by documenting success in engaging this new world head on.
How should you get started? A change of this magnitude requires an updated marketing strategy with three components:
- Marketing 3.0 plan that includes thought leadership and social media, lead generation and management, and marketing metrics and management
- Realignment of the marketing responsibilities and relationships
- Roll out and execution of an initial campaign that demonstrates the power of marketing’s new skills and approach.
Download Our Marketing Strategies Guide As a First Step