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Edy How To Select The Right Marketing Automation Software

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 Edited By Edy Henao

A Customer Relationship Management Special Report

Table of Contents

  1. Marketing's Business Problem
  2. Marketing Automation Software Capabilities
  3. What you Need to Know Before Buying Marketing Automation Software
  4. Building The Business Case for Marketing Software Investment
  5. How to Buy a Marketing Software System


Marketing professionals have long been charged with acquiring leads and forwarding qualified prospects to the sales team. Historically, the marketing process has been more art and intuition than science and analysis; marketers often work more by feel than by facts. That subjective work behavior results in performance and perception inconsistencies. When marketers deliver highly qualified leads, they are celebrated; but when they don't they are dismissed or challenged to explain themselves. When hit or miss performance occurs over long cycles, the strategic value of the function attracts doubt and marketing often comes to be seen as a discretionary expense, and suffers when companies downsize or seek cost reductions.

The mission and purpose of marketing haven't changed, but the business software tools at marketing's disposal have. A relatively new breed of marketing automation software systems which make use of lead behaviors and marketing best practices empower marketers to acquire better leads, and more importantly allow marketers to connect more intelligence with those leads, and thus better qualify them for the sales force. These marketing automation software systems also manage the lead scoring and nurturing processes, thereby automatically cultivating prospects until they are sales-ready.

Picking the right marketing automation software application can be simple, if you understand your needs, their capabilities and what to look for.


Marketing's Business Problem

The economic climate has resulted in staff and budget cuts to many sales and marketing departments. Sales people have more pressure to close more sales, and to do that they need to be given qualified leads at or near the time prospects are ready to buy. Studies by Gartner and Aberdeen show that sales reps now need more leads than in the past just to achieve flat revenue production. Finding these qualified prospects is marketing's responsibility – and they too have to do more with less resources. However, while sales people have gained organization, automation and information from Sales Force Automation (SFA) software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications and other sales tools, marketers have largely been forced to accelerate and intensify the mainly manual business processes that have yielded mixed performance results.

Marketing practices are demanding and laborious. They start with basic demand generation, followed by assessing the readiness of leads to buy based on a weighted scoring system that assigns values to rank and qualify them. The sales-ready leads are passed to sales, while the rest are either disqualified, further qualified or forwarded into lead nurturing campaigns. Several nurture campaigns may run simultaneously, and leads may be reassigned among different campaigns based on new lead data and insight which suggests what content will be best received by each type of lead.

But these marketing processes can easily break down. A remarkable proportion of leads received by the sales team are not acted upon timely or at all. Leads passed to sales, but not considered qualified by sales, are often ignored and not returned to marketing for continued nurturing. Also, among marketers lead nurturing often takes a back seat to lead generation and fails to receive the attention and effort it needs to succeed.

In addition, performing these marketing processes manually is prone to error, long cycle times and excessive costs. "I don't think it's possible to do lead nurturing or lead scoring at scale (i.e. more than a hundred leads a month or so) without marketing software automation, or alternatively throwing a ton of people at the problem," said Jon Miller, the CMO at Marketo. "It's not a difference of effectiveness, it's a difference of simply being able to do the job."

At the same time, while the sales function demonstrates its effectiveness through hard numbers – such as closed sales, sales forecast trending, sales cycle duration, sales win rate and other revenue-oriented metrics – marketers have had less solid performance indicators of their success. The two sides are often goaled differently – sales staff on revenue production, and marketers on activities such as clicks, leads or some other data point that may or may not translate into real dollars. As a result, marketing performance is often in a unsubstantiated position; contributing to Chief Marketing Officers having the shortest employment tenure of any C-level executive, with an average stay of 23 months.

Next - Marketing Automation Software Capabilities >>

How To Select Marketing SoftwareMarketing Software CapabilitiesBuying Marketing SoftwareBusiness Case for Marketing SoftwareHow To Buy Marketing Software

 

 

 

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Marketing processes are often manual and can easily break down. A remarkable proportion of leads received by sales are not acted upon timely or at all. Leads passed to sales, but not believed qualified by sales, are often ignored and not passed back to marketing for further nurturing. Also, among marketers, lead nurturing often takes a back seat to lead generation and fails to receive the attention and effort necessary to succeed. Without automation, performing these marketing processes manually is prone to error, long cycle times and excessive costs.

 

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