David Taber exposes marketing automation flaws in in his article entitled CRM: Four Dirty Little Secrets of Marketing Automation. Here are some of his key points.
- A Marketing Automation System without Content is an Empty Shell: Unlike simple e-mail blasting systems (which enable horizontal campaigns), a marketing automation system’s real value comes from their vertical marketing campaigns that do “drip marketing” of carefully sequenced messages and content. You can’t buy “content packs” for these lead nurturing campaigns from anybody. Somebody has to plan out what all those sequences of messages will be, and then write the e-mails, create the landing pages, and produce the PDFs or other downloads that will inform and motivate the prospect.
- Marketing Automation Joins Marketers with Sales People: The whole point of a marketing automation system is to deliver fewer, much higher quality leads to your telesales or other business development people. This means that your marketing department needs to be brought culturally and organizationally closer to the sales team. Take it from me, this can be a challenge in itself.
- Integration is Effectiveness: To be effective, Marketing Automation systems need to be tightly integrated with your sales force automation system. The goal of marketing automation — a well-nurtured lead that is willing to take things further — means that the prospect has to be delivered to your telesales team (or whatever the next step of your sales process is) fast. Studies by market researchers show that the “next step” has to be within hours, so you can’t wait for an overnight batch update. This integration is best done with everything in one place, so all of the email sequences, web registrations, downloads, and phone calls are in a single chronological list.
- Scoring Needs Tuning: Marketing automation systems use a range of scoring systems to gauge the state of readiness of the prospect, and to promote the ones that are the highest quality. Off the shelf, the systems will have coefficients and sensitivities set for all the scoring elements. But they are merely a starting point, and there may be dozens of factors that need to be adjusted to fit your customer base. The factors need to be tuned to optimize the quality and conversion rate of the prospects, and the tuning should really be done in two stages.