5 Steps for Creating a Marketing Automation Business Case

shutterstock_80721766The benefits of marketing automation are clear—at least, they are to most marketers. Increased revenue is a great benefit, of course. But marketing automation can also help businesses across multiple industries realize other advantages and achieve additional strategic goals.

Early adopters understand this well. Gleanster found that 79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than two years. And according to the Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups, 78% of marketers cite marketing automation systems as most responsible for improving revenue contribution. Most marketers don’t need convincing that marketing automation is worth adopting. But what does it take to get the rest of the organization on board the marketing automation train?

A strong business case – one that clearly demonstrates how valuable marketing automation can be – is a very good place to start. Here are five steps for creating a compelling business case for marketing automation, with tips for making sure your message gets across.

1) Start by illustrating the benefits of investing in marketing automation. What’s most important to your business? Begin your story with whatever matters most to your leadership team.

  • Do you need to increase revenue? Marketing automation systems positively impact both the top and bottom lines, and many times, businesses see results almost immediately after implementation.
  • Are you trying to achieve key organizational goals? Marketing automation can help your company realize strategic aims, including building brand relevance, increasing efficiency, gaining more insight into campaigns performance, and measuring ROI.
  • Do you want to improve internal cooperation? When marketing and sales teams align, their mutual decisions are most effectively implemented through a marketing automation system. This alignment results in nurturing, scoring, and handoff processes designed to meet sales’ requirements, leading to intradepartmental trust and more effective follow-up.

Once you’ve zeroed in on the biggest benefits to your business, you can get specific about the current challenges you face.

2) Focus on the specific marketing challenges you may have … and how marketing automation helps solve them. Use data points to clearly demonstrate how marketing automation can fix the issues your company is dealing with every day. Here are just a few of the most common issues.

  • Lead generation and management: Capturing a sufficient number of leads is challenging enough, but scoring, nurturing, segmenting and accurately targeting those leads is even more difficult. And of course, automating the whole process would sure be helpful.
  • Campaign optimization: It’s not easy being a marketer. Not only do you need to send more effective, more personalized messages, you need to do it faster and more efficiently than ever before. You also need to test every campaign and landing page, automate programs, integrate with social media and paid search, and also boost blog post performance. Usually all before breakfast.
  • Sales enablement: It’s not easy being in sales, either. Without enough leads, or poorly qualified leads, it’s difficult to find the customers who are ready to buy. Cold calling is not only grim, it’s often a waste of time and resources. Sales needs the right tools to send personalized communications, shorten the sales cycle, and close bigger deals.
  • Resource optimization: Resources are always at a premium for marketers. It’s seems like there’s never enough time in the day to execute your campaigns – especially when you have to rely on an already-strapped IT team to help. And when every campaign demands manual, repetitive processes to make it happen, your business is wasting time as well as money.
  • Data and analytics: There’s no use blasting your audience with marketing messages if you can’t get a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t. You need to be able to understand what motivates your customers, gain visibility into the performance of every campaign, and demonstrate the return on every investment.

Most companies are dealing with more than one of these issues, as well as many others that marketing automation can solve. You may want to include real-world examples from your own organization to really drive the point home.

3) Use case studies to prove your point. Show your leadership team that other companies in your industry – or other companies of your size – are achieving success with marketing automation. Look for case studies that make one of those points, or look for a study that spotlights how someone used marketing automation to solve a problem your own company recognizes as a pain point worth solving. Your goal is to show parity of some kind, and reinforce the idea that companies like yours are seeing a return on investment with marketing automation. Be sure to research whether one or more of your competitors is using marketing automation, as well.

4) Use facts to demonstrate the potential returns. Gather your baseline data. Know how many leads are generated and conversion rates at each step, including what percentage of marketing-generated leads become closed deals in contrast to leads generated in other ways. Understand whether your sales team is losing deals to competitors, or to no-decision. Review your email statistics, including sends, opens, and clickthroughs; get a clear understanding of which campaigns are delivering qualified leads and which are not. Know at what point leads fall out of the funnel. You can use this data to understand how an improvement at any step could affect revenue.

If your current systems don’t allow you to measure these factors, then gaining the capability to understand how your marketing is performing becomes a solid business reason for implementing automation.

5) Be prepared to answer questions about what it takes to get started. Even the simplest marketing automation solution takes time and resources to get up and running. Evaluate everything your team does now, and how much time it takes. Estimate conservatively how much time you might save on frequent key tasks, such as email campaign setup and management. Talk to companies the same size as yours who have implemented marketing automation and ask them to share information with you.

Consider whether you already have the right resources on your team, or whether you’ll need to add staff. Some marketing systems require training before you can use them; others are easier to use. Evaluate how you currently work with, and share information with, sales. Consider how marketing automation will affect what you already do, and whether any processes will need to change.

As you create the case for marketing automation, you should make sure that the sales team is involved throughout the process. Because sales is so profoundly impacted by a marketing automation system, it’s a good idea to make them your ally from the beginning.

Once you have this information, you will be able to create a business case that clearly demonstrates the benefit of marketing automation to the rest of your organization. Ready to get started? Read the Business Case for Marketing Automation to get even more insights for crafting a compelling case – one your executive team is sure to approve.


  1. Caryne says

    I am sold on automation and have helped organizations reap significant benefits from it. The investment is there. Finding the right talent to own the vision for and build out the engine is tough! In fact, I have immediate openings for two key roles for Grovo, a fast moving and tech-savvy startup in NY – sharing links if anyone is interested!
    Automation Manager: http://grnh.se/2ps64k
    Demand Gen Manager: http://grnh.se/jn1hmo

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