Let me start by saying that I’m a big believer of Marketing Automation (MA) and have seen it produce incredible marketing ROI for some manufacturers and industrial companies.
Then why does the headline of this post make me sound like a skeptic? That’s because it’s a case of good news, bad news.
First, the good news, MA does make the entire process of converting Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) into Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) very efficient and measurable. It produces amazing results when implemented and managed correctly.
This infographic from Pardot (A SalesForce Company) shows the real results automation users are seeing, descriptions of how automation is transforming companies, and staggering growth statistics.
Embedded from Pardot
I don’t blame you if you are a bit skeptical yourself since Pardot is a MA vendor.
Now for the bad news. Some of my industrial clients who have implemented MA are struggling to produce the promised results. I don’t want to oversimplify the problem by generalizing. Based on my conversations with these companies, I have noticed three common issues for MA’s failure to deliver ROI for them.
- A lack of planning and clearly defining good processes
- Not assigning responsibility for managing MA to people with the right skill set and training
- Underutilization from partial implementation and expecting instant results
Just adding another layer of technology will never solve the problem of generating quality leads that convert into real sales opportunities. It won’t help your salespeople improve their win rates if all marketing is doing is cluttering up their dashboards with more data from MA.
Sales needs good intelligence and insights on leads for them to have conversations that are more productive and turn them into more RFQs. They need the right information at the right time and not just a data dump from MA.
Sales and marketing have to work together from the get go to define these processes and also must agree to refine them with timely feedback. These steps must be completed before implementing MA and everyone must agree on a unified definition of a SQL. Without this groundwork, no technology by itself can solve all the challenges of industrial lead generation and sales.
A quote by Bill Gates summarizes this problem nicely. He said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
You may also want to read my post, “Are Industrial Companies Wasting Their Leads?”
Are you using or seriously considering implementing Marketing Automation as part of your industrial marketing? What has been your experience if you have or what is holding you back if you haven’t?