What we also see quite often is that these types of companies are used to moving quickly with little resources and they think that is just the way it needs to be. What I’ve learned over the years is that today there are new and affordable solutions that let even the “little” guy market like a powerhouse.
In the past I’ve talked about taking the time to do things right and stay on course, but what I didn’t address is how this can be achieved. Many of us are familiar with Salesforce.com. When they first came to market, smaller companies were finally able to approach CRM and build the type of sales and customer relationship infrastructure that Siebel and PeopleSoft could offer but without all the large implementation costs. Well I’ve seen this same evolution happen with Marketing Automation.
A few years back if you asked me to look into Marketing Automation, I would have agreed it was the right way to go but was challenged by the costs and resources required to get this type of automation into my marketing plan. Looking back, these tools were simply not available to a smaller organization.
I am happy to see that today, there has been a shift and we can “afford” the fancy Marketing Automation solutions we desire. Tools like Pardot are not only affordable but easy to implement. Now I am not an analyst so I am not going to compare Pardot against the others like Eloqua or Marketo (which I also hear great things about) but I would like to share with you, my fellow marketers, who feel that Marketing Automation is something the “big guys” get to do, that there are solutions out there.
Keep in mind that these are “tools”. And while the technology has come a long way, it comes down to how you apply it. Here are some things you should consider:
Tools are great but nothing is truly out-of-the-box
Pardot, in particular, does a really good job of helping you build drip campaigns and automate your marketing with a nice wysiwyg environment but you need to plan your marketing strategy first. Spend the necessary time required in the beginning to build it right. I guarantee it saves you time in long run even though it may take some time to feel that you are really automated.
Work with sales on a process
In smaller companies sales and marketing have this great opportunity to work hand-in-hand. Build your marketing automation process with sales and set expectations early. Marketing Automation is the layer on top of your CRM environment so look at the entire picture as a closed-loop process.
Get buy-in from Executives
Help your Executives understand why this approach is important. I’ve found that rather then involving them in all the process, create reports and dashboards that help them see the bigger picture of marketing ROI and communicate the support required to keep this moving in the right direction.
Don’t forget the importance of a content strategy
Without a good content strategy you will be automating nothing. That may seem like an exaggeration but think about it. Good marketing is about connecting with your buyer and no matter how you build your infrastructure and target your approach it’s the content that tells the story.
My final advice, don’t go at it alone. Find your fellow marketers and share best practices and advice. I’ll be sharing ideas with many of you at the OMS Tour this month.