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Investing in marketing automation tools is a costly exercise. You spend time evaluating tools, implementing them, training your staff and setting up automation sequences, all before the most costly task of all — maintaining everything you’ve created.
But if you don’t invest all that time and resources, you will not be successful.
The fact is this: The monthly cost for your marketing automation tool is not your biggest outlay.
If you’re struggling to get a return on your marketing automation tool, here are 5 things to consider:
1. You haven’t invested properly in training your staff
Your output is only going to be as good as your input. There is a lot of functionality in marketing automation and many different skills required.
“Many people make the mistake of underestimating the amount of effort it takes to support a strong marketing automation program. Instead of trying to have one person take on the entire task, consider creating a team composed of a marketing strategist, a content creator, and a salesperson. This allows an agency to deeply integrate marketing automation into an overall cohesive sales and marketing plan.”
– Rick Carlson, CEO, SharpSpring
However, even when you have the right people on board, you still need to invest in training.
When you’re setting up your automated processes, a skilled practitioner will show you the typical mistakes that people make and the errors that lead to lost revenue opportunities.
Invest in your training, and you will reap the results.
Ian Cleary’s full report is available on VB Insight:
How to dramatically increase revenue with marketing automation tools
2. You are using all their functionality
The problem with marketing automation software is that there is no end to the amount of functionality you can add on to it.
As vendors add more and more functionality, they may end up with some features that are weaker than those you can buy from specialized vendors.
For example, landing page functionality is typically part of a marketing automation tool, but based on my experience, many do not have the functionality that is available through specialized vendors such as LeadPages or Unbounce.
Not using the best landing page software means that you may not get the best conversion ratios.
“Our marketing automation tool landing page software lacks simplicity in design, it’s rather clunky, and I don’t like the end result.”
– Justin Mullen, MSS Solutions
So consider each piece of functionality they provide, but don’t rule out using an external vendor for certain components.
3. You are not making continuous improvements
Setting up your marketing automation is not a simple process. It’s impossible to get your sequences right the first time around, and there’s no such thing as perfection.
Marketing automation is a process of continuous improvement. You create your processes, optimize your workflows, and measure results. You then make the tweaks necessary and the whole process begins again.
There is no end to this. There will always be changes to existing sequences and new ones to build as you find areas for improvement or if your business requirements change.
Prepare for making continuous improvement if you want the results.
4. You do not have good integration with your existing systems
You can’t do all your marketing and sales with one tool, so you’ll need to work with other providers.
Does your marketing automation tool provide good integration with external tools?
For example, if it integrates with your CRM tool of choice, you want that to be a two-way integration.
When you have a lead that needs to be closed by a sales guy, you should be able to sync this to your CRM tool and provide any relevant information.
But you also want information synced back to your marketing automation tool that shows if the sale went ahead or not. This person could then form part of another sequence based on the action that occurred. And, of course, you want all of this automated.
5. You have picked the wrong solution
There is a wide variety of marketing automation tools out there, and it’s difficult to evaluate and pick the correct one.
If you pick the wrong vendor, you may be locked into an expensive contract, and it could be costly to move to another vendor.
Not all solutions will be suitable to your needs so it’s essential you spend the necessary time evaluating each solution to ensure you pick the one most suitable for you.
Marketing automation can generate a lot of profit for your business, but if you don’t invest the time and resources in finding, implementing, and improving what you have, you will not achieve the potential ROI you can earn.
Ian Cleary is the Founder of RazorSocial, a resource for providing information on social media tools and technology.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
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