Marketing automation for SMBs
I can’t tell you how many of our SMB clients have bought sales and marketing automation platforms and then essentially let them sit there or used only a part of their capabilities. Purchasers get all excited about the sizzle and forget how much ‘chopping wood and carrying water’ is needed to make these platforms work well.
Our clients are typically tech and manufacturing companies in the $20-$150 million range.
Some of these companies bought Salesforce.com, for example, when they really didn’t have the employee bandwidth to learn and use it correctly.
Today we have hundreds and hundreds of sales and marketing automation platforms from which to choose, which makes things complicated for first-or second-time time buyers in 2017.
The good news, however, is we’re seeing an influx of hybrid platforms, built specifically for SMBs, that handle both sales and marketing automation.
Examples include Infusionsoft (more sophisticated, more $$$) and Jumplead (less sophisticated, less $$$). These platforms, and many others, manage your CRM, contact management, sales pipeline, inbound and outbound digital marketing and provide easy-to-use dashboards for metrics at a glance.
What we’ve learned from clients…
- Right size, right price is vital. Many of today’s apps will scale pricing as your needs grow. Pick one with an affordable opening price point that fits your budget today. There’s no need to pay up front for excess capacity you won’t use for a while.
- Top down support is essential. If your CEO is not on board, let alone your sales and marketing leaders, don’t bother.
- Go cheap at first and grow from there. You can go to www.capterra.com and find a wealth of information on the top several hundred apps including features and pricing to fit your company’s specific needs and goals.
- Understand that these apps are human resource intensive, regardless of the vendor’s claims. You will need to dedicate at least one or two in-house folks to learn, use and evangelize the new platform.
- Marketing automation integration with CRM is crucial. Marketing’s primary role is to serve as a front end for the sales team, so technology integration across both sales and marketing platforms is a must.
Enterprise apps are for big companies
For example, Salesforce/Pardot is enterprise – for big companies, in my opinion, even though they have an SMB offering. Why? Because it’s more complex and time consuming to onboard and use, regardless of company size. This is the #1 platform I run into where it’s installed but not used or used poorly. The smaller the company, the less likely it will have the human resources or patience to stick with it. Marketo, the most popular marketing automation platform, is enterprise for the same reasons.
Understand that all of these platforms have a steep learning curve, despite what they claim. I use Jumplead and my only complaint is that their help section needs a lot of help. But they are quick to answer questions by chat and email so I don’t stay grumpy for long.
By the way, investing in these tools has far more implications than just ‘automating’ sales and marketing activities. Proper use will yield critical information for corporate strategy, lead gen, conversion, metrics and other key areas.
Martech is a valuable tool but do your research and buy only what you need for where you are today. Expect to spend a lot of time ramping up.
Feel free to contact us at any time and we’ll give you some direction over the phone or by email.
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