Marketing automation driving you nuts? What clients are saying…

Marketing automation driving you nuts? What clients are saying…

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.

Homer Simpson overwhelmed with marketing automation

? 20th Century Fox and Matt Groenig

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.

Products like Jumplead and Infusionsoft, in my opinion, are less complex and have a faster ramp up. Remember, there are hundreds?of others available so do your research. Start at?www.capterra.com.

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.

Final word

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.

#marketingautomation #martech #b2bmarketing #demandgen

Ending The War Between Sales and Marketing

Ending The War Between Sales and Marketing

We’re seeing a shift toward more cooperation between sales and marketing, driven largely by the payoffs from shorter sales cycles.

Why Do It?

CEOs want to see direct linkage between revenue and what sales and marketing are producing every day. Today there’s more than enough technology, including sales and marketing automation platforms, to help with this.

Sales and marketing fight over shorter sales cycles.

Marketing takes a swing at sales for complaining about the leads.

It’s simple. Studies prove that when sales and marketing are aligned, shorter sales cycles happen and sales costs go down. More and better qualified leads are generated and nurtured while sales cycles get shorter.

Before the dramatic increase in technology usage these two departments could have a Cold War relationship and somehow things would get done. Today’s drive for more efficiency and faster results mean sales and marketing are joined at the hip and must work well together.

How To Do It

For small and mid-size B2B companies start with where you are today.

  • Self-educate by searching for articles and papers that can help in your situation. There’s hundreds of vendors selling tools and services that can help…read their insights.
  • Do a brief internal audit that shows where your leads originate. If they’re mostly from the sales team then marketing might be missing some low-hanging fruit.
  • Sketch out the lead process from each lead source, from the point of origin through nurturing and qualification and on to the sales team.

More Reading on Achieving Shorter Sales Cycles

Here is a 12-page guide to better alignment from Pardot, a leading marketing automation platform available through Salesforce.com. This excellent paper points out that ‘businesses with the greatest degree of alignment’:

  • Grow 5.4 points faster than their less aligned competitors
  • Close 38% more proposals than non-aligned businesses
  • Lose 36% fewer customers to competitors

The paper also shows where to align the two teams for shorter sales cycles and how to do it. You should pick up some good ideas for your company or situation.

Click here to view and/or download 6 Keys To Sales and Marketing Alignment.