Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 600,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
Text:  A A

Delivering on the Promise of Marketing Automation

by Laura Patterson  |  
November 16, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to select and evaluate a marketing automation platform (MAP)
  • How to plan for and encourage MAP adoption
  • Seven pitfalls to avoid when implementing a MAP

Two trends are forcing organizations to approach sales and marketing differently.

1. Today, customers sit in the driver seat in the discovery and buying stages, and they have more channels available to them as entry points. As a result, identifying and managing qualified opportunities can be more confusing and complex for marketers, and the pipeline bottleneck has shifted further upstream. With buyers driving the purchasing process, it's critical that Sales and Marketing be aligned and that processes be integrated to effectively manage the customer buying process.

2. Organizations are trying to take a more scientific, data-centric approach to marketing, especially in segmentation, customer engagement, lead nurturing, and lead scoring. Companies are focused on improving targeting and profiling, response rates, cross-channel coordination, and campaign effectiveness and efficiency.

Those two trends are motivating many firms to invest in marketing automation platforms (MAPs). Why? Because companies count on MAPs to help address Sales and Marketing alignment and integration. Also, MAPs enable organizations to effectively address the new buyer behaviors. Marketing organizations rely on those platforms to automate repetitive tasks, optimize the marketing-sales opportunity pipeline, increase efficiency, and reduce human error. At a minimum, organizations expect MAPs to be able to quickly and efficiently capture, score, and route leads appropriately.

The selection and implementation of a MAP is often viewed as software technology purchase and deployment, but that view can create problems. When the purchase is perceived from a technology perspective, the entire marketing workflow may not be taken into consideration. Overlooking those aspects could result in slow, and sometimes painful, adoption and usage. You can alleviate or avoid that problem if you establish selection criteria, map the marketing and sales workflow, and focus on some pre-implementation and post-implementation processes.

MAP Selection and Evaluation

The number of MAP solutions has mushroomed in the past few years. Nearly every MAP supplier delivers on the basic category promise. Therefore, you need to drill down to what you specifically want to improve and do differently—in campaign and lead management, cost reduction, process efficiencies, etc.—by implementing a MAP solution.

If you don't establish your requirements beyond the basic batch-and-blast campaign management before exploring all your options, you may find yourself like a kid in a candy store: overwhelmed by myriad choices and options.

Sign up for free to read the full article.Read the Full Article

Membership is required to access the full version of this how-to marketing article ... don't worry though, it's FREE!


We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:


Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
1 rating(s)

Add a Comment


  • by Peter Johnston Wed Nov 16, 2011 via web

    If you can deliver on the promise of Marketing Automation, you will do better than every company which has shown results so far.

    According to Sirius, it results in 0.25% conversion - way below even traditional methods.

    Why - because Marketing Makes Leads for Sales is fundamentally flawed, Lead scoring produces more false positives than real ones and because it deepens the Sales/Marketing divide.

    Marketing Automation has been discredited. Time to move on.

  • by Laura Patterson Wed Nov 16, 2011 via web

    Peter, I agree people are struggling- the problem however isn't the platform or system, that's like saying the washing machine doesn't clean the clothes, we should go back to washing by hand. The problem may not be the machine. With MAPs the same thing, most of hte issues are related to process, configuration, and usage- all people related issues. See our Six C's article to help understand that we need to completely rework how Marketing and Sales configure the pipeline. Thanks for the comment.

  • by Peter Johnston Thu Nov 17, 2011 via web

    No the problems are more fundamental - marketers don't understand the sales process.
    Sales people do a lot in the early stages of a sale - they look past the person who called them in to the real seat of power, they identify the real reasons people will buy and they work out what roadblocks people will put in the way. That sets up the sale. But it isn't replicated by Marketing Automation so the leads created aren't truly researched or set up, just arbitrarily scored.

    Secondly things have changed. Appointments are no longer the start of the sales process. So a system which works towards providing leads for appointment, instead of leads for engagement will fail for most buyers. What is happening is that buyers are building online relationships, only to find they are then tossed back to the beginning again when the "lead" is passed to the sale team.

  • by Nora Foster Tue Nov 22, 2011 via web

    I would add Social Media Management to your list of functional criteria -- these are capabilities available within standalone solutions, but are beginning to be included within the MA platform. If social media is a strong focus for your company (as it should) you should consider a solution that is integrating social media:

    Share to Social: Add “share to Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/etc.” buttons to emails and landing pages. More advanced capabilities provide tracking of who shared your information, and whether it brings additional visitors to your website.

    Social Media ROI: Track Social Media as a lead source, all the way to revenue. This is either done by analyzing the HTTP referrer or by posting a tracking link on the Social Networks. Tracking and ROI mechanism, already built into most Marketing Automation systems, is extended to Social Media.

    Lead Intelligence: Find a prospect’s Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook profile, and pull relevant information into the MA system and sync with CRM. Information can be used for lead scoring.

    Social Media Monitoring: Web crawling technologies collect and synthesize news on a prospect’s firm, their marketplaces, a deeper array of stakeholders, etc.

    Social Network Analysis: SNA technologies are abundant, and a natural addition to MA capabilities. Facilitates quantitative or qualitative analysis of social networks for a contact, by describing features of a network, either through numerical or visual representation. Networks can consist of memberships on networking websites like Twitter or Facebook, and other connections found on the Internet.

  • by Lisa deSouza Wed Feb 15, 2012 via web

    What is extremely troubling to me is that while everyone is rushing to implement a marketing automation solution most do not realize that it is only a tool in the much bigger picture that is Demand Generation Strategy. And if organizations do not have a solid foundation in place: all their processes clearly defined, their marketing and sales teams aligned, a thorough content library mapped against their buyers' journey, their data segmented, and their CRM or ERP correctly set up, they are in for nothing but frustration and pain. I have built a very successful consulting practice just by working with clients who bought the system and then realized that none of the basic architecture was in place in order to be successful.

    Marketing automation is just a platform that lives in a much bigger environment. Without the fundamentals (and the right people managing it) it will not be used to its maximum potential and end up in the "junkyard" of defunct software initiatives.

  • by Laura Patterson Thu Feb 16, 2012 via web

    Lisa, you are absolutely right on. Marketing automation is just a platform. Success definitely depends on strategy, processes, etc.

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!