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Marketing Automation: Five Must-Do's for Achieving Maximum Efficiency

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In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to get the most from your marketing automation software
  • Five marketing automation must-do's that boost efficiency

As marketers continue to face loftier goals while still down a player or two, many of them have turned to marketing automation (MA) as a way to accomplish more with less.

MA software, which streamlines and automates marketing activities, has been a focus of many marketers for some time. Using a single system, marketers are able to manage prospect and customer databases, track individual activity, and personalize their messaging.

In most cases, a series of impressions precede a prospect's taking action. Thus, marketers are building more and more complex programs with a variety of activities to generate and convert new leads. Implementing MA software has allowed marketers to run—despite their limited resources—a variety of segmented, multichannel campaigns.

So, how can you continue to capitalize on your marketing automation investment and kick your efficiency into high gear? The following five steps will help you do more with less, and get the most out of your marketing automation software.

1. Build a welcome campaign
Estimated time required: 10-15 hours

You've probably heard of a welcome campaign, and you likely have auto-responder emails in place to "greet" or thank someone who submits a form on your website. Welcome campaigns, which expand on the basic auto-response, usually consist of 3-5 emails sent during the 30-60 days after the initial signup.

Welcome campaigns are completely automated, delivering emails intended to set communication expectations with new prospects, determine what prospects are interested in, and gather information to tailor future messages.

A welcome campaign will help you gauge each prospect's interest level based on her behavior (e.g., website activity, email clicks), and allow you to pluck sales-ready leads from the bunch and pass them over, thereby removing a large portion of the lead-qualification burden from your plate.

2. Automate your webinars
Estimated time required: 3-5 hours

Webinars have become a staple in marketers' strategies. With a compelling topic, a good speaker, and a brief time slot, webinars allow you to easily reach a huge number of prospects at once—without ever leaving your office. Though webinars tend to carry a relatively low cost-per-lead (CPL), they require a decent amount of time invested to be effective.

The content must be informative, the speaker enthusiastic, and the presentation engaging. Not to mention... invitations, reminders, and follow-up emails must be sent to make webinars successful.

Almost every marketing automation tool on the market has the ability to integrate with webinar software and many do so seamlessly. That integration allows you to manage invites, send reminder emails to registrants, follow up with "thank you" and "sorry" emails after the event, and sync all prospects with your customer relationship management (CRM) program.

With all the time you will free up, why not try some A/B testing on your webinar emails?

3. Run a lead-scoring program
Estimated time required: 15-20 hours (including testing)

One of the most commonly communicated features of MA software, lead-scoring programs allow you to assign a numeric value to each lead based on her contact information and behavior. Those values, then, determine which leads are ready to be contacted by Sales, and which leads still need to be worked. The amount of data reviewed by a good lead-scoring system would easily require a full-time employee to review. Luckily, with MA, we can set up a system that will do the work for us.

Review what information you want to assess—both contact data (title, company, etc.) and behavior (pages viewed, email opens, etc.)—and then work with your sales team to determine how much of that information is enough to warrant a phone call from Sales.

A lead-scoring program helps Sales identify whom to call, and it fills the pipeline with "hidden" leads that Sales wouldn't see otherwise, thereby alleviating some lead-generation stress.

4. Send Sales website visitor reports
Estimated time required: 1-2 hours

Sending website visitor reports to your sales reps allows them to see who has been active on the site at various timeframes, and helps them further refine their call list.

Website visitor reports can include "known" contacts (actual prospects who have visited your site) and "anonymous" visitors with basic information pulled from their IP Address (e.g., location, company name). Identifying both types of visitors can be useful for determining where to focus cold-calling efforts, specifically, but also for marketing, in general.

Have a regional tradeshow or event coming up? Run a report that searches for website visitors from the geographic region of the event, and pass that information to your sales reps to use to schedule meetings at your booth.

Another benefit: Website visitor reports are set up only once; they then run on an automated schedule, allowing you to deliver valuable information with little or no ongoing effort.

5. Run a data-cleansing program
Estimated time required: 5-10 hours

Do you concede to sending mass emails to your database instead of segmented blasts because you question the accuracy of your CRM data? Considering that many marketers run at an expeditious pace these days, who has time for database cleansing? Marketing automation allows you to build an automated data-cleansing program to keep your CRM database fresh and segmentation-ready.

The key to an effective data-cleansing program is to put control in the hands of your contacts. Build a program in your MA software to prompt your contacts to update their contact information, subscription preferences, and other vital data at least once every six months. Don't expect 100% participation, of course, but a contact-empowered data-cleansing program will enable you to start trusting your CRM data again and stop spending hours cleaning data. You will also become more effective in your database marketing by segmenting and targeting your campaigns.

* * *

Whether you implement all of these steps, or just one of them, you will free up time to focus on other aspects of your marketing plan. Understand that each of these actions requires a certain amount of upfront time, but if you commit the time and implement some of these steps, you will reap the benefits in the long run.

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Kim Roman is senior marketing automation consultant at Astadia, a provider of cloud-based marketing consulting solutions. Reach Kim via

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  • by Denysedd Wed Apr 11, 2012 via web

    Nice post Kim, with lots of simple ideas for everyone in marketing

  • by Ryan S. Wed Apr 11, 2012 via web

    Other than G5, what are other cost-effective MA solutions that small businesses should consider?

  • by Kim Roman Wed Apr 11, 2012 via web

    Thanks Denysedd!

    Ryan - G5 is actually the leading provider of Digital Experience Management (DXM) software and services in the property management sector ( For a cost-effective MA solution for a small business I would absolutely recommend working with Revenue Architects ( They have a variety of programs available to get you started with Marketing Automation and tailor programs to meet your specific needs. I am actually one of their core team consultants and would be happy to talk with you in more detail about it.

  • by Matt Filios Wed Apr 11, 2012 via web

    Nice article, Kim. I loved the fact that you added expected hours for each step. One thing I would probably add before you did any of those must-do's is to segment your leads/contacts as much as possible to ensure that they are all receiving the most relevant content to them. All of the data and demographics you have about your prospects is vital and should be utilized as much as possible. By having a marketing automation system in place that can take advantage of the different combinations of pertinent information (geography, title, behaviors on website/campaigns, company size, etc. ) you can speed up the qualification process of your leads and get them into sales' hands to drive more revenue.

    Again, well done!

  • by Kim Roman Wed Apr 11, 2012 via web

    Thanks, Matt - excellent point, by the way. By utilizing dynamic content within an email or simply building out nurturing programs based on user data/demographics you can absolutely drive leads to sales faster - and you'll see your campaign stats get better, too.

    It's also important to optimize your subscription preferences - by offering subscribers a variety of choices (interests, frequency, type of communication) you're not only adding to that pool of data but also further ensuring contacts are receiving the most relevant content.

    Thanks for the input!

  • by Jason Kort Thu Apr 12, 2012 via web

    Kim, Great article. To address Ryan's question, here is a link to other marketing automation tools that are on the market today....

  • by Sushant V Tue Apr 17, 2012 via web

    Nice article Kim!

    You have very nicely touched upon some areas of automation. In my view, a lot of efficiencies of managing a campaing can be achieved through some solution that can integrate my various platforms. For example, the real power of automatio can be harnessed if say i am able to qucikly repurpose the content across various channels like email, social media, blogs etc.

  • by Raven Howard Wed Apr 18, 2012 via web

    Great post Kim. My favorite must-do is #1. So many times people forget to nurture their new leads in an ongoing fashion b/c we don't have the time. Automating this critical step is a MUST DO for sure!

    I do think that you can even go further with efficiency in lead scoring (3) & notifying your sales team of web traffic (4). For example, Infusionsoft has built in lead scoring now so that sales team can track the hot one's based on automatic web tracking and web profiles for each of your contacts. You can automate the delivery of the reports and all data is compiled because its all in one. ;)

    Thanks again for sharing your 5 Must Do's for efficient marketing!

  • by Seth Resler Thu Apr 19, 2012 via web


    Thanks for the great article! Marketing automation is quickly becoming a must-have tool for today's marketers, and it's good to have some guidance. For people who want to read even more, we've got our Big Easy Guidebook to Marketing Automation here:

    Thanks again!

    Seth Resler
    Program Manager, Content Marketing

  • by Bill Wed Aug 8, 2012 via web

    Great article. Many thanks

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