Marketing automation is amazing. It lets you create marketing campaigns and automate processes more quickly and easily than you could ever imagine. That is, after you set everything up!
The setting-up process itself is one of the most important factors determining marketing automation success, because it's your first and best opportunity to get everything right. I know, because I recently implemented marketing automation software at SiteSpect, where I head up the marketing department.
Having just completed a 60-day marketing automation implementation process, I want to share some lessons learned. So, before implementation...
1. Clean up your CRM
Make sure you clean up your CRM (customer relationship management) database. A clean CRM is important, because your marketing automation software will synch with your CRM, and if you have a lot of duplicates on the lists you import, you'll have a mess on your hands.
Imagine that someone has come to your site and registered for an e-book, and you've converted the lead to a contact. Without marketing automation, when they come back to your site, they have to register again (and again and again), which means the same contact could be in your database, as both a lead and a contact, several times.
Make sure you convert all leads to contacts as appropriate, delete duplicate records, associate contacts with accounts, and clean up all your account names. For example, contacts from FedEx might be in your database as Fed Ex, Federal Express, FedExpress—but they are all the same account.
Merge, purge, delete, convert—do whatever you have to do so that the list you are importing into your marketing automation software is as clean as possible.