What You Need to Teach Your Clients About Marketing Automation
Marketing automation tools have been widely adopted by huge corporates and small businesses alike over the past few years. And it’s easy to understand why. The tools make it easier to understand customers and prospects, target those most promising leads, stay top of mind, and manage some of the finer tactical points that go into a really well-oiled marketing machine.
While the benefits to implementing a marketing automation tool are many, it is not a magic bullet. There is a lot of strategy and forethought that need to go into implementing the system correctly in order to guarantee the best results.
This is what you need to teach your clients about marketing automation to ensure that they have realistic goals and can access the full potential of the tool.
All Marketing Automation Tools are Not Created Equal
Marketing automation tools have a wide range of capabilities, and what’s right for one client’s business will not necessarily be best for another’s. If your client is a small B2B with a limited online presence, bare bones website, and client roster housed on a spreadsheet, they might not need the full capabilities of a robust CRM/marketing automation tool. A simple tool to help them manage their social media postings and a separate, no-frills email management system might be all they require.
On the flip side, if you have a larger client who already has a standard CRM in place but wants to incorporate marketing automation, then you need to have a conversation about either migrating over to a joint CRM/marketing automation tool, or implementing a marketing automation strategy from small component systems.
As the marketing consultant, it’s up to you to brief your client on their options and make the best recommendation for where they are now and where they hope to be in the coming years.
They’re Best When They Include a CRM Component
For what it’s worth, I would advocate strongly for a marketing automation tool that includes CRM capabilities. While there is more legwork up front, in the end, having one home for all of your sales and marketing information makes it easier to put that data to work for you.
To facilitate a smooth transition to a comprehensive marketing automation tool, like ActiveCampaign or InfusionSoft, you’ll want to have your client scrub their existing data. The tool will only be as effective as the information the team puts into it, so if their current prospect and customer profiles are incorrect, the tool will be unable to produce the desired results.
Encourage your clients to do a full review of all data before putting it into the new system. It’s like when you move to a new house: You throw your junk away before you move to the new place, rather than taking up precious space in the moving van and inviting clutter into your new home.
They’re Not a Cure-All
While marketing automation can do a lot of good for a business, the tool is still just technology. First, you need to ensure that your client’s team is properly trained on the new system. If they’re hesitant to use it or unsure of how to take advantage of its many capabilities, then you can be sure they won’t get the greatest return on their investment.
Additionally, the tool is designed to take a lot of work off the marketing and sales teams’ plates. But the fundamental work of creating a strategy and generating content to put into the automation tool still remains. The business owner needs to continue to provide adequate resources and time to their team to get this higher-level work done.
Getting the Full Results of the Tool Takes Time
According to Focus Research, only 44 percent of businesses saw ROI from marketing automation implementation within the first six months. Seventy-seven percent of businesses saw results within the first year.
This means that your clients can’t expect the tool to be instantaneously successful. A lot of what marketing automation does is facilitate long-term strategies. Marketing automation tools help behavior score leads so that they can go after better prospects, but the system can only do this once your clients understand your existing clients. And it will take time for your sales team to close deals with these more qualified leads.
Similarly, marketing automation can help you to reach a wider audience with your content—be that your email newsletter, social media presence, or website. But again, once you’ve reached more people, they will not convert overnight.
As with most good things in life, the key is to be patient with the tool. Continuing to monitor progress and tweaking your approach as time goes on will only generate even better results for your clients.
The Analytics Can Be Life-Changing
If marketing automation at first sounded like a magical solution, once your client has considered all of these other points, they might suddenly feel less enthused about embracing the technology. But they shouldn’t. The fact is, the analytics that you can generate from the proper implementation of a marketing automation system can truly be life-changing for a business.
Detailed customer profiles allow them to get more and more specific about the prospects they target. Plus, as they better understand their existing customers, they can continue to create innovative products and services that speak to their customers’ unique needs.
The results of A/B testing can allow you to create messaging that resonates deeply with your client’s desired audience, building trust and confidence in the brand from the very first interaction.
Creating buyer personas and segmenting email lists empowers you to build email campaigns that are highly tailored to each specific subset of your client’s audience. This, in turn, makes for a stellar customer experience that builds repeat and refer business.
For those outside of the marketing world, marketing automation can either seem like a confusing, futuristic nightmare tool or a cure to all of their marketing woes. In reality, it is neither of those things. But when you’re able to properly educate your clients and guide them through the implementation of a solid strategy—with automation at its core—you can help them to understand their clients and grow their business in ways they never imagined.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Marketing Automation.