5 Most Critical Failure Points of Marketing Automation

For the past 5 years, Sales Engine International has executed a “Sales 2.0 Engine” for dozens of companies ranging from Fortune 100s to early stage start-ups. Through hundreds of prospect interviews with companies who have tried to run Sales 2.0 programs themselves, we have identified several failure points. Avoiding these failure points can be the difference between success and failure in your Sales 2.0 initiative. 1) Organizational Re-Alignment- Purchasing and implementing a Marketing Automation software suite is much more than merely a technology purchase, it is a mandate to realign your marketing and sales approaches. It signals a “dialing down” of many of the traditional ways of marketing and selling, like direct mail and cold calling. It requires new sets of skills like content creation, video production, landing page and micro site creation, and program management. Unless companies step up to these staffing needs, they will struggle to execute consistently, and relentless execution is the key to success in Sales 2.0 initiatives

2) A Commitment to Content Creation – In order to attract your target companies, you will need to provide specific, relevant content to them on a continuous basis. Marketers describe a Sales 2.0 engine as a “content hog” and work diligently to create and fulfill meaningful, role-specific, editorial calendars. Smaller companies struggle mightily with this since the subject matter experts needed to create quality content are consumed with other activities.

3) Sales Integration – Sales 2.0 initiatives require unprecedented cooperation between marketing and sales. Unlike any other time in history, a prospect’s digital behavior can be easily captured, and a lead can be accurately scored for both fit and interest. It is imperative that the sales team enthusiastically leverages this information and follows up in a manner that advances the conversation begun by the digital marketing programs. They cannot wait for a prospect to fill out a “contact me” form. The fish do not simply jump into the boat. Prospects must be nurtured over a period of time, until they are “sales ready”

4) List Building – Perhaps this should be listed first because this is where it all begins. Companies must prioritize aggregation, scrubbing, and maintenance of their contact databases. A contact database is a dynamic thing that erodes daily unless actively maintained. Given the tough economy and turnover at companies, this cannot be overstated.

5) “Me-Too” Messaging – Too many companies get lost in a sea of sameness. When we ask companies about their key differentiators, they have trouble identifying their uniqueness. They must call out the reasons that they win boldly, specifically, and supported by interesting, relevant stories. Since their prospect's first impression comes from a digital connection rather than a warm handshake, your company’s “digital sales call” may determine if you make it to the buyer’s short list of vendors.

If executed properly, Sales 2.0 is a godsend, especially for smaller companies that do not have enormous marketing budgets or sales teams. The world of marketing and selling has changed forever! The companies that have mastered this new paradigm are succeeding wildly. By focusing on the items listed above, you can join them!