Marketing Automation: Lessons from the Trenches - Panel Discussion Highlights

Marketing Automation: Lessons from the Trenches Webinar Highlights

Last Thursday, we teamed up with DemandGen Report to host a Panel Discussion expanding on our latest whitepaper Marketing Automation: Lessons from the Trenches.The discussion prompted some great questions from the attendees and expanded on respondents’ comments and recommendations.If you’re looking at purchasing a Marketing Automation Solution in the next few months, I’d definitely encourage you to check out the on-demand version of the webinar.A few of the highlights from the discussion are:

How does ease of use and implementation affect user experience & what can users expect? 

Implementation is typically pretty painless.Most vendors have gotten pretty good at the process, and with the exception of one, most offer it for free.About 50% of users ran into hidden costs, such as building out new brand-approved templates and rebuilding forms so make sure you talk to your provider about this on the front-end to ensure you are accounting for those costs or have the ability to make those changes internally.Many organizations hit road blocks or begin to struggle after the first 90-120 days.At this point, they’ve typically done the basics of email blasts, landing page set-up, lead scoring etc. and are ready to get a little more complex.This is when usability, a solid customer support team and the flexibility of a system become critical.

How do you properly prepare your organization to be successful with a Marketing Automation Solution?

Many of the respondents cited the importance of properly adapting content as you gain more intelligence about your leads and then building a library of content that addresses different phases of the buying cycle.

Aligning Sales and Marketing before implementing a solution is also extremely important and a difficult task for many organizations.A good starting point is agreeing on what a Qualified Lead is and set up a lead scoring model accordingly.Marketing should ask for on-going feedback from Sales so lead scoring models can evolve, and they can really hone in on the highest quality leads.

What are some of the steps that survey respondents recommended to prepare your organization and align marketing and sales?

1.Sales and Marketing must work together create a starting point on what they consider a qualified lead and acknowledge that change is going to occur within the system on a regular basis. 


2.Database must be segmented and cleaned. 



3.Test, test and test again.Test the flow of your lead nurturing process, the effectiveness of your offerings, the capture rates of your landing pages.You should constantly be refining your strategy based on your results. 

What questions should people be asking vendors when choosing a solution that’s right for them?

It’s definitely important to ask the obvious questions around usability, extra training costs or fees, flexibility and customer support.Some additional questions that you might not think of are:

§Dedicated or Shared IP Address?If you’re on a shared IP address, other people’s email might affect your deliverability if they’re sending out junk.

§Are there any limitations or times that my emails will not go out as quickly?Some vendors have “busy” times, in which emails take longer to be delivered because of high traffic or a bottleneck in the system.

§Customer Retention Rate?Don’t think because a company is signing up hundreds of new customers that it’s the best vendor – that’s just an indication of a strong sales organization.You should be more concerned with how well a vendor retains its clients.

§Can I speak to 3 ex-customers and find out why they left?This may be difficult to do, but if you can get an idea of why customers are walking away from a vendor, you can determine if that same thing is going to be a big issue for you as well.

How did respondents feel about Marketing Automation overall?

Overall the feedback was positive and the respondents found value in their solutions.The majority of respondents felt that being able to measure and track campaign results was the biggest value-add marketing automation offered.