Craig Rosenberg’s chapter in the The Quintessential Marketing Automation Guidebook, Marketing Automation: People, Process & Content: The Keys to Success with Marketing Automation Technology, provides some in-depth observations and advice about what needs to be considered for each of the three components. His take inspired some questions, so I followed up to get the answers for you.
CD: You used an example in your chapter about the company that was getting zero payback from their marketing automation system, and how that changed dramatically when the person was assigned full-time to run the system. In your experience, what capabilities are most overlooked when marketing automation doesn’t have a full-time person assigned to manage it?
CR: I think a lot of companies can get emails sent out of their marketing automation without a dedicated person, but they’ll miss out on ALL the capabilities available in these systems. So if you’re using marketing automation just for bulk email, you should just use an email application instead. With a “system owner,” he or she should be watching how all the moving parts are working, launching new capabilities, and optimizing various parts of the lead management cycle. Committing to marketing automation should be a commitment to a lead management process, someone has to watch to make sure the “machinery” is working but more importantly you can’t be dynamic or try new things with your marketing automation without someone owning the system for you.
By the way, here are the typical scenarios I see when organizations fail to assign a “system owner” and the marketing automation is either under-utilized or fails to achieve ROI:
- Earnest marketing person who buys into the idea of marketing automation, purchases the system, and is totally overwhelmed by having to do his/her job and run the system.
- Executive who buys the system but doesn’t have someone designated to run the marketing automation system.
Here is what the approach to Marketing automation should look like:
- Define Lead Management Process
- Hire/assign system owner
- Create requirements to support your process
- Compare vendors
- Choose software
- Implementation led by “system owner”
- Optimization led by “system owner”
- New feature launch led by “system owner”
- Marketing Automation works, ROI is within reach
CD: Your descriptions of the roles of the system owner and lead qualifier are excellent. In a world of constrained budgets, it’s often a challenge just to get the software. How do you suggest building a business case to justify the head count? Should this be done prior to acquiring the technology?
CR: You should have your business case built before buying the technology. You should have your lead management process mapped out first, then you should assign resources (people and technology) to the components (for example, lead qualification, scoring, etc) in the process. The lead management design should also represent the metrics needed to achieve ROI. With regards to headcount, on paper it will look like you are just adding cost to the process, but that’s just on paper. If you want the lead management process/marketing automation roll-out to work AT ALL, you will need those roles filled. I know budgets are constrained, but if you are serious about making lead management work, the people are not “nice-to-haves”, they are “must-haves.”
Also, as you build your business case, you should really study some real case studies and try to talk to the people that run well-oiled lead management/marketing automation machines. NOT just customer references, but anybody who has set up and run successful implementations and systems. Don’t worry if they are using different vendors than you are.
CD: In regards to metrics, you said, “If you have no baseline, that is okay as you can start with baseline metrics from other like companies.” Can you give our readers some pointers on where they’d find this information and what specific things they should look for to ensure they’re on the right track?
CR: There are number of ways to find this information:
SiriusDecisions (http://www.siriusdecisions.com/) - They have sample metrics across the entire lead management process that can be really helpful. Also, they can give you best practices from comparable organizations.
B2B social media sites like linkedin and Focus.com – I get a lot of my own data from these types of sites. Post a question about metrics and you will likely get some great data or at least a referral to someone who can help.
Peers – You should be involved with marketing communities or peer groups you can turn to for help. Linkedin messages is a good way to ask for help, send a message to your peers, and you will typically get a recommendation
Blogs/Experts – Marketing has one advantage to everyone else, there’s tons of content. You will probably find the content on some of the top b2b marketing/demand generation expert blogs, if you don’t, email the author. The experts who write these blogs know a lot of people to refer you to if they can’t answer it.