In March EConsultancy held their annual Digital Cream Event in London. It was a great pleasure for me to be a part of the marketing automation roundtable where I had the chance to hear 30 B2B marketers discuss how they are using, or thinking about using, marketing automation. I was very impressed with the participants on the roundtable and the level of discussion. However, I sensed a level of doubt regarding the benefits of marketing automation and I’ve been pondering the reasons why for a couple of months now.
At the roundtable we heard from people who are thinking about implementing marketing automation and weren’t really sure what to expect. I understand if you haven’t been using automation that you might not be sure what to expect exactly, but I even heard doubt from those who have a marketing automation system in place.
I’ve finally decided that those who feel that marketing automation falls short of solving all their problems tend to be those same people who are disappointed with their CRM system, or with other types of technologies that are supposed to make our business lives better.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap, I often do it myself, of thinking that technology will ‘sort everything out’. When really, technology is only ever the enabler of better ways of organising and scaling processes. If those processes don’t already exist at your company, you are going to struggle. Either way, you need the process, but once you introduce technology it only highlights the ‘holes’ or gaps.
The best quote of the day, in my opinion, was "Marketing automation forced our company to be brutally honest about our lead management process.”
Certainly some companies are further along than others in using automation but all, even advanced users of marketing automation, are somewhere along their journey of using technology as well as best practices and company processes to help grow revenue.
How marketing automation can help your company specifically will depend on what your company sells, the journey your buyers go through and lots of processes that are specific to your company. My two cents… we are all better off tasting the cheese than looking at the holes.
Download the full report The Marketing Automation Trends Briefing - key takeaways from Digital Cream London, 2013 to learn what leading companies are saying about the importance of sales and marketing alignment, planning, data, and centralised versus regional campaign governance.