5 barriers that will block your marketing automation success...

Had an interesting discussion with a researcher not too long ago on the subject of sales process improvement and marketing automation.  The researcher is in the business of commercializing new research coming out of Universities.  The question he asked that prompted this post: what are the biggest obstacles to being successful with marketing automation?

Here's my top four:
  1. Management.  In my view, if top management (e.g. the CEO in a midsized to small company or the P&L owner in a large corporation) doesn't buy into the vision and the execution commitments required to make it a success, no matter how good the technology, the whole effort falls on it's face.  I'm not talking about the silver bullet, or drink the kool-aid approach, but an acknowledgment and commitment that the company is changing how it does business.  That's the level of commitment you need.
  2. Data quality.  When you step into the ring with marketing automation, there's nothing quite like it to embarrass you on a grand scale.  Your data better be clean and it better be normalized (as in consistent and standardized) or it will be a continual source of problems.
  3. IT.  Marketing automation is a technical field and as good as the apps are today, if you want the promise of sales and marketing alignment, better lead management processes, etc. then you need access through the golden gates... you need to set up shop in the glass house, and you need the technical skills of your friends in IT because your sticking stuff in the middle of the CRM system, the phone system, the e-commerce environment  and other places.
  4. Execution.  The devil is in the details folks.  Execution, execution, execution.  And throw in a pound of discipline while you're at it.
  5. Technology.  This is the least of my concerns.  InfusionSoft, Marketo, Pardot, Act-On, Eloqua, Unica and others make strong products.  Every one of them will give you a leg up on good old-fashioned sales processes.  Find one that fits your needs and use it.

It's not fancy, but if you address each one of these areas, marketing automation will be a boon to your company.



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