5 Do's and Don'ts of Implementing a Marketing Automation System

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5 Do's and Don'ts of Implementing a Marketing Automation System
5 Do's and Don'ts of Implementing a Marketing Automation System

As a marketing manager, I recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of our marketing automation system. And I do mean celebrated. It's been a good year.

A marketing automation system enables marketers to systematically use email and other marketing channels to communicate with their database and segment and nurture leads.

Given my role as the lead on marketing automation at my company, I thought it would be helpful to share our takeaways with other marketers who may be implementing a marketing automation system and those striving to get their existing systems cranking at optimum levels.

Here are five do's and don'ts to keep in mind as you're implementing a marketing automation system:

1. Do set expectations within your team, and within the company as a whole.

It's important to communicate with teams that will be impacted by the change. For example, your sales team may have access to a new marketing automation plug-in within your CRM systems, so they will need to be trained. IT or engineering may need to help create sub-domains and setup new DNS settings. Most important, your marketing team will likely be impacted by the implementation of this new system. You'll need to have them on board to help with Web integration, troubleshooting, and, of course, extensive training for anyone using the system. Keeping everyone up to speed about what is expected of them and giving them timelines will help ensure a smooth implementation or transition. 

2. Do work as a team—both within your company and with the resources provided by your marketing automation vendor.

At the time of our most recent implementation, I was the only full-time marketing automation user, which meant I took the lead on the larger project. I worked closely with our two designers for the website integration, landing page redesign, and form implementation, and we revised creative for our nurture program.

I also worked closely with our marketing automation consultant before we actually kicked off the program. We went through business requirements and expectations together and created a prioritized plan. Our consultant became an extension of our team during the implementation and really made the transition as painless as possible. Moreover, the relationships we built with our vendor's account manager and other support personnel have helped resolve and troubleshoot things much quicker and more efficiently. Bottom line: Make sure you get to know your team, as those relationships will pay off in the end.

3. Don't be afraid to use sales as a resource.

Your sales team can sometimes be the best source of information when it comes to lead quality assessment. Once your marketing automation system is up and running, reach out to your sales team and sales management for feedback on the leads they are receiving from the marketing automation system. This will help isolate potential issues with lead quality, and you can then either define your lead scoring process or refine it if you have an existing model. It may be cliché, but it's true: Make sure you're BFFs with your sales team.

4. Do spend time in the reporting section of your marketing automation system.

Marketing automation systems provide a wealth of reports. The sheer number of report options can be overwhelming at first, so try starting out small. First, look at open rates, click-throughs, and unsubscribe numbers. Then modify those reports and customize them to your own internal needs; graduate over time to deeper analysis. For instance, you might use reports to analyze the number of net new leads a campaign is generating, revenue attribution, and cost analysis. Those reports will make you more successful at your job and prove the value of your marketing automation system.

5. Do benchmark your early initiatives so you can show improvements in efficiency and results down the road.

Be sure to immediately start tracking metrics such as the number of contacts in your database, your unsubscribe rates, average open rates, and click-through rates. It's critical to have this initial benchmark so you can consistently reflect back and see how far you're driving your marketing efforts.

Implementing a marketing automation system can be a daunting initiative, but if you work as a team and use all the resources available, you'll be successful. Marketing automation will take your marketing team and your marketing effort to a whole new level. You should see pipeline growth, increases in marketing qualified leads, and growth in marketing contributed revenue. Likewise, your efforts will not go unnoticed by your sales team, your CMO, and the rest of your company's executive team. 

Amanda Halle is senior online marketing manager at Bizo
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