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As we’ve discussed before on The Mission Suite Blog, marketing automation is a technology platform that simplifies and automates many of the repetitive tasks associated with sales and marketing. This makes marketer’s and salespeople’s lives easier so they can focus on being more efficient and creative, and growing the business’ brand and revenue stream.
So, marketing automation is somewhat of a misnomer. While marketing automation systems do automate certain aspects of the marketing and sales process, what its really doing is freeing up manpower to focus on more important things.
In a word, businesses utilize marketing automation to:
– Increase Revenue
– Generate higher-quality, sales-ready leads
– Monitor and grow marketing ROI
– Save time and money in their marketing
Yet while some businesses can see marketing automation give them a huge bump to their ROI (up to 100% in some exceptional cases) many other companies see little improvement, or see no increase at all.
So what explains this difference?
Well, as we’ve discussed before, some marketers and salespeople simply refuse to adopt a marketing automation system that is poorly implemented. Any marketing automation system is only as good as the information that’s put into it, so if the employees of a company refuse to utilize it, it will remain almost worthless. This is why it is important to enact a strong strategy and provide sufficient training and incentives for using the new program.
Bill Gates, that guy from Microsoft, knows a thing or two about implementing technology into a business. He once famously stated, ““The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
This is where the term “maturity” comes into play. If your sales and marketing processes are already mature, then marketing automation will greatly increase your ROI. However, if your sales process is disjointed and uncooperative, just throwing a new system into the works will only exacerbate the problem. Marketo has an interesting graphic utilizing conversion rates to illustrate maturity.
Before you choose to implement a new marketing automation system, take a long hard look at your current sales and marketing situation. If you decide that you’re ready for a marketing automation system then it’s time to form a plan for implementation and training. Once you have the plan, then you can begin the actual implementation. Following these steps will ensure the highest possible adoption rates and ROI increase.
Marketing automation is an amazing tool but, like any tool, it requires knowledge to use and skill to use well. Do your homework and work with your employers and you can reap the benefits of the ROI “bump” that marketing automation can deliver.