Well, the honeymoon is over. You’ve been through the demos and your organization finally took the plunge and made an investment in marketing automation. Now what? The good news is your organization is one step closer to competing at a Top Performer level (after all, Top Performing organizations are 4x more likely than Everyone Else to invest in marketing automation tools). But research reveals that 68% of respondents using marketing automation for less than a year still use the tool for mass email campaigns, which is ironic given that marketing automation is designed to circumvent the diminishing returns on batch-and-blast techniques. Maybe it’s time for a deeper look at exactly how Top Performing organizations embrace marketing automation in the first 30 days. Data from Top Performers suggests there are actually a handful of achievable and mission critical skills your organization needs to embrace to maximize investments in marketing automation. This Deep Dive will explore five simple and effective milestones Top Performers link to the ultimate success of marketing automation investments – milestones that can and should be embraced within the first 30 days after implementation.
Gleanster uses 2-3 key performance indicators (KPIs) to distinguish “Top Performers” from all other companies (“Everyone Else”) within a given data set, thereby establishing a basis for benchmarking best practices. By definition, Top Performers are comprised of the top quartile of qualified survey respondents (QSRs).
The KPIs used for distinguishing Top Performers focus on performance metrics that speak to year-over-year improvement in relevant, measurable areas. Not all KPIs are weighted equally. The KPIs used for this Gleansight are:
Deep Dive analyst reports look at a specific aspect of a technology-related initiative.
Some Deep Dives require a login to access but many are open to non-members of the Gleanster community.
If you are like many organizations, the first thing you tried to do with your marketing automation system was send an email campaign. All things equal, that’s actually a great place to start, but there are some best practices you should leverage early on to maximize deliverability and conversion from marketing automation campaigns, especially when you move into multi-channel campaigns that involve landing pages, social media, drip-marketing techniques, and trigger-marketing techniques. Research suggests many organizations fail to leverage critical features in marketing automation – features that ultimately lead to less administration, higher quality leads, and a more efficient sales cycle. This Deep Dive will explore the top five capabilities Top Performing organizations indicated were critical to achieving superior performance in sales and marketing.
According to Gleanster research, adoption in marketing automation grew at about 26% year-over-year from 2011 to 2012. However, research also suggests marketing automation is still on a growth trajectory as an industry; a rough estimate of adoption would place market penetration at less than 3% compared with more established technologies like CRM. For most organizations it’s easy to justify the investment because marketing automation impacts revenue and top-line growth. At the same time, marketing automation consolidates multiple systems into one tool, which reduces licensing fees and training on multiple interfaces. But benefits are largely contingent on an organization’s willingness to re-think sales and marketing across all of the components of change: people, process, and technology.
Despite loads of best practice research, specialized consultants, and client services from vendors, organizations still struggle to fully realize expected benefits from marketing automation. A 2012 survey on Revenue Performance Management indicated that 7 out of 10 organizations that invest in marketing automation are still using the tool for batch-and-blast email campaigns. Chances are these organizations were also sending mass email campaigns before marketing automation, and diminishing returns on batch-and-blast strategies ultimately drove the investment in the first place (See Figure 1).
Research from Gleanster consistently shows that Top Performing organizations are 4x more likely than Everyone Else to adopt marketing automation technologies. Marketing automation is designed to optimize highly relevant and timely interactions with prospects and customers, which is exactly how Top Performers outperform Everyone Else. In a 2012 survey on Email Marketing (Email Marketing Trends for 2012 n=847), benchmark performance on email campaigns showed a positive correlation between personalization and conversion. It seems obvious, yet very few organizations are capable of delivering personalized cross-channel communications at the same level as Top Performers (and Top Performers are embracing technology to accomplish this type of personalization). According to Gleanster, segmentation, personalized salutations, product or service recommendations, and the inclusion of custom database fields in email copy drive 360% higher conversion than a generic email message with a personalized salutation. These are exactly the types of communications that marketing automation helps make repeatable and automated in the complex sales cycle. Don’t worry, these are not milestones for the first 30 days, but superior performing organizations are capable of engaging customers at another level, and they use marketing automation to optimize customer engagement in highly personalized and relevant communications.
When asked about the most critical value drivers for maximizing investment in marketing automation 69% of Top Performers indicated cooperation between marketing and sales was the most important. While marketing and sales alignment has little to do with the technology, research suggests many organizations fail to embrace critical capabilities like CRM integration and reporting, ultimately impeding the sales cycle and limiting visibility into what’s working and what’s not working. Forty-five percent (45%) of Top Performers indicated ease of use was critical to adoption. While subjective measures like ease of use are difficult to account for in the research, it was interesting to see almost half of Top Performers ranking this as a top three reason for the success of the tool. Ultimately, marketing automation is only valuable if the tools are optimized and supported over time. That means tweaking marketing campaigns based on prior success, tweaking lead scoring to maximize sales accepted leads, and engaging customers in relevant interactions.
The preceding sections outline the top five ways Top Performers maximize the value of marketing automation investments. All of these capabilities are being leveraged by Top Performers. Figure 3 shows the percentage of Top Performers that rank these capabilities as a top two critical-to-success capability in marketing automation. By ranking these features, the data reveals a Top Performing path to success within the first 30 days with marketing automation, a benchmark for how Everyone Else can emulate these successful organizations.
Marketing automation tools are designed to bond customer engagement and sales efforts. As such, one of the main value propositions involves the ability to track and monitor customer engagement on a corporate website. In order to do this, users must install a tracking pixel or snippet of code in the body of the html for the corporate website. This allows customer engagement across email, landing pages, and social media campaigns to be tracked so prospects can be prioritized by propensity to buy or nurtured with relevant marketing communications. The tracking cookie is critical for marketers to understand how to engage with prospects based on the type of information they are consuming or how frequently they visit. Research suggests about 18% of marketing automation users fail to install this code in the first 30 days.
Marketing automation is designed to help centralize disparate systems like email, landing page hosting, and web analytics and make this data actionable by delivering highly qualified opportunities to sales. As such, it’s critical to integrate marketing automation with CRM to link account and contact activity and provide sales with visibility into the historical interactions between prospects and marketing. While most marketing automation tools come with out of the box integrations for CRM, success requires more than flipping the switch on the integration. The success of marketing automation hinges on both marketing and sales embracing the tool. Right out of the gate, marketing and sales leaders should sit down and discuss how integration will optimize the sales cycle.
We provide a limited preview of our Deep Dives as a courtesy to unregistered user, but we also feel obliged to tell you that you are missing out on valuable research and data.
When you download our research you gain access to data driven research and analysis, essential information about Key Performance Indicators, and insights into how Top Performers differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.