Taking on marketing automation is a time-consuming task. Anyone who’s done it can tell you that. It requires a lot of process development, analytical thinking, and content creation.
If you want to do it right at least...
While there are some simpler systems that can bring you basic solutions - like for example forms and email autoresponders -, there are others that provide a wide range of solutions that require strategy and implementation through multiple steps and processes that integrate directly with your sales process.
What You Need to Know
As we stated before, there are both simple and complex marketing automation tools in the market. If you decide not to integrate them with a CRM, then chances are you probably won’t need a consultant or agency to help you. But you will be missing out on many opportunities and advantages of this integration though.
Some examples of simpler email marketing automation solutions are:
In these systems, you can build emails through a drag and drop interface, send automatic emails, and build simple landing pages as well as other functionalities. But these solutions are not as robust as other marketing automation systems and have their limitations.
It’s important to also consider how your sales team will be involved in these systems: will they have visibility as to what is being sent? Do you need to send leads to your team through automation? Are you reporting marketing ROI correctly? Can you visualize reports easily?
If these are things you are interested in achieving, then you will probably need more robust solutions that integrate the sales and marketing processes more effectively. They not only focus on running inbound marketing campaigns, but also on how the leads are treated and how to qualify the leads to make sure sales is spending time on the correct leads. They focus on giving you an entire overview of your marketing and sales process as well as focusing on individual campaigns.
Examples of these types of more advanced marketing tools are:
- SharpSpring (the one we use, sell and recommend due to it’s convenient pricing and functionalities)
With these tools, you most likely need someone dedicated full time to your marketing automation system: to oversee strategy, discuss sales enablement procedures, optimize your system to your needs and apply new campaigns when needed.
Depending on your workload and the resources available in your staff, you may also need help from graphic design, programming, sales strategists, and other specialists.
The Learning Curve and Implementation
The more complex systems we mentioned above all require training to get to know how each of them work. They share a lot of things in common, but also share a lot of differences in how they manage and show the information, which may make things difficult at first.
Some of these companies require onboarding fees exceeding $3000.
We are not condemning the pricing fees of these systems. These systems have multiple modules that require different processes to get right and have a learning curve that needs to be taken into account. A lot of the time, these workshops and trainings are necessary to make sure the right people and companies are properly handling the system: they avoid short-term client drop-offs due to unrealistic expectations and lack of knowledge in managing these systems.
The initial implementation of the marketing automation system is vital to how the information will be collected in the future. Not only because asking for additional information from leads will be harder to collect later on and may create friction, but because sales processes should be as consistent as possible to not lose leads along the way and avoid data loss in the future.
There are processes that should be created to make sure every member of the marketing and sales team are on the same page like: who are the company’s target personas? What would classify as a marketing qualified lead (MQL), and which as a sales qualified lead (SQL)? Is your Buyer’s Journey correctly thought out? Among others. These issues, as well as many others, may seem like irrelevant marketing tactics at first, but really impact the marketing automation setup and their processes. Which information will be most relevant to gather, which workflows will be needed, how the lead scoring will be set up,etc. depend on this information and will directly impact your sales team's organization and processes when the marketing automation system is implemented.
Another important benefit to hiring a specialized agency to implement marketing automation is their knowledge of general beneficial processes that may be of use throughout different companies and markets, based on their previous experience like: case studies, methods of lead tracking, important questions, alerts and follow-up systems.
The final decision based on who will implement these systems will most likely be based on:
- your current marketing capacity
- the investment your company is willing to make
- and the knowledge you and your team share
We suggest adding to the equation the possible consequences of implementing the system without having the internal knowledge or time to do it. You can learn more about the pros and cons of hiring an in-house team vs hiring an external team in this article.
You can also reach out to us and have a 30 minute growth consultation with our team, where you can get expert advice for implementing and managing your marketing automation software.
We’re always happy to help!