Marketing automation can have a tremendous impact on the bottom line of your business but it’s no silver bullet. You need the right processes and people in place in order to fully benefit from your investment.
In a recent research report (read the research brief here), SiriusDecisions concluded:
- Demonstrating marketing automation ROI means more than increasing campaigns and leads
- Skills and processes must precede technology in order to improve performance
- Demand generation through technology alone may lead to a negative return on investment
But how do you measure the return on your marketing automation software investment?
More than leads and campaigns
Being able to run more marketing campaigns simultaneously or to generate more leads at the top of the funnel is not necessarily going to translate into more revenue. According to SiriusDecisions, the only way to calculate the true impact of marketing automation is by measuring an increase in conversion rates throughout the funnel or an increase in closed deals and sales.
Companies with marketing automation but poor processes have a higher number of leads sent down the funnel but fail to convert those leads into sales opportunities and customers. On the other hand, companies with average processes send fewer leads down to their sales team but those leads convert at a much higher rate into new deals.
You can't automate processes that don't exist
If no processes or agreements are in place between your sales and marketing teams, marketing automation won't be as effective and may end up creating friction between both functions, leading to a negative return on investment. There must be agreement on the definition of a lead and at what point they should be handed off to the sales team.
What happens when the salespeople are inundated with unqualified leads is they lose confidence in the ability of the marketing team and start relying on their own prospecting efforts, which defeats the purpose of investing in marketing automation.
This is not about technology
Implementing a marketing automation platform has a lot more to do with people than with technology. Whether it is by hiring the right people that can leverage the software and all its features or by investing in training for current employees, you have to make sure that you don't get caught in a skill gap.
In the end, if people, processes, and technology finally meet, marketing automation can bring your marketing results to a whole new level.