Marketing automation software may not be the most expensive software investment a B2B company makes, but pound for pound it may have the greatest potential for ROI of just about any software it does purchase.

Why is that? Because marketing automation software is either directly responsible for or helps facilitate just about every customer-facing marketing content on the Internet. What’s more, it’s the command center of a B2B company’s multichannel digital marketing strategy. Everything from email drip campaigns and inbound marketing to social media monitoring and sales funnel management.

Done right, a sound marketing automation strategy can drive your organization farther and faster toward its revenue growth goals.

Done wrong, and this happens more frequently than you might think, your marketing automation software can be a huge disappointment, failing to deliver the quantity and quality of leads needed to support rapid revenue growth.

Here are our top 5 reasons why your marketing automation software is not delivering great results:

Wrong software

Marketing automation software is not a one-size-fits-all kind of product. Unfortunately, some companies purchase software without giving much thought to the different marketing requirements, or the wants and needs of its future users, and as such end up with a poor-fitting solution. We addressed how to avoid this scenario in our marketing automation pillar page: “A B2B Tech Marketers Guide.”

What happens if you pick the wrong marketing automation software? You could end up with a solution that can’t match the growth needs of your company. Say you need the ability to build out a true multichannel marketing program. What may work fine for handling email marketing may work far less well as an all-in-one marketing platform capable of running and monitoring your marketing strategy across email campaigns, web, social and pay-per-click.

Incorrect or incomplete deployment

Marketing automation software is not the most complicated software to install. In fact, installations are a thing of the past in that virtually every solution runs on a SaaS basis. That doesn’t mean, however, that a SaaS deployment is a breeze. At Swyft we work a lot with HubSpot and a big part of our work goes toward setting up HubSpot to integrate with a company’s WordPress website, adding branding elements, creating email templates, setting up forms for lead generation, and building various marketing workflows.

Your 3rd party marketing agency or internal resource would be wise to develop a list of workflow requirements and digital brand assets to ensure the adoption of a new marketing automation platform is complete. Failing that will find your marketing team running into dead ends and figuring out workarounds for broken processes, all of which could negatively impact campaigns and lose track of new leads.

Poor CRM integration

Many B2B tech companies rely on Salesforce CRM to run their sales operations, which means that any marketing automation software you choose must have a capable integration to allow for the transfer of customer data between both apps. Not all marketing automation software will have CRM integrations so make sure you decide in advance if it’s a core requirement. If it is, and you do purchase marketing automation software with integration to Salesforce, then be sure to work with your 3rd party marketing agency or internal resource to map over the appropriate records and fields to ensure Salesforce is kept current with prospect and customer website engagement changes. Failing to do so means your sales team will miss out on opportunities to engage more deeply with leads and prospects who are showing signs of increased buyer intent.

There has been a historic tension between sales and marketing: on the one hand around the kinds and quality of leads that get delivered to sales for follow-up, and on the other around the lack of proper lead management on the part of sales. Sales teams expect well-qualified leads in the form of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to make their job of relationship building and sales closing easier. If the marketing team’s marketing automation software is not well integrated with the company’s CRM then that could be a source of conflict. From the marketing team’s perspective, there is sometimes frustration over the sales teams’ inability to properly follow-up on MQLs (e.g., either a delayed follow-up or a total lack of action) such that the hard work marketing does in designing and executing lead gen campaigns goes to waste.

Making sure that the CRM integration is optimized will take at least one cause of friction out of the equation. The rest is up to how marketing assesses the value of leads and how effectively the sales team follows up on MQLs.

No multichannel marketing execution

One of the best reasons to purchase marketing automation software is its ability to execute an array of marketing tasks across multiple marketing channels. Some marketing automation solutions excel at email marketing (e.g., MailChimp and Constant Contact) but fall short on providing an all-in-one platform that can handle the creation of landing pages, social media posts, advanced lead scoring and pay-per-click management. Without an effective multichannel marketing strategy, your messaging will be either incomplete or out of sequence. Without seamless execution, you will miss opportunities to hit the same leads, prospects and customers on multiple marketing channels: email, LinkedIn, Google AdWords, blog post, contributed articles, press announcements, etc. The result will be fewer inbound website visitors and opt-ins for your various campaign call-to-actions.

A marketing automation solution that meets all your marketing activity requirements and provides you with the command-and-control features you need to run seamless marketing campaigns will deliver the greatest ROI over time.

Lack of sales workflow automation

Another major reason why B2B tech companies invest in marketing automation software is the ability to actually automate repetitive tasks to ensure the ball is never dropped with a lead, prospect or customer. Some of the more common workflow automation activities are related to email marketing, and fortunately, even lower-end solutions often have those functionalities covered. For instance, auto-responders that send ‘thank you’ emails to newsletter subscribers are easy to set up. Automated email workflows also help you send out a series of drip emails to any leads or prospects that took action on your website (for instance, by downloading a white paper) in order to keep them engaged and progressively moving down the sales funnel.

Not having sales workflows built and working in the background means you miss out on one of the most compelling reasons to invest in marketing automation. Once again, feel free to check out our marketing automation pillar page to learn more: “A B2B Tech Marketers Guide.” You can also see a review of the top three marketing automation software solutions available for B2B tech companies: HubSpot, Pardot, and Marketo.

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