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David G. Hubbard
  August 18, 2015

10 Pitfalls of Marketing Automation That Sales + Marketing Must Avoid

Lack of Strategic Sales and Marketing Alignment is preventing most companies from enjoying double digit Revenue + Profit growth.

Marketing Automation can either Accelerate or Prevent Sales + Marketing Alignment

Lack of strategic participation by company executives in Marketing Automation deployment is the root cause of Marketing Automation not achieving the expected double digit Revenue + Profit growth.

  • Marketing Automation can prevent Strategic Sales + Marketing Alignment by literally codifying and hard-wiring the very cross-functional processes that currently prevent Alignment and Collaboration across our company’s revenue generation functions, groups and departments, OR
  • Marketing Automation can accelerate Strategic Alignment + Empowered Collaboration between Sales and Marketing groups.   If that business process is a solid, proven process, Marketing Automation can take the company to a new level of financial performance.

Where Can the Executives Add Strategic Value to a Marketing Automation Deployment?

We don’t want to micro-manage the implementation, but by simply delegating corporate revenue strategy to a tactical functional implementation team, which has no authority to evaluate or change strategy, is a huge mistake.

Here are 10 common strategic pitfalls of Marketing Automation that your company can avoid through active strategic support of the implementation team.

#10/ Inadequate Resource Allocation for Marketing Automation Deployment

  • Sufficient tactical resources have not been allocated to create the fuel which keeps the shiny new Marketing Automation engine running 24×7 AND sufficient strategic resources are not engaged with the implementation team to ensure the right strategies and processes are automated.

#9/ Wrong Marketing Automation Success Criteria

  • Marketing ROI and Lead Quantity does not measure and motivate the right behavior for accelerating Revenue + Profit.   In contrast, if 40%+ of the actual new business revenue comes from Marketing-generated leads (versus Sales-generated leads), without decreasing Sales Effectiveness in the process, the company gets Revenue + Profit AND improved Sales + Marketing Alignment and Collaboration.

#8/ Automating Existing Outdated or Broken Processes

  • If Sales complained of poor quality leads from Marketing before applying Automation, then automating that broken process will just produce 100X more poor quality leads to distract the Sales force! A better starting approach is to give Sales the type of leads that they actually need, and that they can recognize as a good lead, based upon how they manage their own Sales-generated leads.

#7/ Creating Unproven Lead Management Processes

  • Marketing is not actually helping Sales if their definition of a Qualified Lead and Sales-Ready Lead for Marketing Automation is unnecessarily different than those used by field Sales Reps and their Sales Managers for managing their pipeline. When an anonymous individual looks at a webpage and/or downloads a file it may mean it’s a good lead according to Marketing, but not according to the Sales rep. Marketing Automation methodology must use the same methodology that Sales uses for its own Sales-generated leads. No acronym dictionary required.

#6/ Deploying Lead Scoring Technology To Solve Qualified Lead Dilemma

  • Lead Scoring, even Predictive Lead Scoring, is NOT a replacement for a proven person-to-person Sales qualification. Marketing must build upon proven Sales success, and with analytics, real customer data, actual outcome data and lead scoring technology, provide Sales with enhanced insight to Buyer behavior.

#5/ Creating Content Without A Documented Content Strategy

  • Without a documented Content Strategy, there is no effective strategy for Marketing OR Sales to turn strangers into customers. The right Strategic Marketing + Sales resources need to be engaged to help define a Content strategy that delivers buyer-oriented content for Marketing Automation, and, can be effectively reused by Sales + Marketing, throughout the buyer purchasing process.

#4/ Being Unable to Clearly Define Our Target Market Buyers

  • Marketers can create a digital representation of the buyer team and a simplified buyer process, but it’s not real. Sales understands the real buyer, but it’s incomplete. Marketing and Sales must collaborate to create one perspective of the Buyer that represents the Buyer’s behavior both online and in-person, allowing Sales + Marketing to better align.

#3/ Limiting Marketing Automation to Only Inbound Marketing Leads

  • Marketing Automation can be very good at attracting, tracking, and nurturing leads from the internet. Marketing must fully leverage Marketing Automation’s nurturing capabilities to improve all Marketing + Sales lead management throughout the company including existing telemarketing, telesales, field sales, and inside sales groups.

#2/ Limiting Marketing Automation to Only Leads

  • While Marketing Automation technology can be effective optimizing all lead generation efforts, it can also improve customer retention, customer add-on sales, customer repeat purchases, customer referrals, and customer reviews. Marketing needs to automate Sales + Marketing activities that have become too labor intensive for Sales and Services to continue cost-effectively.

#1/ Treating Strategic Revenue + Profit Opportunities as a Tactical Project

  • Automation is not about technology, it’s about business strategy and business process. Automation has been at the forefront of improving Revenue + Profit on the manufacturing floor, on the “financial securities” “virtual floors”, in Telecommunications, and elsewhere.
  • We must be willing to make some strategic adjustments to our existing cross-functional business processes to leverage Sales + Marketing Automation, achieve Sales + Marketing Alignment and accelerate Revenue + Profit.

The above represents a curated summary of a more comprehensive article on Marketing Outfield.

What is your company doing to dramatically improve Strategic Alignment + Empowered Collaboration accross Sales, Marketing and Product Management?