Marketing Automation software is becoming increasingly popular in B2B businesses. In fact, 25% of fortune 500 B2B businesses and 12% of SMEs are using it. Results from a recent survey conducted by Beanstalk of B2B SMEs suggest that of those businesses that are not currently using Marketing Automation Technology, 50% have an awareness of the technology and are considering its benefits.
The rate at which technology has advanced in the last few years has been rapid. Many businesses can see the benefits of being able to use behavioural based marketing to track and score prospects, deliver personalised messages and automate nurture programmes. However, in practice many businesses have made mistakes or failed to get the most out of the technology.
Why does Marketing Automation fail for some businesses?
There has been a misconception since Marketing Automation technology has become widely available and affordable, that it will be the answer to all problems. The software vendors are keen for you to believe that it is to use and tell you that you’ll be able to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead. Of course, this sounds good to any business!
But the reality is that without the right skills to implement it and the strategy behind it, it will not generate the desired results. Instead it will simply cost you time and money.
One of the key reasons for failure is that with marketing automation being a relatively new process, there are a limited pool of businesses or individuals that have actually implemented and run a marketing automation programme. In business, in marketing and in life, experience counts! Learning on the job is fine but is often costly. So the majority of SMEs that implement a marketing automation programme haven’t got the experience, made the mistakes, enjoyed the successes and learnt from them.
What are the barriers to success?
The barriers to success have been highlighted as lack of skills and resources and lack of high quality data.
61% of businesses are finding that lack of resources, funding and time are the biggest obstacles to success. (DueDil State of Sales Report)
The rate at which technology is advancing is creating huge challenges for marketers to keep up. A recent survey conducted by Smart Insights found that marketers are now spending at least 60% of their time on digital marketing activities. It was also found that more than 50% of recruiters are finding it difficult to find marketers with the appropriate digital skills.
The skills required to successfully deploy marketing automation technology span much wider than digital and technical skills, which in itself are hard to find.
The skills needed include:
- Strategy & planning
- Technical & digital skills
- Graphic design
- Email and website design and coding
- Project management
42% believe that lack of high quality data is a barrier to success. (DueDil State of Sales Report)
High quality data will form the back-bone of your marketing activity. The average number of buyers involved in making a purchase decision is 2.5 people. Therefore businesses that market to all people involved in influencing the decision, instead of a single point of contact convert more leads into customers.
Where each person involved will have different needs and motivations, having a comprehensive, up-to-date database will enable you to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. With personalisation becoming increasingly important, how you obtain more information about your prospects and how you will use this data should form part of your marketing strategy.
How can marketing agencies help?
There has never been a more challenging time to be a marketing professional. The rate in which technology is advancing and the increasing number of tools available to marketers can be overwhelming. Marketing professionals are feeling under pressure to learn new digital skills, adapt to new technology whilst continuing to deliver results.
Good quality accurate data cannot be bought, it needs to be built which takes time and skill. Incorporating the right data strategy is also a huge challenge that some agencies are able to support with.
Marketers are also finding it difficult to report on the success of multi-channel marketing campaigns with complex sets of data to analyse.
This is why more and more businesses are turning to marketing agencies for support and to fill specific skills gaps that exist. Agencies have the ability to employ people that specialise in all areas of marketing, whereas for small to medium sized businesses it’s not a financially viable option to employ people with high skills levels and experience in all of these roles in-house.