When to ask for marketing automation help

Nels Urtel February 20, 2017

For one reason or another, human beings have trouble asking for help.

Sometimes our pride gets in the way. Other times we don’t want to be a bother. Much of the time, however, we simply don’t have enough information to understand that we need help at all.

At Brandpoint, Pardot is our marketing automation platform. One of its big benefits is that it integrates seamlessly with Salesforce which we use to manage our sales pipeline (for those who don’t know, Salesforce owns Pardot). On the surface, this seemed like a perfect, plug-and-play match. It wasn’t until we started getting Pardot performance-related questions we weren’t quite sure how to answer that we realized we didn’t have the right pieces in place to fully take advantage of what marketing automation has to offer.

For us, it wasn’t that we didn’t want to ask for help. We just didn’t initially realize how much we didn’t know about the platform and how to make it work for us. That’s when we reached out to a configuration and implementation specialist and we never looked back.

Is self-implementation possible?

If you’re like us (or the hundreds of other organizations employing marketing automation), the answer to this question is an unsatisfying, “sort of.”

There are a lot of companies that will see some marketing automation success through the use of re-targeted and automated emails and that’s about it. But marketing automation can offer SO much more.

“Successful implementations are defined as a project that is done on time, on budget and with the right requirements implemented,” according to Redpath marketing lead (and our personal Pardot implementor), Eric Lehnen. Of those three parts of a successful implementation, the third is the most important. He goes on to explain there are many elements that determine whether or not your organization will be successful and most have to do with your company’s internal organization.

When should you seek help?

Perhaps our situation is a common one, but there are several other reasons companies need to seek help in their automation journey.

No road map

According to a recent Ascend 2 survey, the biggest barrier standing in between organizations and marketing automation success is the lack of an effective strategy.

Successfully implementing marketing automation is like any new tool or tactic: You can’t yield results if you don’t know what they look like. This is especially true for marketing automation because of how versatile it can be. Here are a few questions to get you thinking critically about your automation strategy:

  • What does marketing automation success look like to your organization?
  • How long is your sales funnel?
  • How many different segments are you marketing to?
  • How are we going to produce enough content?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, that’s OK. But it might behoove you to ask for assistance from people that know it the best. Implementation is the easy part. Configuration is the complicated part and, in our experience, the most important part.

The wrong pieces

We’re an EOS organization which means we follow the principles of the Entrepreneurial Operating System. There are so many aspects we love about the system but one of the most impactful is the idea of Right People, Right Seats. It establishes the concept of the right people, who fit into the culture and believe in the mission, in the right seats, roles that make the most of their unique talents and expertise.

Some organizations have exactly the right pieces in place to make marketing automation work without intervention, but many do not. “Those who are able to successfully self-implement are those who have a dedicated IT team, an internal resource who has a propensity to pick up technology … or a dedicated system admin for the marketing team,” Lehnen suggests.

He’s implying that, although it’s not necessary to have all three, it’s important for your marketing resources to understand the tech side of the configuration or the IT team to understand the marketing side of the execution. This is a very common shortcoming in organizations of any size. While self-implementation is possible without these pieces, it will likely cost you more time, money and frustration than seeking help.

The most important part, however, is that everyone is on board. There are a lot of moving parts to marketing automation success and, if there’s an individual or team that isn’t sold on the concept, you’re going to have a really hard time seeing the results you want.

A lack of content

Simply put: marketing automation runs on content. One marketing automation engagement, for instance, could feature two automated emails which link to a blog that includes a download for an e-book or an infographic.

That’s just ONE engagement with a LOT of content.

While we see content as one of the chief drivers of marketing automation success, it’s also one of the biggest obstacles for many organizations looking to fully implement their marketing automation tools. Marketing automation can streamline your lead nurturing process in the long run, but getting there requires a TON of content. For some e-commerce companies, a sequence of automated emails may do the trick.

But if your audience is divided into many different segments or you offer a wide range of products and services especially in the B2B world (but not necessarily), emails alone are insufficient to really resonate with your customers. A steady stream of fresh blog content, e-books, infographics, case studies and even white papers are crucial elements to your automation process.

Luckily, we’ve got plenty of in-house resources to fuel that part of our marketing automation. We’ve developed a content package specifically for brands that don’t.

Where can you turn?

If you’ve determined you need to seek help, you’re in luck. Each major marketing automation platform has plenty of resources available to help you get started. Even more, for every marketing automation platform, there are even more agencies ready to help you with a configuration and implementation strategy. Here are just a few.

Redpath Consulting Group

Am I biased? Yes. Do I care? No.

The Minneapolis-based consulting group is a full-service Salesforce consulting agency but specializes in Pardot configuration and integration. Since we use both Salesforce and Pardot, this partnership has been a very valuable relationship for us.

Whole Brain Group

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Whole Brain Group is a marketing organization that specializes in HubSpot’s inbound marketing automation platform. They’re certified in several aspects of HubSpot configuration and integration, making them an indispensable asset in every phase of HubSpot implementation.

Neon Goldfish

Not settled on a platform or don’t see yours on this (completely non-exhaustive) list? Check out Neon Goldfish. Although their specialty is HubSpot, they’ve got experience setting up several different marketing automation platforms.

Do you have what it takes?

Whether you’re brand new to marketing automation or have been doing it for years, it’s always a good time to reexamine and make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. If you’re hoping to tap into a new segment or ramp up your content creation to better serve an existing one, always know that it’s always the right time to ask for help.

Nels Urtel February 20, 2017

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