The B2B buying process has undergone a sea change in the last decade or so. Access to product information, customer feedbacks, industry opinions etc. has made it easier to research on a company and how well its offering fit the requirements of the buyer.
However, the overload of information many a times makes it difficult to choose. After all, it is not easy to choose from a list of vendors, who all claim, they are the best, offer the most revolutionary products and have a huge list of customers who would vouch for their professionalism and the abilities of their product.
I personally think that like, charity, good manners etc. even a good purchase decision begins at home or in this case within your company.
Apart from clarity on the problem at hand and the possible solutions that will help resolve it, it is important to understand how adaptive your company and your resources would be to a solution. This will ensure, that you will buy a solution which is least disruptive in your work environment and yet delivers all that it promises.
In this post I would like to discuss, which kinds of companies or CMOs should never opt for a marketing automation solution….because for them, it would be both a waste of time and money. If you think your company identifies itself with any of the below mentioned mindset descriptions, then maybe its time you gave up on even considering buying a marketing automation solution, unless of course you decide to change your outlook.
"I can replace my Marketing team with a Marketing Automation solution"
During my interactions with various individuals who are still getting to know marketing automation, the most common query I come across is - "Does marketing automation replace - the marketing department"? And I can almost read on their faces, how while putting across the query they are mentally calculating on how much they will save on doing away with their marketing team :)
The answer is 'NO'. A marketing automation solution is not a replacement for your marketing team and if any vendor has given you this impression, then you should steer clear of them immediately.
Marketing automation is a solution which assists your marketing team in finding more qualitative leads and prioritizing them, understanding the needs and requirements of these leads, easing the process of nurturing them when not sale-ready and measuring the return on the company's marketing investment and marketing department's contribution to the revenue generation process within the company.
You still need your marketers to strategically think and plan lead generation, nurturing and management campaigns and to assist prospects in the decision making process through their buyer journey.
"Marketing Automation will double my sales"
Now most marketing automation companies will make you believe that statement. But trust me, it is not true, if it were the case, every B2B company would have already installed a marketing automation system and saved our industry from spending millions on educating the buyers, on how this tool is effective in increasing the productivity of their sales and marketing teams.
In reality, a marketing automation solution ensures that you don't miss out on all those wonderful business opportunities, just because your lead was lazy or reluctant to fill in the contact form on your website. Did you know that a typical B2B company can identify and qualify less than 10% of their web site visitors - that too, if they're lucky! Now since you don't see luck being sold in the market, there is marketing automation, which ensures that you are able to track all those leads which were interested in checking out your product, but left without sharing their info.
Add to that the other insights that marketing automation solutions provide, about the lead, like - their 'company name', 'pages of interest','intent', 'possible identity of the visitor', etc. and you have enough insight to proactively pursue your lead and pitch to him, than wait for him to get back to you.
So yes, there is definitely a higher chance of you closing in more sales, because you are introducing yourself and creating a mindshare among your leads at an early stage and because you have multiplied the number of leads your are now tracking in your lead funnel. But that no way guarantees 100% increase in sales, improvement for sure, if you manage to set your lead management processes right.
" Marketing Automation will do the magic trick"
Not really, officially "abracadabra" is supposed to do that, not your marketing automation solution. Stop believing that the moment you buy a marketing automation solution, everything will be perfect. For marketing automation solutions to really work, they require processes to be put in place, thoughtful resource allocation and an understanding between your sales and marketing on how they will manage the leads in your company's sales funnel.
If you are under any impression that marketing automation is a quick fix solution for your company's problems, then maybe you should look for another solution.
" Marketing Automation = Innovation"
Innovation is innovation and no marketing automation platform can be a substitute to that. If your company is not innovating and offering its customers and prospects a better value proposition, no solution can really help you. Research & Development, regular product upgrades are all important to ensure that both your marketing and sales can stand up to your competitors in the market and increase your revenue share.
If you have to pick between innovation and marketing automation, my vote would be for innovation any day, if you don't have a good product, you won't need your marketing and sales teams for long.
" I must have a Marketing Automation Solution, because I see it works for my competitor"
You have heard that before, haven't you? Agree your competitor has it and you have seen their sales go up, but it is not because they bought the marketing automation solution, it is because they learnt how to implement and use it effectively.
Please do not buy a marketing automation solution, if you have no intentions of using it appropriately. It not only affects you, but also us - the marketing automation vendors, when every time you go out and tell your other industry associates.."Ah! Marketing automation, its just a fad, it doesn't really work".