There's a new report out from Demand Gen Report, sponsored by Manticore Technology, that reveals the reflections of 53 marketing executives who are using marketing automation systems. As the use of these systems is estimated at only 10% of the overall B2B market, these insights from the trenches will help both vendors and customers prepare for the best outcomes.
The benefits from automating marketing programs can be many. In fact, given the role of the Internet in today's complex purchasing process, it's almost impossible to operate in a customer-centric fashion without it.
This said, technology is not the answer to better marketing. Technology is the enabler of a solid eMarketing strategy. Marketing automation systems enable the gathering of prospect intelligence and the delivery of content made more relevant when offered in parallel to those insights. Even better, the systems can help you generate online dialogue and interactions valuable to both your prospects and your company.
The report, Marketing Automation: Lessons from the Trenches, provides some interesting feedback from companies that have deployed these systems. The executives interviewed used a variety of solutions including; Active Conversion, Aprimo, Eloqua, eTrigue, LoopFuse, Manticore Technology, Marketo, Market2Lead, Pardot and Silverpop Engage B2B (formerly VTrenz).
Here are a couple of key insights:
"...usability is important over the long-term of the system’s lifespan, not just in the early stages of rollout. 36% of respondents said, “Just because a marketing automation solution has a slick interface does not mean it’s going to be easy to use and function how you expect...”
Satisfaction rides on meeting expectations:
Vendors should pay close attention to what causes diminishing satisfaction. There's quite an impact shown on satisfaction scores between customers who found the systems easy to use and enjoyed faster implementation times—and those who didn't.
Support and training are also highly critical to satisfaction. Technology vendors must remember that their systems are likely being used by business users, not IT professionals. Using the system is only one thing on a long list of deliverables for an already over-worked marketing department.
The fact that customers find they're "currently using 50% or less of their marketing automation system’s functionality" should also be a wake-up call for vendors to help their customers take advantage of the system's capabilities as they gain proficiency.
Customers need to consider:
Based on the findings from the survey, companies choosing to implement marketing automation need to think carefully about what they want to get out of the system and how their processes will shift from manual efforts to technology enabled efforts.
The whole purpose of marketing automation is to empower marketing to drive more qualified sales opportunities to the sales team. Without the knowledge about what your sales force considers a qualified opportunity, it's very difficult to construct an automation process that delivers prospects truly ready to actively consider becoming your customers.
To round out your decision to implement marketing automation, I'll leave you with this quote from the report:
Every company considering implementing marketing automation should read this report. In my opinion, marketing automation is one of the best decisions a company with a complex sale can choose to implement. But, it's important to be prepared for what's coming. Technology is an enabler - and a great one. Choose wisely and prepare to use it effectively.
Thanks to Manticore Technology for having the chops to sponsor this survey. It's great to see such high satisfaction levels as well as to help other companies learn from the experiences of early adopters. Well done!