If you have tried to implement a Marketing Automation platform such as Pardot in the past, did you get the platform setup fairly quickly, send out a few e-mails and then see it lose momentum? If your answer is yes, than you are in the group of 78% in Belgium that confirm they feel not reaping the full benefit of their Marketing Automation investment and have not come to basic sales & marketing alignment yet…(source: Yearly Marketing Survey The House of Marketing)

The economical benefits of Marketing Automation are real. If you’re just starting out or starting over with the Pardot platform, consider a road map to get the most out of it. Gather up representatives from Marketing, Sales and IT and have a discussion that answers the following:

Goals: Why is your organization interested in marketing automation? Is it to provide better leads for sales teams? Is it for your marketing to better help manage the relationship with clients and create differentiation customer experiences? Is to get a better grasp on ROI and attribution by Marketing? Whatever it is, all of the parts that make up this process will be built with this objective in mind. The minute you come across a road block or stumble, ask yourself, “Does this help us meet the Goal?” The second something doesn’t relate to achieving the goal, toss it to the side and keep moving.

Governing Activities: Once you have your goal outlined, review the people, processes and technologies you need in place. You’ll need to pick an administrator or super user, make sure the Pardot Quick Start is set up and make sure sales, marketing and IT agree on what each role is supposed to do and at what step. For example, Marketing will likely be responsible for generating a lead and qualifying it. Do they have a content strategy and responsive designs? Once it’s qualified, Sales will be responsible for viewing it in Salesforce and converting it to an opportunity. Do they understand how to use the leads object? How will Sales leadership incentivize  adoption? What’s the benefit for the sales teams? IT will need to make sure both parties have all the technologies and devices they need in order to ensure these processes will run, including things like implementing 4G while your sales reps are on the road so that they can respond in real time.

Quick Wins: Now you know what your goals are and you’re setup to be in a position to achieve them…so its time to get comfortable with the platform. Set up your website with Pardot Forms or Form handlers that help identify prospects. From here, set up a simple segment that connect to a simple engagement studios to deliver a stream of e-mails. Set up a page action for the most important pages on your site that notify a user when an identified prospect visits more than once. Send out a newsletter that uses basic dynamic content, and send it to a limited batch of your database, or to a small sub segment. Consider this your pilot phase. If there was ever a time to make mistakes, this is it.

Full Maturity: This is the most important piece and the one many companies do not realize. Quick Wins are to gain confidence and understand the platform. Once those are achieved, you need a plan that will generate leads, qualify them and send them over to your CRM. Explore Search Engine Marketing, Various E-mail Nurture Campaigns and Automation rules to deliver relevant messages at the right times. You also need to chart out how a scoring and grading model will fit with your organization. Your Sales teams want to talk to prospects that they know are interested, and that’s where your scoring/grading model will really come into play. Charting out and executing these types of activities will help you sustain momentum for years.

Put all of this in a simple document and submit it to your Executive Team. Start backwards during your presentation: explain the end state of multiple campaigns running that will generate leads that you can tie your ROI back to. When the Executive Team asks how you’re going to achieve this, then go back to the beginning: explain that before you get to full maturity, you’re going to pilot out some Quick Wins to gain confidence. They will tell you not to rush into anything too fast, and then you can explain that you’ve already laid out the foundational activities to be successful.

Long story short: map out your goals on two axes: the Y-axes goes is about feasability – from easy to implement to dificult. The X-axes is about the benefit: small win to strategic gain. This way you can plot quick wins (high benefit and easy to achieve), your strategic long term initiatives (more difficult to achieve but high impact) – but also determine what needs to be forgotten (difficult to achieve and low benefit).

This way you’ll balance the short and long term and not choke on the many moving parts Marketing Automation can bring…

If you want to have a chat on what Pardot and salesforce.com Marketing Cloud can mean for your business, feel free to reach out and we’ll get a coffee.

Renout van Hove – 26/05/2017

Head of Marketing Cloud Solutions

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