The Reality of Marketing Automation & Customer Relationship Management - (Archived)

This article by Kristen Janerio originally appeared on Modern Marketing Today,  December 10, 2105.

Wasted Potential (Part One): The Reality of Marketing Automation & Customer Relationship Management

Marketing technologies and CRM systems have been a huge topic in 2016. According to Gleanster Research, 79 percent of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than 2 years.

However, according to SiriusDecisions, 85 percent of B2B marketers using a marketing automation platform feel that they’re not using it to its full potential.

Here, John Sisson, Managing Partner at Rainmaker Associates, shares his thoughts on the reality ofmarketing automation and CRM in this excerpt from Welcome to Web2Sales.

What are some common pain-points that modern-day marketers are experiencing?

I think the biggest issue is that they now have more ways to touch and educate customers, and fewer ways to track it. They have less process to track it, and they don’t utilize tracking tools well. So in the last five years, marketers have taken to educating people.

We can communicate through multiple different channels, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, email, or all of the above, but the challenge is that once that information is out there, there seems to be a huge disconnect in regards to what happens to it.

How is that information captured? How is it brought in? How is it disseminated? And how is it tracked?

The basic fundamentals of sales manufacturing still aren’t happening well. How do I take what I’m putting out there, rate it, understand what I’m seeing and, when appropriate, disseminate it and make sure it’s being followed up with, ultimately adding real leads and opportunities to the pipeline?

It’s essential to understand what the market it saying so we can be able to better evolve the organization moving forward.

How can marketing automation and CRM help alleviate these concerns?

I’m a big fan of the idea that “process drives tools, tools do not drive process.”

What marketing automation offers, especially for smaller businesses, is the ability to drive and educate the marketplace on the issues that are out there so that companies can look at your material, recognize certain issues or pain-points, and decide to take action to solve it.

CRM gives sales teams and marketers the ability to look at who they feel comfortable with and understand who they want to pursue and talk to. By recognizing certain patterns and trends, leads can be recognized and qualified in a highly accurate manner.

From a marketing automation perspective, it’s a game changer. Both of them are. The ability to continually touch the marketplace based on an automated set of messages helps my sales team focus on real deals and customers, while I’m building an ongoing, sales manufacturing lead generation process.

If you’re able to do that, you will legitimately have a process that does not call in sick, doesn’t take vacations, and continually educates the marketplace and starts to produce a really good and predictable pipeline of potential revenue.

How are most marketers currently using CRM and marketing automation? Do you think they’re using the technology to its full potential?

Let’s start with marketing automation first. Whether it’s Eloqua, Marketo – whatever the tool is – we have seen a ton of dead corpses out there where they’re being used solely for email blasts, one-off email blasts, and then tracking openers, clickers, and hard and soft bounces.

It should instead be an organized, integrated tool set that allows them to continually – based on campaign and messaging – educate the marketplace and leverage their different tools like websites, blogs, or white papers.

So no, I don’t see organizations using marketing automation well. Typically I see them spend a lot of money thinking they’ve found a silver bullet, only to realize that it’s a lot more work than they were expecting.

From a CRM perspective, I see a lot of things that are not tied in. The idea that marketing and sales are not in alignment in regards to understanding what’s coming in and what’s being followed up with is a big problem.

There seems to be no agreement on how to continually follow-up with a certain lead score, and if that doesn’t happen, you’re in trouble. So I don’t see marketing automation and CRM used even close to their full potential.

I see a huge discrepancy, and I don’t know if it’s because sales and marketing departments tend to struggle when it comes to working together, but it’s also a combination of a lack of process and a failure to follow-up to make sure that things aren’t falling through the cracks.

Why is Web2Sales the logical next step when it comes to content marketing?

I think the biggest part is that it’s not really a next step; I think it’s here.

My wife and I recently bought a car, and we did all of the research online. We looked at a number of different reviews, models, and safety features. We found the car we wanted at the price we wanted, and when we actually went to the dealership, we spent more time filling out paperwork than actually choosing and buying a car.

The sales process is now almost flipped. It used to be sales people focusing on qualifying people out; now customers are qualifying organizations out even before they get into the actual sales cycle. So I think that model is here now, and it’s a reality.

If you’re not continually educating people, demonstrating your expertise, setting a framework for what the pain-points are, and then showing expertise on how you can do that while capturing that data and actually utilizing it correctly, then you’re going to have a really hard time growing.


The above is an excerpt from “Welcome to Web2Sales: Revenue Creation via Content, Search, Social, Digital and CRM“. To learn more about Web2Sales, download a copy of this exciting and informative eBook, authored by Marc Hausman, founder and CEO of Strategic Communications Group. You will learn how Web2Sales can be implemented at your organization, the framework for a Web2Sales program and what industry insiders have to say about Web2Sales.

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