Every single marketer, no matter the industry or size of the business, has one common goal: To generate more leads. But as the channels on which to engage new leads and the data and content you have to use along the way continue to grow, the only way to achieve that goal is with a strong marketing automation program.
In this day, we don’t need to belabor the importance of marketing automation. However, knowing the importance of marketing automation will only make an impact on your business if you take action and implement a platform — and the time to do so is now. Check out the implementation timeline below to understand how far along you are, and then let us walk you through the 4 steps to generating more leads with marketing automation.
4 steps to B2B lead generation with a successful marketing automation implementation
Introducing a strong marketing automation program takes time, but if you get started now and take the right steps along the way, you can be well on your way toward generating more leads for your company as soon as the new year rolls around.
Remember: It takes time to finalize your vendor selection, get set up and trained on the new platform and get running with your program. That means you need a couple months of lead time to be prepared to hit the ground running.
So what exactly do you need to do now to get ready to generate more leads with a new marketing automation platform? Start with these four steps:
1) Finalize your decision on a marketing automation platform now
The first step to revving up your lead generation engine is deciding which marketing automation platform you’ll use.
As you evaluate your options, be sure to consider:
- Your program requirements and how well each platform you’re evaluating meets those requirements
- The resources you can devote in terms of time and budget and how that aligns with what each vendor can offer
- Platform costs and system availability (be sure to ask about any potentially hidden fees)
- How the available integrations for each platform match with the other solutions currently in your marketing stack
- The level of customer support each vendor offers
- Peer reviews for each platform you’re evaluating
These considerations should help you determine the best B2B marketing automation platform for your business.
2) Understand what to expect throughout the implementation
Once you finalize your decision on a marketing automation platform, it’s time to get started on the implementation process. But before you dive in head first, it can be extremely helpful to understand what to expect along the way. This understanding can help your team prepare for the implementation and help you set proper expectations with key stakeholders in your business.
So what should you expect? Most marketing automation implementations include these key stages:
- Platform setup: Setup your new marketing automation platform, including getting data into the system and integrating your marketing automation platform with your CRM system
- Onboarding: Train your core users on how to navigate the platform and develop reusable templates for emails, landing pages and forms
- Campaign migration and campaign development: Migrate all of your key campaign assets, such as existing emails, nurture campaigns, landing pages and forms to your new marketing automation platform and/or develop new campaigns.
Beyond outlining these stages of the implementation, you should also review any resources your marketing automation provider makes available and talk to the vendor’s customer references. Important points to know include common pitfalls throughout the implementation process so you can avoid them, what your team needs to contribute along the way, including any IT support to set up integrations and what your team can expect when the implementation is complete, so you can be prepared to start strong out of the gate.
3) Determine the timeline to be fully operational with your new marketing automation platform
Next, you need to work with your marketing automation provider to determine your go-live timeline as well as key milestones along the way. Keep in mind that key stakeholders may be out during the Holidays and delay your timeline to launch.
While timelines will differ based on your business and marketing automation implementation, you choose, you can generally expect the following:
- 6 to 8 weeks for CRM integration, platform set-up and onboarding
- 6 weeks to migrate marketing assets from legacy platform and create any new campaign assets
- 6 weeks to launch and run initial campaigns
It’s important not to rush any of these steps, as you want to make sure you have a solid foundation on which you can build and grow your marketing automation program. As a result, if you want to hit the ground running with your new marketing automation platform, you need to get started on the implementation five months in advance.
4) Launch your first campaigns and watch the leads flow
Resulting lead flow from campaigns also varies by client, typically tied to the quality of your list, campaign message, content and calls to action. This is another benefit of giving yourself a long runway to kick off a strong marketing program in the New Year. You will have time to make tweaks to campaigns, lists, or further refine your audience segments and benefit from one of the most valuable features of marketing automation — tying website visitor engagement to customers and prospects.