Today’s marketing teams are under constant pressure to do more with less. Trying to increase sales and marketing activities with small teams and little resources is a nearly impossible mission. Thankfully, the landscape has lent itself to some technologies that allow marketing teams to automate all of the different activities they are asked to achieve. These tools have become critical to streamlining and, in some cases, eliminating day-to-day tasks.
Choosing the Right Tool
Often times, this is the toughest part of marketing automation. Selecting the right tool for the right job can be frustrating. Ideally, a marketing automation tool is a combination of both software and strategy that allows teams to nurture prospects with personalized content in an effort to convert them at a higher rate while automating several of the daily tasks marketers are doing. Here are two important questions to ask before you start looking for the right tool.
How does this tool align with your overall strategy?
Document your overall business goals, expectations and expected headwinds that you’ve run into. Use the information you collect here to put together a set of over arching requirements to help determine the initial criteria for your tool when searching for an ‘all-in-one’ solution or ‘best-of-breed.’
What features are you looking for?
Some organizations are looking to implement simple email nurturing campaigns with high level reporting to understand the performance of their efforts. Others are looking for an all-in-one demand generation tool that can help manage the lead pipeline with extremely detailed performance reporting. These two different scenarios would point you to two different tools. This is where creating a list of features and a platform scorecard can help narrow down results.
There are several tools in the market that cater to a plethora of different strategies and goals. Selecting the right one can be tough, but if you carefully vet each tool and ensure it is meeting your corporate goals, you’ll be off to the races in no time. But…once you select your tool, it’s time to keep the oil fresh.
Supporting Your Shiny New Toy
You’ve already chosen your new marketing automation tool, it’s rolled out, you have your game plan, and you’re ready to start pumping out campaigns. There’s only one issue…how are you going to make sure your tool maintains the highest level of efficiency? With teams always changing and the landscape always seeming to shift, there are some key guidelines to stick to in order to make sure your tool stays in tip top shape.
Keep It Tidy!
Making sure the system is well organized ensures all day to day operations are fully functional and seamless between different elements. As a result, applying a systematic approach to organization is key especially when managing both net new users and legacy users alike.
At the start, folder structures should follow a Parent to Child association. Let’s take for example a Geographical based folder structure – Folder name is NA (North America) and it is used by the North American Regional Marketing Managers. This will include all the marketing activities, drip nurture, lists, and templates related to North America. The names of the folders start with NA, which will make them easy to find when searching.
TIP: Create an “Archive” folder. This is a special kind of folder that is designed to remove items from select lists as well as reporting. This will help your system run quicker.
Naming Your Folders
Much like folder structure, naming is critical, as each marketing automation system uses a common language to communicate. For campaigns, you should name them something unique. No two programs should have the same name as shown below.
[Marketing Activity] [YYYY]-[MM]-[ Geography/Product/Industry] [Brief Description]
Example Program Names
EB 2015-09-21 NA Widget Intro
PPC 2015-06 EU Some Ad Name
WBN 2015-12-01 NA
For the local assets inside programs, the rule is to keep the name simple. Just name an invitation “Invitation,” as opposed to “2015 June Webinar Invitation.” Because these are in a program, the parent program is automatically part of the name when choosing it elsewhere. In other words, local assets only need to be unique inside the program. You can have hundreds of assets named “Invite,” each in a different program.
Be the watcher on the wall, shield of the guards for the marketing realms of this tool. It is imperative that you enforce the guidelines you are working to put in place. You should consistently monitor the different connections, web-hooks, and integrations you have with your tool. Sometimes the slightest of changes can be made, and that could break your entire connection to say..Salesforce (and you might not find out immediately). It i important to review these on a consistent basis.
Additionally, it is extremely important to continuously review the users you have in your system. As team members leave or move onto another team, they may not need to utilize the tool anymore. Save those seats for new digital marketing team members and archive the 150 previous campaigns from 2018. It is also important to make sure that user roles and permissions are followed and users are only given the level of access they are required to have. The less users you have in the systems making changes, the less likely you are to come across an unknown issue. With this in mind, setting dates once a quarter to ensure connectors, integrations, and users are checked is a great cadence to ensure the tool stays working efficiently.
Marketing Automation Support
Choosing a tool is tough but maintaining it can be tougher. Without the right level of marketing automation support, getting any tool up and running can be difficult to manage. Not gathering the right information before you invest in the right tool that fits your specific needs and requirements can sometimes lead you to rely on multiple tools to achieve what you could have done with one. Not maintaining the right level of quality and organization with your tool can cause major issues and therefore requires proper maintenance.
Our team at Convertiv has successfully helped put together a comprehensive Best Practices Guides for multiple marketing automation tools. The goal of the guides is to act as the central source for newly implemented marketing automation tools. From email marketing best practices to webinar program naming convention and event architectural best practices, Convertiv’s expertise serves to help clients ensure marketing day-to-day tasks stay truly automated.