Jun 302011
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My friends over at Focus asked me if I wouldn’t mind sharing an infographic they recently published on marketing automation. The infographic has some interesting metrics and data points from leading research and analyst firms covering the MA and CRM space. For anyone wanting a quick intro or an updated “lay of the land” in this category, it’s a good read.

[Attention all Federal Trade Commission hallway monitors: no money was exchanged and no other quid pro quo took place here, ok? Sheesh….]

Now, since this is a blog, I feel obliged to add some perspective on this topic. So, on top of the ones in the infographic, here’s two more metrics for you to consider. The good news: assuming you have some basic tracking tools like Google Analytics and/or a CRM system  you can pretty easily apply these metrics to your business.

Metric #1: Your fresh leads who don’t buy. This is the basic “lead nurturing” scenario, and the subject of many marketing automation discussions. Let’s say you generate 100 leads per month and 8 of them end up buying your product. There’s up to 92 more leads that still need attention in some form. Sure they may have bought from your competitors. Or they may have shelved the project. Or they may have just been kicking tires in the first place. Marketing automation can help you stay connected to these 92 leads per month – that’s a run rate of 1104 leads per year for anyone who is counting —  in a way that is cost-effective, scalable, and branded.

Metric #2: Your web site visitors who don’t become fresh leads. A lot of people don’t realize how  marketing automation can help improve lead conversion. Here’s just one way: let’s assume those 100 leads per month above are derived from 15,000 unique visitors to your web site each month. Marketing automation can help you track and score those 15K “uniques” from the moment they reach your web site, which may occur well before the lucky 100 become known to your sales team. The benefits of this are two-fold:

a)      Sales-effectiveness. Your sales people can better understand the prospect’s motivations and interests, as shown by the keywords used, and the pages/content viewed by that person before contacting your sales rep. This allows your sales team to use precious “talk time” more efficiently, presenting the benefits of your product or business that matter most to the prospect. And with the help of lead scoring (a point system that reflects the expected commercial value of a web visitor or lead), your sales team can further optimize talk time by calling out first to the highest scoring (hottest) leads.

b)      Marketing effectiveness. Your marketing expert(s) can easily optimize landing pages, phone trees, email templates and other assets by analyzing the rich website and CRM data that are “married” to your leads and orders. And as powerful as Google Analytics is, most companies either don’t or can’t use it to answer important profit-related questions about your sales process. Questions like, “how do we attract, convert, and close more law firms with between 5 and 50 employees in major cities?” A smart implementation of a marketing automation process can answer questions like this.

Enjoy the infographic! (and click it to enlarge)

Marketing Automation Infographic

If you find the original post of this infographic on Focus.com, there’s some good banter in the comments section about marketing automation products being over-hyped and ultimately too hard to deploy (i.e., “shelfware.”). For the record, here’s my take:

Over-hyped = YES

Shelfware = NO, at least not with my clients.

Note: I’m hereby adopting a new policy on this blog. There will be a minimum of one self-promotional plug required in each post. There’s a limit to this all-you-need-is-love marketing, you know.  Just ask the evil geniuses at Coca-Cola, who with one brilliant TV ad released about 40 years ago, heralded both the death of 60’s idealism and the birth of Gen-X cynicism.

But I non-sequitorize, or, something….

Anyway, most of the deployment issues with marketing automation occur when companies realize (typically, and unfortunately, post-purchase) that they lack the commitment required to do it right. There are other issues too. The products still need to mature, and the talent pool of implementors still needs to grow. There will be a shakeout in the marketplace for sure, and perhaps soon. But the basic building blocks of marketing automation are here to stay.