SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Dana Gardner

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How to Justify the Cost of Marketing Automation

Years ago, Dilbert declared that marketing was nothing but “liquor and guessing.” And for a long time, that’s been true — marketing has been more of an art than a science.

But, in the past decade or so, marketing automation systems have worked to change all that. They have demonstrated that liquor and guessing could be replaced with a more deliberate approach. Performance-focused tools now allow marketers to achieve measurable results. (The liquor part remains at your discretion.)

However, marketing automation systems may be viewed as a nice-to-have rather than a need-to-have. They can be a significant investment — in technology, time, and people — so if you want one, you will have to prove their worth and get buy-in from those writing the checks.

When you make your business case to decision makers, remember: They’re not interested in the art of marketing; they’re interested in the money. They want their investment to pay off and deliver the highest possible ROI. So you need to speak their language when pitching the system, and then you need to deliver pretty quickly once the system is in place. Here’s how you can get buy-in for this new tool.

Focus on value

While it’s tempting to geek out about all the bells and whistles of a potential platform or get caught up in the dollar details of the purchase, don’t lose sight of the actual value of what you’re buying. Now’s the time to focus on the benefits that such an investment will provide. Proof is in the reporting. Marketing automation systems give you visibility into hard numbers, campaign effectiveness and much more. The good news for you: Decision-makers love metrics.

By measuring key performance indicators (KPIs), such as campaign performance, lead velocity, lead volume, and other valuable metrics, marketing automation allows marketers to more effectively budget and push marketing spend toward activities that result in the highest ROI, lowest cost per lead, and other metrics that drive the business.

Before you go into that pitch meeting, you’ll want to be prepared with some important industry statistics (remember that whole thing about loving metrics). Be prepared with data and ready to compare the potential before-and-after pictures — those are your “money slides” for your presentation, or your key talking points and objection handlers. For example:

  • Year after year, Gartner reports Marketo as being one of the top five marketing-automation tools. From its founding, Marketo’s focus has been on metrics and insights, and increasing the efficiency of the marketing team’s operations. It provides excellent resources on the ROI of its tool, and on marketing automation in general. In its recent eBook, “Using Marketing Automation to Increase Your ROI on CRM,” Marketo presents marketing automation’s basics and benefits.
  • EmailMonday, the brainchild of marketing guru Jordie van Rijn, provides an excellent explanation of the benefits of marketing automation by way of the Marketing Automation Statistics Overview. Get the most recent industry statistics — not only overall ROI but also the overall percentage of B2B marketers adopting marketing automation in their businesses and their satisfaction with the decision.
  • Finally, Pardot, another leading marketing automation tool, provides excellent insight in “The ROI of Marketing Automation.” This white paper offers tips on accelerating a lead’s journey through the sales funnel and other hints about what marketing automation tools can do for you. Pardot also offers an ROI calculator that will help you build your specific case.

Focus on increased efficiency

Marketing automation helps marketing deliver better-qualified leads to the sales team so they can spend more time on those leads. Best of all, it shortens sales cycles, increases conversion rates, and ultimately, increases the likelihood of meeting or exceeding revenue goals.

Marketing automation also can save an organization a significant amount of time by replicating and automating tasks that once required manual work. For example, responding to form fills and requests for materials, which seems like a simple task, can very easily be automated, freeing teams to concentrate on further qualifying those leads.

When a marketing automation system has the right rules in place, and you’ve agreed on what constitutes a well-qualified lead, you can expect a significant increase in the speed at which a lead moves from acquisition to engagement to close, reducing your acquisition costs.

Right alongside greasing the rails for new leads, marketing automation helps you create highly efficient programs for customer retention, too (have a look at ReachForce’s blog post on the topic). Upsell and cross-sell suddenly become much easier when you can leverage existing customer data to drive relevant messaging. And retention is critical to your business, every bit as important as driving new leads into the funnel.

Focus on consistent branding

One of the great challenges organizations face is creating consistent branding across all marketing efforts. Marketing automation systems excel at this, allowing you to build and use templates that reflect your branding and help you keep it consistent across your channels (Act-On has developed a great guideline here). And marketing automation makes it pretty easy, too, which further improves the efficiency of your marketing team. A good platform has the tools to generate new assets quickly without having to fuss with how the logo is placed or making sure the message matches your brand guidelines.

Go get ‘em

Armed with the right information, now’s the time to make the marketing automation case for your organization.

Need more guidance? Check out our eBook, “Make the Marketing Automation Decision: A 5-Question Guide.” Still have questions? We can help — let’s chat.

The post How to Justify the Cost of Marketing Automation appeared first on Right Source Marketing.

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Right Source Marketing helps organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

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