In our last blog post, we level set the pre-adoption steps marketing teams take in the Experimental phase of the Marketing Automation Progression Model in order to prepare for the next level of marketing automation.
For this post, we’ll dive into Phase 1, the foundational phase of the model, which revolves around integrations.
From your CRM data to your marketing automation tools, a central tenant of marketing automation is automating the flow of data between each of these systems. In order to scale up marketing programs, your systems need to be able to talk to one another, otherwise you’re still manually managing systems that need to be automated to progress to more advanced channels campaigns.
But integration isn’t just a flip of the switch. For your data to stay clean and your campaigns to be both efficient and successful, you need to take the time to map out the workflow and the buyer journey in your systems.
That’s where the marketing automation progression model comes in. During the foundational phase of the model, you’ll build the groundwork for successful marketing automation integrations by outlining your strategy in 7 areas:
Establish Target Audiences
The first foundational step in your marketing automation program is defining your target audience. Will you kick off with campaigns to new prospect audiences? Upsell campaigns to customers? Stick with a clear direction of who your target audience is so you can more easily define the following steps.
Align Content/Messaging to Your Audiences
After you have a clear idea of who you’re marketing to, outline what you’re saying to them and what content you have (or need) to support that message. Will you need additional thought leadership to supplement your campaigns or do you already have the white papers, brochures, case studies, and so on to provide the backbone of your programs?
Map out Organized and Repeatable Automated Campaigns
Now that you know who you’re marketing to and what you’re saying to them, it’s time to map out clearly defined, repeatable campaigns. Whether it’s a welcome email nurture program to new email subscribers, or a regular upsell campaign to customers who hit certain milestones in your database, consider the data you need to signal when and how the campaign will start running to new audience members to remove as much of the manual process as possible.
As you start to build out automated campaigns for your database, data hygiene will need to be a constant feedback loop. Ensuring that the fields you use, the information and signals you gather, and the new audience members you add to campaigns are tying back between your marketing automation and CRM systems is vital. For example, if you launch your first marketing nurture and someone unsubscribes in your marketing automation system, will they be marked as unsubscribed in your CRM? How will that affect sales outreach to that lead? Which system is your source of truth and how will that data flow between the two? These are just a few of the questions you need to think through as your campaigns get more and more complex to build out.
Another important element in the integration process is to think through how you will track and assign the marketing campaign sources to your leads in your marketing automation and CRM systems. Will you use UTMs? Will you consider the first touch campaign as the “converting” campaign for a lead or the last touch before the lead passes to sales? Determine your process for tracking lead sources and campaign attribution early so you don’t have to unravel this later.
Tracking Costs (ROI)
Another element that’s easy to set up in the beginning and harder to unravel later is your campaign ROI. Get into the habit early of assigning and tracking costs with your campaigns so you can later dig into campaign ROI and the lifetime cost of a lead or opportunity.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
All of these steps tie back to one key area – sales and marketing alignment. If the sales team is not informed on where their leads are coming from (sources), what certain fields mean and their triggers (data hygiene), or even who you’re marketing to and how that aligns with their sales goals (audience) – your campaigns are going to have a much harder time succeeding.
The foundational phase of the marketing automation progression model takes time, patience and strategy to build to completion. Make sure to consult with a partner through this stage if you lack an advanced marketing automation team to guide the initial strategy setup.
In Leadous’ Marketing Automation Progression Model, we support your team through the foundational phase with key services including Implementation and Onboarding and Migration to give you the baseline foundation and metrics to build and measure the success of your demand generation efforts.