A new research study by Sirius Decisions, “Calculating the Return on Marketing Automation“, sponsored by Marketo talks about the different levels of companies implementing marketing automation platforms (or MAP, as they call it).
“Companies using technology alone to solve their demand creation issues may actually experience negative return where it matters most”
The report breaks down companies into three segments:
- No Marketing Automation, and no processes
- Marketing Automation and wither no or weak processes
- Marketing Automation with average processes
Although talking about processes is not new, what I liked is that instead of just stating the obvious (no process won’t make the technology work) they try to quantify and answer the more important question of How much does a well defined process really contribute towards your overall marketing automation efforts?
Increasing Response Rates
From the report, it seems the key critical element that is impacted the most by marketing technology when it comes to automating campaign response, nurturing, and scoring your leads is the increase in response rates.
The best way to think about it is to imagine the traditional funnel. As you move from one stage to the next (inquiries, leads, qualified leads, etc.) there are only two ways to impact the outcome, either you get more inquiries or you increase the number going from one stage to the next.
According to Sirius, Marketing Automation technology paired with good processes can yield 4x to 5x the number of closed deals. The magic relies on the higher conversion rates throughout the sales cycle. Is not about getting more leads or more inquiries, is about getting the right ones and improving the odds of closing a deal at each stage.
It’s About Content and Processes
But how are processes helping make sure the system works? Here’s the intersting part, because anyone can implement technology to automate what goes out to customers and prospects. The pairing of processes means more than ensuring emails go out when they should, it takes care of ensuring the right message is sent to the right person at the right time.
And when the process includes both sales and marketing working together on definitions, on content strategy, and qualification criteria companies see higher response rates overall. As the report states:
With a handoff process in place, sales now accepts and processes more than 58percent of MQLs; the higher quality of these leads in turn yield a third conversion rate of roughly 49 percent to opportunity, and an increased close rate of a bit more than 23 percent.
Adding technology without processes may make you feel better at first, but will only serve to highlight the problems you always had. The key is to rethink your approach and use technology to leverage your processes, not the other way around.