B2B Marketing Automation Software: The Case For & Against
Thanks to aggressive sales reps from HubSpot, Pardot, Act-On, Marketo, and others, many businesses get excited about B2B marketing automation software. It's the definition of the proverbial "shiny object."
However, the vast majority of businesses, especially SMBs, are not ready to take advantage of marketing automation software and its myriad features. Why?
When Marketing Automation Makes Perfect Sense
- You have a written marketing plan at least for this year that connects the dots between your financial goals and marketing activities
- You have a website that already generates good search engine rankings for keywords and subsequent lead generation
- You have good website content and some higher level marketing collateral (e.g. white papers, case studies)
- You have an editorial calendar that also includes some webinars and at least one experienced writer to create it
- You have a targeted list of prospects from 50 to 2,000 per target market
- You have an inside sales rep(s) proactively follows up email opens, webinar RSVPs and whitepaper downloads
- Your inside reps know how to qualify leads and pass them to experienced reps for closing
- You understand that ROI is a return on investment and an investment in marketing pays for itself in 6-9 months
- You evaluate multiple marketing automation software platforms like HubSpot, Pardot and Act-On to see what is the best fit for you
- You work with a partner(s) to implement marketing automation and address any gaps in the above
When to Focus on Strengthening Your Marketing Foundation First
- You have no marketing plan
- You're not sure who to target for new business and tend to throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks
- Your website doesn't generate leads, lacks compelling content and/or looks like it was created in the 90s
- Your marketing collateral isn't great, you have no plans to host webinars and have no editorial calendar
- You have no inside rep or lead qualification guidelines and expect your outside reps to "just sell"
- You expect one-off email campaigns, postcards and/or other printed mailers to work
- You go with the marketing automation platform that someone pitched you by phone
- You try to do all the work yourself or have your niece, brother-in-law or intern do it
Not being ready for marketing automation software only means that you need that strengthening your marketing foundation by focusing on a marketing strategy and the right combination of inbound and outbound marketing execution is more important. Doing so will have a powerful financial impact on your business and will ensure marketing automation will take you to the next level when you're ready.