Selling Marketing Automation To Your Boss

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marketing-automation-puzzleOver on the Heinz Marketing blog, Matt Heinz posted a recent online discussion (sponsored by Act-On) titled “How to sell marketing automation to your boss.” Craig Rosenberg of Funnelholic moderated the discussion and Matt, Carlos Hidalgo and Steve Gershik participated.

The discussion resulted in a ton of info; we’ll just distill some key points and let you know you can catch the whole conversation in Matt’s series of posts about selling marketing automation to your boss.

You need marketing automation to make the most of CRM. CRM manages your pipeline; marketing automation manages relationships

  • Use the right technology for the job. Before you can manage your contacts, you have to create those relationships and you have to nurture them along. CRM software is not engineered for that; marketing automation software is.
  • Talk about the value of enabling sales as they’re managing their pipeline. It’s good to ask, “What kind of nurture campaigns are we going to be delivering to that pipeline so you can increase your deal velocity?” Nurturing is done through marketing automation. Talk about more than the technology; address need for process behind it, relevant content and people that know how to use it effectively.

Build the business case for marketing automation 

When you’re creating a business case for marketing automation purchase, start with –

  • The problem(s) that your business is having now
  • The headache that your CMO has every night when she goes home and is trying to figure out how to fix
  • What the CEO announced during your company’s annual meeting and said are his or her priorities

Connect the dots and show how marketing automation can help fix those things.

  • If you’ve got sales people who aren’t making quota, tell how you can use marketing automation to assist, along with process and people and content, toward solving that problem
  • If you have too many leads, or not enough leads, show how technologies in the marketing automation space can help solve those problems

I f you articulate a business case outside of what your organization’s needs are, then chances are you’re going to get pushed off because they won’t see that as a priority now. Focus on problems that you’re seeing today.

Account for the full resource costs

Saying “Here’s how much it’s going to cost per month, let’s justify that as a budget”  is like saying “Hey, we’re going to go to a trade show and it’s $5,000 for a booth so our trade show budget is $5,000.”

  • Marketing automation is no different; if you buy only the technology and don’t invest in people, don’t invest in creating and maintaining a good process, and don’t invest in constant new content to feed that automation system, you won’t get the best results. Very few companies invest in the content or the people effectively beyond the technology component.
  • You also want to get enough budget to do it right. Your results will be better and you’ll have justified your programs. Don’t let the need for resources come as a surprise (to you or your C-suite), or be forced to under-invest in them.

Questions to expect

“Why do you want to buy marketing automation?” That’s the big one, and you need to be able to answer it. Too often people get that deer-in-the-headlights look, and it’s almost like, “Well, it’s out there. I know it’s there. I know colleagues who are running a solution so I know we need it.”

“So what are your goals and objectives?” You need to understand what the marketing organization’s high-level goals and objectives are (probably to help drive more revenue through quality leads and quality customer engagement). Start there and articulate that value, then you can start to build the revenue case on top of that. You need to really understand how you can tell the rest of the organization why you should buy automation.

Just. Do. The. Math.

As Matt says, “If I’m a CFO – or anyone in the C suite evaluating an investment, unless you tell me otherwise, it feels like money out of my pocket. So help me understand how you’re helping me spend money to make money.”

You can do the lead math pretty quickly:  If you can increase overall yield and input into the pipeline, you’re generating a new set of leads. But if you don’t nurture those long-term, you’re going to have a much lower overall yield on sales.

The math that a lot of people don’t do is on the cost side. Yes, it’s going to cost money to have a marketing automation platform and to pay the monthly fees. But correspondingly, you may be able to slow down the rate at which you hire sales people because you’ve got a marketing automation system doing some of the heavy lifting and some of the prospecting work. There are places where effective marketing automation execution can actually save a company money – at the same time as it’s increasing their overall opportunity and conversion yield on the pipeline. Figure those numbers out too.

What do you think? Why did your organization adopt marketing automation? How did you position marketing automation? And what about those numbers?

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