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Marketing Automation Basics: Your First 100 Days

August 11, 2016 | MERGE Atlanta team
Digital Marketing

Getting started with a new marketing automation platform and its strategy can be daunting. The key to building your confidence while gaining a better understanding of how to use the system is to start on a few “quick win” projects that will help build your foundation. All of the following projects can be executed in your first 100 days of marketing automation usage, putting you on the track toward measurable results.

Consider these projects to get started:

Build a simple grading profile. Chances are, you have at least a broad understanding of who your company’s best fit prospects are. Perhaps C-level executives are the most valuable, but leads with director-level titles are also good as they are often the gateway into the organization. Perhaps you have a couple primary industries you sell to, but several secondary industries will also consider your product or service. The key to a starter grading profile is to identify three to five explicit information points, such as title, industry, budget, company size or other custom fields that you take into consideration when qualifying prospects. Afterwards, rank the criteria you look at and assign an increase, or decrease, in grade. For example, companies with more than $10 million in revenue are key prospects, so you assign that criteria a full letter grade, while companies with $5-10 million in revenue are worth spending some time marketing to, so you assign them 2/3 of a letter grade. Start with a few grading attributes in your grading profile and add more over time as you continue to learn about you ideal prospective buyers.

Create a lead assignment process. During implementation, you added forms to the website, placed tracking codes to view activity and uploaded compelling marketing and sales content to the system. Now that prospects are filling out forms, viewing webpages and reading collateral, your marketing automation system is able to assign those prospects a lead score and a grade. It is important to determine the point at which these prospects are marketing qualified and ready to be contacted by a sales person. Define a level of activity (score) and desirable qualifications (grade), then using your marketing automation platform to automate the process of syncing MQLs to your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. By utilizing automation, you can ensure leads land with the right sales reps and, using automation rules to create CRM tasks, are followed up with in a timely manner.

Build your first drip campaign. Putting together your first drip campaign, also called a nurture campaign, can be daunting, but is one of the cornerstone features of marketing automation and is essential for staying in touch with prospective buyers. It is important to start small and grow in complexity over time. Starting with a simple lead nurture campaign that includes only email sends and the pauses between them. Write emails that contain interesting content from your company or reputable third-parties, with the goal of staying at the top of your buyers’ minds as they research and consider solutions similar to what your organization offers. After the campaign runs for a while, you can build in more complex automation, such as branching logic, staggering send times, variable dynamic content and other advanced functionality.

Regardless of your pre-existing knowledge of marketing automation, the first 100 days should be focused on achieving quick wins that can grow in complexity and scale over time. These successes generate confidence, internal buy-in and can facilitate new ideas that will put you in position to reach your customers at the right time.

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