Marketing automation still instills fear in both marketing and sales teams with little prior experience in it - after all, it takes a chunk of their responsibility and places it in the hands of algorithms and software. Can these tools really be trusted?
Recent studies show that not only can they be trusted, but trusting them is also an increasingly important step in standing out in a competitive marketplace.
Case in point - Salesforce’s “State of Marketing 2018” shows that 50% of the best-performing companies use marketing automation, while only 21% of moderate performers use marketing technology, and only 8% of underperformers have adopted it. A clear trend is evident.
Understanding the doubts and fears about marketing automation
There are a few prevailing myths about marketing automation technology that are still keeping teams from trying it out. For one, staff who've been in marketing or sales for a long time may feel that they're experts in their respective fields, but are relative beginners when it comes to technology and software.
One survey showed that more than a quarter of marketers feel that automation software will be too difficult to implement. There’s also the financial strain on companies of applying such technology, as well as the perception that automation software and AI will take away people’s jobs.
All of these fears cause understandable pushback, but with marketing automation transforming the industry, and spending expected to become a $25 billion segment by 2023, it is crucial for teams to engage with it and not fall behind. Thankfully, it's more than possible to get a team engaged, invested, and thriving with marketing automation tools.
How to get your team onboard with automation
Does your organization find the thought of engaging with marketing automation overwhelming, or think that it'll be too difficult for your team to implement?
In order to alleviate such concerns, you first need to show that you understand their doubts and fears, before addressing them. Let your team know that today’s martech software is designed to be as intuitive as possible. Most companies that have designed new software see the streamlining of the process for marketers and salespeople as their unique selling point - the aim is to enable marketing and sales teams to spend less time on unnecessary tasks, freeing up time for the more cerebral processes.
Another worry is that marketing automation is an additional cost your team will be tasked with providing ROI reports on, and you don’t know what to expect from its performance, however there are many marketing automation software options, ranging from the inexpensive to the more tailored high price tools, which can fit into any budget. There's also plenty of evidence to suggest that marketing software makes teams more efficient, and will essentially pay for itself in the long term. Crucially, 75% of companies who've used marketing automation see an ROI in 12 months, and 44% see it in six months.
Finally, there's the fear of automation replacing humans and eliminating jobs. Certainly, automation and AI software isn’t going away. Some solutions may be discarded for others, but automation is increasingly becoming the standard.
While fearing for one's job in the current climate is understandable, not engaging with automation software is a strategy that will only make your team more likely to lose their place in the long run.
Marketing automation isn’t necessarily a threat. It adds a different set of tools to the human brain, it helps us perform administrative tasks, improve performance, track engagement, and target audiences through shared characteristics. The creative solutions behind these elements need to come from your team, and are something that can’t be automated.
Convincing marketing and sales team to automate
Imagine you're trying to convert a room of resistant sales and marketing people to automation. The best way to do this is to address the pain points of your marketing and sales teams, and then explain how marketing automation solves these while also streamlining their processes.
For example, salespeople can turn arbitrary cold calling on its head by tracing a lead’s steps through from the website. More insight means better preparation for specific questions, while real-time information will enable them to engage with a prospect while the iron is still hot.
Improving cross-team collaboration
Tasks such as lead-scoring and baseline outreach can also be fully automated, enabling the team to focus on closing more deals instead. Sales departments can share content pieces that will help them to close sales with the marketing team, as well as the reasons for not having closed a deal, which allows for a closer relationship between both teams.
Improving content campaigns
For marketers, automated and strategic email and content campaigns will help to keep the brand at the top of consumers’ minds. Leads can be segmented by their demographics, past purchasing behavior, and interests to nurture them more effectively.
Tasks like proving ROI and tweaking content based on available data can also be made far easier with automation. Advanced data and analytics allow marketing departments to duplicate high ROI actions, and also cut ineffective campaigns. Tedious data entry tasks can also be filled automatically, freeing up more time to be creative.
A study by Walker Sands showed that internal pushback on marketing automation dropped from 33% in 2016 to 27% in 2018. Automation has many benefits, but for marketing and sales teams who still need a little nudge, there’s plenty of evidence that it will make their lives easier.