1marketingJust the fact that your company implemented a marketing automation tool does not necessarily mean you now have a sophisticated communication strategy that provides complete information about specific leads and target groups to the sales team, a study confirmed, which was held by Sirius Decisions, a company specialized in analysis around sales and marketing in B2B markets. In fact, the company’s study "B-to-B Marketing Automation" concludes that usually two essential things are missing - experience and resources.

Of course, all manufacturers of marketing automation software systems claim that theirs is the most easy to use and let you believe that you can virtually drive trigger campaigns, immediately after implementation, including automatic scoring, giving the impression that it is very similar to an email tool for marketing automation - only much more fun!

Hence, many companies embrace this misleading idea and start sending widespread email campaigns via their marketing automation platform. However, according to the study, 64% of the surveyed companies continue using static forms - which means lead nurturing or progressive profiling is never taking place - making the development of "more qualified leads" virtually impossible, although these great prospects previously attracted sales and brought customers on board.

In fact, the number of B2B companies that make use of marketing automation increased tenfold in the last few years. On one hand this number is encouragingly high, but it is also frightening when looking at the "power users" that work with these platforms.

While more than half of the "big" companies commonly have several power users within their company, such marketing automation experts are available in only about 20% of the small businesses. As far as our experience goes, many companies also make use of so-called Demand Centers and assign routine activities such as campaigns, landing pages, integrated lead management and customer lifecycle to external service providers.

However, small to medium-sized businesses are facing a much bigger problem here, as marketing automation isn’t - as often assumed - a one-time investment. Skilled staff is required here, therefore training and continuing education is a pre-requisite, in order to be able to exploit all the possibilities of such a system to its fullest. These are resources that only a few companies of this size can afford.

Of course, this does not mean that only large corporations have the option of a modern, customized marketing system. Smaller companies can let their employees be trained, for instance to become certified lead management consultants, so that they are able to deploy the available resources and opportunities effectively.

However, even marketing employees from larger companies should always keep in mind: "You live and learn, continuously".

Last but not least it all depends on the optimal mix of processes, tools, content and resources.

By Daniela La Marca