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Power-Pitching Marketing Automation to the C-Suite

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by: Todd McCormick (@TMcCormick2011)
27 March 2013

No question: A solid marketing automation program boosts revenues, increases leads, and streamlines sales and marketing processes.

The market for automation programs is in overdrive. Leading B2B research firm SiriusDecisions predicts the adoption of marketing automation technology will grow to 50 percent by 2015, from a 10 percent figure in 2010. That’s compelling testimony to the power of comprehensive systems to transform company market share. But trying to sell such systems to your revenue-minded C-level crowd can be difficult.

The best way to welcome your C-levels to the automation driver’s seat is by showing them that it can cost your company much more not to engage your customers with a top-notch program. Here are four of the best approaches I’ve seen marketing professionals use with executive management when making a compelling case for behavioral marketing automation.

1) Determine objectives. Mention risks. Then, unveil opportunities.
In an open-ended discussion, talk numbers. If you don’t know already, tally your company forecasts — calculate what revenues and fresh leads you’re shooting for. Spell out last year’s obstacles. You all know you need to make a change. How can you overcome these obstacles to revenue by using new tools in the fiscal year to come?

Don’t downplay the risks; rather, emphasize the upside. Yes, there are time/cash costs, but consider knowing to the digit how many leads you need each month to meet goals. Make it clear that connecting marketing to revenue across ALL your programs opens up new worlds of data-driven dollars. Certainly, acknowledge that there’s an adoption curve, but emphasize that these are tools that give full control (and at full throttle) over sales campaigns, providing rich, measurable and actionable outcomes.

Now’s the time to paint a greater vision for your company. Summarize potential gains: larger revenues, higher growth, productivity boosts and less administrative overhead.

2) Bring in a closer.
Every sale needs a closer. In this case, your closers are current marketing automation customers. So, present examples of companies that have benefited from marketing automation. Why? First, DemandGen reports that 66 percent of B2B buyers cite customer testimonials as the most convincing piece of content in their purchase journey. Second, it’s likely that your business will succeed by using the same tools that companies similar to yours in industry and size have used.

Ask automation vendors for compelling customer examples. They should be able to give you examples with hard-hitting success metrics, such as a 272 percent conversion increase in one of their email campaigns. Videos are another example of compelling content that’s easy to share, particularly those that show how much customers value their marketing automation vendor as a “revenue generating partner.”

3) Numbers are a negotiator’s friend.
Customer testimonials will get your execs to lean in and listen, but nothing persuades CEOs, CFOs and CTOs like numbers, particularly those that boast a booming bottom line. Hear the boom: Plug your numbers into the Silverpop ROI calculator to see how our automation programs, for example, can spur company success.

Helped by native tools that measure everything from leads to individual campaign results, marketing automation systems can achieve predictable business growth — positive numbers across many company components — by enabling marketing and management to work together to:

  • Conduct multichannel campaigns
  • Test multiple strategies
  • Personalize messaging to finely segmented audiences
  • Reduce the IT workload
  • Boost sales leads
  • Align marketing with sales teams

A solid marketing automation program unifies management around one clear, holistic picture of company revenue through your entire funnel.

4) Open a road map, and then open the throttle.
A behavioral marketing program is an end-to-end process that aligns with your company’s overall business strategies and goals. Put some data points on the whiteboard map: stick pins for time to implementation, to ROI, and to any potential staffing needs. To go the distance, you’ll need an automation vendor with a robust partner network — experts in services and technologies that augment the automation experience, such as content creation, landing page creation and demand-generation processes — and of course an in-house automation services team of consummate pros who are always on call for training and support.

Marketing automation programs are sophisticated tools that provide tremendous agility over customer acquisition and fulfillment. They make the utmost of external opportunities. Once you’ve given management a good peek into the potentials, there’s a powerful incentive for them to take a long second look.

Shoot me a tweet @TMcCormick2011 to find out more about pitching the power of automation to the executive suite.

Related Resources:
1) Tip Sheet: “10 Ways to Make the Case for Marketing Automation
2) Blog: “Behavioral Marketing Automation Defined (Video)
3) Blog: “Use Marketing Automation to Get Your Email Program Organized


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