When implemented and managed properly, marketing automation solutions can take B2B marketing to the next-level. While the idea of setting up and running ongoing campaigns and automations sound like a no-brainer, there are usually unforeseen complexities that arise. Often, these challenges end up leaving marketers frustrated and marketing automation platforms underutilized or underperforming.
While every organization is different and deals with a unique set of B2B marketing automation challenges, there are a few that come up on a regular basis. With the right strategies, these can be avoided. Here are three prevalent challenges and implementable strategies to overcoming them for improved marketing success.
Challenge 1: Poor Data Quality
One of the most common challenges that markers are faced with when using a B2B marketing automation platform is poor data quality. Here are a few common data issues:
Inaccurate or Incomplete Data
Data from website forms or list imports is not always accurate and is often missing certain fields. When lead or contact records have inaccurate, incomplete or outdated data, it can limit the functionality and effectiveness of the robust features in a marketing automation platform. Inaccurate or missing data is not just annoying, it also reduces a marketer’s ability to launch campaigns that are highly targeted. For example, if marketing is looking to send a highly targeted email to leads with specific job titles, if the data in the database is inaccurate, those leads are at risk of receiving irrelevant information.
Duplicate records happen in all organizations. There are often several duplicates of the same lead or contact record which leaves marketers asking, “Which is the correct record?”, “Why are there multiple email addresses?”, “Why are there three different companies listed?” and more. Duplicate records make it challenging to know which is correct as well as crowds your database and marketing automation platforms.
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Tips to Address Poor Data Quality
Invest in data cleansing and validation to ensure quality data. For the most impactful marketing, data needs to be accurate and complete as field values are pulled in for segmentation, personalization and more. Here is what to focus on when cleansing and validating data:
- Merge Duplicates: Find duplicate values, determine which one is correct and merge, overriding any incorrect data.
- Address Missing Data: There are most likely fields with missing data. Fill these in as much as possible. A complete view of records gives marketing and sales the most accurate information for campaigns.
- Analyze Data Conflicts: Sometimes fields in a database have conflicts. Either the data type is incorrect, the data exceeds the field limits or it is missing. Analyze what is possible to address and do so.
Challenge 2: Issues with CRM and App Integrations
Most marketing automation platforms are either integrated with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool or double as a CRM. Popular examples include Salesforce, Zoho and HubSpot. Integration with the CRM is important for an accurate and up-to-date database. Here are a few marketing automation integration issues that impact marketing effectiveness:
Isolated data creates a fragmented view of a record. Data that only flows one way, from the CRM into the automation tool or vice versa, can lead to inaccuracies and duplicates. When viewing lead or contact records and segmenting them for campaigns, they must be up-to-date and accurate.
Many integrations with other platforms and apps are used via an Application Programming Interface (API). In simple terms, APIs are mechanisms that enable two different software solutions to communicate with each other using certain terms or protocols. When APIs are not set up properly, breakdowns happen. For example, if the marketing automation tool needs data from other platforms to create audience segments and one field is not connected, the segment cannot be created.
Tips to Avoid CRM and App Integration Issues
To avoid integration issues, it is critical to carefully select tools and platforms to add to your tech stack. They should address specific organizational needs and offer seamless integrations. Research what integrations are possible with the marketing automation or database you use or are looking to use. Does your marketing automation tool integrate with your database? Does it provide integrations with other marketing tools? How is the data flow set up? There are many questions to answer when deciding the best tools to use. Answering them will ensure healthy integrations between platforms and smooth marketing automation.
Challenge 3: Inability to Measure ROI
It is not uncommon for marketers to have trouble proving the ROI of marketing automation. It is not as simple as something such as paid advertising, where there is a clear spend and a clear cost per lead. While it is not simple, there are equations such as, ROI = (marketing automation cost – sales growth)/marketing automation cost to help calculate it. It is also instrumental to focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) to get more insight into cost-effectiveness.
Tips to Calculating ROI and Measuring Effectiveness
It is always important for marketers to monitor and optimize their marketing automation efforts, not only to calculate ROI but also to measure campaign effectiveness. Here are a few KPIs to track to understand marketing automation performance:
- Engagement Rates: These are email engagement rates including opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes.
- Conversion Metrics: These are conversions from any marketing activity, such as an email, webinar invite or landing page.
- Lead Score: Through behavior and demographic components, marketers should set up and track the lead score for higher-quality insights. It is a helpful tool for sales and marketing teams to know when and how leads are moving through the funnel.
- Lead Volume: How many leads are being generated through automation efforts? How does that stack up versus other channels of marketing? Ensure lead source tracking is in place so ROI can be attributed correctly.
- Customer Lifetime Value: This metric indicates the [https://www.salesmate.io/blog/marketing-automation-kpis/] total value of a customer over time. If your team knows the lead source for this customer, the value and ROI of particular customers can be closely tracked.
Overcoming B2B Marketing Automation Challenges
Marketing automation challenges are sure to happen, but when addressed proactively, marketers can overcome them and deter bigger obstacles down the road. Following these tips to tackle common challenges can not only increase the value of your marketing automation platform, but will also boost your overall marketing success.