5 All-Too-Common Marketing Automation Mistakes

Marketing automation offers a wealth of powerful features that make our lives as marketers a whole lot easier—as long as we use them correctly. Last month, Spear Marketing Group released The State of Marketing Automation Maturity, a report highlighting the results of their March 2015 survey of B2B marketing automation users. In the report, they found that B2B marketers are excelling in some areas but lacking in others.

In this blog post, I want to take a closer look at some of the biggest mistakes marketers are making with their marketing automation platforms. Let’s look at five key findings from the Spear Marketing Group report and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Mistake #1: Leaving Leads Hanging

Key finding: 40% of respondents don’t send autoresponder emails to new leads.

Not only do your contacts expect to receive welcome emails when they give you their contact info, they actually anticipate them. According to StreamSend, welcome emails get an impressive 50% open rate. That’s 86% higher than the open rate for newsletters! Not only that, but chiefmarketer.com found that leads who receive a welcome email show 33% more long-term brand engagement than leads who don’t.

Make sure you’re sending all leads a valuable follow-up email when they first come into your database. For best practice tips for writing an effective welcome email, check out this blog post from TIME. Or better yet, go beyond a simple email and add leads to a welcome nurture campaign to keep them engaged over time.

Mistake #2: Requesting Too Much Information

Key finding: 52% of respondents “seldom or never” use progressive profiling.

We get it: now that collecting information about your leads is incredibly simple, it’s easy to get carried away. After all, knowing their full names, job titles, company sizes, and budgets can be invaluable when it comes to sending targeted communications—but that doesn’t mean you should try to collect all this data at once. Long forms that require lots of personal information are a surefire way to scare visitors away. (Seriously…are they downloading an e-book or applying for a mortgage?)

That’s where progressive profiling comes in. By gradually asking your leads for more information over time, you can still gather all the intel you need—without subjecting them to a never-ending form.

Mistake #3: Off-the-Cuff Subject Lines

Key finding: Only 25% of respondents test email subject lines on a regular basis.

According to Unbounce, 64% of people open emails based on the subject line. With that in mind, why are three-fourths of marketers just assuming they know what works best? Don’t underestimate the importance (and simplicity) of A/B testing your emails.

Mistake #4: Lead Score Inflation

Key finding: 45% of respondents don’t detract points from a lead’s score for certain actions.

We wrote about this in last week’s post about lead scoring, but we can’t emphasize the importance of negative scoring enough. As we pointed out in that blog post, leads’ scores can become artificially inflated if you don’t employ a score degradation model. For example, if someone downloads every piece of available content on your website, they’ll likely rack up a ton of points—but what if, for some reason, they unsubscribe from your newsletter the next day and then remain inactive for six months? You shouldn’t forget about them completely (that’s what cold lead nurturing is for, after all), but they probably should have some points docked.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Lifecycle Reporting

Key finding: Only half of respondents measure the pace and volume at which leads move through the sales funnel.

This one blew me away. 50% of survey respondents aren’t reporting on the health of their sales funnels? Fortunately, marketing automation tools like Pardot make it easy to see the average velocity of your leads and how many leads are at each stage of the buyer journey. There’s really no excuse not to measure this data—not to mention the fact that it’s fun to see those numbers climb over time.

Pardot Prospect Lifecycle Report

With all that being said, don’t get too down on yourself if you’ve been making one or more of these mistakes. Spear also found that B2B marketers are doing an excellent job in other areas of marketing automation. For example, 87% of respondents segment their campaigns based on buyer personas, and 77% measure pipeline contribution from individual campaigns.

Even more good news: all five of these mistakes are fairly easy fixes, and if you’re using marketing automation, you already have the tools you need to fix them.

Are there any marketing automation features you’re not using to their full potential? Let us know in the comment section; we’d be happy to point you in the direction of some resources that can help. If you think you’ve got all your automation bases covered, take the next step and see how marketing automation can unlock the power of your CRM by clicking the banner below.

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5 thoughts on “5 All-Too-Common Marketing Automation Mistakes

  • Mistake #2: If someone is interested in your product/service does he have enough motivation to leave all of the necessary information about himself?Gathering informations latter can be difficult…

    • Good point, and thanks for reading! The required form fields can definitely depend on the form. For example, if someone is signing up to receive more information about your product or service, you may want to require more info. If they’re just downloading a high-level asset, however, there’s not a lot of motivation for them to provide all their personal information in exchange. What do you think?

    • I can agree with you and with Ryan on some level, so it vary depending on situation, but I just wanted to point the balance between gathering information and making form simple, because gathering information latter can be tough, a lot of people who sign up for something never read email from that sender…

  • Your comment is completely on point Shauna. The situation does vary, if it’s just something like an e-book download or access to a small lead magnet we should never really require anything more than an email address. The less information a person has to enter into a form, the more likely it is to be completed. I personally think we should get them on the list and then worry about getting more information. You could easily offer another special offer for people to provide more info about themselves. Once they have given you the initial email address people are more likely to keep giving you info you ask for.

    • Well said, Ryan! And that’s what’s so great about nurture campaigns; you can continue providing relevant offers that will help you collect more information over time. And the way I see it, it’s better to only have an email address than to scare people away and get nothing at all. 🙂

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