Executive Perspective: The Biggest Mistake a Marketing Automation User Can Make

We often use stats on our blog to back up our claims, and it’s not hard to do. There are a number of exciting trends developing in the marketing automation industry, and the numbers speak for themselves:

84% of top performing companies are using or plan to start using marketing automation between 2012 to 2015. (Gleanster)

The adoption of marketing automation technology is expected to increase 50% by 2015. (SiriusDecisions)

Marketing automation platform users have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing-qualified lead than non-users. (Aberdeen Group)

With stats like these, it’s easy to feel optimistic about implementing marketing automation and reaping the same successful results. In fact (if I can throw one more impressive stat at you), 77% of CMOs at top-performing companies indicate that their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to increase revenue. (Gleanster) Marketers are feeling good about making the investment, and with good reason. But there’s one stat that can kill all of this optimism and bring your marketing automation success plan to a crashing halt:

61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. (MarketingSherpa)

So I’d like to start a conversation about one of the biggest mistakes that marketing automation users can make: continuing to pass all leads over to sales.

Why Passing All Leads to Sales is a Huge Mistake

If you’re passing all incoming leads over to your sales team without using the lead qualification tools at your disposal, you’re not only missing out on one of the most important features of marketing automation, you’re missing out on one of the most important overarching benefits: sales-marketing alignment.

Earlier this year, I sat down with Ali Gooch, Senior Sales Manager at Pardot, to discuss what she felt the biggest tensions between sales and marketing were, how she felt marketing automation was helping, and what advice she had for other companies who might be experiencing issues with sales-marketing alignment (see a video clip below, and view more of our conversation here). Lead quality was a topic that came up repeatedly, and we both identified it as one of the most common issues between the two departments. Sales blames marketing for not providing enough workable leads, marketing blames sales for not following up on their hard-earned leads — and marketing automation can go a long way towards solving this issue. But if you’re using marketing automation to generate a larger volume of new leads (and patting yourself on the back for it) without making sure you’re sending higher quality leads over to sales, your bottom line isn’t going to benefit. Furthermore, your sales team is not likely to be impressed with all the extra work you’re making them do.

I highly recommend doing the same: sit down with your sales counterpart to discuss what a quality lead looks like, the types of leads they’d like to see coming over, and how you can take steps to identify these leads with marketing automation. The quickest way to marketing automation success is making sure that you’re using the tool in such a way that your sales team will see as much benefit from it as you do.


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