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Maximizing Your Marketing Automation Platform: Creating a Pardot Roadmap

Have you tried to implement a Marketing Automation platform in the past? Did you get the platform setup fairly quickly, send out a few e-mails and then see it lose momentum?

The benefits of Marketing Automation are real. If you’re just starting out or starting over with the Pardot platform, consider a road map to get the most out of it. Gather up representatives from Marketing, Sales and IT and have a discussion that answers the following:

Objective: Why is your organization interested in marketing automation? Is it to provide better leads for sales teams? Is it for your marketing to better help manage the relationship with clients? Is to get a better grasp on ROI? Whatever it is, all of the parts that make up this process will be built with this objective in mind. The minute you come across a road block or stumble, ask yourself, “Does this help us meet the objective?” The second something doesn’t relate to achieving the objective, toss it to the side and keep moving.

Foundational Activities: Once you have your objective outlined, review the people, processes and technologies you need in place. You’ll need to pick an administrator, make sure the Pardot Quick Start is set up and make sure sales, marketing and IT agree on what each role is supposed to do and at what step. For example, Marketing will likely be responsible for generating a lead and qualifying it. Do they have a content strategy and responsive designs? Once it’s qualified, Sales will be responsible for viewing it in Salesforce and converting it to an opportunity. Do they understand how to use the leads object? Will Sales leadership enforce adoption? IT will need to make sure both parties have all the technologies and devices they need in order to ensure these processes will run, including things like implementing 4G while your sales reps are on the road so that they can respond in real time.

Quick Wins: Now you know what your goals are and you’re setup to be in a position to achieve them…so its time to get comfortable with the platform. Set up your website with Pardot Forms or Form handlers that help identify prospects. From here, set up a simple segment that connect to a simple engagement studios to deliver a stream of e-mails. Set up a page action for the most important pages on your site that notify a user when an identified prospect visits more than once. Send out a newsletter that uses basic dynamic content. Consider this your pilot phase. If there was ever a time to make mistakes, this is it.

Full Maturity: This is the most important piece and the one many companies do not realize. Quick Wins are to gain confidence and understand the platform. Once those are achieved, you need a plan that will generate leads, qualify them and send them over to your CRM. Explore Search Engine Marketing, Various E-mail Nurture Campaigns and Automation rules to deliver relevant messages at the right times. You also need to chart out how a scoring and grading model will fit with your organization. Your Sales teams want to talk to prospects that they know are interested, and that’s where your scoring/grading model will really come into play. Charting out and executing these types of activities will help you sustain momentum for years.

Put all of this in a simple document and submit it to your Executive Team. Start backwards during your presentation: explain the end state of multiple campaigns running that will generate leads that you can tie your ROI back to. When the Executive Team asks how you’re going to achieve this, then go back to the beginning: explain that before you get to full maturity, you’re going to pilot out some Quick Wins to gain confidence. They will tell you not to rush into anything too fast, and then you can explain that you’ve already laid out the foundational activities to be successful. Finally, when they ask what the benefit to the organization will be, point back to your objectives.

In conclusion, revisit the road map often. This is exciting stuff. People will see that and want to be involved…so share it with them, too.

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