As much as marketing automation WILL save you time once you’re set up: it’s still too much work starting out.

The sheer amount of steps to take and things to take account into when setting up even a simple automation is still staggering. Because marketing automation software often functions as the hub of customer data, you’ve got to be really careful to think about all the other systems and data that will be impacted by what you’re trying to do.

Recently I built a free trial workflow for a customer. Before, when a customer signed up for a free trial through the website, they’d get a welcome email: that was it. The new workflow was intended to send a series of emails guiding the new user through their trial. It also made sure that whenever the customer undertook action (get in touch) the necessary notifications and alerts would go out to the correct people in the sales team.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s just like DIYing: it always takes more time than you think.

Between designing the workflow, getting the right copy in place, deciding on the triggers and making sure everything was working correctly, between all the folks in the team we spent a whole bunch of time. Of course, once you’re done, it all starts to work for you and saves you time, but… phew!

I also think that the way most campaign builders work right now (yes/no trees) needs to evolve into a system where the automation tools does the heavy lifting. Right now, oftentimes I have to tell it exactly which conditions to consider and where. And what to do next.

What I want to be doing is tell my system what I want to send, to whom I want to send it, when I want to stop sending it and what should happen to those contacts next. Again, this sounds way easier than it is right now.

Finally, the sheer numbers of functionalities in marketing automation software often has a paralyzing affect on marketers. They don’t know where to start and so cherry pick a couple of easy things. This is why we keep running into folks that have never used their Marketo instance for more than bulk email (I’m not kidding).

Because of all these things I’m so glad that Net-Results Marketing Automation offers unlimited onboarding and training to all its customers. If you want to truly leverage a marketing automation platform, you must invest in getting trained up and staying current with it.

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Henrik Becker

Marketing Automation Consultant