by Heidi Schwende, Featured Contributor
Measuring ROI is complex sure, but it’s easier than you might think
EVERY SINGLE DAY I see individual and isolated articles that address content marketing, social media marketing, web development, marketing automation, metrics, and the trouble with getting ROI for all these things.
Then there are the pieces that cover the disconnectedness of marketing and sales, the disconnectedness of marketing, IT and service, the use of unsanctioned information technology resources, big data, the IoT and the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder everything feels like it’s spinning out of control. In fact, I don’t think it’s too far off from the truth [the spinning out of control bit I mean].
Can you say silos?
Siloed processes, siloed people, siloed departments, siloed information, siloed data… It’s high time we start talking about how it all should get pulled together. Enough with the tips, tricks and tactics of digital marketing. There’s got to be a foundation to build upon, otherwise it’s just a jumbled un-strategic mess of content.
Stop, take a breath and start setting the foundation for marketing and sales automation
The soundest recommendation I can make is to stop, take a breath, and start at the beginning. Where does our path to success begin anyway? It starts with examining our business processes.
If we get our key people together to map it all out we absolutely can create a path to success. We’ll want our business architect in the room along with the heads of marketing, sales, service and IT for starters. The caveat is this; if we automate processes that are bad to begin with, our automation will fail and we’ll be doomed to manual numbers crunching for the foreseeable future. Definitely not where anyone wants to be, especially if we have a C-Suite that’s demanding good clear reporting on our efforts. Plus, manual numbers crunching is subject to human error, is time consuming and can all to easily be fudged.
Automation is the only way to deal with acceleration
Here’s where we get to the point; ROI. It’s a fact; if we want to get at the ROI of our efforts, we have to automate and automate soon. Over the last 15 years, the digital space has been converging as predicted. Now that convergence has happened, that level of progress will occur in a shorter and shorter timeframe. Honestly, I do this for a living and I have to allocate at least 20% of my time to ongoing learning to keep up with digital acceleration. Automation and integration are wonderful innovations, but will fail to realize their full potential and will stall our efforts unless we follow a well thought out and planned roadmap to success.
Any good digital marketer will say that doing the up-front work is critically important. We must take a really hard look at processes and that’s going to ruffle some feathers. But think of the alternative… yikes.
Find the connectors, define them and plot the course ~ together.
Automation doesn’t happen by chance. It’s going to take some elbow grease and budget to get things moving. Time needs to be spent defining how we’ll fill the top of the funnel with demand creation. Then comes a checklist of things that must happen between lead acquisition to eventual hand-off to sales, conversion to a closed sale and the addition of a new customer for the service team.
The automation integration will need to be able to track each lead from first contact through acquisition and right on through to new customer status. A good automation provider will absolutely be able to help with this piece. We should never, ever try to go it alone, especially when there isn’t someone in-house with a great deal of experience in integrated automation systems.
Feeding the system ~ no batch and blast please!
We can’t forget about the data cleanup and content creation calendar either. This is where all those great tips, tricks and tactics can be strategically applied to the process of delighting the customer. The system will need to be fed regularly and often. But no batching and blasting ok, this is when we’ll be doing our full on marketing to sales automation.
If we feed everything through our hub, our website, to the automation system, we absolutely will be in a fantastic position to measure the actual ROI of our marketing and sales efforts.
And the best part is, we will know how much of our marketing actually contributed to bottom line sales.