Marketing automation is definitely becoming a more widespread purchase but we are most certainly not getting into the laggards. So this poses the question: what is preventing companies from adopting marketing automation? Well, as with adoption of any technology, there are always obstacles and believe me, I have come up against these obstacles on numerous occasions. The good news is that I have also been able to overcome them. So let’s take a look at the most common obstacles companies face.

Lack of skill and resource

With marketing automation being relatively new, skills are in short supply; if you’ve got the budget then brilliant, you can hire one of these experts or employ an agency. If not, you need to start off by getting the basics right. If you focus on a few key elements, you will be able to tackle the right audiences and build a foundation with which you can add more complex and time-consuming areas on to once you have more of a grasp. This not only allows you to find some quick wins but also allows your team to build up knowledge of the platform and become competent users.

Poor contact database

You’re not alone here but there are many tools out there to help with your data by cleansing and validating so take a look; again, there is likely to be a quick remedy. More importantly though, from this point on, through using marketing automation, you can make sure your data is up to date and can continue to capture information on leads. Using progressive profiling on forms and feeding these back into your CRM, you are keeping a constant stream of new and cleansed data.

Lack of content variety

Again, another common problem, but the best way to make a success of the content you are creating is to produce a few key pieces throughout the year and then re-purpose that content into smaller snippets of information, saving yourself the time, cost and effort of another masterpiece. Automation again helps this because it will enable you to host and then deliver content in an automated fashion. Of course, this does require you to create/have created some content, but to be candid with you, that is simply something you must be doing.

Sales and marketing don’t speak?

This is definitely an area where marketing automation performs at its very best. It provides you, the marketer, the ability to help sales in more ways than one. You can present sales with hot leads in real-time, with a whole host of information on that particular lead, meaning you’ve done a lot of the groundwork for them. With leads having completed 57% of their decision-making before making contact with you, it is important that sales can go into their first communication early and well-informed. The key to success here is to keep them in the loop and constantly revisit the process together to allow for a collaborative approach.

Budget restraints?

Similarly to the first point, if you start off simply, the cost does not have to exceed your budget. Once you see a return on investment, you can then build a significant business case to allocate more resource and budget to marketing automation. In addition, consider that Marketing Benchmark indicates that companies spend an average of 7% of their overall budgets on marketing automation.

Sure, these are not indicative of every challenge you may face but they’re certainly the most common. What I’ve not mentioned, and is absolutely fundamental, is to produce a solid strategy and a good planning phase and these challenges can be overcome. These steps should be done initially with the key stakeholders – at least from sales and marketing and senior management – and should become a regular feature on your calendar. Any other obstacles you may have can also be addressed if you take it one step at a time and analyse, learn, optimise. To find out more about marketing automation, download our free guide here.

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