Are Marketing Automation Vendors Making Promises They Can’t Keep?
Last month, The Annuitas Group ran a pair of blog posts about 9 Things Marketers Need from Marketing Automation Vendors and Consultants. There’s some great stuff here, and they’re saying some things that really need to be said about a fast-growing, and still maturing, industry.
But one point on their list is especially important: Automation vendors need to think about whether terms like “quick,” “easy” and “30 days” really belong in their marketing vocabularies.
This Has All Happened Before
I have seen other groups of technology vendors make similar promises, and it rarely ended well.
In the 1990s, vendors pushed their content management and document management products as drop-dead easy, turnkey solutions. They weren’t.
A decade ago, the same thing happened in the CRM market. Failure rates on CRM projects climbed as high as 70%, and many companies canceled or scaled back their CRM projects.
In both cases, customers had a bad habit of letting the technology drive their purchasing decisions, rather than thinking first about their business processes and change management issues. The vendors did nothing to stop them. A backlash was inevitable.
Is the marketing automation market headed down the same path? It’s too early to tell, although an often-cited statistic from SiriusDecisions – that 85% of marketing automation users don’t think they’re taking full advantage of their systems — is cause for concern.
Addressing The Frustration Factor
Customers need guidance to push down that frustration factor, and vendors need to provide that guidance.
Before a company can take full advantage of a marketing automation solution, it has to make sure its sales and marketing teams are speaking the same language. It needs a lead scoring methodology, closed-loop reporting processes, user training and enablement, and all of the other things that contribute to a successful solution.
Vendors can help with all of these things. The best vendors, in fact, excel at helping customers with change management and business-process issues. Yet it’s impossible to reconcile change management best practices – all of which take time and care to implement – with the fast-faster-fastest marketing mantra being used to sell the technology.
This will all work itself out in the end. It always does. The big question is whether all of the vendors making promises today will be around to keep them tomorrow.
2012 Sales And Marketing Integration Awards: Seeing The Big Picture
Next week, we’ll roll out one of our most popular and talked-about reports: The DGR Sales and Marketing Integration Awards. It’s no surprise that so many readers checked out our 2011 award winners. These are companies that faced huge sales and marketing challenges – and they found solutions to those challenges that paid off handsomely. In a market where even the experts often find themselves in uncharted territory, these success stories are worth a closer look.
I won’t give away too much about our 2012 winners, but I will say this: A lot of these companies dealt with extremely complex technology challenges. This included integrating new marketing automation solutions with existing salesforce.com environments; migrating from legacy CRM and data sources; and rolling out additional integrations for everything from Microsoft Outlook to the latest web conferencing platforms.
As we pointed out in a recent DGR feature, sales and marketing alignment/integration isn’t just about the technology; if your people and processes aren’t ready to roll, then even the best technology will fall flat. Even so, it’s clear that the best of these companies are investing a lot of time and effort in their technology infrastructures.
In other words, alignment is a classic big-picture challenge: You can’t win unless you’re able to see both the forest and the trees. That’s a trick our 2012 award winners can show you how to pull off.
Stay tuned for the 2012 Sales and Marketing Integration Awards Report, launching on DemandGen Report on Tues. June 26.