Corporate Marketing Without Marketing Automation

Valerie Riley - Thu, May 26, 2016

I am fairly new to the SharpSpring team and here are a few things I really like so far:

  1. Company issued MacBook. Lovin’ the MacBook.
  2. I am on a large marketing team surrounded by talented, energetic and engaged people.
  3. We use marketing automation to grow our business.

Yep, the exponential growth going on here at SharpSpring is due in large part to the fact that we actively use our own platform every single day. (The phrase ‘drinking our own Kool Aid’ comes to mind.)

Prior to joining the team here, I was leading a marketing team of three at a 240-person company. Yep – that was three people out of 240. You can probably guess by those numbers that marketing was not a focus. In fact, I was relying on a dated email service provider, some anonymous website tracking, and Google Analytics to show campaign ROI. Even worse, the company database was in rough shape due to some bad feeds, so we could barely get results on outbound, let alone implement inbound. Marketing automation was a far-off dream.

The fact is that I was not alone. Depending on what researcher you trust, only 49% of companies are currently using marketing automation platforms.

As a member of the SharpSpring team, I now see the power of marketing automation, and in retrospect, I see a lot of missed opportunity in my previous role. I was truly flying blind. I was manually doing processes that could have easily been automated. I was producing engaging content but not getting all of the possible mileage out of it. I was leveraging social channels, but not to the fullest extent. Above all, there was no roll-up of this information, so I was unable to capture ROI on the marketing spend.

In short, there was a lot I could have been doing better as a corporate marketer if I had the power of a marketing automation platform. In hindsight, here is what I wish I had done as an in-house marketer to make marketing automation a reality:

  1. Listened to IT less. The IT team expressed security concerns in regards to implementing a marketing automation platform. I now see that those concerns were unfounded. In fact, security is part of SharpSpring’s DNA. Just take a look at our founder’s experience. Mic drop. Seriously, though, if you can drop a few lines of code, IT really doesn’t have to be involved and that eliminates a huge barrier for a lot of corporate practitioners.
  2. Pushed for control of the database. We were using SalesForce as our CRM and the the two administrators were in IT. I often voiced that the CRM was a marketing and sales function and tried to move those folks to the marketing team. I should have pushed harder on that issue. It would have given me the authority to clean up the data and start leveraging it.
  3. Rallied sales to help. The sales team was receptive to and appreciative of all of the campaigns my team generated. I should have built on that trust and taken the time to get them on a few demos of marketing automation. Had they seen how marketing automation can drive relevant leads, they probably would have been advocates for implementing a system.
  4. Shopped around. I was engaged with some of the major players, sitting in on webinars and receiving content from HubSpot, Marketo and Eloqua. I knew that those vendors were way beyond my budget, so I assumed all platforms were. Not true. There are alternatives to HubSpot, Marketo and Eloqua. I know now that SharpSpring is 1/10th to 1/20th the cost of those guys with all of the same features. I could have afforded SharpSpring.

If you are a corporate marketer in the 51% not using a platform, I urge you to do some research on marketing automation. I’m guessing that you are already working hard. Marketing automation will help you leverage your efforts to get better, measurable results. Figure out what barriers may be in your way in your organization and go ahead and knock them over. You’ll thank me for it.

  • Author: Valerie Riley

  • Val is SharpSpring’s senior manager of content and product marketing where she leads a team dedicated to spreading the good word about marketing automation. She was previously head of marketing for a software company in the construction industry. She has 20 years of experience in tech marketing and corporate communications.