Change is hard for some companies. Some would rather go with an executive’s gut than use data to back their decisions. Some still have paper files. And some, unfortunately, won’t be around five years from now because they aren’t willing to adapt to an evolving digital landscape. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve tried to pitch marketing automation to your boss and they said no because they didn’t see the value in it. But no worries – I’m here to help.
First, you have to ask your boss if your company is serious about marketing. If the answer is ‘yes,’ then there’s hope for your pitch. (If the answer is ‘no,’ I’d look for the door!)
Now, when you’re pitching your boss on anything, you have to look at them like a client or customer and think solely in terms of what’s in it for them and their company. Let’s go through the steps you’d take in a regular client pitch and adjust them slightly to fit a meeting with the C-suite.
Step 1: Establish a Need for Change
The way people buy has changed. You already know this. It’s no longer enough to just place an ad and hope they’ll call. You need to become an information hub for prospects, building relationships with them through your content before they even make a purchase.
For instance, if you manufacturer pool pumps, your website should strive to be the ultimate resource for everything related to your product. In other words, you want to be the New York Times of pool pumps.
Whatever it is you’re pitching, you want to be the authority in your space. The same rules apply when you’re pitching a new product to your boss. And the best way to approach the ole’ higher-ups is by talking strategy.
Start by simply asking: “What is our marketing strategy?”
Whatever the answer might be, you need a digital marketing strategy to accompany your overall marketing strategy. If you have a digital strategy in place, that’s great. Marketing automation will just enhance what you’re already doing.
If you don’t have a digital strategy, then you’ve got a lot of catching up to do – and you can’t afford to sit around and debate about whether you need marketing automation.
Here’s another way to look at it. You have a website. But are you getting the most out of it? If you don’t have a marketing automation platform in place, you’re probably working with disparate systems:
- One system to send email newsletters and other updates
- Another system to track your analytics
- And yet another system for your sales CRM
Where’s the harmony in that?
With a system like Sharpspring, you can create a synergistic love triangle between all of these processes. No silos. One platform. It’s not magic, but it’s pretty darn close.
Step 2: Propose a Clear Strategy
Your boss is obviously considering ramping up digital marketing – otherwise this wouldn’t even be a topic of discussion. But you need to convince them that marketing automation is the vehicle for creating and implementing a truly effective digital strategy.
First and foremost, your strategy should be shaped around educating and nurturing leads through high-quality content. Content so good, your prospects are willing to give their contact info to get it. You might even be doing this already.
But what do you when you get their email addresses? You have to nurture them along. That’s where marketing automation comes in.
Let’s keep it really simple. Here’s a breakdown of your marketing strategy in words that you can use:
- Boss, our website is going to become the centerpiece of all of our digital marketing efforts.
- We’re going to collect our prospects’ email addresses by creating offers on our website for free eBooks and whitepapers.
- Instead of sending just one email after someone downloads content, we’re going to create entire email series to nurture leads toward contacting our sales team.
- We’re going to interview and survey our customers regularly to find out what they really want us to write about.
- We’re going to consistently create high-quality blog content that speaks directly to our customers’ interests and problems.
- We’re going to share our blog content on social media and promote it via email on a weekly basis.
- We’ll be able to track the activity of leads on our website and know what content they’ve seen, so our sales team will be better equipped to sell to them.
- And we’re going to continue this process week in and week out until we achieve our marketing and sales goals.
Okay, admittedly this is a coming out a little brazen. You want to think of your boss as a customer, but they are still your boss at the end of the day. You can tone down the message as much as you see fit, but that’s the gist of it.
Step 3: Offer Supporting Evidence
Now that you’ve had a general strategy discussion, it’s time to prove how marketing automation can support that strategy.
Here are just a few fun facts you can throw down during your meeting:
- Nearly 70% of businesses are already using a marketing automation platform or currently implementing one.
- Best-in-class companies are 67% more likely to use a marketing automation platform.
- 77% of CMOs at top-performing companies indicate their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to drive up revenue.
- The primary benefit of marketing automation according to B2B marketers is the ability to generate more, better-quality leads.
- 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation.
Once you’ve shown that marketing automation is a proven tool, spell out the benefits in a way your boss will identify with.
Hey Boss, do any of the following sound good?
- Behavioral-based segmentation of leads
- Warmer, more sales-ready leads
- Higher acceptance of leads by sales team
- Significantly lower cost per lead
- Higher response rates to campaigns/offers
Step 4: Focus on the Money
You can bet this year’s raise that your boss is thinking in terms of ROI. Use the four talking points below to beat your boss to the punch and show you’ve got your eyes on the prize too.
Manage, measure, customize and optimize the customer experience throughout your marketing funnel with one system that links all of your data together, saving you time and resources.
Collect detailed information on your prospects when they interact with your site, and then target them with highly personalized content at exactly the right times to increase conversions.
Marketing & Sales Alignment
View an entire prospect’s history – from initial site visit to every social interaction and piece of content viewed – to increase transparency and improve communication between your marketing and sales teams.
Analytics & Reporting
Track all of your marketing initiatives to measure and analyze campaign performance, learn what’s working and what’s not, and optimize future efforts for maximum impact.
Knock It Out of the Park
Let’s face it, your boss has probably heard about marketing automation, but they might not understand the strategy behind it. Schedule a couple of meetings, and be sure you’re fully prepared to make your pitch. Don’t try to jam it down their throat in one session. Be patient and treat them like a customer. Remember, you’re only trying to help your company stay competitive and grow.