Funnel Plan, The Perfect Precursor to Marketing Automation

I read an excellent post on Marketing Automation by Mac MacConnel of BlueBird Strategies that gave savvy advice for companies that have just inked a deal for a marketing automation (MA) system.

His article highlighted the speed bumps that can hinder ROI for marketing automation right from the start.

The three speed bumps are, according to MacConnel:

  1. Lack of fresh inquiries
  2. Lack of good content to offer leads
  3. A weak  lead scoring model

MacConnel’s article reminded me of how important an aligned sales and marketing plan is to the full and rapid realization of a MA system’s benefits.

In companies where Sales and Marketing aren’t properly aligned around the funnel the process of adopting a MA system will be more painful and take more time. Ask anyone who has been there.

In companies where Sales and Marketing are already ‘on the same page’, the adoption of a powerful MA system will turbo charge the revenue engine quickly because the biggest speed bumps will have already been removed.

I’m a proponent of aligning Sales and Marketing through a rigorous funnel planning process BEFORE adopting marketing automation. Just like learning to drive is a smart precursor before buying a car, so is aligning Sales and Marketing a smart precursor to a marketing automation investment.

How does an aligned revenue plan (funnel plan) prevent or minimize the speed bumps MacConnel warns us about?

  1. A continual source of fresh inquiries.  Teams that are wedded to an aligned funnel plan know exactly how many fresh names need to be drawn into the funnel and nurtured through the funnel stages. Through modeling and testing they will already have a good idea of what tactics should be employed and with what rhythm to ensure a continual flow.
  2. Good content relevant to the buyer. Teams that are aligned around the buyer’s journey and are clear about the buyer’s problem they are solving are in a better position to know what content should be provided at different stages in the funnel. The right funnel planning process for Marketing and Sales aids the team in achieving higher levels of buyer insight, which leads to better content development.
  3. Smart lead scoring. Teams that have defined the stages of a revenue funnel with complete empathy for the buyer’s journey are going to create better lead scoring rules. They will be more aware of the buyer’s behaviors that signal different levels of interest.  This knowledge of ‘interest’, when added to demographic  and firmographic  information for ‘fit’ results in sophisticated lead scoring.

Companies can adopt MA the hard way or the easy way. The easy way is to first get Marketing and Sales aligned via a funnel planning (revenue planning) process.

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