How to sell marketing automation to your boss in B2B?

You’ve done the research and you’re convinced: marketing automation is what your company needs! But how do you get your boss on board?

You’ve done your research. You might even have got a demo. So you’re convinced, marketing automation is the way forward for your company! One detail is keeping you from getting started though: you need the go-ahead from your boss. When working with clients, this is a situation I often come across. The marketing team has got a great idea, but it’s hard to convince the directors. Here’s how to prepare a strong pitch and convince your leadership.

Tip 1: Make automation a part of your marketing strategy

Marketing automation software is a tool, not a purpose. So when trying to convince your leadership, don’t talk about just marketing automation. Make it an integrated part of your marketing strategy, an instrument that’s crucial to your digital marketing efforts. These days, a company that neglects digital marketing (in their strategy or budget) won’t make it.

So bring in the bigger picture: rather than choosing marketing automation software as a standalone tool that you will combine with other standalone marketing tools, find an integrated platform that can serve your needs.

Tip 2: Create urgency

It’s worth stressing the importance of marketing automation for the company as a whole. The buyer’s journey has changed – in B2B as well as B2C. And the way prospects and clients interact with companies has changed too: they will look at your content critically. Relevant information and hard data have become more important than ever. Moreover, you need to send the right information, to the right person, at the right time.

Make your leadership see that to collect the necessary data and to publish it in the right way at the right time, you need adequate digital tools. Lead generation allows you to explicitly ask website visitors for their data. But you can learn a lot in an implicit way too, e.g. based on which pages a lead has visited. To make the urgency even stronger, have a look at what competitors are doing. Does your company need to hurry and catch-up? Or can you get a head start?

Tip 3: Don’t get too technical

This is a piece of advice I often repeat: use terms like ‘automated emails’ or ‘personalised content’, rather than buzzwords like ‘workflows’ or ‘smart content’. Keep in mind that some practises might be less evident to your directors than to you as an experienced marketer.

So present your ideas in a clear and comprehensible way. If possible, find real-life examples to illustrate parts of your strategy.

Tip 4: Show the difference marketing automation makes

Strategy is one thing, but you need practical examples to make the strategy tangible. Demonstrate how you want to attract online visitors, how you will generate leads and how you plan on converting them.

Show – don’t just tell – how you will automize the process and add expected results. Looking to purchase an integrated platform like HubSpot? Than stress its value for CRM and content management. Are tools for CRM, email marketing or content management already in place at the company? Then show how your solution will add value and how you will integrate it.

Tip 5: Do talk about cash

Sooner or later your leadership will ask “what’s this gonna cost?”, so it’s no use avoiding the topic. For starters, there’s the cost of the software licence. But don’t forget to include how much time and money you’ll need for implementation and follow-up. On the one hand, make sure not to overpromise: a thorough approach to content marketing needs some time.

On the other hand, clearly stress the amount of time you will win. Show the efficiency of measurable campaigns with clear KPIs when compared to traditional media campaigns. Also outline the value of a new prospect or client for the company, not just the cost.

To summarize, present a draft inbound plan including the necessary investments as well as an estimate value for generated leads. Do bring all of this together and make your boss see the return.

Tip 6: Dare to discuss possible pitfalls

Demonstrate that you’ve evaluated all the pros and cons and be honest about them. Marketing automation is not Plug and Play. It requires effort from the team and getting up to speed might take you some time.

During the fist year, marketing automation will mainly be a cost. But then ROI will visibly increase. Installing change inside an organisation is often difficult, so make clear to others how you’d like to involve them in the project.

Tip 7: Find allies

If you don’t have extensive experience with marketing automation software, I recommend you seek support outside of the company.

Contact an expert and let them set up a demo including tangible examples. They might even be able to present real-life cases with proven results. This will come in handy at the time of your pitch!

Also look for support internally. Find the influencers inside your company: what benefits will marketing automation bring to them? Make sure you get the sales team involved as they have a lot to gain from smooth, automated communication with clients!

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