Yes, Your Marketing Automation Can Drive ROI!

James T FletcherJames T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant


Marketing spending is on the rise – Forrester predicts that companies will be spending $25.1 billion annually by 2023. And it’s not surprising – MA users report gains in everything from revenue to leads conversion to time savings.

What’s perhaps a bit more worrying is that while companies are pouring money into martech, the users themselves are less enthralled. Up to 85% of marketers think they could be getting more out of marketing automation.

So, what can you do if you don’t seem to be getting much of a bang for your marketing automation buck?

1. Develop a maturity roadmap

Our good friends over at Marketo have created a handy benchmark to measure the maturity of your marketing pipeline:

Source: Marketo Benchmark on Revenue Performance,

They found that companies who were already managing their marketing pipeline effectively (those in the top two groups) saw dramatically higher ROI than those in the lower two groups.

In other words, if you want to see serious returns on your investment in marketing automation, start by getting your marketing house in order:

  • Have you defined your different lead types effectively?
  • Are sales and marketing on the same page?
  • What metrics are most critical to your business strategy?
  • Is your marketing data clean?
  • Have you examined your content strategy lately?

Spending time bringing your organisation up to full marketing maturity will mean that you’ll really be able to see the benefits of marketing automation.

“The most mature users of marketing automation achieve 32% greater revenue versus their plan than average companies – and a whopping 79% more than the least mature companies.”- Marketo Survey Results

2. Consider the human factor

One of the biggest reasons why you might not be seeing ROI on your marketing automation investment is that you haven’t spent enough time thinking about the end users.

In some cases, companies invest in a complex, expensive marketing automation system, but fail to spend the money on the most critical point – implementation. No matter how good your marketing automation platform, it is only ever going to be effective if it has been set up to work with your unique business systems and processes.

Similarly, you may have a well-designed MA instance – but have failed to ensure there are enough staff that feel comfortable using it. For instance, Act-On Software found that 50% of companies cited “limited availability of skilled experience” as a barrier to their success. For 4 out of 10 respondents, the perceived complexity of marketing automation was also a significant challenge.

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3. Start using more features

If you don’t seem to see the ROI you’d expected from introducing marketing automation, it might be time to look at how you’re actually using it. While more than 64% of companies are happily using email automation these days, Smart Insight reports that only 28% of businesses are using many of the most useful features included in their MA software.

Marketing automation is not only a great way to save time, it can really boost the bottom line – but only if you’re using the features that can make a difference to sales results. Tools like A/B testing, lead scoring, targeted messaging and progressive profiling are available in many of the top MA solutions. Automating these processes can make a significant difference to how well you understand lead behaviour and how easily you connect and convert prospects.

4. Upgrade your content

Marketing automation can be a fantastic way to get your content in front of your target audience – whether that be by automating distribution, creating high-converting email funnels,  curating content automatically to save time, or using analytics to find out what your leads would most like to read.

Of course, in some cases, you may not really feel sure whether or not marketing automation is making a difference to your results. If you find yourself debating the impact your MA system is having on your business, the main solution would be…

5. Expand what you measure

The vast majority of MA users are simply not tracking enough metrics to measure ROI performance accurately. Most businesses using MA are keeping track of the most obvious, top-level results, like numbers of new contacts, landing page views, form completions, or similar. However, the Act-On study found that leading MA users are also tracking a number of other KPIs that tell them far more about what MA is doing and where they need to be looking, such as:  

  • Marketing qualified leads
  • Sales qualified leads
  • Sales accepted leads
  • Sales generated leads
  • Marketing-generated opportunities
  • Marketing contribution to revenue
  • Marketing contribution to pipeline

These numbers can give you far more insight into how your MA is working out, or where you might need to make some changes.

At JTF Marketing, we are a specialist marketing automation consultancyhelping businesses get major results from marketing automation – without all the headaches.

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