5 Mishaps to Avoid When Implementing Sales & Marketing Automation Software
Sales and marketing automation software has proven to be an efficient way of increasing the profitability of your business. But it's no simple task. Business leaders need to conduct a methodical implementation strategy that may include the help of an experienced advisor so everything goes to plan.
Without one, you may end up squandering precious time and much-needed financial resources. We gathered some of the common implementation pitfalls we've seen organizations of all sizes make when rolling out sales and marketing automation software -- and what you should do to avoid making the same ones.
1. Fitting Your Business into Software
No matter the marketing automation technology you choose to implement, keep in mind that your business comes first. This means you should follow a clear checklist of the features that your company needs. All the functionalities a software system can bring to the table are meaningless if they do not serve to forward your goals as a business.
Every business is unique, and your organization's business model should be top of mind when choosing a sales and marketing platform. An even worse practice is reinventing your business model to accommodate the software.
If your company is struggling to meet its sales and marketing objectives, implementing marketing automation is a good chance to rethink your weaknesses. But if your team is performing spectacularly and only needs to speed things up through workflow automation, you should leave all experiments for later.
Figuring out the must-have and nice-to-have features can be time-consuming, especially if you are implementing software across the organization for the first time. An external consulting company with an extensive portfolio of relevant experience may help you complete the process faster and with no gaps.
2. No Clear Workflows for Each Department
Often, situations like having to rework how your company does things so you can use your chosen sales and marketing software happen when you do not have a clear understanding of all department-specific workflows. Or when the workflows in your company are not clearly delimited, responsibilities are blurred, and people pass tasks to each other randomly. In small to medium-sized companies, employees often have to perform different roles supporting each other to distribute the workload efficiently.
If you have problems with overlapping tasks, you should start clarifying your workflows to finalize your automation plan. If you do not have an idea where to start, an experienced automation partner can provide insightful advice based on actual implementation projects in various industries.
3. Starting Without a Test Run
Even carefully planned automation projects fail. The reasons can vary. Perhaps you have overlooked a feature your end users deem important and necessary or maybe integrations with certain enterprise software are not working as they should.
This is where a sandbox environment that mirrors the sales and marketing platform becomes absolutely necessary. Within the sandbox, stakeholders can test the system and then provide their feedback. Once you’ve implemented the feedback, fixed every bug, and made sure integrations run smoothly, you are ready to roll out the new software company-wide.
The biggest sales and marketing automation software providers, HubSpot among them, allow the use of a sandbox or other testing environment. In this way, you can choose a CRM for sales and marketing and then ask your employees to test-drive it for a specific period of time.
4. Over-Customizing and Losing Core Features
Some companies buy a software license and then start customizing, adjusting, removing, and adding features to make the platform fit their needs.
When you have to customize pretty much everything, ask yourself if you made the right choice. If you have to personalize an out-of-the-box solution, you incur development costs on top of the license costs. With over-customization, you may end up eliminating the solution's core functionality or make the software buggy.
A better way to spend your money is to outsource requirements gathering and prioritization to an experienced consultant. GSI has worked on numerous sales and marketing automation projects and knows the drawbacks of both off-the-shelf and custom platforms. We can help you identify how much tuning you need.
5. Ignoring Data Analytics
Your sales and marketing automation software should not simply replace email correspondence and manual lead tracking. Solutions like Salesforce and HubSpot help you capture campaign performance and solidify your sales and marketing initiatives with data-driven insights.
As such, make sure your automation platform of choice has analytics solutions that will allow you to learn your business and customers better.
Make Your Software Work for Your Business
Implementing software is not something to dive into without a plan. We hope that the above best practices for sales and marketing software implementation will help you avoid failures and delays and make the final result work in your favor.
Contact GSI to learn more about how we can help you find and implement the ideal sales and marketing solution for your unique needs.