Here is why:
Should you use Pardot just because marketing automation sounds interesting? Read carefully this blog post and avoid a costly Salesforce mistake.
If you have Salesforce CRM then you probably heard about marketing automation and Pardot. If you need more lead generation techniques this sounds like a fantastic idea but should you jump into Pardot just because it was suggested by your Salesforce Account Executive or an agency?
- Is there an actual need in your marketing department to start automation with Pardot? If so which marketing processes?
- Is your marketing team prepared for everything it takes to constantly conceptualize, execute and measure lead generating campaigns? How will you produce this content and who will build these campaigns?
- Will Pardot be the right solution for your company?
You are ready to make an investment into marketing automation when you can commit to an overall investment in demand generation strategy, training of people, creation of content and then finally the technology platform to put everything into practice. Otherwise Pardot will be just another marketing tool sitting there.
Marketing automation tools are like an expensive car. You need to maintain them, you need a direction where to drive them, you need a driver and you need fuel to run them
Is your marketing team ready for Pardot marketing automation?
Your organization would need to be at a certain level to be successful with modern marketing automation practices. Here are some key elements which need to be in place for your organization to graduate from email marketing to marketing automation:
- Demand Generation Strategy – how will you generate demand for your product and services. Which channels and tactics will you use? How will you measure conversions and success? Do you have an up to date website with good content to support this?
- Content & Creative – what will be the message of your landing pages and email campaigns? How will you produce this initial content and ongoing campaigns?
- Marketing Database – How large and up-to date is your marketing database? Do you have enough data sources to work with? Maybe you should focus first on acquisition of records to just grow your initial marketing database as opposed to overcomplicate your marketing operations.
- Pro Tip: Keep clean your Salesforce Leads & Contacts; down the road these will be key in your success
- Agency Partners are important. Who will be the right expert to help you? Organizations which became successful with marketing automation have a combination of both inhouse knowledge and outside agency resources. The right marketing operations agency works as an extension of your team bringing additional skills, capabilities and economies of scale to your marketing department. Not all agencies are equal; marketing automaton knowledge requires a combination of strategy and tactical execution. You need to find the right business partner.
- Your Team is key –More so than the tech, the right people are the recipe for success. Who will own and manage the marketing automation tool? How will the team be trained and how will the new marketing automation processes be adopted?
Pardot can hurt your company
Paying for a Pardot license would be like having an expensive car just sitting in your garage without fuel, nobody to drive it and nowhere to go. Unfortunately, this situation is far too familiar for many companies we talked to.
Pardot marketing automation would hurt more than help you without all these pieces in place. Of course, Salesforce would love to sell you more of their products and services without consideration what the best solution for you really is.
This stands true for any other marketing automation vendor you speak to. An educated marketer is a smart marketer. There are better ways you can progress, here are a few options.
What else can you do? Here is how you can prepare
What is a better way to start with marketing automation? Here are a few tips I gathered from years of helping companies achieve better results:
- Practice basic email marketing first; Paying for Pardot or any other marketing automation tool to do just basic email marketing is not a smart idea. Once the limitations of basic email becomes more evident then you will naturally see the benefits of marketing automation tools
- Run paid advertisement campaigns such as Google AdWords and measure conversations. You will later be able to bring this into your marketing database and follow up with a marketing automation tools
- Gate your assets with basic Form plug-ins and widgets. Create educational content which speaks to your buyer’s pain points. A content marketing strategy can be started regardless what tools you use. The content will be the fuel of your future marketing automation efforts.
- Invest in skilled people to own these digital marketing practices who would then become proficient with the marketing automation tools down the road
Once you have all these elements in place the need for marketing automation will make itself evident. You can tie in everything together with a marketing automation platform; it will be a natural evolution. By then your marketing team should be knowledgeable enough to get started on the right foot.
Alternatives to Salesforce Pardot
Pardot is not the only entry level marketing automation platform. Diligent marketers do their homework before buying into marketing automation. Below are a few options and resources you will find useful: