Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) incorrectly view content creation as the most significant hurdle to overcome when planning for marketing. Yet, the reality is that prior to this stage, and perhaps even prior to the evaluation of a marketing automation solution, the marketing team, sales team, and executive sponsor should spend significant time crafting a demand generation strategy that aligns with the business objectives and considers precisely how a lead will move through an improved funnel.
The better defined this strategy is in the planning stages, the easier it is to identify exactly the kind of content that is needed and to maximize its effectiveness. An all-encompassing demand generation strategy is the true king of modern marketing and should cover all areas — from scoring rules, lead-nurturing tactics, and re-nurturing loops to buyer personas, handover points, and key performance indicators (KPIs). This streamlining ensures that marketing’s efforts are in line with the expectations of the sales team and underpinned by marketing automation, and it empowers small-staffed SMEs to achieve, and often outdo, the results of larger competitors.
If you are using a popular CRM application such as Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or NetSuite, it’s easy to find a marketing automation tool with built-in connections. If you are using a custom-built CRM or an industry-specific CRM, you probably need a custom integration. Either way, you have three ways to evaluate your solution based on your chosen CRM against your marketing automation tool, from basic to advanced, as follows. The level of sophistication you require, and your tools, will dictate which is correct for you.