So, let’s say your company has decided to adopt marketing automation. What’s the #1 thing that will derail your new platform?
I’ll start with a little story:
I was working as a consultant for a client – let’s call them Client X. Client X had purchased a nice services engagement to get them started. This included a 2-day discovery session, which got them up to speed and formed a base for how they’d use their new marketing platform. Afterward, Client X asked, “Why don’t you just build it all for us?”
We felt a little concerned, but we did as they asked. One year later, we were back on their site. Client X now needed help to start using their marketing automation platform properly. To summarize: The client had a 1-year execution detour!
So what went wrong? It’s simple: the client wasn’t interested in educating its team members. In retrospect, the “build it for us” request should’ve been a red flag.
What does education mean?
Education is bigger than than the ability to “use” a marketing automation platform. To get the most out of your new platform, your team should be educated in the following ways:
- Your team must be trained on basic operation of this new platform
- Your team must learn any new processes (for example, they may not have dealt with lead nurturing functions before adopting marketing automation)
- Your team should be updated on the most current best practices for all of the platform’s functions
- Your company must have established a continuing education program, to accommodate new information/best practices as they emerge.
Your teams needs an entire education strategy – a whole portfolio of activities. Here are some educational activities that every team should consider:
- Group Education. This is recommended early on for anyone new to marketing automation. At Marketo, we call this Foundation Education. Group education forms a great base for further learning, and provides an overall perspective on marketing automation. This can be on-demand or onsite, and may have a cost if provided by the vendor.
- Consulting Workshops. These are usually 2-day onsite sessions that are run by consultants. These are ideal in the early stages of adoption, as they teach both best practices and tailored processes. These workshops also define what needs to be built for the company.
- Build Sessions. Assuming you have build specifications, the actual build ideally happens with the help of a consultant. If core members of your team are actually involved in the build, they will understand what has been built and can properly execute moving forward.
- Testing. In the later stages of implementation, your team should participate in UAT (user acceptance testing). This is another chance for your team to troubleshoot problems. There can be several rounds of testing to ensure that everyone’s comfortable with the platform.
Here are some educational activities that your team members can perform on their own:
- Online Videos. Your team can watch online educational videos at any time. Focused selection of videos and incentive to watch them could increase the use of this great (and often free!) resource.
- Vendor Webinars. As long as these are concrete, how-to webinars, they can be enormously helpful.
- Online Communities. Your team can visit online resource centers, where questions can be asked and crowdsourced.
- Vendor Events. Many vendors host events or conferences, which can be great resources for your team.
Of course, depending on your budget, you may be limited in which educational opportunities your team can take advantage of. The key is to find the mix of these components that works for you. The more education, the better.
An education plan can be used to keep you on track. Here is an example of an education plan that encompasses some of these components at a high-level:
Note: Consider this the plan for your core marketing team. You may need to create additional plans for other roles, like field marketing or sales.
Mathematically, there will be a few key drivers of success. The more components in your portfolio, the more time spent with each component, and the more team members involved, the better your new platform will work for you. Don’t be like Client X!
If you want to learn more about educating your team to succeed? Download our ebook How to Succeed with Marketing Automation: A Change Management Lesson Plan.