Marketing Automation

How do You Sell Marketing Automation to Internal Stakeholders?


You have decided to purchase marketing automation software and now you need to present your business case to internal stakeholders. Who do you need buy-in from and what is the language that each of your executives want to hear?

When we were creating our new Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation, I interviewed various thought leaders in the industry and asked them all the key question of “What should you focus on when selling marketing automation to your executive team and what is the language that resonates with a CEO, CFO, or VP of sales?” Remember to make sure you have your presentation ready to go, including slides that explain the benefits and what the ROI will be for your business. If you need help, take a look at our brand new Sample Marketing Automation Internal Selling Template for some guidance.

But first make sure you incorporate the advice of the leading marketing automation experts in order to make sure you have the right positioning.

“Senior executives want to see a coherent strategic rationale. They expect financial justification as well, but recognize that it’s easy to come up with attractive projections. An investment in marketing automation is really about pushing the company in a new direction that is focused on managing and optimizing the customer life cycle. Sell the senior executives on this vision, and marketing automation then becomes a necessary investment to achieving it.  You’ll also need to sell them on other investments, such as staffing, training, content, and analytics.  Without getting those funded, marketing automation by itself won’t produce much in the way of results.”

David Raab, Principal at Raab Associates

“Focus on the opportunities that are being missed in the sales process – lost leads, poor lead-to-sale conversion rates, lack of lead intelligence, poor sales and marketing alignment, and lagging revenues from digital marketing. Showing the ability to measure ROI from a marketing budget is the golden spike that will close the sales with any CEO. Marketing automation can really help those things if handled well.”

John McTigue, EVP and Co-Founder of Kuno Creative

“Be wary of offering generic benefits like “increased marketing ROI” or “shorter selling cycles.” Those benefits may be legitimate possibilities, but they carry less weight when they could apply to any organization. Instead, identify the most pressing sales and marketing challenges at your company, and speak to those specific issues.


For example:

  • Increase the rate at which users upgrade from our freemium version to a paid license
  • Increase the rate and volume of qualified leads passed to field sales
  • Enhance our demand generation effectiveness by optimizing program spend based on true ROI
  • Increase the number of pipeline opportunities by more effectively marketing to existing leads
  • Increase the efficiency and bandwidth of inside sales without adding headcount”

Howard Sewell, President, Spear Marketing Group

“When I work with my clients there is sometimes the perception that the marketing function isn’t providing value. There is a question of whether budgets are being used effectively. It is critical for the marketing function to start making a case for value as it relates to revenue. Funding based on the ability to demonstrate ROI on a campaign or program is the language that would be listened to in the C-Suite. Even if you show on paper a good story, if the sales team doesn’t believe that your effort has had an effect on revenue, than you may lose the budget battle. What you need is sales to believe in what you can do as a marketing organization. Trust is a hard thing to earn and has been killed by past behavior. Overcoming that is crucial. Sell marketing automation to the C-Suite by showing them small programs based on value, and then an agreement also based on value.”

Matt Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer, Inoveer

You have to find the right angle when you sell marketing automation to the C-suite, but one thing is certain, revenue and metrics should be top of mind. If you want some more detailed information on the business case for marketing automation, take a look at Chapter 5 in the Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation, where we break out the core business cases and what to highlight to each executive team member.

And if you need some additional guidelines for your presentation, remember to check out our brand new Sample Marketing Automation Internal Selling PowerPoint Template. Not only does this deck have specific data points, but it also has detailed speaker notes so that you can really articulate your vision. The template is  customizable so you can add in your own business statistics and pain points.