Buying a marketing automation solution will not make you a great marketer just the same as owning a camera does not make you a professional photographer.

Often insurance marketers, and really all marketers, decide to hop on the latest marketing technology bandwagon without really understanding how to use this technology well. Marketing automation is one of those instances. One commonly cited statistic is that marketing automation can increase the number of leads in your sales pipeline by 10 percent and more.  Pretty attractive right? That alone leads marketers to decide to rally their teams, include an automation tool in their budget, and make a purchase. Another thing that sways many marketers is they are being told their CRM is not enough, thinking they cannot have a CRM system without marketing automation. We wrote about this recently in an article aptly titled: Are your marketing tools communicating?

According to one study, nearly 11 times more B2B companies were using marketing automation in 2014 than they were in 2011. Clearly,  marketers think that they have something to gain by adopting automation technologies. But in some cases,  marketers find that their automation tools many don’t see the results they expected, and as a result, look to change their automation vendor within a year or two. In a DemandBrew interview, Dan McDade,  the author of The Truth About Leads, warns that this type of technology “makes it possible to put more poor-quality leads into the hands of sales faster than ever before.”

So what should you do if you find you are not utilizing your marketing automation system, or it is dumping leads that are unqualified into your sales funnel?

Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your technology:

1. Don’t Use Automation for All Your Prospects. Pull out the top 25 percent of your prospects—those that you think have the best sales potential—and keep them separate from the automation system. Nurture these leads by hand, contacting them multiple times through multiple media. That way you’re spending your time where it is most likely to pay off. Let the automation system do what it does best: helping you save time by finding and nurturing the remaining 75 percent of leads that may or may not be worthwhile. You might also want to think about keeping a small set of prospects out of the automation system to serve as a control group. That way you can tell for sure if your marketing automation system is generating results beyond what you would normally see.

2. Think Beyond Email and the Web. The Internet offers unique opportunities for marketers because it is so much more measurable than most other media and because so much modern communication is digital. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon everything else. Many B2B marketers are rediscovering that “outdated” means of lead generation like direct mail and even old-fashioned telephone calls are better than email alone.

3. Remember that Automation Isn’t a Substitute for Good Marketing Practices. Automation works best when it is used by marketers who are also doing in-depth customer and competitive research, effective segmentation, detailed measurement and analysis, and regular outbound marketing.

4. Don’t Stop Learning. No matter how long you have been in marketing, there is always more to learn—about your customers, about your market, or about the practice of marketing. The most effective marketers are those who keep doing research and keep making new discoveries.

Remember: Marketing automation is just one tool in your toolbox—don’t forget about all the others.

To learn more read the following article we recently published:

The CMO’s Guide to Marketing Automation

The Lift Factor is skilled at understanding how to make CRM systems and marketing automation tool talk and designing effective marketing campaigns around these tools. Contact us today to learn more!