How to Maximize Your First Time Marketing Automation Investment

I am a seasoned marketer but last year was my first foray into HubSpot marketing automation.  My experience was with a small B2B client with $5MM in revenue. I researched a few HubSpot competitors, Pardot and Marketo, and HubSpot was the right choice for the business at that time. But we made some rookie mistakes. I want to share my marketing automation insights to help you maximize your initial investment.

First, plan out all marketing technology platform decisions (CRM, automation, email)  before buying any part of your marketing technology stack.   We inherited a company that was using Constant Contact (email) and Salesforce (CRM).   But in our excitement to put in place a marketing automation tool, we pulled the trigger too fast with HubSpot.   We didn’t take the time to review all our platforms from a long-term perspective and wasted resources and money. Sales was adamant about using Salesforce as our CRM even though only 20% of Salesforce’s functionality was being used.  HubSpot’s CRM would have been perfect for our use. We also didn’t have a consolidated email solution so we were using Constant Contact for some emails and HubSpot for others. Not ideal at all. I needed to better educate the CEO and Head of Sales why HubSpot could fulfill our marketing automation, CRM and email needs and save us money to boot.  

Second, you need to have three to six months of content ready to go before you start your HubSpot marketing automation services.  We didn’t have any content ready with the thought that we’d create content as we were learning the platform.  While this made sense before we started our HubSpot service, it made no sense after. A HubSpot enterprise subscription includes three months of consulting to help you learn the platform.  This is a great benefit but to take advantage, your need final content so you can start executing campaigns (CTA’s, Landing pages and Thank You pages) during training. Our content wasn’t ready so we wasted two months creating content and had one month of training.  HubSpot was a little flexible but we wasted consulting time. Another valuable lesson learned.

Third, if you’re marketing team isn’t tech savvy, you need to have a tech resource on the team. While I’m not afraid of technology and like it, I had a marketing technologist as part of my team.  The tech can focus on all the tech aspects of marketing automation while the marketing team can focus on marketing -- developing content, campaigns, writing landing and thank you pages, etc. and how to execute them on the platform.  

In summary, my first experience with HubSpot marketing automation, problems aside, was good.  I learned what content drove lead generation, how prepared you need to be to start marketing automation and how good HubSpot’s online training and support resources were.    My main issue was the HubSpot sales rep not better preparing me for implementation before we signed our agreement. Don’t make the same mistake.

So what other lessons have you learned from your marketing automation experience?  I’d love to hear from you so please share them.