6 Steps to Becoming a Marketing Automation Master

CMO creating a marketing automation plan on his iPad

Whether you like it or not, marketing automation is here to stay. This technology will continue to transform the way businesses engage with customers for years to come. Agency leaders continue to find opportunities for automation that were impossible just a few years ago. With so many automation tools available, now is an excellent time to form a new strategy if you haven’t already.

Automation programs can make lead generation easier and more efficient, making them extremely attractive to CMOs. However, how successful any lead generation plan will largely depend on the strategy behind it. This also applies to your brand’s automation strategy – a plan is essential in order for these programs to function best.

Instead of looking at marketing automation solutions as a method for generating leads, we recommend you view these tools as just one method of reaching customers. When you realize that automation is only one piece of your entire marketing strategy, you’ll be able to use it more effectively. With that said, here are six strategies that can help you master an automation program.

Marketing team devising their automation campaign using digital tools
Automation is the strategy, but the tactics involve things like email marketing, CRM software, and client interactions.

1. Start with Clearly Defined Goals

According to a study by Forrester, just 10 percent of marketers feel comfortable using a comprehensive marketing automation program as part of their overall promotional strategy. Uncertainty over how to proceed is usually caused by a lack of clear goals, which are essential to a marketing strategy. Whether it’s thought leadership, increasing website traffic, or generating leads, establish your automation plan with an objective in mind.

2. Be Specific About Your Marketing Tactics

Automation isn’t a tactic; it’s a mechanism that helps you increase the success of your marketing tactics. When thinking about marketing automation solutions for your brand, it’s important to identify what tactics you’ll be using throughout your campaign. Will you be implementing an email campaign or will you focus on collecting inbound leads? Whatever you decide, these tactics will have an impact on your automation strategy.

3. Create Content

Once you set clear goals and establish the tactics you wish to use, it’s time to create content to support your automation program. Blog posts, white papers, video, email, and all other forms of content should be ready ahead of time to be used with CRM automation tools.

4. Choose the Right CRM Automation Tools

Now, it’s time to choose the software that meets your needs. When shopping for the right automation software, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Select platforms that feature the tools you need to accomplish your goals. For example, businesses with an email campaign may benefit from CRM with email marketing automation. While it’s tempting to select a program with dozens of extra features, it’s not necessary unless you plan to use those tools in the future. It’s simpler – and more cost-effective – to purchase only the tools you need.

5. Make a Final Software Decision

After you’ve spent some time exploring the options for automation software, narrow the list down to two platforms. Consult with those who will be using the software to get their feedback, and don’t forget to test the platforms to ensure their user-friendliness. Most automation programs are easy to use, but there are some that can be more complicated.

6. Allow an Adjustment Period

Team members in the conference room discussing their automation process
Give your team some time to adjust to the automation cycle. Thorough training and positive reinforcement will go a long way.

Even if you’ve selected a user-friendly automation interface, it can still take a few months for a team to fully learn the software. Give your team time to experiment with the platform and determine the most effective ways to use it. Most importantly, be patient – it takes time to master automation programs, and teams may face some challenges throughout the first several months. Commit to your choice for at least a year before switching to another program.


Using CRM automation can be incredibly rewarding for your brand. In fact, when automation is implemented correctly, many businesses begin to see great results within the first six months. However, it’s still important not to rush into the automation process – especially if you’ve never used these platforms before. Take the time to develop a detailed automation strategy, and master the software you choose. Over time, you’ll see an excellent return on your investment.

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Avatar for Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo is a certified HubSpot Inbound Marketing expert, Senior Brand Strategist, as well as a lover of family, friends, and life. He enjoys good health, Tae Kwon-Do and discovering the most influential marketing trends.

Avatar for Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo

Eric Melillo is a certified HubSpot Inbound Marketing expert, Senior Brand Strategist, as well as a lover of family, friends, and life. He enjoys good health, Tae Kwon-Do and discovering the most influential marketing trends.