With an extensive background in software development, our team at Nuvem Consulting has long been accustomed to the concept of “agile” development, which can be described as:
- Responding to change, even if it strays from a prescribed plan
- Rapid iterations over “Big Bang” campaigns
- Testing and data over opinions and conventions
Agile marketing is much the same. Agile marketing relies on smaller and more frequent campaigns, which are closely analyzed and used to identify areas for improvement. It’s a trend we’re seeing more often in marketing and one that we’ve seen used powerfully in high-performance organizations.
Introduction to Agile Marketing
At a very basic level, agile marketing is about doing more with less. But it’s also about reacting and responding to data as it becomes available.
Planning has always been a critical step when it comes to marketing. How committed you are to planning can make or break a campaign. But, planning takes time. And meticulously-planned campaigns haven’t historically involved data analysis and continuous improvement of a campaign in progress. That in turn could impact opportunities and revenue.
Bottom line: don’t delay the ROI of your marketing efforts by spending too much time in the planning phase and not enough time in the doing phase. Quality is critical but over-analyzing campaigns and getting caught up in the daily minutiae of marketing can critically impact your KPIs.
When considering an agile marketing strategy, you want to incorporate people, processes and technology, as described below.
Assembling a Team
A high-power marketing team requires the right mix of people who can perform strategy, content creation, campaign delivery and data analysis tasks.
Keep in mind, we have seen many small businesses with a high-power marketing team of one! Versatility, previous work experiences and a network of freelancers can go a long way in scaling up a small marketing team. Look for people with a mentality of continuous improvement.
High-performance organizations no longer see marketing as a cost center. They are investing more in marketing and great talent because they can see the revenue influence behind an agile, high-power team.
Re-Engineering Sales and Marketing Processes
Sales and marketing alignment is about more than established mutual goals. It’s about complete alignment in process. It’s also about creating shared data systems, which can lead to closed-loop reports and better informed decisions.
Your sales and marketing processes must be developed to reflect buyer behaviors and expectations. And your prospects and customers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to building a great sales process.
Buyers today are 50%+ of the way through the sales cycle BEFORE they are ready to talk to sales. That means more of the sales process is actually in the hands of marketing. This reinforces the argument for agile marketing because we can deploy more campaigns in less time, then analyze the performance of those campaigns and improve them for next time. In a short period of time, we can understand what our prospects and customers respond to, which shortens the sales cycle and creates a better customer experience.
Implementing Technologies that Can be Easily Customized
Identifying when a prospect is ready for sales requires coordination between marketing and sales to ensure a smooth handoff. Integrated sales and marketing platforms such as Salesforce Sales Cloud CRM and Pardot additionally help you track the performance of your marketing from point of entry (lead generation) all the way through to a closed-won sale. This helps you understand what marketing activities are actually generating opportunities and revenue, not just clicks and page views.
We also recommend Sales Cloud as the central data management system for customer information because it can be easily customized. Most customizations can be done by a system administrator rather than a developer, and they can often be done in a matter of minutes. The benefits of rapidly being able to change your technology to better suit your sales and marketing needs cannot be overstated. Continuous improvement of your processes and technologies will only help you be a better marketer.
Taming the Chaos
As much as we want agile marketing to transform our organization, we don’t want it to create a culture of chaos. Marketers today have more responsibilities than ever. It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing plans, reports and activities.
We recommend daily standups between marketing team members and weekly touch points between marketing and sales on overall strategy and progress. Maintaining project plans in tools such as Smartsheet can also help keep your team stay focused on the task-at-hand while having an eye on the big picture.
Automating tasks and reports can also help tremendously. With Salesforce, you can slice and dice reports in virtually limitless ways. You can also schedule them and get access to a real-time dashboard of data to inform your most difficult decisions.
Reach out to a Salesforce partner or community member, or take a few Trailhead courses, if you need help understanding your reporting options or data deficiencies. Understand that you may need to make modifications to how you are capturing or organizing customer data in order to build meaningful reports.
Finally, creating simple nurturing programs and triggered emails can go a long way in doing more with less and taming the chaos of your “batch and blast” email strategy. Using Pardot Engagement Studio, for example, is a great way to deploy marketing messages for each stage of your customer’s lifecycle. Start with a 3-email series and build more complexity as you get more analytics.