8 Things To Look For In A Marketing Automation Consultant
When you’re starting your business you probably have more ideas than hours and need to leverage technology to make up the difference. If you’re still working your day job, chances are you don’t have time to Gary Vaynerchuk the shit out of your social media, blog, and marketing… Posting god knows what at all hours of the day…
In fact you probably just have something you’d like to say in your marketing, and now have to figure out how to get that something in front of someone! You know if you just had a chance to get that something in front of the right person you would start to gain momentum, get some sales, and grow your business.
Enter Marketing Automation
If marketing automation does one thing right for a small business, it’s getting a proven message in front of your prospects consistently, and providing feedback so you can tweak it for maximum effectiveness. In fact, it has been proven that a nurtured lead brings in 20% more sales than one that was not. (Sales Force)
Problem is, whether you are using Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, OntraPort, or AWeber they all take a special type of nerd to figure them out. So unless you look great with some hipster glasses and a pocket protector it’s time to bring in the big guns, a marketing automation consultant.
There Are Consultants For Everything!!! How Do I Know I Found A Good Marketing Automation Consultant?
As with any professional you’re going to find automation specialists who are full of great insights, wisdom, and actionable ideas… And then some that are just full of it.
Here are 8 things to look for:
1. Solid Marketing Chops
With enough determination almost anyone can use most modern automation software. The problem is that if they don’t know what the hell they’re doing it could potentially hurt your business. The premise of marketing automation is taking your best stuff and making sure everyone hears it at the right time.
If you don’t have the right message going out it will actually hurt your business. Automation simply multiplies the results you would get by manually doing certain marketing activities because:
- They always get done
- They are always done in a predetermined sequence
This is great so long as the emails you are sending out are the right ones and follow best practices for performance and deliverability.
2. Data Driven and Has Example Metrics
A great marketing automation consultant knows that a drip campaign isn’t something you just set up and forget about. You really need to run these things to fully develop them. It looks a little something like this:
- Plan campaign around goal
- Build minimum viable campaign
- Study results
- Adjust campaign and test
- Build more
This process of analyzing, adjusting, and expanding is key to long term success. Without deep, intuitive surveying you will need to rely on testing to find out what makes your audience tick. Relying on information like this is known as data driven marketing… (Relying on the data to make your decisions)
Your potential consultant should have some example data from previous campaigns and tests they have done. If they claim some mumbo jumbo about non-competes tell them to white out identifying information. At the end of the day it’s important that they can show you success they have won for their clients, not just speak intelligently about it as a whole.
3. Doesn’t Assume They Know, But Will Find Out
When talking anything digital marketing be wary of anyone who thinks they know everything. Every business and audience is different. The only way to the truth is through testing with tools like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer.
Common things that you should test are:
- Message ex. (“grow your list” vs “increase your sales”)
- Call To Action Button Text
- Images (images of people vs images of your product)
- Removing items (see this article)
- Get more split test ideas here
That being said a good consultant will have a proven path that gets them to the true results in an efficient manner. Ask them about their methodology for split testing and increasing results.
4. Proven Track Record
If your potential consultant is worth their salt they will have a trail of great results to show you. you don’t get good at marketing automation without doing it so having a proven track record is absolutely crucial to your success.
As in number 2, show me don’t tell me is key. The best resume is examples of the results you are looking to hire someone to achieve… Don’t settle for less and don’t just settle for their word.
5. Platform Agnostic
As Lance Armstrong said ”it’s not about the bike.” the same holds true with marketing automation. There are a myriad of programs out there that will let you use drip campaigns, autoresponders, for whatever the term of the day is. What is more important when hiring a consultant is the logic behind the campaigns.
A red flag on either the automation front, or more commonly web development is insisting that everything you have gets blown up, leveled, and rebuilt on the platform they use. The problem with this mentality is it adds unnecessary extra work to the process that you will be billed for. Until you get into really technical, high end automation most of it can be accomplished in all the platforms.
6. Uses Flowcharts
Flow charts are diagrams created by programs like lucidchart that help take technical structures and make them easily understandable to a normal person. When interviewing different marketing automation consultants ask them to see flowcharts of campaigns they have done in the past.
This can be likened to checking someone’s work when solving a math problem. It should be easy for you to follow the logic of the campaign and understand what is going on. it should also not look like a bowl of spaghetti with connections going everywhere but follow a logical flow taking a prospect from point A to a purchase.
7. Communicates With You In Simple Terms
Since you’re new automation consultant will be working with you intimately to setup your automated sales funnel, it is of the utmost importance that the two of you can communicate clearly. When young professionals get started they tend to err on the side of using industry jargon and technical terms. This not only makes their inexperience shine, but will offer a huge obstacle for growing your business down the road.
It is not an unreasonable request to expect to be able to understand and communicate clearly with your consultant. At the end of the day as the business owner you need to understand what is going on so that:
- You can clearly express your goals and expectations as they relate to the campaign.
- If things go south you could get someone else up to speed and able to pick up where the last consultant left off.
8. Identifies Your Goals Before Building Anything
The final thing to look for is that they identify and understand your goals before building anything. At the end of the day you’re in business and your business needs to make money to survive. Every campaign that you build and every email that you send needs to not only have a purpose, but must contribute to the main goal of your business.
Constantly ask questions like:
- What is the goal of this email?
- How does it move us closer to our goal of ______?
While that goal may not be monetary in every communication, it should strategically fit in with the overall goal of your business. A consultation with an experienced professional will involve your goals and what you want to achieve with marketing automation.