1) Content – more often than not, development of high quality content becomes your critical path item once you’ve committed to doing marketing automation. Content creation can be time consuming. Don’t commit to marketing automation unless you’ve got the resources to create content – be that in-house staff or budget for external help.

2) Left Brain – marketing automation is complex and requires the DNA of a systems analyst, a love of configuring systems and great attention to detail. Make sure that there is someone on your team (or on your virtual team) with this type of wiring otherwise there is no point in investing in an powerful system that no one will use.

3) Not Easy – I’d say that 70% of the companies that invest in marketing automation systems end up using 5% of its potential. Most end up using them as batch & blast systems – and there are much cheaper solutions to do that. Why do marketing automation systems tend to be under utilized? First, you need to map out the buying cycle, then map it your marketing and sales funnel and then design flows (that inevitably become complicated) that are triggered based on prospects’ actions and demographics. In parallel, you’ve got to get the sales & marketing teams aligned against common metrics and processes. All of this is great to do. Its the right thing for a company to do. The problem is that its not easy if you don’t have prior experience doing it.

If you’re a B2B company with a repeatable sales process, you should probably be doing marketing automation. Just make sure that you hire an expert to shepherd you through the process, leaving you with a machine that hums.

So in a nutshell the decision to purchase a marketing automation system is really just the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath the surface is often profound and intimidating. Marketing automation can unlock an avalanche of leads if executed correctly.  Make sure you go in with your eyes open. Good luck!