We sat down with one of our Totus subscribers, a privately-owned mortgage firm in Texas that is operating in over 40 states. They were in a pivotal position of growth and were looking for technology to help them scale easily. Their recently hired Marketing Director quickly realized that their current systems were both antiquated and time-consuming. In short, they needed to find a new system that would automate the marketing process and maximize resources both in the corporate office and in the field. Below is a new series that follows our first 3-part series on how Totus became that solution. Click for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Q: In our 3-part series, we talked about your “journey” to marketing automation. Before we move into your experience using the platform, would you remind the readers what those journey stages were?
A: Of course. The first stage is what I refer to as the “Audit” stage. This is where I took a deep dive into our marketing department and looked at what we had available, what we were lacking and where we needed to improve. Next came the “Identify” stage. This is where I came to the conclusion that in order to meet our growth goals, we would have to adopt new technology and automate some of our processes. The old strategy of manual creation just wasn’t going to work anymore. Finally, I got to the “Launch” stage. It took a lot of work to get to that point – building a platform from the ground up and creating new materials to populate it is a large undertaking, but the efficiency gained in the long run was worth it in the end.
Q: So after those 3 stages, what’s next? How did you get the word out and make sure that the platform is used?
A: You’re absolutely right. By no means is the job done once you’ve completed the "journey." In fact, it’s really just the beginning. When I completed those 3 stages, I knew that we had an incredible platform and had made a big improvement in terms of marketing automation, but the rest of my company did not. It was now my job to convince our 150 loan officers in the field that it was worth their time to train and learn how to use the platform. All of my work would be for naught if I didn’t realize a good adoption rate.
Q: So how did you go about achieving a high adoption rate? Do you have a specific strategy that you recommend? Anything you did that you wouldn’t do again?
A: Spreading the word after the platform is ready is, obviously, incredibly important for adoption rates, but I think there is also a lot of up-front work that needs to happen long before you get to that point. When you are building out your platform, you need to consider your audience (we are in marketing, after all) and keep their needs top of mind. A few pointers I recommend to optimize adoption rates are:
- Have a well-planned Information Architecture (“IA”)
- Build your platform so it is easy to navigate
- Have a formalized roll-out plan
- Training, training and more training
- Brand your environment so your users connect to it and feel comfortable spending time there
These are all low-hanging fruit to consider and prepare for as you get close to finalizing your “launch” stage. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the minutia of updating collateral and perfecting the workflow, but if you don’t step out of that and think about the bigger picture, you’re going to miss the mark entirely.
Q: That all makes sense now that you point it out. If you had to guess, what do you think most marketers do wrong when they are building out a new marketing automation platform. What mistakes should they avoid?
A: Well, like they say, hindsight is 20/20. It’s really easy for me now to say what should and shouldn’t be done. The truth is that everyone will need to find their own way through the “journey” – one that meets the needs of their unique environments and satisfies the demands of their users. I’m simply pointing out best practices that I realized after making plenty of mistakes of my own.
If I had to guess, I’d say that most marketers will get over ambitious and try to get to the “Using” stage faster than they should. Most of us are Type-A personalities and like to complete tasks, so it’s easy to look at this as another thing to check off the list. I know I certainly did at times. My best piece of advice would be to zoom out every so often and look at the project from a macro perspective. This is a big undertaking and, if you’re in a small company like me, it’s probably a massive leap forward in technology. Make sure you are doing justice to your users (and yourself) – plan the process well, make time for training and realize that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
To learn more about the first part of this journey download our case study: A Mortgage Marketer's Journey to Automation