Getting Started

Learn through 101 guides and easy solutions.

Why Marketing Automation Platform Implementations “Fail”

Why Marketing Automation Platform Implementations “Fail”

min. reading

Okay, real talk time.

Not all companies who implement marketing automation are met with wild success and find themselves on the stage at Dreamforce.  For every one of those marketing automation poster children, there are 5 other that are looking at their annual software bill thinking to themselves:

“Was this really worth it?”

When Pardot implementations go south, it’s rarely (if ever) due to the technology itself.  It tends to be due to a few very predictable and preventable reasons:

1) Unclear processes

You can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist.

Are you making up a process right now?  Don’t automate it yet. Test it IRL, with a human being, and see what works.  When you have the process ready to roll, then let’s unleash the automation beast on your marketing and sales system.

2) Lack of content

Email marketing – particularly drip nurturing – requires a large volume of content.

Has your company created blogs, sales copy, or other content assets that could be re-purposed?  If not, who will this responsibility fall to? Can you bring in outside help?

3) No clear ownership

Marketing automation exists in a somewhat unique and nebulous space.  Who does it belong to? Is it IT, because it’s a piece of technology? Is it marketing, because it connect top of the funnel efforts to a sales handoff?  Is it sales, because ultimately it’s about sowing seeds of awareness and growing new leads?

The truth is, it can belong to anyone… but it needs to belong to SOMEONE who will take ownership and commit to getting shit done.

4) A missing piece of the trifecta: head, heart, and hustle

Marketing automation is challenging space.  The most successful teams build programs where head, heart, and hustle collide.

The “head” (i.e. brains) part of the equation:

  • Process expertise
  • Technical knowledge of Pardot and Salesforce
  • Dev resources to build next-level cool things on the platform

The “heart” needed to drive effective campaigns:

  • Vision & strategy
  • Campaign messaging
  • Bringing things to life with captivating creative

And the “hustle” side brings the other two together with:

  • Flawless execution/scheduling
  • Managing budgets
  • Measuring results
  • Staying two steps ahead and planning for the next set of initiatives

Does your team have all three of the above?  If not — how do you build that capability in house or add resources to complement your team members?

5) Lack of resources for post-implementation support

I recommend that all companies, especially those who are new to marketing automation, build in a budget for post-launch training, campaign development, and consulting.

A 30-day Quickstart is a great way to get up and running on the platform quickly.

But Rome was not built with a Quickstart.  Having a partner to assist you beyond this — to provide ongoing, proactive support and accountability — is incredibly valuable and helps ensure your long term success.

What other success factors lead to a successful implementation?

Have you seen other key ingredients for success?  Where have you or others that you know struggled with standing up a new platform?

Let’s hear it in the comments!

Subscribe to The Spot

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Community Events


Top 10 Recent Post

  • Andrea Tarrell is the CEO & Founder of Sercante, as well as a 12X certified Salesforce MVP and Marketing Champion. Andrea caught the Salesforce bug at Dreamforce 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. She’s worked for consultancies, agencies, and client-side marketing teams over her career and is passionate about making marketing and sales teams successful with their tech stacks. Andrea lives in Atlanta with her husband Buck and her daughter, Arla. When she’s not working, she’s most likely playing with her German Shepherd Murphy, starting a new hobby that she will engage in exactly one time, or making homemade gin.

  • Comment (4)
  • Where has this blog been all my life!
    I’m a Pardot Specialist and Consultant with about 6 years experience, which has in the last two years been directed at implementing and supporting Pardot within outside organisations. This article feels like it’s been extracted directly from my many encounters.

  • Holy smokes, ain’t this the truth! Great list, Andrea. The content part is what caught my team off guard when we started on Pardot a while back. Luckily we had a research series in the blog archive that we were able to turn into a handful of content types, but without that we would have been up the creek. The process and ownership were in place as well, but it was still a much heavier lift than we expected.

  • All these points are spot on, but another that really tripped me up was data. The old “Garbage in – Garbage Out” adage definitely applies to Pardot implementations – especially if you have a large sales team and the SFDC connector in place. Many of great automation ideas have been thwarted due to data issues ranging from inconsistent quoting processes, failure to properly result opportunities, improper rep assignments and data entry errors.

Leave Your Comment

Related Articles

Bot Single Post