Any large company who has ever implemented a marketing automation (MA) system knows that you go from 0 to 60 in about 2 seconds in terms of the amount of data you start collecting on your clients and prospects.  It’s overwhelming.  And before you know it, you are completely paralyzed by all the data – it becomes meaningless to you.  That’s about the point you start wondering if you just wasted a ton of money on a really expensive version of an email marketing tool.

Well, the good news is there are a few things you can do to avoid the analysis paralysis and start making sense of all this data.  The first thing you can do is to take advantage of the automation part of that marketing automation tool you have.  One way to automate data is through lead scoring.  Figure out what those key pages on your site are or some key downloads you have.  When people visit those pages or download those assets, use that as an input to your lead score to figure out when they are ready for the next step in your sales cycle.  Another way to automate is to put people into campaigns or nurture programs based on what they are doing.  Think of the “if you like this, you might try…” feature you often see on B2C websites.

Another tactic you can try is limiting the metrics you look at, but measuring and looking at them consistently.  We challenge our clients to start out by picking the five best metrics that represent their goals.  For example, if one of your marketing goals is to generate better quality leads for the sales team, you might measure conversion rates of your leads through the sales funnel to see if they improve.  Most marketing automation and CRM systems will let you setup dashboards to keep track of these metrics easily.

A slightly more drastic measure, but one that you will find yourself in need of doing eventually, is setting up a business intelligence tool.  I have yet to find a MA tool or CRM that is capable of handling the complex matrixed reporting that large global companies tend to require.  At some point, although it might not be right out of the gate when you implement your MA or CRM, you will find that you need to move up to a BI tool to set up the reports you need to monitor the mass amount of data you are collecting.