Why Marketing Automation is like Albus Dumbledore’s Pensieve

marketing automation harry potterAt Gabriel Sales, we like analogies.

Recently, we discovered a truly magical analogy for marketing automation coupled with a notable piece in the Harry Potter stories, Dumbledore’s Pensieve.

Dumbledore: “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.

Here are five reasons why marketing automation is like Dumbledore’s Pensieve:

1.  It allows you to store large amounts of information without becoming overwhelmed.

When Harry Potter first asked Dumbledore what his Pensieve is, Dumbledore responds, “This? It is called a Pensieve. I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.”

When Dumbledore feels overwhelmed by too much information, he uses his Pensieve to unload important thoughts and memories in a safe place. Sales reps and marketers can use marketing automation to do the same in regards to the copious amount of sales and marketing related data they have to manage on a day-to-day basis.

2.  It saves important information in a place that is always accessible.

Once a memory is put into a Pensieve, it will always be available for reference.  This helps Dumbledore immensely in his battle against Lord Voldemort as he is able to recall key details from events that happened decades ago.

While marketing automation is not yet decades old, it can still be used in the same way. From the time you start using your marketing automation software, all data is recorded and saved for future reference. This can especially helpful in regards to prospect behavior and the increasing length of B2B sales cycles. It may take a year or more for a prospect to go through the entire buying process—making it hard to keep track of where they are in your sales cycle. Marketing automation allows you to go back and see the specific details of any digital interactions a prospect has with your company.

pensieve3.  It allows you to look back at the past to help make decisions about the present.

Similar to the last point, the Pensieve allows you to look at specific details about events in the past to enable you to make better decisions about the present. Harry faces an extreme example of this when, during the Battle of Hogwarts, he looks at Severus Snape’s memories and determines the best course of action is to sacrifice himself to save humanity.

Admittedly, there are no guarantees that marketing automation will help save humanity from evil. But, it may help save a deal (or ten). Marketing automation allows you to look back and measure performance of different activities like email campaigns and social media efforts—allowing you to see what is and what isn’t working and determine how to best optimize.

4.  You can take people along the journey so they can see for themselves.

One of the coolest things about the Pensieve is that you can use it to experience memories that aren’t your own. Harry does this numerous times during his lessons with Dumbledore to learn how to defeat Voldemort, and his experiences in the Pensieve become an integral part of his success.

Marketing automation platforms are like the Pensive because anyone in organization can be brought in to see for themselves what is happening or what has happened. For example, if a new sales rep is brought in, he can quickly bring up any prospect’s profile to see their most recent activity, marketing content score, most visited page views, etc. This gives him enough background to know exactly how to jump in and guide the prospect to the next part of the sales process.

5.  It is a way for you to observe experiences without people knowing you’re there.

When you are reliving memories in a Pensieve, you live them exactly as they were, and no one knows you are there. Harry first realizes this when he goes into the Pensieve and experiences the trials from the First Wizarding War—and no one notices his presence.

Marketing automation platform also allows you to observe behaviors without people knowing that you are observing them. It may sound creepy, but like the Pensieve, it meant to be helpful. By viewing the engagement your prospects have with various emails, marketing content and internal webpages, you can more accurately assess their pains and provide them with relevant and valuable content that addresses how to solve those pains.

If you’d like to read another fun analogy about marketing automation, read “Marketing Automation is Not What You Think”. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

The 90-Minute Marketing Automation Audit

marketing automation auditIf I were given 90 minutes to do a marketing automation audit, here would be my six areas of focus:


  • Find segments to dynamically create targeted lists
  • Archive lists not in use
  • Consolidate overlapping lists
  • Make sure auto-tagging rules are enabled for simplified segmentation

Content automation triggers:

  • Confirm that all forms have an active auto responder with related copy and an additional call to action
  • Check that a drip sequence is in place and active (where applicable)
  • See that rules are in place to send related follow-up pieces when a specific content asset is viewed

Lead scoring/grading:

  • Examine pages by content stage and assign appropriate scores
  • Review existing scoring to make sure score changes portray accurate interest/buying signals
  • Inspect buyer persona profiles to make sure grading is correctly assigned


  • Check all 3rd party integrations are properly setup and functioning
  • Investigate CRM fields that need custom field mapping to the Marketing Automation software and could provide valuable data for enhanced segmentation
  • Recommend additional integrations that enhance prospect experience and provide additional intelligence to sales and marketing


  • Look at performance and respective content (e.g. email, social, landing pages) and suggest conversion optimization enhancements

Internal Automation:

  • View all form actions to make sure sales and marketing are notified in real-time of hot prospects
  • Survey sales team to make sure they’re using real-time tools to analyze prospects

Completing these sixteen steps during a marketing automation audit would absolutely enhance your experience with marketing automation software and better guarantee that you are effectively executing your lead generation, demand generation and sales efforts.

For more marketing automation tips, click here. If you are interested in learning about the marketing automation consulting we provide, you can check our our services page.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

How We Became Marketing Automation Experts

marketing automation expertsIn Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers, he makes the claim that for anyone to become an expert at something, it takes 10,000 hours of practice.

From Outliers:

“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin.” — p. 40

Since the book was published, there has been a lot of criticism of Gladwell’s book from people citing professional athletes or Olympians who reached a high level of accomplishment in their field without the prerequisite 10,000 hours of practice.  Last month, however, Gladwell responded to critics in a New Yorker editorial and claimed the rule still applies to activities involving a high degree of cognitive complexity:

“The point of Simon and Chase’s paper years ago was that cognitively complex activities take many years to master because they require that a very long list of situations and possibilities and scenarios be experienced and processed. There’s a reason the Beatles didn’t give us “The White Album” when they were teen-agers. And if the surgeon who wants to fuse your spinal cord did some newfangled online accelerated residency, you should probably tell him no.

It does not invalidate the ten-thousand-hour principle, however, to point out that in instances where there are not a long list of situations and scenarios and possibilities to master—like jumping really high, running as fast as you can in a straight line, or directing a sharp object at a large, round piece of cork—expertise can be attained a whole lot more quickly. What Simon and Chase wrote forty years ago remains true today. In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals.”

At Gabriel Sales, we wholeheartedly agree with Gladwell and believe this concept can be applied to the world of B2B sales and marketing.

As a sales and marketing outsourcing company with over 13 years of experience specializing in B2B, we were an early adopter of marketing automation. After implementing a marketing automation platform for ourselves and seeing the dramatic results it brings, we have done over a dozen more implementations for our clients.

Our status as an early adopter means that by the end of 2012, we reached the prerequisite 10,000 hours of experience needed to be classified as world-class marketing automation experts.

Current Challenges with Marketing Automation Implementation

In a July 2013 report from BtoB, companies were asked to name their top challenges to adopting marketing automation.  One of the top five responses included the complexity of marketing automation software itself (23%).

After more than a dozen implementations, we understand the software and know the best practices as well as what to avoid.  Over the years, we have learned new ways to optimize the software and retired old tactics that were not producing results. As a sales outsourcing organization, we also understand how to integrate your sales process with your marketing automation platform to track buyer lifecycles, nurture leads, identify buyer personas and more.

We have seen that companies that try to do this on their own can take up to three years to see any results. By bringing on Gabriel Sales to help with your marketing automation implementation, you can start to see results within a year—saving yourself countless hours that would be better spent generating new revenue and serving your customers.

To learn more about marketing automation implementation, you can download our Marketing Automation Implementation Checklist. To learn more about the consulting we provide as marketing automation experts, you can visit our services page or contact us.

10 Tips to Increase Effectiveness of Marketing Automation

marketing automation consultantsAs experienced marketing automation consultants, here are our top 10 tips to increase effectiveness of marketing automation while simultaneously improving your overall productivity:

  1. Comprehensively configure your tools. Configure everything you can that is pertinent to you.  Look at add-ons/connectors, search marketing and social settings, etc. to make sure you are getting the most out of your software.
  2. Explore all of your options within the tool. There are hidden gems in your software that are incredibly useful. Functions like “Prospect Audits” and “System Emails” are good examples of features that have become hugely valuable to our work that are buried in the high level set of software features.
  3. Create real-time alerts for the most critical events happening on your site. Someone fills out a form—fire alerts on all cylinders! Someone hits your pricing page—notify a sales rep by email.
  4. Set internal calls to action in the subject line of notification rules. In other words, if someone fills out a form, my subject line to my sales rep is “CONTACT NOW”.
  5. Schedule as many of your emails and social posts in one batch, aka time blocking to get into a rhythm and remove distractions.
  6. Do micro-targeting and split testing to get as much intelligence about your message as possible.
  7. Map out your drip campaigns and logic in collaborative campaign documents so you can work better with the necessary parties. Using a cloud content management service is one way to do this.
  8. Do weekly/monthly audits of rules, dynamic segments, auto-responders and any other automated tasks to make sure that they are still 1) accurately working for your campaigns 2) necessary (otherwise, clean out the clutter).
  9. Ongoing training. Make sure the people actively using the tools are continually learning how to most effectively use the tools.  Software gets updated, best practices are established and your team needs to be informed.
  10. Staff a marketing technology specialist. A growing profession is the tech-savvy, marketing-minded professional. Both creative and technical, marketing technologists can help you get the most out of your marketing automation software.

For more tips on how to increase effectiveness of marketing automation, you can download our Marketing Automation Implementation Checklist here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

How Marketing Automation Can Help Your B2B Demand Generation Marketing and Your Sales Team

b2b demand generation marketing automation

Technology Will Accelerate Marketing’s Impact on Revenue

In Part 1, Increase B2B Sales Volume and Revenue and Part 2,What Does Your B2B Sales Approach and B2B Marketing Culture Need to Look Like?, we discussed the new situation in B2B sales and how the buying process has changed, how marketing is more important to your sales process than ever, and how you may need to alter your sales process and augment your team.

In part 3, we outlined the 11 core competencies required to build a successful b2b demand generation marketing program that puts your buyers and their buying cycle (as opposed to your sales cycle) at the center of your sales and marketing process.

Now, in part 4, we explain the five key ways that marketing automation and sales technology can quickly shift your culture and help your sales team be more effective.  The five ways are:

  • Lead Capture
  • Lead Qualification
  • Email Automation
  • Lead Intelligence
  • Real Time Lead Alerts

Here’s a brief explanation of how each of these features will help your sales team:

Lead Capture

For example, Pardot Marketing Automation Software allows you to identify companies that are visiting your site without the need for any information to be collected on a form.  There is a database of IPs that identify the company.  The major value here is identifying potential prospects without waiting for contact info to be submitted, using 3rd party data providers like Inside View, LinkedIn, One Source and SalesForceData to more quickly identify the key contacts within the companies visiting your site.  These 3rd party data providers also help you pull in additional missing data points about the company and key contacts.

Just as important is actually capturing leads with landing pages and forms.  That is nothing new, but the ability to then implement strong lead management rules helps hand over qualified prospects automatically.

Lead Qualification

There are two main ways to qualify leads: using implicit behaviors and activities and explicit data and demographics.

Using implicit information and lead scoring, you can rank and score activities (email, web and social) variably by importance and then set up actions to pass the top scoring prospects over to a sales rep automatically.

Using explicit data and lead grading, you can qualify a prospect on who that person is, e.g. a CEO versus a workaholic just trying to learn something new by requesting your content.  You can also change grades up and down based on industry, company size and other factors.  Essentially, it’s grading prospects against an ideal customer profile that your sales and marketing team identifies.

Along with helping your sales team avoid talking to bad prospects, using these grades and scores provides you another way to dynamically pre-qualify and assign the best prospects to your sales rep.

Email Automation

Email automation for sales reps takes their knowledge about and performance with their leads to another level.  Reps can now use email integration tools for Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird to send personal emails through their marketing automation tool,  This allows them to personally track opens and clicks with automatic notifications being sent back to the rep when these actions are taken.

Another powerful email automation component is personalized email marketing campaigns, where the marketing team can craft a message to the companies entire pool of prospects, yet dynamically assign the “From” and “Email” field of the lead’s assigned rep.  This serves two main purposes: 1) the rep will get the credit for a pleased lead being sent valuable content (yet the rep didn’t have to do anything – marketing and software took care of the touch for them) and 2) all replies to the content will go directly back to the rep (plus, the rep can also be notified when their lead interacts with that message).

A bonus aspect to email automation is the sales rep can pass back “not-yet-qualified” leads to be nurtured by marketing and allow for further lead qualification.  The sales rep can be notified again once the lead qualification status has been improved based on the lead’s content interaction activities and scoring rules.

Lead Intelligence

Sales reps will be able to track all online behaviors (email, website and social) and that data can be put directly into the CRM that the sales rep works from, e.g. Salesforce, instead of requiring the sales rep to learn the ins and outs of the marketing automation prospect tracking system (though they probably will want to once they see how much more effective they are).  Activities like original lead source, specific page views, keyword searches, webinar attendance, etc., can all be tracked.  This allows the sales rep to profile and frame the content for conversations, voicemails and follow-up emails based on those specific prospect activities.

Real-Time Lead Alerts

Real-time lead alerts allow sales reps faster response time when companies or leads are actively engaged in the sales education collateral.  Sales reps can receive instant alerts or daily email summaries regarding these activities.  They can receive instant alerts via email, text messaging, mobile apps, and desktop apps, whichever they prefer.

With these alerts and summaries Reps can:

  • Prioritize their day with the most active prospects
  • Perform quick lookups of anonymous visitors in LinkedIn or Jigsaw to identify potential new prospects
  • Click on links to trigger CRM profile lookups
  • Send emails to active prospects with a few quick clicks
  • Filter out unwanted activity

All of these features, Lead Capture, Lead Qualification, Email Automation, Lead Intelligence and Real-Time Lead Alerts, save your reps time and make them more successful.  An effective integration and use of marketing automation can synthesize marketing and sales objectives and improve the effectiveness better than ever.

If you are still a little skeptical that marketing automation and content marketing are going to be critical to your success we invite you to check out our blog Content Marketing is Now Required for Quality B2B Lead Generation that will give you a little background on the risk you are running and the cost of delay.

If you want to learn more about how Gabriel Sales can combine your product knowledge and thought leadership with our sales and marketing automation expertise to get you in the game faster, request a complimentary review.   If you want to review more information, download the White Paper for Tactics you can implement now.

Additional Blogs in this Series:

Part 1Increasing Your B2B Sales Volume and Revenue – What’s Changed?

Part 2What Does Your B2B Sales and Marketing Culture Need to Look Like?

Part 3 –  What Core Competencies do I Need From My Marketing and Lead Generation Team?

Part 4 –  How Can Marketing Automation Improve My B2B Sales Performance?

Part 5 –  Why is Content Marketing is Now Required for Quality B2B Lead Generation?