My Marketing Automation Love Story

By Courtney Powell

I am often asked why I decided to start a company exclusively devoted to marketing automation. This is my marketing automation love story.

In 2007 I worked at one of the fastest growing companies in the country. In two short years the company had grown from zero dollars to over $12MM in sales. The marketing department had spent the last two years building websites, corporate collateral and email campaigns designed to generate awareness and ultimately leads for our 100 person sales force. It was a daunting task. Each sales professional had their own list of contacts, and of course wanted all marketing materials customized with their own contact information. Our three person team was struggling to manage the task. After trying a number of solutions ranging from Outlook merge functions to Constant Contact and even native Salesforce email capabilities, we began searching for a solution that could help us address our need for scale and personalization.

In 2007 marketing automation was still a fledgling industry utilized primarily by enterprise level technology companies and those in the serious know. Lucky for us, my boss kept his ear to the ground. Over a course of about six weeks, we demoed several solutions. My team found themselves in disbelief at the capabilities and features demonstrated by the various software vendors. Our initial goal of handling multiple contact lists and personalizing emails was far exceeded. We were quickly introduced to new ideas like capturing prospect’s activity histories, executing lead scoring models and drip campaigns and synching data between a marketing system and a CRM like Salesforce.

The team eventually decided on Marketo due to our heavily customized instance of Salesforce. We were able to sync the leads and contacts of nearly 100 sales professionals into the system (tens of thousands of contacts), allowing our department to deliver emails on behalf of our sales professionals (complete with custom contact information, logos etc.) Our first surprise was being able to immediately able to deliver warm lead alerts directly to contact owners. Our sales professionals were overjoyed with their newfound insight into the digital behavior of their prospects.

By September 2009 our now four person marketing department was successfully supporting 200 sales professionals. Each month we executed campaigns with embedded lead scoring that triggered warm lead alerts immediately when a prospect exhibited an action that had previously shown a correlation to a sale. There were many stories of sales professionals receiving an alert, calling a prospect and gingerly asking if they needed assistance and quickly closing a sale. As a department, we were able to better justify our efforts by directly correlating our email campaigns to revenue to our executive team.

My own marketing mindset had completely changed. I no longer thought of marketing as a “make it pretty” function, but rather as a revenue center. I now understood that marketers could execute campaigns that drove a predictable amount of qualified leads and revenue. Marketing automation allowed us to reduce the length of our sales cycle and increase the amount of qualified leads we were able to hand off to sales–truly legitimizing our efforts.

The tangible difference that marketing automation software made in my marketing theory, practices and ultimately career, left me with a desire to tell others about the impact it makes on sales, marketing and the bottom line.

Courtney was a marketing executive who was fed up with the “make it pretty” reputation of most marketing departments. After successfully integrating marketing automation software into the lead generation strategy of one of the fastest growing companies in America, she founded LeedSeed, a marketing automation firm made up of marketing strategists, technical experts, and an agency-level creative services team experienced in generating revenue through the use of marketing automation, demand and lead generation techniques. LeedSeed is the marketing automation firm of choice for innovative companies across the globe. Courtney speaks and blogs frequently on using marketing automation to help customers develop revenue funnels and marketing campaigns that drive predictable, repeatable revenue.


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