A massive number of businesses are buying marketing automation software for the first time right now. With all the marketing automation success stories out there, it's understandable that business owners and CMOs might think that just buying the software will instantly lead to growth and profits.

The truth is that, if used poorly, software that helps you optimize marketing programs across email, web and mobile will deliver little value and can actually end up being disruptive to your business. To get the most out of the software, avoid making these three common automation mistakes.

1) Automating Poor Processes

Ultimately, you get out of marketing automation what you put into it. If you input poorly conceived (or nonexistent) processes, all you'll get out of it is a more efficient way to spam people. Starting with established processes for creating and distributing quality content will show you where automation can make things more efficient.

If you don't have a process in place, start by identifying the different stages of the buyer journey. How do they first hear about your business? What materials do they look at to learn more about your company? How long do customers take to go through different parts of the sales funnel?

Once you've identified the steps of the buyer journey, mapping out the process means creating the links between these steps and finding the quickest way to move them along in the process while making sure as few as possible slip out of the funnel.

Finally, ensure you have the people and the processes in place to create quality content. Bill Gates recognized that content is king way back in 1996 and his observation has been repeatedly proven true. If you don't have quality content that people want to read, watch and listen to, then all the automation in the world won't help you.

2) Ignoring Sales

In many businesses, there is a divide between sales and marketing sometimes characterized by distrust or lack of cooperation. This creates problems for businesses, as both divisions rely on one another to do their jobs effectively. Studies have shown that when companies align marketing and sales departments, they average 20 percent growth.

On the most basic level, this means you absolutely have to integrate your marketing automation software with your CRM. Most of  the solutions available out there tout this feature. Salespeople should be seeing all the data on qualified leads so that they understand the best time to contact prospects and don't make the mistake of repeating things they've heard in the past.

On a more detailed level, sales teams should have some level of input on significant decisions related to marketing automation. This collaboration ensures that the marketing team is collecting the correct data and sending the right messages to prepare leads for the sales team.

3) Using Software As A Glorified E-mail Marketing Tool

Marketing automation software was initially created to manage e-mail marketing and that remains one of its primary uses. However, there are so many other functions that it's capable of, and only using it for e-mail unnecessarily limits the potential of your business.

These solutions provide e-mail marketing help, but also manages SMS marketing, reviews, referrals and business analytics, to name a few. By nurturing leads across multiple channels and collecting data from all of these sources, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing processes.

For instance, with fully integrated marketing automation, you can contact leads over social media to bring them to your site and get initial information. From there, you can follow up with more information on e-mail, then send them deals via SMS, and after they've made a purchase encourage them to leave positive reviews and refer your business to their friends.

That's just one example of the potential power of marketing automation software. If you have good content and effective processes, automation software can leverage all of that and help you reach a large number of leads with a minimal time commitment.

Published on: Jan 28, 2016
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