Marketing Automation 101
Every business is on a journey to grow and increase revenue. But in order to achieve these goals along the way, you need to align your people, process, and technology. And how do you get there? Marketing automation technology can help.
In this post, I’ll share some of the basics about this important technology. If you’re new to our blog, read on; if you’ve been around a while, consider checking out one of our more advanced posts such as The ROI of Marketing Automation.
Marketing Automation Enables Modern Business Processes
Marketing has changed significantly over the past few years, and you have to do a lot more with less. Marketing automation helps you achieve success in 4 key ways:
1. You’re able to nurture relationships with customers who are not ready to buy. Typically, only one-fifth of your leads are ready to make a purchase the first time they come in. Nurturing those who are not ready to buy on the first go-round can increase your sales leads by 50%.
2. You are able retain and extend customer relationships. Over time, those relationships become deeper, which builds customer loyalty and keeps them coming back again and again. With a deeper relationship, you’ll also be able to up-sell and cross-sell to your customers, boosting revenue.
3. You are able to align marketing with sales to track leads properly. Your marketing will integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software, so you can make sure you’re following up with “hot” leads, right when you know they’re ready to buy. The sales team will be able to automate processes such as lead recycling, service level agreements, and alerts.
4. You are able to focus on and improve your marketing return on investment (ROI).Because marketing automation provides insight into your programs, you can see what is working (and what isn’t) for your business so you can make the necessary adjustments.
“Without marketing automation, you are just guessing – just hoping that people will take the bait and be ready to buy your products. Statistics show that buyers don’t do that. They want to learn at their own pace and be reached when they need more information or are ready to buy. A well-constructed marketing automation strategy makes that a reality.”
—John McTigue, Executive VP and co-owner of Kuno Creative
What You Can Do with Marketing Automation
That all sounds great right? But how does marketing automation make it happen? There is so much you can do with the platform including email marketing, lead management, lead generation,social marketing, analytics, and resource management.
- Email Marketing: This area has a robust feature set: batch emails, lead nurturing campaigns, sales emails, real-time triggered emails, dynamic content, mobile optimization, and landing pages and forms.
- Lead Management: Make sure that sales follows up with the right leads at the right time. With marketing automation, you can automate list management, lead routing, ensure sales follow-up, and convert hot leads into opportunities.
- Lead Generation: A complete marketing automation system offers lead generation, including online and offline events, pay-per-click, and tradeshows.
- Social Marketing: You’ll be able to manage and track your social campaigns, see how many people are sharing content, manage your social profiles, track your engagement, and see analytics.
- Analytics: You’ll also have access to web analytics to see your website traffic, your search engine optimization (SEO), and ROI analytics.
- Resource Management: Built-in resource management allows budgeting and calendaring for your campaigns.
Building a Case for Marketing Automation in Your Business
This all sounds fantastic, but how do you build a business case? Using this platform, your business will see more in the pipeline, a more productive sales team, and increased revenues—and that is the language that the C-Suite understands.
“Today’s marketers need to speak the language that their CEO and CFO can relate to and understand. Gone are the days where marketers talk about website hits and Facebook likes. Today’s marketers need to ensure that they have both pipeline and revenue targets.”
–Will Scully-Power, Managing Director of Datarati
However, the benefits of investment in marketing automation extend beyond sales efficiency and revenue streams.
Time and money are the lifeblood of a business, and with marketing automation, you can save both. By automating processes, you can reduce your campaign budget by 80%, as you will not be using as many human resources. A do-it-yourself approach allows you to bring all marketing efforts in-house, so you no longer have to outsource the work to expensive firms. You will also save time because automation standardizes and simplifies the marketing approval process.
Make the most of your effort by measuring and optimizing marketing investments. A marketing automation platform will provide a system of record, so you can track all marketing information. It also allows you to run tests to help your company learn over time and optimize future campaigns. You’ll also be able to easily see how much revenue comes from the campaigns, the conversion rate, and how the marketing department is affecting the company pipeline.
Marketing automation drives revenue by helping you develop relationships with your customers before they are ready to make a purchase, engage at the right time, and scale personalized interactions with each customer.
Buying Marketing Automation
“This is the first time in the history of B2B marketing in which marketers are responsible for purchasing and managing their own technology.”
–Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and Principal of ANNUITAS
Once you’ve decided to invest in a platform, you’ll need to find the right one for your business. Follow these steps and you’ll be on the right track.
1. Write down your goals. Writing your goals down on paper increases your chances of success.
2. Create a plan. Develop the timeline and outline the steps you’ll take to get to your goals. It’s important to remember you’re never “done” with marketing automation, so you’ll want to make sure you’re allowing time for learning and evolution.
3. Determine requirements. The right solution for you is more than technology. Think of other factors impacting your decision.
4. Build a team. This team will select and manage the solution. Cover your bases by making sure stakeholders sign off on goals, requirements, and potential scenarios. Talk with sales and IT departments as well.
5. Evaluate potential vendors. Choose vendors to evaluate, looking at (and beyond) their technology, making sure to ask tough questions.
6. Reach out to references. Talk with the vendor’s references to find out if they live up to their message.
7. Make your choice. Choose the vendor you feel is best suited for your goals.
8. Get started. Start using the platform.
9. Review, optimize, and improve. Invest in training to make sure you’re always re-evaluating process, and then take steps to improve.
“Stop planning to get ready to get started, and get started instead. Then look for continuous improvement rather than perfection out of the gate.”
–Mac McIntosh, Founding Partner of AcquireB2B
Marketing automation is the technology that propels your business into a new era of relationship based marketing with quantifiable results. When powerful technology meets effective implementation and internal process management, your company will soon find itself on a journey that leads to new heights of business success.
Learn more about the magic behind the curtain in our Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation.