How do you know if you need marketing automation?

Why you need Marketing Automation

Too many marketers, tracking the buying journeys of your prospects is difficult at best and impossible at worst.  Marketing automation (MA) software helps keep you involved in that journey from beginning to end.

Complaint #1 – I don’t have enough time for all my marketing activities!

need marketing automation

Scenario: Your marketing team is full of busy bees pushing out content to social channels, blogs and email campaigns.  They’re so busy distributing your content that they are spread too thinly to get other tasks done on time.

How marketing automation can help:

Marketers are busy people (you should see my to-do list!).  For every bit of content your team creates, you have to make sure it gets out to your target audience.  Depending on your marketing strategy, this could be something as simple as a tweet or something as complicated as the hypothetical team above.

Marketing automation helps you push your content out to the masses.  This can take several forms:

  • Use advanced email marketing tools to guide leads through your sales cycle
  • Vary your email strategy based on customer/prospect engagement
  • Update your social media accounts: if your program allows it, you can schedule those updates in advance
  • Create short links to your content to share over social networks and track inside your marketing program

In a survey from TFM& A Insights, researchers asked users and non-users of marketing automation about the software’s main benefits.  36% of respondents stated that MA’s ability to take repetitive tasks out of marketers’ hands and allow them to focus on new and more exciting projects was the main benefit.

The TFM& A report also asked how marketers spent their day.  31% of non-users focused on meeting deadlines compared to only 19% of MA users.  These marketing automation adopters, free of the daily grind to deadlines, focused their time on getting to know their customers and coming up with fresh ideas.

Marketing automation software handles content distribution and streamlines clunky manual email nurturing campaigns, giving you more time for creating the engaging content that brings in your leads.

Complaint #2 – I can’t figure out how sales-qualified my leads are!

User marketing automation to nurture leads until they are ready for sales

Scenario: Sales picks up a lead and finds that they are in a very early stage in the buying process.  Sales shake a fist in silent anger at Marketing and wonders why all these cold leads are coming through and taking up time better spent closing deals.

How marketing automation can help:

Maybe you already have some sort of lead follow up system in place, maybe you don’t.  The problem is the same; how can you determine if a prospect is ready for sales without phone calls or emails?

The answer lies in web tracking functions and lead scoring models that are key features of marketing automation software platforms.  Think about what signs sales look for when evaluating each lead to be sales ready.  Have they heard of you?  Have they engaged with any of your content or are they subscribed to one of your email lists?  Have they done any research into the products you offer?  Now imagine having a product that can answer those questions for you.  Lead scoring models help you assess these criteria according to the prospect’s web activity and other engagement levels.

Web tracking script helps with these assessments.  By tracking a prospect’s activities around your website, you can better gauge where they are in their buying cycle.  Are they looking at the product pages or have they just been bouncing around your blog?  Have they visited your product page or gone straight to your job listings?  You can build lead scoring models around these activities and put a value on your prospects’ engagement.  Say a prospect receives 50 points for viewing a pricing page and 0 points for a careers page.  As their score increases, the system will let you know when the lead is ready for sales to get in touch.

You can use these scores to drop prospects into drip or nurture email campaigns if all your marketing tools are in the same toolbox.  A program that keeps your marketing and lead scoring in one place will help you better understand your customers’ journeys through your sales funnel.

Complaint #3 – I don’t have time to warm up leads for sales!

Warm up leads effortlessly with marketing automation

Scenario: After a complaint from Sales about unqualified leads, you are tasked with making sure you get leads sales-ready before Sales engages them.  Your sharp marketing eyes notice a lead who has been looking at your company.  Upon an initial screening, the lead is nowhere near ready to buy.  Unfortunately, you don’t have the time to manually get them sales-ready.

How marketing automation can help:

I’m going to take a moment to imagine you are a salesperson.  When you see a new potential customer strolling through your content, your heart beats faster.  You can’t wait to sell them your product or at least start a dialogue about their needs (and how your product can fill them, of course).  Then you make contact and find out that they were only on a fact-finding mission, not yet ready to buy.  If you’re lucky they would love to read more about your product in the future.

Modern customers do a great deal of research before they buy.  Studies show that customers complete 70-90% of their buying journey before contacting a sales representative.  On average, consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content before making their decision (Forrester).

Marketing automation allows Sales and Marketing to interact with customers throughout this new buying cycle.  Marketing can create nurture campaigns which drop content to new leads either on a regular basis or based on their engagement with your brand.  This allows you to get your leads sales-ready without constant manual nurturing.

For example, if your contact enters into a nurture email campaign, you can send them follow up emails based on their activity.  This can be opening your emails, clicking on links inside the message, or completing landing pages.  By tailoring the way in which they receive your content based on their interest levels, you will have higher quality leads by the time they are ready to talk to sales.

Complaint #4 – I can’t measure the ROI of all my marketing efforts!

Get your marketing data together in one place and stop chasing analytics

Scenario: My campaign statistics are all over the place.  I need to get short link statistics from HootSuite, site traffic statistics from Google Analytics, video view counts from YouTube, and email open and click-through rates from DotMailer.  Then I have to organise all the stats into a digestible form to show my manager on Monday morning.

How marketing automation can help

Your expertly crafted content, innovative and ground-breaking creative campaigns, and pithiest tweets all mean nothing if you can’t measure their results.  Marketing automation provides a single view of all your marketing activities and allows you to build custom reports on the metrics that matter most.

It is one thing to have all of your email data in one place.  Imagine adding the metrics from your other multi-channel marketing efforts (which I am sure you are undertaking).  You will then have the most complete view of your marketing successes and an easy way to see what campaign aspects need a bit of tweaking.

Why you need Marketing Automation Conclusion

At the end of the day, marketing automation is all about saving you time and unnecessary effort.  By automating some processes like lead scoring and nurture email campaigns, sales and marketing staff have more time to create content and close deals.  By consolidating your marketing efforts inside one program, managers can get a comprehensive overview of marketing activities and continue to improve their team’s efforts.

If any of these complaints sounded like your department, you’re going to want to get off the fence regarding marketing automation and take a serious look at this technology.  We have more blog articles and resources for you here, or you can contact us with more specific questions.