Today, businesses are deciding to adopt marketing automation software more than ever before to grow their operations and stay competitive in the marketplace. But with the variety of sophisticated features and requirements across all of the different tools available, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for your individual needs. In this article, we will walk you through what marketing automation software is, and how to choose the right option that will help your company increase sales and improve overall performance.
What is Marketing Automation?
Anyone who has worked in marketing will know the large amount of manual effort involved in managing campaigns. Marketing automation removes the more laborious tasks and aids you in not only identifying customers or clients, but also nurtures them to become ready for conversion. It removes the need to manually ‘warm-up’ a lead with educational and awareness materials, not to mention collecting their contact and demographical information. Pre-developed, automated functions will supply proven content to develop trust and authority, remarket to qualified audiences to remain front of mind, and track behaviours to refine your sales processes and convert more business.
Types of Marketing Automation
The first step in choosing the right marketing automation software is to consider what you want it to do with it. Ask yourself, ‘how will this help my business? ‘What are my marketing goals and objectives?’ Are you looking for a way to increase overall sales or do you need help with lead generation? This will help you refine your needs and determine which types of automation tools you want. This could be tools set up for lead generation, to perform inbound tasks to engage your audience, conduct outbound activities, or all three. Each has a different focus and goals, so consider what’s most important for your business and start there.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
If you are actively managing digital marketing campaigns, you will surely be collecting a wealth of information from your customers (such as through website visits, social media, emails and so on). Collated together you can generate a clear picture of who is interacting within your brand and needs to be targeted. Marketing automation in its various forms takes this information, segments, and targets the right audiences at rapid speeds to deliver tailored messaging based on specific criteria to nurture them closer to a sale. You simply need to create that messaging at the start for your email, social media, or web platforms – and then watch as these tools do the rest of the work for you!
How Does Marketing Automation Integrate into Marketing & Sales Processes?
Lead generation is an extremely important step in any business’s growth. By automating many steps in the process from marketing to sales, your team has more time to focus on overall strategy and nurturing the leads that show real promise. That means more prospects, and more customers.
Marketing automation is also able to give you a richer, more detailed picture of the behaviour of potential customers. Using behavioural tracking methods such as following a user’s path through your website, marketing automation software can help your marketing team to understand a prospect’s interests and where they are in the purchasing lifecycle. They can then customise any follow-up based around those action points.
Bringing together information from touch-points including website visits and downloads, social media activity and direct marketing enables automatic scoring, qualifying and prioritising of leads. This in turn can then drive wider marketing campaigns, including:
- trigger-based marketing messages
- infrequent “drip-feed” emails to maintain interest
- personalised emails
- Facebook or Instagram messages
For instance, let’s say a particular customer is reading about a broad category of products. This might indicate that they are at the beginning of the purchasing process, researching and comparing while preparing a shortlist. If they later download white papers on a specific product, that could indicate a narrower focus and a readiness to be contacted by a salesperson.
In essence, marketing automation software helps you create an automated process so that when a lead comes in, all your sales reps need to be concerned with is easily nurturing them through to conversion. All the information collected and used will have already qualified leads, so if your sales team have everything they need in terms of resources and how to best offer your products or services, this should be all you need to increase your sales figures. Finding the right balance always takes time, so don’t be afraid to experiment and pivot around what works and what doesn’t until you get it right.