What the heck is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of technology to manage and automate processes such as lead nurturing, lead generation, email marketing, and lead management, and improve the measurement and analysis of results.  With marketing automation technology, marketers are able to execute campaigns with less manual effort, allowing more time to focus on the strategic and creative activities that improve marketing ROI.

With marketing automation, your marketing team can:

  • Track and measure all online marketing channels in one system
  • Test and optimize landing pages to increase conversion
  • Nurture leads through the buying cycle with drip marketing campaigns and ultimately close more leads
  • Manage and segment leads to create targeted email campaigns based on a contact’s behavior, profile or interest level rather than mass marketing with generic promotions      
  • Create triggered email campaigns based on how a lead interacts with your emails or website
  • Use lead scoring to enable your sales and marketing teams to focus on the leads most ready to buy

Is marketing automation right for your company?

Marketing automation is already a $325 million industry, and experts predict that it will continue to grow – but is it right for your company? While there are marketing automation solutions designed to help businesses both large and small, size alone cannot determine if the technology will benefit your business.  Some areas to consider before implementing marketing automation software are:

Resources: Technology alone cannot solve your marketing issues. It takes time and resources to design a strategy, establish the right processes, monitor results and create quality content.

Lead volume: It’s easy to see how companies that generate hundreds or thousands of leads per month will benefit from marketing automation, but the technology may not be worth the investment for a company that generates only a handful of high value leads per month and prefers to work them manually.

Sales and marketing alignment: Successfully implementing marketing automation requires serious commitment to teamwork from sales and marketing. Sales and marketing must work together to define a sales lead management process, including defining sales-ready and marketing-ready leads and determining rules for lead scoring.

Management buy-in: It’s important to have a commitment that will ensure all stakeholders do their part – sales must follow up on the “sales-ready leads” provided by marketing, and marketing must do their part to move leads through the funnel. Without participation and consistency, it’s unlikely that your company will see a high return on investment.

CRM integration: If you’ve decided to move forward with marketing automation technology, be sure it is compatible with your CRM so you can systematically hand off sales-ready leads to your sales team and share critical data between the two systems.

While marketing automation may not be for everyone, as traditional techniques such as tradeshows and mass advertising become less effective, it is certainly worth exploring.

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