Marketing automation is software that tracks visitors to your website, and can send emails or texts, create CRM tasks or create internal alerts automatically based on predefined rules. Common marketing automation platforms used by SMEs include Sharpspring, HubSpot and Infusionsoft, and they can be used in a number of ways:
- Nurturing & educating leads (by sending sequences of personalised, relevant emails to leads who are showing interest)
- Identifying past leads or prospects who are showing interest and alerting salespeople
- Cross-selling and up-selling existing customers
- Promoting & following up events & webinars
- Linking your sales and marketing teams/departments
- Ensuring effective follow up of quotes and stalled deals in the sales process
- Better insight and analytics to your marketing investment
Style Or Substance?
But is marketing automation just another buzzword, or can it really bring tangible benefits to your business? Ultimately, as a business owner you want to know if a technology or strategy will provide a return on investment. In the case of marketing automation, it’s often touted as an effective way of increasing your revenues, but at JDR we often come across companies who’ve spent the money on the software but not made the most of it or seen the desired results.
It’s All About Implementation
So, can marketing automation boost my ROI? In theory, it can, but (and here’s the important caveat) only if it’s implemented successfully. It’s important to note that just as it happens with any other tactic or technology, marketing automation software by itself isn’t guaranteed to do anything. It’s also worth remembering that the link between marketing automation and higher revenues is not necessarily direct in the sense that it won’t automatically generate better ROI just because you have it. Instead, it’s useful to think about marketing automation software as a measurement tool, and also as an efficiency tool that can bring more intelligence to your marketing activities.
In order for marketing automation software to provide a positive ROI, you need three things:
- Effective marketing in the first place – especially digital marketing. You need an effective website, with high levels of traffic, clear calls to action and compelling offers. The software can help make your marketing more effective but it can’t do the marketing for you!
- Effective sales people and sales processes – unless you are selling products online, you still need a human being to be able to convert the sales.
- Technology know-how – you need experience to get the most out of the software, both in terms of the strategies to use but also knowledge of the platforms themselves. If you take HubSpot for example, it takes months and months to learn the platform, and finding staff members with HubSpot experience is not easy. This is why having a good agency like JDR is so important if you are going to invest in the software.
How Marketing Automation Adds Value To A Business
Let’s take a look at three ways in which marketing automation can add value to your business.
1) It Can Significantly Improve The Quality Of Your Customer Relationships
The features of marketing automation software have been designed to nurture relationships with both potential and existing customers. The main focus is creating personalised experiences, which are a powerful way of developing strong bonds with customers.
2) It Can Produce Highly Targeted & Relevant Communications
You don’t want your emails to be perceived as spam, and marketing automation software uses a wealth of data and tools to help you deliver the right message to the right customer or customer segment. This way, you’ll only cross-sell or upsell when it is relevant and likely to lead to a sale.
3) It Increases Conversion Rates & Reduces Sales Cycles
Lead nurturing is shown to improve the conversion rate of lead-sale. Salespeople can’t and often won’t follow up on every lead or spend the time nurturing leads that aren’t ready yet, choosing instead to focus on ‘ready to buy’ customers – marketing automation allows you to ensure no lead gets left behind and the salespeople simply get notified when a lead is qualified enough to start spending time with
4) You Can Make Better Marketing Decisions
Marketing automation software can track the source of every single lead and new contact, so you can start to measure your marketing channels, activities and campaigns not just on ‘gut feel’ or on web traffic alone, but by how many leads were created, how many were qualified, how many became opportunities, how many converted, and what revenue it generated
5) Automating Saves You Time
According to a survey, 74% of business owners cited time savings as the greatest benefit of marketing automation. At the same time, efficiency gains reflect on customer perception, since an efficient company with streamlined procedures is attractive and valuable to customers.
From the above, we can see that marketing automation can add layers of value, which will never hurt your business – rather, the opposite. This technology can help turn leads into customers and existing customers into a loyal client base. It’s true that implementing marketing automation involves a process of trial and error, but you don’t need to experiment with it if you hire a specialist agency to handle it all for you. More importantly, for marketing automation to work, it needs to be supported by a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Work With Us To Increase Your Marketing ROI
This is why it pays off to work with an agency like JDR, where we specialise in helping growth-focused SMEs get the most out of all marketing tools available. Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow with marketing automation.