The term ‘marketing automation’ is used an awful lot these days, but if you’re a business owner who already has more than enough priorities to focus on, you’d be forgiven for wondering how it can benefit your operation.
In 2015, Salesforce predicted that “marketing automation will be amongst the most piloted marketing technologies” that year, but we’ve moved beyond that; automation should now be an intrinsic part of every marketing plan, no matter the size of your business.
Automation promises to give you back time that is currently spent on repetitive tasks and drive efficiency throughout the organisation, improving conversion rates at every step of sales workflow. And, if you think that sounds like an impossible dream, we’d like to let you in on a few secrets.
What follows are the most profound ways marketing automation will help you scale your business:
No more lost sales
How many sales leads does your sales team let slip? One missed phone call or an email that inadvertently ends up in the spam folder may seem relatively innocuous, but each one could be a lost sale.
A report by Harvard Business Review suggests that 23% of companies never follow up leads. That’s a frightening statistic and one you clearly don’t want to be a part of.
With marketing automation, you can ensure triggers are created that instantly fire out reply emails to all incoming leads. Similarly, most CRM systems can be linked to modern phone systems, enabling every ingoing and outgoing call to be fully logged, tracked and – crucially – not missed.
The ability to identify the hottest leads
Chances are, there’s loads of low-hanging fruit within your CRM system that’s just waiting to be plucked, but how do you know where it is?
Repeat purchasers or past customers who were so delighted with your service that they’re dying to recommend you may just need a little reminder to do so.
Marketing automation will enable you to track customer activity and behaviour and rank them in terms of lead temperature. As a result, your sales team only need glance at a league table to work out who demands their attention first.
Take advantage of lead nurturing techniques
Lead nurturing is another phrase that’s somewhat overused in modern marketing, but it refers to the process of building trust with potential buyers. And that makes it very important.
Lead nurturing the manual way is time consuming and primed for human error, whereas marketing automation will support your sales team by jumping in at precise stages during the buying process.
If a customer triggers a certain point of interest (a specific download on the website, for instance), or contacts you via a certain channel, automated processes will ensure the sales team are made aware and can act accordingly.
Raise the value of every sale
Although not guaranteed, most leads can be tempted to spend more than their initial budget. But how do you identify and capitalise on this latent value of each lead?
With marketing automation, the behaviour of each buyer can be assessed and guided down paths that put them in front of additional purchasing options.
Without this ability, leads may sit within your contact database for years, having lost interest when they thought there was nothing extra special about your offering. And to you, that extra special something is usually an additional sale.
Create the best customer journey
A bad customer journey may still result in a sale (occasionally) but, more often than not, it’ll result in an experience that is advertised to the world via social media and review sites.
By automating specific marketing processes, you can create the best customer journey possible, and that will help scale your business immeasurably.
The more customers you need to convert from strangers to brand advocates, the more help you need from modern technology, and with marketing automation, the journey you create for them can mould as their needs, habits and buying behaviour evolves.
Supercharge customer correspondence
Multi-channel marketing enables your business to speak to a much wider audience far more cost effectively than traditional advertising methods, but it will become cumbersome without automation.
With modern marketing software, you can organise and centralise every interaction with a customer, no matter how they decide to contact you.
Engaging with them via SMS, email, social media and even snail mail, can all be achieved efficiently by automating the output of such communication.
More importantly, this form of marketing automation enables you to cross- and up-sell campaigns based on previous purchases, and without any form of human interaction.
Increase customer loyalty
If you’ve ever attempted to gain actionable customer feedback in the form of surveys, you’ll know what an arduous process it can be. It rarely results in a cross section of opinion that is big enough to be of any use.
Thankfully, we now live in a world that’s fuelled by marketing automation. And, with tools that enable you to survey customers at precise times during their journey, you’re far more likely to gain meaningful insight.
The key to obtaining customer feedback is to ask for it when they’re most likely to respond. With marketing automation, you can do that by triggering surveys at specific points.
For instance, once a customer has watched a webinar, you have the perfect opportunity to ask them their opinion on how it was delivered. Or, when they’re about to leave your website, you might want to ask their reason(s) for doing so.
Marketing automation makes all of this possible without the need for teams to proactively make calls or send out survey forms. As a result, the insight you can gain will finally enable you to work on increasing customer loyalty.
Ready to automate your marketing? We thought so.
All of the above examples of marketing automation are certainly non-exhaustive, but they do represent the most approachable methods by which you can turn manual processes into their digital equivalents.
It’s also worth highlighting that by doing this you’re not relinquishing control of your marketing output to software; marketing automation has become so popular because it increases the control you have over your marketing machine.