Working smarter, not harder, with marketing automation
Marketers’ use of technology is on the rise as teams are looking to reach more potential customers, which has elevated marketing automation as a frequent topic of conversation in the industry. The market for marketing automation is expected to grow to $4.8 billion in 2015 with recognizable vendors like Pardot, Hubspot, and Marketo leading the way.
Sales and marketing teams are realizing that marketing automation software can help them work smarter instead of harder – nurturing leads with the right content, qualifying buyers for the best fit and maximizing the efficiency of multi-touch sales cycles.
Marketing automation at its core
Marketing automation is a tool or platform built for marketing professionals to help centralize and personalize communication, segment leads and qualify which ones should be passed onto sales to close the deal. Where these tools really shine is that they can do all of this – personalization, segmentation, qualification – at scale using automation.
All this said, marketing automation tools do have lots of features – they can tie together email marketing, lead nurture programs, social media management, landing pages and web forms, lead scoring and grading and marketing analytics. Why would you want all of these features? So you can measure your marketing activities across a variety of channels and tie them back to the same goals of lead generation, prospect qualification and closing deals.
Marketing automation offers:
- CRM integration. All good marketing automation tools integrate with most major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. And it’s extremely important that these two systems can communicate with each other – the CRM is usually the central database that software sales users are most familiar with. The marketing automation platform should be able to read and edit the data, helping both marketing and sales efforts.
- Email marketing. Email has been and will continue to be an integral tool used to communicate with prospective customers. With 73% of marketers saying email marketing is core to their business, it is important to have a tool that makes drafting, testing and sending emails easy and sustainable.
- Nurturing. Lead nurturing is one of the primary reasons why marketing automation is so successful. These programs allow you to reach your target audiences over an extended period of time, which is very useful for tradeshow follow up, awareness building and re-engaging cold leads, among many other uses.
- Grading/scoring. Marketing automation isn’t just a tool for marketers. The ability to score and grade leads means they can be qualified before passing them over to sales. And that score/grade can help sales prioritize which hot leads to go after.
- Social marketing. Social media is important for educating prospective clients, and it gives companies credibility when prospects are doing their due diligence. Using a marketing automation tool for social posting allows the engagement analytics to flow directly back into the tool and tie activities back to individuals.
- Reporting. Closed-loop reporting is important for measuring each channel’s effectiveness. Taking the analytics from disparate sources and bringing them together in one platform can show how the entire marketing ecosystem contributes to the overall customer journey.
At the end of the day, marketing automation is all about working smarter. By centralizing the technologies into one platform, you can prove the return of investment and determine which marketing activities are filling the sales pipeline. And using the insight these tools collect means marketers can maximize each interaction, meeting prospective customers where they are in their buying process – at scale with marketing automation.