Marketing automation technology is becoming more essential than ever before, but, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know exactly which one to choose. If you’re anything like me, your first instinct is to save yourself a few bucks by testing the waters with the most affordable option. But, also like me, you’ll end up losing money and wishing you had just purchased a solution that helped you accomplish what you wanted to do from the beginning.
Although the price point of an email service provider (ESP) is very attractive, its capabilities pale in comparison to those of marketing automation. ESPs allow marketers to send batch-and-blast emails, but they don’t do much beyond that. In fact, if you want to implement and execute more targeted campaigns, they often create a lot more manual work.
Even if you have a good rhythm handling your weekly workload and your current solution helps you get things done, there’s always room for improvement. That’s where marketing automation comes in. This innovative and powerful technology is designed to grow with the needs of your organization and give you the tools you need to better understand your audience, deliver targeted messaging, and close the loop between Marketing and Sales. Marketing automation empowers marketers to move beyond simply getting the job done and transform your marketing efforts to attract more customers, deliver more qualified leads to Sales, and drive ROI.
This short list of benefits only scratches the surface of what you can achieve by investing in marketing automation. Today, we’re on a mission to demystify this powerful technology by walking you through the business case for making a marketing automation investment.
Go Beyond Email and Empower Your Team to Do More with Less
How many times has someone on your team come up with a great idea that never comes to fruition due to lack of time? This is a scenario that many of us have seen time and time again regardless of the size of our team. The thing is, our marketing isn’t going to get better and we’re not going to see growth if we allow ourselves to get stuck in maintenance mode and don’t find a way to make these innovative marketing ideas come to life.
If you’re already pressed for time, this might seem crazy. After all, how can you do more when you’re already struggling to cross last week’s tasks off your list? But what if I told you that the right tool could help you free up time and resources so you and your team can focus on those critical projects that have been put on the backburner?
This is where a quality marketing automation platform allows you to perform head and shoulders above your standard ESP. Unlike platforms such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, marketing automation goes far beyond email without requiring a major lift from your team.
These are just some of the marketing automation features that empower you to do more with less.
- Automatic Segmentation: Most of us think of segmentation as a tedious task that’s usually prone to error, especially given the manual lift typically involved. A marketing automation platform, however, drastically streamlines this process. Your team decides the criteria you want for each of your lists, and your prospects are automatically grouped as they move through the sales funnel and you uncover more information about who they are and what they do.
- Trigger Emails and Campaigns: With marketing automation, the days of spending all your time building and scheduling out emails are over. Marketing automation allows you to set up trigger emails and campaigns that automatically launch when a user completes a specific user action such as signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form, or downloading an eBook. This feature enables you to immediately reach out to and engage your prospects with relevant messaging so you can keep them moving through the sales funnel effectively.
- Lead Nurturing and Prioritization: All opportunities look the same when you don’t have full visibility into their behavior and preferences, but the reality is that your contacts are at different stages of the sales funnel and have varying interests. Marketing automation allows you to score leads so you can determine where they are in the sales funnel and keep them moving along through personalized efforts such as automated nurture campaigns. This also allows you and your sales team to prioritize the best opportunities so you can focus your efforts where they matter most.
In short, marketing automation allows you to save time performing the tasks you already do, empowers your team to do even more with fewer resources and less effort, and gives you the opportunity to bring innovative ideas to life.
Deliver Personalized Messaging That Drives Conversions
With big players like Amazon and Facebook leading the way in providing personalized experiences, customers now expect every company to do the same. This sets the bar high for B2C and B2B companies alike, and those that do an excellent job of delivering targeted recommendations drastically improve their chance of coming out on top.
Still, figuring out what our customers want and when isn’t easy. As previously mentioned, marketing automation allows you to start off on the right foot by automating the segmentation process. You can also say goodbye to the days of sending batch-and-blast emails and deliver your audience with more targeted recommendations that improve engagement and drive conversions.
Marketing automation eliminates the hassle of having to spend hours creating and launching targeted email campaigns every time you want to reach a specific audience segment. Act-On, for instance, allows you to build automated nurture programs that launch as soon as customers meet the qualifications indicated for that campaign. This allows you to reach out to prospects and leads with the right type of content and information when they’re most likely to engage. Marketing automation also allows you to A/B test multiple variables so you can determine which subject lines, email templates, landing pages, and CTAs resonate best with your audience and then continue to optimize and perfect your efforts over time.
In addition to creating more targeted emails, you can also customize how your prospects interact with your brand. Customized landing pages allow you to develop content and forms that will attract more prospects and convert more leads. This eliminates the need for your prospects to spend hours digging through your website and empowers you to pique their interest very early on.
Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Sales
No matter how skilled and efficient your marketing team is, they can’t convert leads into customers without the right sales processes in place. All your hard work will go to waste if your salespeople don’t have the right insights to guide their conversations, so it’s important that you equip them with the tools and information they need to have more targeted conversations.
You’ve probably heard a thing or two from your sales team about how marketing fails to deliver enough qualified leads, but marketing automation can help solve this problem. In fact, according to Smart Insights, 57% of marketers claim that marketing automation has helped them attract more leads, which can then be passed to Sales in a smooth handoff with transparency and invaluable customer insights as prospects move through the sales funnel (1).
In addition to helping you attract your target customers, marketing automation helps you improve alignment between marketing and sales by improving collaboration and communication. For example, Act-On allows you to set up alerts so your sales representatives immediately get notified when a prospect takes an important action and when a qualified lead is ready to talk. This way, your sales team will never skip a beat when it comes to engaging hot leads.
If you’re working with an ESP, you’re probably cringing at the thought of having to track down user behavior data for each qualified lead that comes through the door. When you execute your campaigns through a marketing automation platform, however, handing your salespeople the information and insights they need becomes a more streamlined process. And if you integrate Act-On with the rest of your MarTech stack, your salespeople will be able to view each customer’s or account’s behavior history right from the CRM of your choice.
Gain Access to the Tools and Insights You Need to Innovate and Strengthen Your Marketing and Sales Strategy
One of the most valuable features of marketing automation is that it enables you to centralize your data so you can better see how each individual and account is interacting with your marketing efforts across all channels. This holistic view allows you to gain a sense of which marketing efforts are resonating with your audience and which are not — and determine the best way to continue engaging them moving forward.
Beyond measuring the success of your marketing, this centralized view of your results enables you to attribute ROI to specific efforts and campaigns with ease. This helps data-driven marketers prove the value of their work to leadership and show how marketing automation supports the success of teams across your organization.
Everybody Wins When You Use Act-On
Now that we’ve reviewed the many benefits of marketing automation, I want to stress that not every solution is created equal. You should choose a platform that works with your current resources, integrates with your MarTech stack of choice, and can grow with the needs of your organization. Act-On is easy to use, gives you the most bang for your buck, and provides you with the support you need to make the most out of your investment.
If you believe marketing automation is the way to go and want to learn more about how to make the business case to your executive team, please download our eBook, Selling Act-On to Your Executive Team (linked below).