Marketing Automation is an integral part of most business marketing plans today.   It’s hard to argue with benefits like intelligent tracking, personalized content delivery, social monitoring, competitive analysis, lead nurturing, conversions and others.

B2B companies have adopted the technology fastest, but even with all the media attention, case studies, and proponents of their success, many smaller and mid-size companies are asking if Marketing Automation is right for them.  Does it fit?

Let’s see how the value measures up and what criteria often fit best into a successful implementation of Marketing Automation Platforms for business.

 


How Marketing Automation Works


7 Indicators that Marketing Automation May Fit Your Company:

1. Your customers research online before buying

Honestly, this one is pretty easy for most companies to answer.  It’s estimated that nearly 70% of the sales process happens online before you have a chance to talk to a potential customer.   It’s easy to ask your customers how they found you and what other companies they looked at. Then go check out your competitors online.  What content do they offer prospects and customers?  What formats are they providing that content in?  What quality content do they offer in exchange for contact information?

Marketing Automation Software lets you monitor and track interactions with your website, its content, and other channels.  It can automate communication and present offers to prospects on your site, in emails and ads.

2. Your website is part of your sales process

If your customers are researching online, contacting you through social channels or buying/ordering directly from your website…  this one’s easy.  Your website is a critical part of your sales process.  Is it performing well?

Once visitors get to your site, what content do you offer them?  Can they watch video?  What do you ask them to do?  Sign up?  Download important information?  Can you tell if they are ready for a sales call?  Are you gaining visitors and leads every month?

Marketing automation helps you track all those activities and score leads according to their interests, interactions and other criteria. For example, part of our service offerings include website development.  If we have a visitor who asks “Do I need a website?” they’re just starting to investigate.  They’re probably not ready to talk to sales.  However, if someone asks “How much should I expect to pay for a business website?” – that’s a different conversation.

Knowing what type of information fits the person at that time is key to keeping them engaged.  Marketing automation software is a tool that helps you deliver the right follow-up, campaigns and offers – on time.

3. Google Analytics doesn’t help you identify your visitors and their interactions

Google Analytics is a great tool.  We use it along side our automation software.  Google is working to expand the capacity of analytics data, but for most site owners seeing that they had 1000 visitors today is not enough to help them convert those visitors to leads – putting names and emails with those visitors – and then convert again into paying customers.

If you are using Google Analytics but need to generate more actual contacts for sales leads, marketing automation can help close the loop and provide more detailed data on interactions.

4. You have multiple products or services

If you have multiple products or services, you’ve likely discovered it’s difficult to keep contact lists organized, up-to-date and sorted by areas of interest in your company’s offerings.  Marketing automation gives you tools to organize, or segment, your lists and provide the right type of content to the right group of people with precision.

After the sale, you can easily move them to a list that provides cross-selling, additional product/service information, or reward programs.

5. You have a long sales cycle

Many successful integrations of Marketing Automation involve companies that have a long sales cycle.  They’re not impulse buys on the check out line.  Their customers need time and information to determine possible solutions, weigh the value of products or services and make a decision.  That sales process is nurtured along with personalized and helpful content.

It’s marketing’s job to help nurture prospects toward the purchase decision.  Marketing automation is key to orchestrating this process across multiple channels.

6. The lifetime value of your customer is high

Marketing automation doesn’t make sense if you’re only selling $1 candy bars.  That’s a multi-million dollar industry, but it’s an impulse buy.   Very few people research a candy bar online, read a blog about it or download a checklist for how to find it faster.

However if you’re selling products and services where you will recoupe and surpass the investment cost of software either in the immediate purchase or lifetime value (recurring purchases, subscription fees, etc) then marketing automation is critical to your success and growth.

7. You need more sales leads for your company

And who doesn’t?  If you plan on drawing in more revenue, breaking into a new niche or area, increasing sales and profits… you need more leads.  What’s more, you need BETTER leads.  When marketing can deliver leads that are better-qualified, your sales team will be delighted.  Cold-calls and high-pressure tactics that are aimed to create “false urgency” don’t deliver on quality leads.

With automation tools, marketing can manage, segment, qualify and nurture leads.  By the time sales is involved, your close rate is significantly higher and with less haggling.

Final Thoughts

The entire path a prospect takes – each visit to your website and what content they are looking at, which emails they opened, what they download – all is managed and tracked best through marketing automation software.  Your communication is based on their recent behavior.  This provides relevant and timely information.

In our digital world, customers expect a tailored, personal experience.  You can deliver that with less guessing and more success when you have the tools that inform and automate your marketing actions.

For smaller to mid-size companies, it’s easier than ever to level the playing field without having to invest the advertising budget of a Fortune 500 company.  You can market smarter instead of advertising harder.

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Cindy is the founding President at 17blue Digital Agency. She's passionate about helping businesses create traction for their brands, reach their goals and make a difference in their communities.