Is this the right time to adopt marketing automation for your company?
Marketing automation helps organizations scale their sales and marketing efforts efficiently. It is one of the most discussed topics in the marketing circles. Its irresistible benefits such as more qualified leads, better conversion, scaling marketing operations, and less time are too good to be ignored by any business.
Many companies have achieved excellent success with marketing automation. The software vendors are posting double-digit growth in revenue as well as new client acquisition. High-value acquisitions of Eloqua, Marketo, and other MarTech companies have signaled an increasing acceptance of marketing automation by firms of all sizes. According to a survey, more than 80% of the marketers are planning to adopt marketing automation in the next twelve months.
While marketing automation has helped several business, a majority have struggled to justify their investments in the automation technology. The advantages of the tools are beyond doubt. However, most of the firms have failed to get desired results from the tools.
This quote from Bill Gates will perhaps answer why marketing automation doesn’t work for many businesses:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
You need to assess your current operations, technology systems, and requirements (need analysis) before investing in marketing automation. Not all automation tools will fit into your business. You may also need to readjust your processes to implement marketing automation efficiently. In some cases, you might need a particular technological solution other than marketing automation. If you are considering the implementation of marketing automation for your firm, do an extensive need analysis to understand if the business needs such advanced software solutions.
Here is a quick guide to help you to assess your need regarding a right marketing automation tool. To suggest the best solution, let us first understand the possible scenarios that a business might have to face in terms of online marketing.
You have more leads than the business can handle
Be happy with what you have. You are among the few firms that have sufficient leads to sustain the business. You may focus on scaling the business and long term branding. You can use several tools such email newsletters, social media platforms, blogs, etc. for the purpose of long-term branding. However, at this stage, you don’t need marketing automation tool.
You get a lot of leads but low conversion rate
You can increase the lead conversion rate either by improving the quality of leads or by improving the follow-up process. Accurate and detailed information on landing pages, emails, ad creative and precise targeting can improve the quality of leads.
You can also improve the follow-up process by automating it. It can be automated by using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. Automation of follow-up process will ensure the timely contact with cold and warm prospects based on their actions and behaviors without forgetting the hot leads. A basic level of lead nurturing can also be achieved by setting up different rules and generating quality content. All this can be done using an advanced CRM.
A marketing automation tool can also help at this stage. However, you may not be able to justify the high costs associated with the new technology especially when the same task can be done using a cheaper alternative.
You want to generate more leads
Most of the businesses fall into this category. However, not all of them are on the same page. A business may not get leads due to several reasons. Let us explore some of them:
You have never done online marketing
In the past, you may have got new clients through referrals, off-line forums or any method other than digital marketing. Now you feel the need of a professional marketing approach to grow your business faster.
In this case, you should learn more about pay per click (PPC) advertising and inbound marketing. The PPC advertising can deliver best results in the short term. However, in the long run, the pay per click campaigns become expensive.
Inbound marketing can be useful in medium to long-term (6-12 months). Inbound marketing also helps you understand the requirements of the marketing automation tools.
However, marketing automation is certainly not required at this stage.
Want to buy a list and send email blast
It is not suggested to send emails or SMS to strangers or users you are not acquainted with, or those who have not subscribed to your list. The email blast is no longer profitable for many businesses. Moreover, spamming will also put the hosting servers at risk of being blacklisted that will hamper search engine ranking in the long term.
However, you can still go ahead and do it at your own risk. You can look for an automated outbound marketing platform to send blasts, capture leads, and manage follow-ups. The marketing automation will be a disaster in this situation. Remember that you need to have a high-quality database of subscribed users to achieve success with marketing automation tools.
PPCs are expensive, not working, or need a better alternative
If after doing PPC promotion, you realize that it is no longer working or you need to invest in long-term techniques that generate consistent leads, then you should invest in content marketing. Content marketing will help you generate leads in the long run. To do it efficiently, you will have to invest in content curation, email marketing platform, social media, and influencer marketing. At this stage, you can also use marketing automation tools to automate the repetitive processes. However, it is advised first to devote sufficient time to content marketing to understand the nuances of the same.
You are already doing online marketing – Need to do it more efficiently and generate better ROI
If you are already doing digital marketing and committed to inbound marketing and looking to make the entire process more efficient and productive, marketing automation is the next step. In fact, at this stage, marketing automation should be the must have tool for your business.
Adoption of marketing automation at this juncture will lead to following:
Increased efficiency – The repetitive tasks of entire digital marketing campaigns will be automated. It will require minimum manual intervention, and therefore, will be less prone to errors. The sales and marketing teams will no longer be isolated. They will work closely to achieve the same organizational goals: to acquire and nurture more leads, and generate more revenue.
An increased number of qualified leads – More leads and better leads is one of the biggest benefits of marketing automation. From precise targeting, lead capturing to final conversion – automated follow-up do the magic. It nurtures the leads, transform prospects from cold to hot leads and then helps in final conversion.
Better ROI – Increased efficiency, less time, more leads and quick reporting leads to a better return on investment (ROI) on the marketing budget. Also, the teams get enough room to focus on creativity and something that matters the most – understanding customers’ needs to refine communication and products rather than getting stuck in the nitty-gritty of digital marketing processes.
Once you decide to implement marketing automation, you need to do the following to ensure a smooth transition and successful implementation:
Choose right software – You need to do extensive research and select the marketing automation tool that can be integrated easily with your existing technological systems such as CRMs, Website, etc. Remember that not all tools will be compatible with all the technologies. So, you need to give preference to technology compatibility than features and benefits of the tools.
Quality Database – You must update the customers’ list to weed out old or non-existent email ids. Lack of quality database will affect the entire campaign adversely.
Quality content curation – To achieve sustainable success through marketing automation tools, you should have the capability to curate high-quality content on a regular basis. Lack of quality content and low customer engagement will make any marketing automation tool useless.
Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can be useful for all type of businesses. From one-man shop to a multinational organization – every business can take help of automation to achieve their goals. Numerous studies have shown that a lot of businesses don’t use all the features of the automation tool. Also, very few of them request customizations as per their specific requirements. This doesn’t serve the purpose of implementing an advanced tool.
You need to spend significant time in understanding all the features of the software. You also need to have complete clarity over your firm’s marketing processes.
If your company has never used digital marketing, then start with traditional forms of marketing such as search engine, social media, and email marketing first to have a sense what it takes to achieve success in digital marketing. Use of email marketing automation will give a fair idea of what to expect from marketing automation software.
There is no short cut to success. And therefore, marketing automation alone will not help you succeed until you have efficient digital marketing processes and a sound strategy in place.
Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.