Traditionally the sales funnel has been a linear process following the standard stages of awareness, interest, decision, and action. With the sales rep hand-holding you through the entire process. To say that the digital era has completely disrupted the traditional sales and marketing funnel is an understatement:
- 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.
- “57% of the purchase decision is already complete before the customer even calls the supplier.” (CEB)
- "80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase." (VB Insight, 2015)
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.
The most commonly used marketing automation features are email marketing (89%), lead nurturing (84%), integrations with other software (CRM, mobile, social media, etc.) for centralizing customer intelligence (80%) and cross-channel campaign management (82%).
How do we make the most out of Marketing Automation?
Raring to get started with Marketing Automation? Well time for some reality checks. Marketing Automation is not a panacea for all your marketing woes. It is a way to make the most out of the dynamic, multi-touchpoint, multi-channel sales funnel that is increasingly the norm today. Getting Marketing Automation right is the first step to making the most out of it. Here are 3 pointers to get you started:
- First Generate the Feed: For Marketing Automation to be effective it needs a sufficient build up of traffic and leads that can then be automated. For example, an automated email campaign is of no use if you’re sending it out to a trickle of leads. Invest in top-of-the-funnel tactics like blogs, SEO, social media, etc., to increase the leads that feed into your marketing automation lifecycle.
- Onboard the team: Your entire Sales and Marketing team needs to thoroughly grasp the tools and automation processes for them to use it as a part of their daily work routine. Only then will it bear fruit. Go the whole nine yards with the tool setup, training, ecosystem integration, campaign planning, content development, and regular management.
- Be Open to Feedback: Marketing Automation’s engine is continuous feedback. It is what can truly optimize your sales and marketing process. Use the toolset to keep a close eye on your customer’s reaction, campaign response, etc. Invest time and effort in data analysis and sniff through the generated reports for red flags and customer trends. For example in a newsletter campaign, click-through rates, open-rates, unsubscribe rates, spam complaints, etc. are all giving you critical info on what you need to tweak. Don’t ignore them. Respond to them objectively to improve your connection with the customer.
All in all, Marketing Automation is a fantastic tool that will help you convert more leads and increase revenue, but do ensure that your groundwork is in place!
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