Do you feel like business keeps getting more and more complicated and you can't keep up? There is a solution: marketing automation. Even choosing what kind of automation to use is a challenge, but once you understand what is possible, you can prioritize what to implement.
Read 6 Tips for Successful Marketing Automation. Wendy Bryant-Beswick provides a big picture view for determining which aspects of what your business is doing today can be automated.
Let's get more specific about what is possible because once you know that you will be in a better position to choose wisely from the hundreds of overlapping solutions.
What is Marketing Automation?
This highly entertaining video I found on YouTube explains what marketing automation is in a visual way:
Where we once manually entered leads into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Social Relationship Management (SRM) system, wrote individual emails (or used mail merge to send them), then tracked follow-up calls and emails in a spreadsheet or possibly an application. Those are slow and outdated methods that reduce how many sales your team can close.
What Tasks Can Be Automated?
Almost anything you or your employees routinely do can be automated. For example, are you still manually creating quotes one at a time? Did you know you can use PandaDoc to mail merge your sales quotes, contracts, proposals or any other documents you routinely mail to clients or marketing leads.
The company brand and message can be protected by having your employees use professional copy written by experts in converting leads to buyers.
What are the Benefits of Marketing Automation?
While marketing automation is complicated, the benefits are simple: increased sales, efficient lead management and follow-through, and higher ROI.
This SlideShare from DRI - Discovery/Reinvention/Integration/ visually illustrates The Full Potential of Marketing Automation.
Today, it is essential that you have a CRM, SRM or marketing automation of some kind in place. All of your contacts need to be organized in a database used by the sales team to follow-up on leads.
Not having an organized method of following up on leads is the major failure in many small businesses. There is no reason to spend money on marketing or advertising - much less a marketing automation system - if your business does not actively pursue the leads generated.
Read Why You Should Buy Marketing Automation - But Not Now to better understand how your company must prepare prior to implementation.
Automation is essential to what is known as Lifecycle Marketing. By developing an entire process, leads do not end up falling through the cracks. The effectiveness of every aspect of the lead nurturing process can be measured.
See the infographic in The Evolution of Lifecycle Marketing to more clearly understand the importance of keeping the sales funnel full of leads, enabling your sales team with all the background information on each lead you can get, and nurturing those leads until they buy.
Instead of customers buying only once, they can be offered upsell products and cross-sell services.
Don't forget about your existing customers in your quest to get new leads. They are the easiest of all customers to convert!
Automation is the beginning of the path to multiply your sales and get serious about competing. This Case Study: Focusing on Intent, Capture, and Conversions, illustrates where you can take your optimization - once you have a system in place to measure your results.
Automation can either be a great gift or your greatest fear. Companies that implement it well and teach their employees to develop relationships will blossom while those who don't figure it out in time will fall by the wayside. Your choice. What will your company do?