What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is simply using technology to communicate with your audience without directly managing the process. Many CRM’s provide this service for the users, but unfortunately it’s not something you just turn on and expect to work.Why use marketing automation?
Here are a few scenarios that make sense for marketing automation:
– Your company has an outside sales force that tend to be disorganized and afraid of CRMs
– Your company doesn’t have a sales force
– Your product / service has a long sales cycle
– Your product / service has a high price tag
– You currently collect data from your clients, but don’t know how to use it
Ultimately, the goal of marketing automation should be to increase productivity and to lower inefficiencies with your sales cycle. The core goal is to lower marketing costs by increasing the effectiveness of your campaign.
You will be able to gauge the results of your marketing efforts because of the tracking and analytics that the software provides. Essentially, marketing automation will decrease the amount of prospects that fall through the cracks during the sales cycle and prevent you from marketing to prospects that are not interested in your product / service.
To sum up the reasons; you gonna make mo money!
What to expect with marketing automation.
To automate your marketing strategy you need to develop a cohesive vision that builds out the steps of the marketing process. It requires a lot of planning, time, and effort on the front end – but once setup the maintenance will decrease.
To get started you will need to develop a communication blueprint, create the artwork and content, and train your employees on the expected process. As you develop this strategy you will search for appropriate software that fits your needs. Many software solutions available provide automation for only certain communication tools. For example it may automate sending emails and websites, but cannot track direct mail or inbound phone calls.
Again, this is why it is so important to develop a strategy on day one. You do not want to get half way into your campaign to realise your software doesn’t offer a solution needed for your marketing efforts.
The beauty of building a campaign is that you have a lot of flexibility to make it fit within your budget. For tighter budgets you may focus primarily on web based technologies, but for a more comprehensive strategy you can use nearly all the communication tools at your finger tips.
If your company uses an out of the box CRM solution (think Salesforce) there is a strong likely hood an automation plugin or add-on is available. If you have a custom built CRM solution, it may be necessary to develop your own software which can be very costly. Most of the software solutions are offered as a SaaS (software as a solution) and you should expect a monthly charge for the software, and a cost per marketing item sent.
Make your marketing accountable.
The only way you know if your dollars are being spent wisely in marketing is if you track and measure your results. Start by automating your campaigns and becoming a smart marketer. For too long marketing has been a voodoo industry with no accountability – it’s time for that to change and the tools are available at your fingertips.
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