It’s a struggle out there and supplies are limited. B2B marketing and sales professionals are fighting a daily battle to convert a finite number of leads. With profit margins constantly shrinking, there is little to no room for error or inefficiency. This is why automation of B2B marketing and sales activities appears inevitable.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation is the use of software and Web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance.
There are numerous definitions for the industry term online. However, the best way to understand marketing automation is to review its main capabilities.
Marketing Intelligence – This essentially refers to the use of tracking codes to monitor online behaviors.
Business Development – Automated business development relies on email marketing, social marketing, SEO, and content marketing.
Advanced Workflow Automation – This step encompasses the complete automation of internal marketing processes and functions.
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Needless to say, the modern marketing automation solutions are usually connected to the sales automation platform, mainly the CRM solution. Automating the aforementioned aspects of marketing operations introduces a wide range of benefits that can no longer be ignored. These include:
Create Quality Leads – Get a clear view of your B2B space and gain intel about your leads to clinch the advantage. With the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and quality content, you can reach and engage your target audience more effectively.
Scale Up Faster – What used to take years previously can now be done in a matter of months. For example, companies that use automation to manage their leads can expect a 10% or more bump in revenue within 6-9 months. This is almost a necessity in today’s competitive markets.
Value for Money – Besides the time that is being saved, marketing departments can also save money and resources. Lesser people are required to manage the logistical and administrative aspects of the marketing operations, regardless of how fast the company is growing.
As shown in the diagram below, marketing has taken over some major aspects of the funnel, most importantly the Consideration and Intent stages that used to be handled by Sales personnel until recently. This has made selecting the right marketing automation solution extremely important today.
The Marketing and Sales Funnel: Then and Now
Although the advantages of marketing automation clearly outweigh the cons, they still do exist and need to be taken into consideration.
Learning Curve – Besides the fact that marketing automation solutions can be quite costly, properly implementing them and blending them into your ecosystem will require training and onboarding. This is an ongoing process as these solutions evolve and become more feature-rich.
Overfeeding Leads – There’s a danger that marketing automation leads companies to communicate with their customers too frequently.
Mistakes are Costlier – As explained earlier, these automation solutions are capable of managing thousands of leads and customers at a time with just a few clicks. But everyone should be aware that a wrong click can lead to disastrous results (i.e – wrong email to a wrong segment).
What is Sales Automation?
The centerpiece of any sales automation platform is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, which helps organize, track, and nurture leads. When this crucial sales backbone is managed automatically with minimal human intervention (and errors), it introduces a wide range of benefits.