Lead generation, lead scoring and lead nurturing are all important components of your marketing process. Without marketing automation, these tasks can be a very time-consuming process and subject to human error if done manually. Many marketing departments are actually generating more leads than their sales department have time to qualify and follow-up on. It might sound like a great problem to have – but there is no value in just generating a bunch of leads if they do not get contacted and moved through the sales funnel.
Basically, marketing automation is the optimization of the entire process – from planning and execution to analytics. Automation can be customized based on various targets, sales cycles, promotions, or whatever your strategic plan outlines. The data retrieved from those activities provide great insights and analytics.
The possibilities are endless – you can build and test emails, surveys, microsites and engage your customers through personalization and customization. Based on your visitor’s actions, you will learn what design, content, and calls to action work the best.
You can send thousands of automated emails through drip-marketing campaigns, track your content’s usage, gauge the effectiveness of your SEM (search engine marketing), integrate social media channels, and reap the benefits of reaching large numbers of people with engaging, relevant one-to-one messaging.
Marketing automation makes it easy to monitor the leads as they move through the sales cycle by applying lead scoring. You can tweak campaigns to optimize results and ensure you are connecting with customers as effectively as possible. Through the process, you can communicate with your sales department through software applications, which will also increase the internal accountability.
If you are running multi-channel campaigns there is a great value in knowing what the lead’s first touch point and long tail interaction were, as well as being able to compare the efficiency of different campaigns. You can run numerous reports and measure a variety of metrics. Having all this information will make planning your next campaign so much easier.
There are a number of different marketing automation platforms available today, it is important to choose the one that is ideal for your marketing team and needs. We evaluate all the appropriate options with our clients by conducting a thorough assessment of their marketing and sales team structure and selling processes, budgets, goals and customer landscape to find the ideal solution. The other key element is examining what content and creative assets exist and how it’s all integrated within their website, social media and other marketing strategies, and then developing a plan to capture, engage and monitor the lead generation and nurturing process.
We see it as a long-term investment in our relationship with our customers and one that has proven numbers to back its effectiveness.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.