The benefits of marketing automation can be tremendous if it’s well implemented.
With the right automation solution, you can help your team, increase the size and conversion rate of your sales funnel, and improve your customer experience.
Let’s look at eight ways marketing automation can help companies.
1. Allows for Personalized Marketing
Automation software can also allow for a high degree of personalization.
Personalization is important in the realm of email marketing — automation tools can send emails to each individual user precisely at the time that’s best for them based on your customer data.
But personalization can go a lot further than that. The best marketing automation tools can be used to personalize the advertisements your customers see, the recommendations they receive, and even their experience using your product itself (if it’s a software product).
For example, almost every eCommerce site has some form of automated recommendation system designed to serve customers additional products they might be interested in.
These automation tools and systems can range from relatively simple (recommending products based on the product a user is viewing) to much more personalized and complex. But ultimately, even the simpler tools are more impactful than simply not making recommendations.
In general, customers_ like_ the feeling that they’re getting a personalized, just-for-them customer experience, and that’s just not possible for a business of any scale that’s relying solely on manual marketing efforts. Personalization at scale requires automation.
2. Lead Scoring and Nurturing
Generating, scoring, and nurturing leads are critical to the growth of any B2B company. Automation tools can allow you to do all of those things more effectively by collecting and analyzing a richer, deeper picture of the prospects in your B2B marketing funnel.
For example, imagine a large B2B company with a number of different products and thousands of people visiting their website each day.
A manual lead scoring and nurturing program might entail flagging users who download a report using their work email.
A member of the sales team might then cross-reference those users with data from the marketing team about their content consumption to see who’s worth reaching out to.
That’s a time-consuming process, and it’s also not a particularly deep analysis. This is where sales and marketing automation tools can really help.
The right automation solution can identify and score leads based on all of your available customer, website, and product data. It can even factor in everything from user demographics to seasonal trends to the specific actions each user has taken and when they happened.
Then, that same system can automatically sort them into a lead nurturing program based on their score and send them the content your sales team wants them to see — all without the need for any intervention from a human.
3. Increased Conversion Rates
Increasing the conversion rate is a goal for almost every company. Automation tools can help with that in a wide variety of ways.
Consider, for example, a customer’s experience as they move through your sales funnel. Automation software can provide them with on-demand customer support, serve them timely content, and help them make the decision to buy in a way that simply isn’t possible for humans.
A very visible success story in this vein is the marketing chatbot. A few years ago, virtually no sites had any kind of automated chat feature. Now, automated chat and help bots are nearly ubiquitous. Why? Because they increase conversion rates.
If a customer is on your site and has a question, or can’t find something they’re looking for, without automation, they’re stuck waiting. Even if your customer service team is incredibly fast, it’s probably going to be at least a few minutes (and more likely hours, or days).
But an automated chatbot can serve them the information they’re looking for instantly, keeping them on your site and increasing the chances of conversion.
Another example is automated email nurture sequences.
With the right email marketing tool, you can automate sequences so that specific emails are sent to specific users at exactly the right time — after they’ve used a feature, perhaps, or at the time they most often open your emails.
That kind of 1:1 customer support simply isn’t possible without automation.
4. Time Savings
Although setting up any kind of marketing automation tool is going to require a bit of time and effort, it typically pays back that time — and much more — once it’s up and running.
That’s one of the biggest benefits of automated marketing: it takes repetitive tasks off of your team’s plate so that they can focus on the more complex, creative work that they’re best at.
Consider, for example, social media automation. Without it, your social media team has to schedule posts manually, dig through data to determine the most successful posts, find the best times to post, etc.
With automation, they can focus on creating great social media content and leave it to the marketing automation tool to determine what to post, when to post it, and potentially even regularly re-post your best performing content so that you can maximize its impact.
In this way, automation is a force multiplier: it frees up your team to spend more time on creating better content, helps you get more mileage out of the content they create, and often makes it easier to understand the results of their work with comprehensive reporting.
If members of your marketing team are doing anything repetitive, whether it be looking up numbers in CRM software or A/B testing subject lines for email marketing, there’s a good chance that automation can give them more time to do the things that really matter.
5. Reduced Costs
Automation doesn’t just save you time — it saves you money, too.
One of the most frequently-discussed benefits of marketing automation software is that it can allow you to reduce your labor costs since some aspects of your marketing process that had been handled by humans can also be handled by your automation tools.
But it’s worth pointing out that automation often isn’t about replacing humans, it’s about augmenting them to magnify the positive impact they can have on your business. This is possible for almost any kind of marketing activity.
For example, the right marketing automation system can be leveraged to improve your sales team’s efficiency by automating steps of the sales funnel (such as emailing prospects, scheduling calls with prospects, etc.) that can be accomplished without a human at the helm.
That automation, in turn, reduces the true cost you pay for your sales team to turn a potential customer into a paying customer because turning a single prospect into a customer requires less of your employees’ time.
The right B2B marketing automation tools can often reduce costs in this way. Better ad targeting through automation and fast automated responses, for example, can reduce your customer acquisition cost (CAC) regardless of whether you decide to reduce your staff size.
6. Smoother Scaling
Having a marketing automation strategy is critically important for another challenge that all successful marketing departments eventually face: scaling.
Scaling up is a challenge that’s frequently discussed in the world of software engineering, where technologies and networks must be built to support an ever-growing volume of users. But marketing needs to scale as your business grows, too.
Even with unlimited financial resources, scaling up your marketing activity isn’t simply a question of hiring more people. To illustrate why, let’s look at a specific marketing task: social media management.
As your company grows, you’ll want to be more visible on social media, but simply hiring more people so that you can post more often only works up to a point. In fact, many social networks build their feeds with algorithms that penalize accounts for posting too often.
To scale your social media efforts, you don’t need to post more, you need to post better. That’s where finding the right marketing automation solution can pay off.
The right tool, for example, can automatically schedule your posts based on machine learning analysis that factors in your past results and relevant customer data in a way that is constantly up to date.
This will allow you to get more exposure and engagement from each post, rather than simply cranking out more posts — a strategy that can work well up to a point, but ultimately does not scale.
7. Better Data Collection
Part of what makes marketing automation technology so impactful is that it can collect, process, analyze, and then act on data with the kind of speed and precision that human beings simply cannot.
Consider, for example, that a simple email marketing automation tool will allow you to write multiple subject lines, A/B test them for open rate to a small sample group, and then automatically send the winner to your target audience list without any human intervention.
That functionality saves you time and allows you to send better, more impactful emails, but it’s also collecting a lot of valuable customer data that your team can analyze to improve your results even more over the long run and/or store in your customer data platform for future use.
For example: What words appeared most often in the winning subject lines? When you’ve got data on months’ worth of A/B subject line tests thanks to your email automation tool, running that analysis becomes simple.
These kinds of effects can be found with automation tools designed to handle almost any kind of marketing task because collecting data is an important part of effective automation.
And while automation tools are constantly analyzing and leveraging their own data, they also tend to make it accessible to you, the end-user, for any other analysis you might choose to run.
8. Better Sales/Marketing Collaboration
Ultimately, your sales and marketing efforts have the same goal. But historically, sales and marketing teams haven’t always operated harmoniously — often because departmental processes, tooling, and structures get in the way.
For example, you may have a marketing team that’s tracking their data using Google Analytics, while your sales team’s information is all in Salesforce. Without some effort, both teams are going to end up missing valuable data that’s sitting in the other team’s tool.
Finding the right sales and marketing automation tools can help solve this problem by connecting the two departments without the need for manual intervention.
An automation tool can, for example, keep an eye on your website’s users and their content consumption habits, automatically scoring and forwarding promising leads to Salesforce without the need for anyone in sales or marketing to comb through the data themselves.
Of course, it’s worth saying that all of the other advantages of marketing automation contribute to creating sales/marketing unity, too. If automation is increasing your conversion rate, scoring leads better, and driving more sales, ultimately, everyone is going to be happy.
In the guide to creating harmony between your sales and marketing teams, there will definitely be at least a few chapters on automation.
Implementing marketing automation might sound daunting, but with today’s tools, it’s easier than ever.
With a tool like Woopra, for example, you can implement a single solution that provides tracking, analytics, and marketing automation that’s easy enough for anyone on your team to use.
And with so many benefits to implementing marketing automation, what have you got to lose?
Well, quite a lot actually! Marketing automation software is already part of the marketing strategy at many B2B companies. If you don’t want your marketing efforts to go in vain, arm your marketers with automation, a critical part of any modern marketing strategy.