Marketing Automation: Are You Losing Profitable Leads?
Posted by Guest Author on April 5, 2013 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]
Do you catch every interested lead? Or do some come and go without a single touch?
Marketing automation increases marketing efficiency so that you can send the right leads to your sales team at the right time. This is accomplished by automating messages triggered by certain behaviors of your potential customers.
For example, when a potential customer downloads an ebook from your website, the action triggers a personalized email message to be sent to that individual as well as future follow-up emails.
However, to make marketing automation a success for your business, it must meet a few prerequisites. Here are a few things you need to do before you automate your marketing.
1. Create a Functioning Marketing Process
First, you must have a marketing process to automate. The marketing process starts with setting marketing objectives and conducting a situation analysis. From there, you must develop a strategy to communicate to your target market and set metrics that will evaluate the success of this strategy (a.k.a. ROI). There are a few elements of your marketing strategy that are especially important for marketing automation:
- Understanding Your Target Audience: Who is your audience? How do they move through the sales funnel? What are their interests? (This one is very important when it comes to content creation.) You can’t expect to have success attracting leads if you don’t know whom you are targeting.
- Segmenting Your Target Audience: Part of knowing your audience is being able to segment that audience. Segmentation is particularly important for marketing automation because you must be able to send each person relevant messaging depending on where they are in the sales funnel.
- Using a CRM System: A good way to evaluate if your business is ready for marketing automation is to look at how your company uses its CRM tool. If you don’t use a CRM or if you use it for little more than keeping contact information, you probably are not ready for marketing automation. Marketing automation is much like having a CRM with marketing capabilities added to it.
2. Utilize a Content Marketing Strategy
If you have your marketing process in place, is content marketing part of your overall marketing strategy? Marketing automation runs on content, and it takes a lot of content to keep it going. You should be able to say “yes” to the above questions before pursuing marketing automation.
- High Volumes of Content: Is your marketing team able to create a high volume of content? This includes ebooks, whitepapers, and webinars in addition to a blog and social media content, sales materials, press releases, and other company messaging.
- High Quality Content: With marketing automation, leads are generally collected when potential customers access your content. Is your content compelling enough that potential customers will give you their contact information in order to download it?
3. Align Sales and Marketing Teams
As you organize your marketing strategy, you must consider how the sales team fits into the mix. It is important for sales and marketing to understand each other before your company jumps into marketing automation.
- Relationship: If you choose to use marketing automation, your marketing and sales teams will need to work closely and accept a new way of thinking about the marketing and sales process.
- Messaging: In terms of content, sales and marketing departments need to agree on what information should be included in marketing material. Because content plays such a big role in marketing automation, any content discrepancies will be magnified by the software.
4. Contact Every Lead
Marketing automation helps businesses create relationships with potential clients when there are too many leads for the sales team to contact personally.
- Personal Contact: If your sales team can easily call each prospective lead, marketing automation may not be a necessary expense for your business. That being said, marketing automation can increase leads for your business and manage the higher volume of leads.
If you would like to use marketing automation in the future, prepare your business with this list. Once you understand and segment your audience, create volumes of sales and marketing approved content, and can’t keep up with your leads anymore, then you are a candidate for marketing automation.
Photo credit: blogs.position2.com
Bio: Whitney Denney is Social Media Manager at Radiate Media where she shares small business marketing tips. Radiate Media provides software that empowers local media and businesses to capture the audience that matters most. Follow Radiate Media on Twitter and Facebook.