You’ve probably heard about it. More specifically, heard marketers rave about it. So what is ‘marketing automation’ and can it benefit your business?
It has been deemed to be ‘next big thing,’ - the holy grail of lead generation and customer acquisition. The emergence of marketing automation software has grown exponentially in recent times. So much so, that the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2015, the total market value for email automation alone will grow to $4.8 billion.
Traditionally, sales were made by making hundreds of calls and sending hundreds of emails to a database of contacts. The success rate of this was extremely low, with perhaps one or two of these contacts showing any interest in the product or service - a lot of work for very little in return. Essentially, marketing automation is all about nurturing. It allows thousands of emails to be sent to prospective customers which look and feel personalised, as though the sender has taken the time to write each one. Automated marketing then allows the recipient’s reaction to this email to be tracked; do they click through to your website? What do they look at while they are there? This then allows further, follow-up emails and communications to be sent based on their actions until each lead is at the optimal stage in the process to be called by a sales person.
Marketing automation refers specifically to the software that takes care of the the laborious, time-intensive process of guiding customers through the sales funnel, measuring the performance of marketing tools or profiling customer demographics. Not only does this save a business’s time, it pinpoints what works best for the company, when it works, who it works for and how the message should be delivered.
The journey from cold to hot
Most marketing automation begins with a database of contact details - names, companies, addresses, etc. This database needs to be cleaned up; all of the relevant details must be included, otherwise you could end up sending out emails to ‘FILL IN NAME HERE’ at company ‘COMPANY NAME’ or such like.
Once ready, the system kicks into action sending a prospective customer a personalised email from you, which –unknown to them – has been sent via your automated marketing tool. They click through to your site from the link provided in your email, browse around your site but don’t take any further action.
The system knows they have done this and also what they looked at, so a few days later it sends them an email with more information on the specific service they were browsing. They then click the link and it takes them to a page which has been specially created to appeal to their requirements - a unique landing page just for them. They then decide to give you a call. They speak with one of your sales consultants who will ultimately add them to the CRM system. A new hot prospect and, up until that call, all the hard work has been done by a system. If the call doesn’t result in a sale within the CRM, the automated marketing system can kick back into action and send them a gentle reminder a few weeks later.
This is true marketing automation; a niche tool which considers every aspect of your business, its needs and the communications which are delivered to your customers to assist a purchasing decision.
There are a lot of businesses who have tried and failed with automated software, and consider these systems to be a waste of their precious marketing budget, whilst there are other companies reporting high levels of Return on Investment (ROI). There is a vast portfolio of different marketing automation tools available, all of which claim to be the most effective tool for automating sales and marketing tasks. They offer a wide range of impressive sounding features from capturing leads, lead scoring, A/B testing of web pages and blogs, data management, email marketing and sales life-cycle automation. It all sounds great, yet the majority of these tools provide an ‘off the shelf’ solution which offers every company the same functionality.
Though these products may work well for some companies, more often than not, they don’t see the bigger picture – your business. The design and content strategy of these emails makes all the difference, they need to sound human and represent your brand in a professional, approachable way. The wrong process or a poorly worded email can result in your customers switching off to your messages.
This is where Mercurytide comes in. ‘Off the shelf’ solutions aren’t really our thing; we develop bespoke software that considers every area of your business, your sales process and the needs of your customers. We have built a variety of marketing automation tools for our clients, which deliver the right content at the right time, in order to boost inbound enquiries and revenue.
Chat to a member of our team about how we can help you to automate your sales and marketing processes.