After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Marketing Automation 2. Definitions of Marketing Automation 3. Aspects 4. Functions 5. Features 6. Advantages.
Meaning of Marketing Automation:
Marketing automation is the use of technology to manage and automate the process of converting prospective customers into actual buyers. By automating the various tasks and workflows involved in demand generation, lead management, and sales and marketing alignment, marketing automation contributes to shorter sales cycles, increased revenue, and better marketing ROI.
Marketing automation is the use of software to automate marketing processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration (CDI), and campaign management. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would otherwise have been performed manually much more efficient, and makes some new processes possible. Marketing automation is an integral component of customer relationship management (CRM).
Definitions of Marketing Automation:
Here’s how others are defining marketing automation:
“Marketing automation’ defines the set of technologies that help automate internal processes and customer engagement.”
“Marketing automation is a set of tools, processes, and/or software platforms used by businesses to automate and streamline the way sales leads are tracked and quantified.”
“The use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales, using customized, multi-touch marketing communications tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behavior or place in the buying process.”
“Marketing automation is a technology that helps automate marketing management and customer engagement.”
Aspects of Marketing Automation:
Some aspects of marketing automation include:
(i) List Management:
Our CRM includes an advanced target lists feature: The ability to create and update company, person and lead contact lists to any marketing department. Sage CRM can help accomplish this quickly and easily through simple point-and-click list management.
(ii) Campaign Management:
Use CRM to design, budget, modify, track and analyze your marketing activities. Sage CRM provides the groundwork for an easy-to-use marketing automation system that helps you track the effectiveness of all of your marketing programs.
(iii) Activity Management:
Sage CRM supports multi-media, multi-phase, marketing campaign management. Mailers, e-mail, telemarketing, tradeshows, advertising, press releases and more can be organized, tracked and delivered through Sage CRM Campaign Activity management.
(iv) Document Management:
The Sage CRM document library stores far more than just documents. It can be used to link all the files your company must maintain within a transaction to make your audit trail complete. Any materials (.doc, .cad, .pdf, .wav, .xls and more) you need to store internally as part of communications, tasks, companies, persons, opportunities and support cases are conveniently maintained within the Sage CRM Library and are available to whomever may need access to them.
The Sage CRM Global Library provides a repository for all documents that CRM users need day to day, such as sales templates, price guides, and more. This ensures that everyone has access to the ‘right version of the right documents’ every time.
(v) Custom Data:
There are many reasons that you may need to track additional data in your CRM system. Client surveys, extended customer profiles, or outbound call activities may require additional data capture. In Sage CRM, Key Attribute Data can be gathered and subsequently reported on.
Key Attribute Profiling includes supporting screens for data capture and easy set up and maintenance. This information is maintained in the CRM system, allowing your company to analyze historical data on many past profiles
(vi) Call Management:
Telemarketing or conducting follow-up calls in sales or support is easy. Target lists of prospects or customers can be allocated in such a way that calls are scheduled as a telesales or support representatives become available. Sage CRM even integrates with your TAPI compliant phone system to manage the routing of inbound calls and auto-dialing for outbound calls.
(vii) Mass Emails:
Sage CRM supports targeted e-mail marketing campaigns by providing an easy way to create and manage target lists as well as the ability to create e-mail templates, send HTML e-mail, or e-mail attachments for bulk distribution
Budget vs. cost analysis can easily be created through Sage CRM’s built-in reporting engine. You can view the sales produced from particular marketing activities in real-time to easily monitor the effectiveness of all your marketing initiatives. Marketing Automation includes the processes and technology which help to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing work.
Even though marketing work varies across industries, regions, and work-groups, marketing departments can divide their processes into a few high-level steps such as:
1. planning and budgeting,
2. campaign and project management, and
3. measuring results.
Marketing Automation can take various forms in each of these steps. For example:
i. In planning and budgeting, marketing automation could include placing the budgets and plans into a shared database instead of emailing files back and forth OR using marketing performance dashboards to look at overall expense and revenue metrics.
ii. For campaign management, marketing automation tools and technologies exist to help identify customer names and divide those names into segments OR automate how five people review, improve, and sign-off on a direct mail piece.
iii. To measure results, a reporting system may track how people click on a web page, navigate a site, and fill out a form.
Today, most marketing departments use different tools and technology to automate their processes, and each of these tools provide an aspect of marketing automation. The entire set of marketing systems which connect all processes and groups is often referred to as “Enterprise Marketing Management” and can also be referred to as marketing operations, marketing resource management, marketing performance management, and, of course, marketing automation.
Key Functions of Marketing Automation:
In order to effectively aid marketers in fully understanding customers and subsequently developing a strategic marketing plan, marketing automation tools (MAT) are designed to perform three key tasks’:
a. Development and analysis of marketing campaigns and customers
b. Management of marketing campaigns
c. Appropriate customer data organization and storage
Fully developed marketing automation systems provide information across all phases of the marketing process, including:
a. Demand Generation
b. Lead Management
c. Lead Scoring
d. Lead Nurturing
e. Lead Generation
f. Campaign Analysis
g. Lead Qualification
h. Sales Effectiveness
Features of Marketing Automation:
Marketing automation creates a beneficial bind between service and sales organizations. The software should be able to deliver on a range of goals in multiple environments (such as business-to-business and business-to-consumer).
Often, the software is expected to be able to identify market segments and target them in as many ways as possible. Marketing automation software should be able to identify customer prospects by name, location, and buying habits. In addition, it must have appropriate analytical components to support reporting and prediction of customer behavior so that it can improve future campaigns.
(i) Campaign Optimization:
The creation and modification of personalized marketing efforts that not only engage the customer or prospect, but also engage the entire enterprise in the effort and provide a single view of the activity to any department or segment of the company. Specific tools are required to plan and manage marketing campaigns.
(ii) Database Connectivity:
Marketing automation applications should collect data from single or multiple distributed databases to allow individual levels of customer behavior analysis, which allows a company to effectively target its campaigns.
(iii) Customer Profiling:
Customer profiling determines specific attributes that can be used to segment customers into groups, such as geography, age, high rollers versus low ballers, etc.
(iv) Marketing Embedded Reporting:
Reporting is the creation of customized on-screen or printed views that provide the viewer with information specially in the form he wants and with the content he wants. Many of the reporting tools embedded in CRM applications are third party tools.
(v) Marketing Strategy:
A system with a marketing strategy capability aids the formulation of strategies for recognizing customer value, based on the analysis of a customer’s order.
Advantages of Marketing Automation:
Anyone you talk to these days is buried in work. We all have too many tasks and not enough hours in the day to complete them. Worse, there are growing challenges on the marketing side: learning social, lead development, building and managing relationships with today’s empowered consumers and, perhaps most important of all, measurement of your efforts.
What can your team do to stay ahead? For me, the answer is simple: You need to automate some of these responsibilities. Not only will marketing automation streamline your workflow; it will also enable you to interact with your customers and prospects in innovative and personalized ways.
Your team will become more efficient and more effective -and you’ll be able to prove it. So, instead of always feeling one step behind the latest digital marketing strategies, why not take a different tack? Put marketing automation technology to work for you and start reaping these benefits:
1. Better Leads:
Sales doesn’t just need leads. Sales needs better leads. Marketing automation empowers lead nurturing because it allows you to identify, qualify and manage leads without manual intervention. Today’s automation systems include dashboards that allow you to see metrics related to each prospect. Once you see how certain leads mature, you can make strategic decisions to nudge them along.
Best of all, you won’t have to waste time on dead leads. Using automation to track and fine- tune prospects along the lead nurturing path ensures that you’ll deliver more and more of those coveted “sales ready” leads.
2. Better Relationships:
Today’s consumers expect customized, relevant engagement. Marketing automation allows you to track customer buying behaviors and develop rich customer profiles. By combining data from a variety of resources, you can add insight to all three key contact points: welcoming, post-purchase and upselling. Use these insights to begin creating customized communications designed to address each subscriber’s individual needs.
Campaigns based on a static, pre-determined schedule are quickly becoming obsolete. Marketing automation enables you to sync messages with milestones in the customer lifecycle, creating the relevant engagement that drives sales.
3. Better Measurement:
How successful was your last campaign? What’s the ROI on your inbound marketing and social media efforts? You won’t know unless you measure. Marketing automation can track your efforts and then analyze the data across a wide array of performance metrics. The results will help you better understand which tactics are producing qualified leads and driving revenue. Then, you can apply this intelligence for future wins.
In today’s digital marketplace, marketing automation is not just a “nice-to-have.” It’s a “must have.” Not that long ago, marketers used technology mostly as a way to improve process efficiency and communication within and between their organizational teams. Now, the applications are much broader, and marketers are using marketing automation to make best use of resources, prove ROI and maximize profits.
Other most common benefits of marketing automation are these:
1. Improved consistency of follow-up to all new leads independent of sales bandwidth. Regardless of how good your inside sales team is, putting in place automated lead response via marketing automation ensures that every inbound lead receives a prompt, systematic, personalized response, and that none fall through the cracks.
When you dump 200 leads into the CRM database following a trade show, marketing automation guarantees that every one of those leads hears from your company in a timely fashion.
2. Increased sales productivity due to better identification of sales-ready leads. Marketing automation automatically identifies “better” leads utilizing both demographic and behavioral criteria, and flags those leads that truly merit sales follow-up. This eliminates wasted time – and the sales dissatisfaction that results – when reps follow up on junk leads and other inquiries that never convert to opportunities.
3. Increased demand generation ROI due to improved conversion of leads to sales opportunities. Without marketing automation, most salespeople chase new, hot leads, ignore the rest, and then wait for the next marketing program to generate a fresh new batch of “ready to buy” prospects.
Marketing automation enables companies to systematically nurture and cultivate existing prospects, yielding more opportunities and a better return from marketing programs executed weeks and months earlier.
4. Shortened sales cycles due to more systematic nurturing of leads through the selling process. Most salespeople are compensated on closed business, NOT on keeping leads warm. As a result, absent marketing automation and a well-designed lead management program, all but the hottest leads typically die a lonely death in the CRM database.
Marketing automation helps accelerate the pace at which both cold and warm leads move along the sales cycle by providing information of value independent of sales follow-up.
5. Greater marketing efficiency due to more effective marketing spend and less demand for expensive campaigns designed to bring in net new prospects. Marketing automation helps companies get more from their marketing budget by making the most of the leads they have.
Marketing automation systems also make it easier to track the true ROI of marketing programs, so companies can make smarter marketing investments based on more than just response rates and Cost per Lead.