According to a recent report by DemandGen, the number of companies that have adopted marketing automation solutions is doubling year over year.
With marketing automation’s capacity to help companies maximize their return on investment, manage revenue cycles, and create brand awareness, the number of B2B companies taking advantage of this technology is expected to continue to grow. But you don’t have to be a mega organization to reap the benefits of CRM and other forms of marketing automation software. So what, exactly, is marketing automation and how can it help your business grow?
According to SearchCRM, marketing automation software is used to automate marketing processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration (CDI), and campaign management. Its use makes processes, which had been performed manually, much more efficient. It also provides new features and capabilities that companies have yet to exploit. Marketing automation is an integral component of customer relationship management (CRM).
Marketo further defines marketing automation as a tool for increasing operational efficiency and driving revenue. It automates the routine and repeatable tasks involved in lead management, lead nurturing and lead scoring. It will also build and maintain your company’s marketing lead database. It can also be integrated with your company’s existing sales force automation systems.
Automation software enables marketing departments to measure what works and demonstrate the impact of specific marketing and lead nurturing campaigns on company revenue. Used effectively, it can foster collaboration between marketing and sales teams and increase productivity.
The two main functions of marketing automation are campaign management and customer segmentation. Organizations use factors such as gender, age, and education to separate and categorize customer data. This helps marketers create campaigns targeted to particular demographics and measure the effectiveness of advertising and lead nurturing strategies.
Within these two main functions, marketing automation programs perform a multitude of tasks. Some of these will vary by provider, but most will help increase the effectiveness of your marketing in these 12 ways:
- Increase productivity by replacing repetitive manual tasks with automated systems.
- Help to manage your company’s revenue cycles.
- Automate lead generation and lead nurturing processes.
- Create marketing work-flow systems, budget plans and organizational calendars.
- Manage organization-wide marketing campaigns
- Manage mailing lists based on existing lead, account and contact data.
- Assist on campaign asset creation.
- Analyze campaign effectiveness based on customer data.
- Use information captured in lead details to qualify leads to next stage.
- Deploy mass email campaigns to targeted mailing lists.
- Import leads from external sources, such as lead suppliers and Web downloads.
- Create, automate and deliver multi-channel promotional messaging.
If you’re planning to purchase marketing automation software tools, it’s important to realize that your initial purchase is only the beginning. When companies express disappointment with their marketing automation system, this is often because they have not taken the time to learn how to use it fully. To get the most benefit from your software, you will need to integrate it with the right resources, people, and processes.
Think of marketing automation as one component of your complete marketing solution. When used effectively, it can help you build brand awareness and realize a higher return on your sales leads.