So what is Marketing Automation? Simply put, it’s software and systems that allow companies to buy and sell.

As a standalone company nobody does this better than Amazon. But consumers didn’t put their trust in Amazon overnight.  Their success was the result of tireless marketing campaigns that eventually earned them the right to dominate, and in fact, create a whole new way of doing business. The ultimate goal for any marketing automation sequence is to nurture prospects with highly personalized and useful content that helps convert those prospects into customers and then turn those regular customers into long-term raving fans.

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.

A good Marketing Automation system will usually take the following into account:

  • Lead Nurturing
  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Generation
  • Website Monitoring
  •  Email Marketing

What Marketing Automation is NOT

Marketing automation is NOT using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to accomplish marketing objectives nor is it just about executing a single marketing technique in isolation (e.g. automatically sending out an email campaign every month). Rather, marketing automation is designed to meet the specific needs of marketers and involves a holistic approach to generating, nurturing, and converting leads into customers by automating a variety of marketing techniques (e.g. email, website monitoring, landing page optimization, and more) and ensuring marketing and sales alignment throughout the process.

Why Was Marketing Automation Created?

B2B lead generation has changed dramatically in recent years. The old days of mass marketing, email blasts, and buying lists don’t work in a world where buyers use the web, search, and social media to take control of the buying process.

Companies today meet prospective customers earlier in the buying cycle, and those customers want to engage with sales later than ever. As a result, the old model where marketing generates a lead and sends it over to sales doesn’t work anymore. Instead, the best marketers are finding ways to bridge the gap between the day marketing first generates a lead and the day that lead is ready for sales.

Here are some Marketing Automation Best Practices:

Marketing Automation – Basic Techniques

  • Identify the areas of your revenue cycle that need the most improvement (lead generation vs. nurturing vs. sales/marketing alignment) and prioritize your goals
  • Create marketing assets that will generate interest at every stage of the buying process (educational content at the beginning of the process vs. solution-oriented content for later on)
  • Make a list of routine marketing activities in which your company engages (e.g. auto-response emails) and automate these first so you can spend more time on creative strategies
  • Evaluate your lead database and create segments based on lead source or profile information for your marketing campaigns
  • Develop simple, automated workflows in the beginning (e.g. following up a form submission with an email from a salesperson that sends out content on a related topic)

Marketing Automation – Advanced Techniques

  • Develop new ways to segment your lists by combining demographic information with behavioral data
  • Create marketing assets targeted to specific buyer profiles or personas
  • Start to explore more complex automated workflows (e.g. incorporating CRM activities and updates as workflow triggers)
  • Coordinate the marketing and sales teams to create campaigns targeted at the “hottest” sales leads based on demographic, BANT, and behavioral data

Top Metrics to Measure ROI with Marketing Automation

  • Increased conversion rates from each stage of your revenue cycle to the next stage (inquiry to lead; lead to qualified lead; qualified lead to opportunity; and so on)
  • Increased revenue per lead generation campaign
  • Increased sales productivity (e.g. speed with which deals are closed, values of these deals, etc.)
  • Increased marketing productivity and effectiveness (e.g. ease and speed of creating and deploying campaigns; qualified leads and opportunities created per campaign, etc.)

Why Do You Need Marketing Automation?

  • Raise open and click rates
  • Shorten sales cycles
  • Build a great relationship with sales
  • Get seamless integration with your CRM
  • Automate repetitive tasks and analytics
  • Create new landing pages in minutes without IT
  • Use A/B testing
  • Access sophisticated reporting and analytics
  • Win more deals and generate higher revenue per deal

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