Imagine this scenario: you want to purchase new tablets for your sales team, so you enter the necessary search terms into Google. One search result takes you to a website with helpful content. You provide your contact information to get the content. You wait for the company to contact you, but they don’t.
Now, imagine this revised scenario. You choose a different search result, different content and a different business. Minutes after you provide your email address, you get a personalized email. They thank you for reading their blog, which they hope helped you. They tell you a little about their business, offer some additional content and promise to answer whatever questions you have.
Of these 2 businesses, which one made a positive first impression, and which one left you cold? Which is likely to be your choice for your new tablets? Odds are, you’ll choose the one that was responsive, that took you seriously enough to welcome you and help. That’s the power of marketing automation.
What Is Marketing Automation?
At its heart, marketing automation uses software to perform many of the tasks normally done by humans—everything from email marketing to lead nurturing to customer relationship management (CRM). When effectively leveraged, marketing automation makes businesses more responsive to customers and prospective customers, providing them the support and guidance that builds trust over time.
Is Marketing Automation a Smart Investment?
When effectively executed, marketing automation can help businesses of any size (including small businesses) achieve their key marketing goals and enhance profitability—and that makes it a sound investment. Consider for example these metrics from CMO:
- More than 90% of the world’s top marketers agree that marketing automation is “very important” to their success
- Almost 80% of chief marketing officers say their principal reason for implementing marketing automation is “to grow revenue”
- On average, marketing automation boosts sales productivity by 14.5%
How Can Marketing Automation Help My Business?
Every business is different, of course, but the lion’s share enjoy similar benefits, including the following 5:
- It will make your sales and marketing teams more productive: when your salespeople and marketers no longer need to manage routine tasks, they’re free to focus on issues more central to your company, success, like long-term strategic planning. Said differently, marketing automation lets your people do what you hired them to do—achieve your key goals and move your business forward.
- It will enhance your lead nurturing efforts: turning leads into buying customers is all about responsiveness. That just makes sense—consumers warm up to businesses that respond to their actions and answer their questions quickly and efficiently. According to a recent study from Harvard Business Review, for example, companies that respond to new leads within the first hour are 7X more likely to qualify that lead. Marketing automation ensures this swift response, and that means increased sales for your business.
- It will boost your revenues: as noted above, increasing revenues is the number 1 reason about 80% of marketers use it. It’s also the reason B2B marketers who implement marketing automation software see on average a 20% increase in new sales opportunities.
- It will help you retain existing customers: it costs you a lot less to retain a current customer than to acquire a new one. Marketing automation tools (like CRM) will give you the data you need to more effectively address your current customers’ concerns. Those same tools will organize that data and make it easy for your customer service people to access and use it, increasing the quality of the service they provide and enhancing loyalty and trust.
- It will help you improve your marketing strategy: in addition to making your business more responsive to your customers and leads, marketing automation tools will help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Armed with the knowledge of which marketing strategies are working—and which are underperforming—your marketing team will be able to continually improve them, and that will drive even more sales.
According to a recent study, almost 50% of companies that invest in marketing automation realize a return on that investment within the first 2 to 6 months, and 76% experience that ROI within the first 7 to 12 months. At the same time, however, the decision to invest in marketing automation tools (like CRM software) is one you should make only after carefully weighing its benefits for your business, ideally after consulting with an industry leader who can guide you to the best solution for your business.
To learn more about how the Act! platform will help your business drive sales, increase profitability and grow, start your free CRM trial today!