Because marketing automation enables you to take prospects and customers along a highly personalised path, you can create a much more dynamic and engaging process based on someone’s actions and responses at specific ‘trigger points’ along their sales journey. This is the complete opposite of standardised high-volume email blasts, which not only fail to connect with would be buyers, but can significantly damage your business reputation.
So, while marketing automation may sound rather impersonal, it is actually one of the most user-friendly marketing techniques around. And, by using a powerful and sophisticated product like Act! Marketing Automation, a smaller business with limited resources can enjoy significant and demonstrable benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of Marketing Automation:
1. More effective lead generation
Using marketing automation software, you can generate new business leads much more easily and effectively because time-consuming tasks happen rapidly and automatically in the background.
At its simplest, this could involve publishing a piece of content on your website that then encourages opt-ins to your email list. Once set up, this process sits behind the scenes, producing leads on its own without any hands-on intervention.
With Act! Marketing Automation, it is also possible to ‘score’ these leads to prioritise the most interested and engaged prospects for follow-up at an optimal time by your sales team.
2. Harmonise your sales and marketing
Some firms may worry that a new marketing automation system won’t fully align with their existing sales or CRM system, so that information won’t flow smoothly between the two. That could result in sales opportunities being missed and poorer service levels to customers.
With Act! Marketing Automation, if you are already using Act!, this won’t be a problem, as the two are designed to work perfectly together so data flows between the two without the need for reformatting, or re-entering. Not only does this save time, it also avoids the possibility of introducing errors into information.
With Act! and Act! Marketing Automation, you can feed nurtured leads to your sales team seamlessly, maximising the return on your marketing investment while minimising effort.
3. Automate customer on-boarding and retention
According to Gleanster Research, 50% of your leads are qualified but aren’t ready to buy from you on day one, but, according to additional research studies, 80% of these qualified leads will buy from someone during the following 24 months. This underscores the importance of lead nurturing and the importance of connecting to prospects during their buying journey.
Even more so when the Annuitas Group has shown that ‘nurtured’ leads make purchases that are nearly 50% larger than those who buy immediately!
Act! Marketing Automation’s ability to create unique ‘conversations’ with would-be buyers enables you to stay on their radar, maintaining their interest until the moment they are ready to buy.
4. Improve customer retention rates by keeping service levels high
A Harvard Business Review study has found that prospects are seven times more likely to buy from you, if you respond to their enquiry within one hour. Yet, over 60% of companies don’t do this.
Even when you know the importance of responding in a timely fashion, trying to manually monitor and manage incoming information requests effectively is virtually impossible for most SMEs. Attempting to do so would require someone either having to stop their other work or be dedicated to that task full-time. Neither of these is an option that most small businesses can justify, given time and budget limitations.
This may mean responses might only happen when someone ‘gets round to it’. As a result, service levels decline and sales drop off.
Using marketing automation, on the other hand, allows you to stay on top of things because you aren’t reliant on someone ‘picking up the ball’.
5. Understand customer and buyer behaviour better
Because marketing automation lets you collect data from multiple channels, such as social clicks and page views, you can develop really deep insights into your buyers’ behaviour, which you can then use to modify and adapt your products and services, as well as the way you market to them.
So, if you aren’t using an appropriate platform like Act! Marketing Automation, you probably lack the data you need to effectively predict your buyers’ future needs and what is driving them.
6. Measure marketing effectiveness and impact
When you have accurate metrics, you can construct a comprehensive and detailed ‘intelligent’ picture of what works in your marketing and, perhaps most importantly, what doesn’t. This means you can then base decisions on what your target audience is telling you, rather than just flying blind.
This allows you to target them at a much more personal level at just the right time in their buying journey.
7. Improved business all round
Having a marketing automation system creates a centralised hub of real-time information about prospects and customers.
This has obvious benefits in helping your sales and marketing teams work more effectively – so your team can focus on more strategic activities that move the business forward.
But a marketing automation system has wider benefits too, since it can be used to perform other routine tasks automatically. For instance, you can circumvent many of the time-intensive tasks related to hiring by using marketing automation to nurture potential employees along a personalised recruitment path, thereby improving candidate selection and reducing inefficiencies and hiring costs.
Marketing automation can also be used to improve your PR outreach, by using email templates and journalist databases to promote a product launch, for instance. Or, to reduce your administration burden by automatically sending reminders and project reports, as well as distributing event invitations and collecting registration information from attendees.
To learn more about the benefits of a marketing automation system, watch our marketing automation demo.