The stats around marketing automation make a compelling case for its use. Various studies show that effective automation can improve productivity and increase marketing ROI. Yet, there are still plenty of businesses that aren’t taking advantage of this technology.
Why is this?
Part of the reason is perhaps that they are unsure whether they are ready to automate their marketing processes.
While the benefits of marketing automation are clear (read this if they’re not), marketers and business owners must still take steps to ensure their company is ready for marketing automation before beginning to use it.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the factors leaders should consider before implementing a marketing automation strategy. We’ve also produced a handy worksheet you can use to check if your business is ready for marketing automation, as well as the steps to take if you’re not. You can download it here.
Is Your Sales Process Suitable?
You must have a sales process that will benefit from marketing automation. Typically, this means you use an inbound strategy, and your customers spend a long time in the sales funnel gathering the information required to make a buying decision. Customers likely have multiple interactions with your business before pulling the trigger.
Marketing automation can seriously improve this type of sales process because it;
- Reduces the amount of time your team has to spend sending emails to clients at earlier stages of the sales funnel.
- Automates communication with a client when they take steps that suggest they are ready to move further down the funnel. For example, when they click on a link in your email multiple times or when they visit a particular product page.
Marketing automation can also be used in shorter sales funnels, as well as in outbound marketing. For example, B2C eCommerce stores—businesses that typically have a short sales cycle—can set the software up so that customers are sent a reminder email when they add a product to their basket but fail to make a purchase.
Either way, business leaders considering marketing automation should ensure their sales process is conducive to an automated approach.
If you generally use outbound cold-calling or only sell to a small number of high-value customers, you may need to make changes to your sales process to really see the benefit of marketing automation.
Do You Have Access to Quality Marketing and Sales Content?
Businesses should ensure they have the materials required to use marketing automation effectively. This can include case studies, blog posts, and whitepapers. You will use this collateral to push the customer down the buyer funnel, as well as to educate them about the value of your product.
Having a quality selection of material at hand can drive meaningful interactions between customers and your business. Ultimately, this means that when the time comes for marketing to pass on the lead to the sales team, reps will be dealing with better qualified, more valuable leads.
Of course, all is not lost if your business doesn’t have this kind of material. It just means you’ll have to spend a bit of time creating useful content. Even if you don’t end up using an automated marketing solution, you can still use this material in your sales process.
Do You Have the Time and Resources Available?
Companies have to take several steps to implement an effective automated marketing strategy. This can be time-consuming at first as you build these processes.
As well as having enough time, businesses that effectively implement marketing automation are often those that have people in positions of leadership that drive the strategy forward. Companies can rely on these forward thinkers to provide the drive and motivation to put the plan into action.
The good news is that once your business has set up the automated processes, you’ll have a lot less to do. Instead of manually performing each marketing interaction, your main job will be analyzing how customers connect with your business and optimizing the sales process based on this information.
However, if you are currently pressed for time and resources, it may be better to wait for a more suitable time to introduce a marketing automation strategy.
Marketing automation is a vital tool for many businesses and marketing teams. It can help small companies do more with fewer resources, ultimately leading to more sales. If you think you’re ready for marketing automation, download our guide to marketing automation for more information about how it can help.