Technology has penetrated deep within all aspects of business processes, and marketing is no different. As per Hubspot’s State of Marketing 2020 report, 68% of marketing leaders use automation platforms to automate some or other part of their marketing.
But not every organization has succeeded with marketing automation. For small and medium companies, this technology is still an evolving concept. Despite reading multiple articles on its benefits, many marketers are still questioning if they should automate their marketing. Here’s what you need to know:
What is marketing automation?
In simplest terms, marketing automation means automating repetitive tasks in marketing. It allows businesses to speed-up and streamline their marketing tasks using different technologies and software tools or platforms. These tools enable marketers to execute their marketing tasks faster and more efficiently. This means eventually higher traffic, more conversions and increased sales for businesses.
However, the whole marketing department itself can’t simply be automated. There are specific tasks that are suitable for automation, including:
- Email marketing
- Blog scheduling
- CTA setup
- Social media posts setup
- Triggered responses
- Cross-channel marketing
- Automated reporting
Broadly speaking, the majority of the marketing automation tools in the market today offer three functions - automate email marketing, track visitor data and generate a contact database.
This sounds like a utopian dream for businesses - they can get all their major marketing functions automated. But many businesses have failed when implementing it.
When should you use marketing automation?
To automate or not to automate marketing? If you’re also stuck with the same dilemma, here are some reasons why marketing automation could be worth the investment for your company:
1.If you send out generic email campaigns
Email is one of the most common communication channels for most businesses. However, not every organization has been able to succeed with its email marketing, the main reason being that generic emails often end up landing in the spam folder.
If you’re often sending out email copy to all your prospects, you should give marketing automation a try.
2.If you’re not sending sales-qualified leads to sales teams
The majority of businesses invest in good marketing teams and campaigns to boost sales in addition to increasing brand awareness and building an image. However, most of the traditional marketing tactics only provide marketing qualified leads instead of sales qualified leads.
If your organization is also unable to send good quality sales qualified leads to the sales team, investing in marketing automation tools is a good option. These tools filter out the leads based on different stages in the buyer journey and send high-quality leads to the sales teams.
3.If you want to increase online sales
One of the main reasons why businesses are adopting a marketing automation tool despite the increased cost is the sales that it brings. By setting a better sales funnel and sending out targeted emails, these tools help in bringing in more organic leads. A recent report has shown that businesses that used marketing automation tools experienced a 14.5% growth in sales productivity. In fact, according to SharpSpring, 32% of agencies using marketing automation tools have said it helped them better align their marketing and sales departments.
4.If you want to increase your inbound sales
Another good reason to automate marketing is to increase inbound sales. Marketing automation tools work best for organizations implementing the inbound approach. They help in not just getting leads from outbound campaigns but also from the content that you create. It helps capture more sales-qualified leads and even the leads who aren’t coming with a buying intent.
If you aren’t sure of what to do with the not-ready-to-buy leads in the awareness or the consideration stage, you should consider marketing automation tools. They can help you create engagement campaigns to nurture the cold leads until they become sales-ready.
5.If you want to shorten your sales cycle
The next reason why so many businesses automate marketing is to shorten their sales cycle. The present sales cycle is driven by data-driven customers who usually come with a decision in their mind. They connect with a brand and only want to buy from them. This makes the entire cycle of converting them into paying buyers even more difficult and elongated.
A marketing automation tool uses data to score leads based on their perceived value to the organization. This lead scoring means better leads to the sales teams, and in turn means the sales teams can close the leads faster as they’re already educated about the product.
When shouldn't you use marketing automation?
We’ve already discussed the situations when marketers should automate their marketing. However, not every organization has succeeded with marketing automation. There are several cases when automation isn’t the solution:
1.If you’re at the early marketing stage
When you’re just starting out with your marketing, thinking that marketing automation will create the marketing functions you need is a big mistake. A marketing automation tool will only work when you’ve set up your marketing functions - it automates the marketing tasks that the organization is currently performing. But if an organization hasn’t started or just started with its marketing, automating the inefficient processes will only worsen it.
2.If you don’t have enough data
As with the previous point, if you’re in the early stages of marketing, you won’t have the required data to feed the marketing automation tools. If you’re unable to provide the right data to the tools, they won’t be able to automate the process efficiently.
Marketing automation tools need data in order to make them work. If your organization is young and doesn’t have access to much data, it’s more feasible to take the traditional marketing approach first.
3.If you think marketing automation tools with replacing humans
Companies invest heavily in marketing automation tools thinking the bots will replace humans in the marketing department, but this will never happen. Automation tools make processes more efficient so that the human workers can focus on other innovative and creative aspects of marketing.
If you want to automate marketing thinking it’ll replace humans, think again. You need humans to monitor other important tasks like content writing, personalizing the marketing campaigns and email messaging to keep visitors engaged.
Should every organization automate their marketing? The answer is no, but there are different aspects of marketing that organizations can automate to boost their traffic, increase conversions and improve ROI.
An early-stage startup should always start with traditional marketing to reap great results. For other organizations wanting to automate their current marketing tasks, it’s imperative to mine the complete process and document all aspects that can be automated.
Lastly, when planning to automate marketing, make sure to choose the marketing automation tool that fulfills your marketing needs. Marketing automation with Drupal is a smart move for enterprises that want to implement it smartly and more efficiently. The majority of the marketing automation tools like Hubspot, Google Analytics and Salesforce are built on Drupal. Large enterprises can also use this technology to integrate with automation platforms and reap better results.
In the right situations, marketing automation can be beneficial for any organization, but they need to be smart in what functionalities of marketing they automate to reap the best results.
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