It’s no secret that marketing automation is changing the marketing landscape for B2B companies of all sizes, but many smaller businesses (understandably) still have concerns.
We get it—Pardot was a small business not too long ago, so we fully understand the challenges that come along with tight budgets, limited headcount, and a perpetual shortage of time. But, as we’ve said many times before, using our own product was a crucial element to Pardot’s successful growth and expansion.
So when Gleanster recently conducted a study on marketing automation usage at smaller companies and found concrete evidence to back up our claims, we were thrilled. Their full report debunks a number of common myths about marketing automation costs and returns, and is available for download here.
Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite excerpts — and the myths we feel we can officially declare busted.
MYTH 1: Marketing automation is too costly for small businesses.
Top-performing small businesses overwhelmingly validate that marketing automation is worth the budget, time, and effort. 79% say they will continue to use it, and companies that use marketing automation for over 2 years report the technology is ‘critical to future success.’
Yes, marketing automation is a significant investment, but, as the majority of top-performing small businesses affirmed, the returns more than justify the costs.
There’s a reason that 68% of top-performing small businesses are using marketing automation (Gleanster) — these companies understand that efficient and scalable lead management is crucial to business success. It’s important to stop looking at marketing automation as a significant cost that may be worthwhile after a certain amount of growth, and start looking at it as an investment that will make this growth possible.
MYTH 2: Implementing marketing automation will require an increase in headcount.
90% of top-performing small businesses that use marketing automation report they did not increase headcount after investing in marketing automation.
Well, that stat pretty much says it all. Marketing automation should relieve marketing workload, not create more work.
Yes, initial set-up will require an investment of time to ensure that everything is customized to a business’ particular needs. However, once implemented, the platform can automate some of the more tedious aspects of marketing, freeing up marketing to focus on overall strategy.
The bottom line is, marketing automation isn’t about adding (or subtracting) head count, it’s about shifting marketing priorities and workload towards building a more efficient and effective sales cycle.
MYTH 3: Sales won’t benefit from the platform.
95% of Top Performing organizations report sales reps use sales alert capabilities in marketing automation. These same firms also report increases in satisfaction with CRM because reps can view customer engagement history for context about engagement with the account or contact.
Sales is 7x more likely to use CRM on a daily basis when marketing automation historical data is in contact or account records in CRM. Marketing automation instantly makes CRM more valuable to sales reps who get lead alerts, prioritized lists for follow-up, and context about how leads engaged with the brand — all within their CRM system.
This is one of our favorite misconceptions to address, and Gleanster’s report is chock-full of evidence to the contrary.
In fact, Gleanster found that sales reps not only benefit from marketing automation features like real-time sales alerts and lead nurturing, they also see more value from their investment in CRM as a result of having a marketing automation platform in place. Reporting features have also proven helpful on a larger scale, with 94% of small businesses that use marketing automation reporting that marketing and sales executives rely on periodic reports from their platform (Gleanster).
MYTH 4: Marketing automation will require a large time investment in order to see results.
Small business with 1-2 early-stage nurturing campaigns configured in marketing automation estimate the volume of quarterly qualified leads increased an average of 120% because of marketing automation outreach.
With minimal effort small businesses can salvage future pipeline and drive more revenue from qualified and engaged leads by automating customer nurturing campaigns in marketing automation.
For best results, your marketing automation strategy should be revisited regularly, adjusted, and optimized. But, as Gleanster confirmed, even having some very basic functionality in place can yield significant results.
What does this mean for small businesses? Even if you don’t have time initially to take advantage of all of the capabilities of marketing automation, just building one or two early-stage lead nurturing campaigns can increase your quarterly volume of qualified leads by 120%— a very small time investment for game-changing results.
MYTH 5: Marketing automation can only help up until the deal closes.
Marketing automation helps organizations use customer data to inform behavioral triggers that automate ongoing cross-selling and upselling campaigns to existing customers, helping to maximize customer lifetime value more efficiently.
Survey respondents using marketing automation reported that 50% of their revenue came from existing customers, versus 30% amongst respondents not using marketing automation.
The features of marketing automation can allow businesses to tap into a crucial source of revenue that is too-often overlooked: current customers. This stable source of revenue is especially important for growing businesses; marketing automation can help ensure you’re securing life-long customers and brand evangelists as you grow your customer base, and regularly identifying opportunities to upsell and cross-sell.
Download the full Gleanster report to learn more on how small businesses are using and benefiting from marketing automation. And for a step-by-step guide to growing your business with marketing automation (complete with worksheets and checklists!), grab a copy of our recent e-book!