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The Top 11 Must-Use Features of Marketing Automation

I live and breathe marketing automation, so sometimes it can be easy to forget that many people are still uncertain about automation’s capabilities — and whether or not it’s right for their organization. Questions we hear on a normal basis include:

For those of you who are still getting your feet wet with marketing automation, we’ve compiled a quick list of features that any marketing automation tool should be able offer you. Take a look at the list below to get a rundown of the tool’s top features — and why they matter to you.

1. Visitor Tracking

Want to see who is viewing your site? How long they’re spending on each page? What kind of content they’re engaging with? When they’re viewing your pricing page? Look no further — one of the most powerful capabilities of marketing automation is its ability to track prospect and visitor activity.

Cool Bonus: Using anonymous visitor tracking, you can often perform various lookups using a prospect’s IP address. This can give a marketers the full legal name of the corporation of previously unknown site visitors, as well as a geographic location.

2. Hosted and Tracked Marketing Files

Curious how your marketing collateral is performing? With marketing automation, you can host your files and automatically generate tracking URLs so that you can monitor your content more in depth.

Cool Bonus: See which content resonates best with your audience with insight into link clicks, content views, or files downloaded.

3. Real-time Sales Alerts

Tracking your prospects’ every move and trying to gauge their sales-readiness can be a pain, not to mention time-consuming. Luckily, marketing automation has the ability to provide real-time sales alerts to sales reps based on parameters that they set. No more guesswork for your sales team — real-time alerts let reps know exactly when to follow up.

Cool Bonus: With real-time alerts, lead or contact records in your CRM are just one click away. This makes it easy for reps to quickly brush up on any relevant information before picking up the phone.

4. Lead Scoring and Grading

Blended lead scoring and grading is one of the features that’s most responsible for aligning marketing and sales teams. To alleviate tensions over lead quality, lead scoring and grading ensure that prospects match your ideal prospect profile before they are sent to sales for follow up. A lead score is based on a prospect’s activity levels, and a lead grade is assigned based on how good of a fit they are for your product or service.

Cool Bonus: Customize your lead scoring and grading model so that it fits your exact business needs.

5. Automated Lead Assignment

Trying to figure out when your leads are ready to talk to a sales rep can be a difficult and time-consuming task. Save yourself time and energy by using marketing automation to automatically assign your leads to sales reps based on a minimum score and grade threshold, determined by criteria that you set.

Cool Bonus: You can assign leads in whatever way works best for your organization: round-robin style, or using a lead queue or active assignment rule in your CRM.

6. Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing prevents your sales reps from wasting time talking to and persuading prospects who aren’t sales-ready. By “dripping” marketing content and 1:1 messaging to your prospects over time, you stay top of mind throughout the length of the sales cycle — and you free up valuable marketing and sales resources to focus on your hotter leads.

Cool Bonus: Lead nurturing isn’t only used to nurture leads that aren’t ready to buy. Check out ten more use cases for lead nurturing here, including for customer retention and sales enablement.

7. Forms and Landing Pages

Landing pages and forms are an important part of lead generation. With marketing automation, you can build custom landing pages that match the look and feel of your brand without having to know HTML. You can even link your marketing assets stored in your automation system to use as downloadable content.

Cool Bonus: Let your forms do the work for you by automatically setting them to trigger notifications, score increases, and more upon conversion.

8. Progressive Profiling

Long forms placed on crowded landing pages can easily dissuade leads from converting. Using a tool like progressive profiling allows you to shorten forms to just a few necessary fields. Once a lead has filled out one of your forms, they’ll be shown different fields on any additional forms they fill out, allowing you to build up a detailed prospect profile over time.

Cool Bonus: With progressive profiling, you can increase your conversion rates by displaying forms with fewer form fields — but still collect the same amount of information over time.

9. Dynamic Content

Today’s buyers expect a personalized digital experience, just like they might receive on the Amazon website. Dynamic content gives you the ability to create these customized buying experiences by displaying content dynamically based on who is viewing your site. Tailoring your messaging to specific prospects can boost click through rates and increase engagement rates.

Cool Bonus: Don’t just use dynamic content to personalize the experience across your website. With marketing automation, you can customize forms, landing pages, layout templates, and emails, too.

10. Email Marketing

Marketing automation goes beyond basic email sending. With an automation tool, you can A/B test your email content, create email templates that match your brand guidelines, preview your emails across platforms and devices, test your emails across top SPAM filters, and do advanced email reporting.

Cool Bonus: Further personalize your emails using segmentation to reach out to specific audiences. Send emails to different groups based on their job titles, product interest, location, and more.

11. Closed-loop Reporting

Tie closed deals to the campaigns that created them using closed-loop reporting. Calculate individual campaign costs at any time and automatically have your opportunity data sync between your CRM and marketing automation tool. Finally calculate your ROI with certainty — and make sure that both marketing and sales are getting credit for their hard work.

Cool Bonus: With closed-loop reporting, you can better understand where your best and worst leads are coming from, allowing you to prioritize your marketing channels and spend.

What features did we miss? Let us know in the comments!

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