For anyone who has been in sales for a few decades, the idea of accelerating sales through marketing automation software can sound a bit, well, spammy. The legacy of a great salesperson has long relied on personal touches — handwritten notes, holiday gifts, check-in phone calls — which can make a “set-it-and-forget-it” method sound cold and impersonal.
But in fact, when used correctly, marketing automation software creates the opposite experience. By freeing up your sales team from many time-consuming tasks, it allows them to focus on better selling to and serving customers. And by creating a round-the-clock automated workforce, it allows your customers to get the information they want when and how it best suits them.
Marketing automation benefits both sales and the customer, all the while accelerating your lead journey. Here’s how:
1. Message Reinforcement
According to a study by ZenithOptimedia, on average, people spend more than eight hours a day consuming media — internet, no surprise, is the largest driver behind consumption growth. To capture a lead’s attention, you can no longer take a single-channel approach. You have to reinforce your message wherever they go online in order to “cut through the noise” and catch their eye.
Marketing automation software lets you integrate your email campaigns with search campaigns, site content, and social media — creating a seamless experience that reinforces your value proposition with every lead.
2. Enhanced Personalization
Though marketing automation software shifts a lot of the hands-on work from your sales team to a software platform, it can simultaneously enhance personalization. Before marketing automation, the only data you might know about a lead could be their name and location.
With automation, features like capturing and storing data from every touchpoint ensure that you know infinitely more — what kind of emails they open, what they ignore, what time of day they are online, what content they enjoy most. The more you learn about a lead, the more your marketing automation software can customize a nurture experience to that specific person’s preferences. When a lead feels understood by your company, he or she is more likely to convert into a sale.
3. Lead Scoring
One of the biggest obstacles occurs when you focus too much on a lead who will never convert. Using a lead scoring framework, your marketing automation can determine, based on a lead’s behavior and firmographics, how valuable they could be to your business and their likelihood of conversion. Lead scoring also provides a threshold that designates where marketing should handoff a lead to sales.
This information frees your marketing and sales teams to focus on the leads who will have the greatest impact on your bottom line, crafting a better experience for your future customers.
4. Warmer Leads
Your sales employees are experts at closing deals. But it takes different leads different amounts of time and investment to reach the final stages of the process.
Marketing automation software is the best way to warm up your leads, no matter where they sit in the funnel. Through email marketing, you can provide tailored content to each lead in order to keep them engaged, earn their trust, and move them further down the funnel. By removing some of the burden of lead nurturing, marketing automation frees your sales team to do what they do best: close.
According to a 2013 study by the Lenskold Group, 68 percent of B2B marketers found lead scoring “highly effective and efficient” at improving their revenue contribution.
5. Perpetual Data Analysis
Marketing automation software is a data workhorse. Before marketing automation, most sales teams had to rely on feedback painstakingly gathered from conversations with individual leads and customers in order to derive any data about what went well or what went wrong in the sales process.
With marketing automation, your software is automatically gathering and analyzing data about each of your leads — their online behavior, what content pushed them further down the funnel, what communications made them take a step back. That kind of insight is invaluable for constantly innovating and refining your sales process in order to accelerate future lead journeys.
According to PC Mag, more than 70 percent of companies today are using marketing automation software, and that number is expected to rise. With a faster, better, more personal experience for your leads (and less hand cramps from all those spreadsheet entries), marketing automation is one of the best ways to accelerate your company’s sales.