As a certified expert of a marketing automation software tool (Marketo) working within a large global corporation, all too often I still see a widespread perception that the software is simply an email blast tool to deploy campaigns. Taking a step back from my day-to-day job, I understand this common misconception since the most visible output tends to be email campaigns.
That said, marketing automation platforms have so much more to offer and I have simplified this down to three key benefits:
- Improves relations between marketing and sales
- Personalised customer journeys
- Understand and maximise return on investment (ROI)
Let’s have a look at each of these in a little more depth.
1. Improves relations between marketing and sales
Marketing automation software has the intelligence to track touchpoints with leads across multiple channels, be it opening and clicking emails, visits to pages on the company website, social media interaction, and so on. A score is then attributed to each touchpoint meaning, over time, each individual lead’s score accumulates and may eventually surpass the threshold score to be passed to a salesperson for follow-up – with it a full history of the individual lead’s interactions.
Not only does this focus salespeople’s efforts on ‘hot’ leads, but also guides the conversation when armed with the knowledge of their main interest points.
2. Personalised customer journeys
If you were to interview a selection of successful leads who became customers on their thought process and sequence of interactions prior to purchase, there’s likely to be both consistencies and differences. Through the tracking capabilities described above, marketing automation software can identify consistencies in successful sequences in driving leads towards purchase and automate this process.
Taking a simple example of email marketing, rather than blasting a generic mail about a product offering to a whole database of leads, this intelligence means that if a lead in the database visits a product page, adds it to their basket but fails complete the purchase, a trigger email could be sent two days later to remind that the product is still in their basket and with a 10% off voucher code.
I previously wrote an article on how email marketing is adapting to remain a strong channel of communication, with tactics such as this helping to push customers along the funnel.
3. Understand and maximise return on investment (ROI)
One of the biggest challenges that plagues marketers across all businesses and industries is the ability to demonstrate a ROI when delivering campaigns, but marketing automation goes someway to solving this confusion. Wherever possible, by tracking each touchpoint with a campaign, added to having sight of any closed deals and their value, the marketing automation software can determine which campaigns have had an influence on each and every closed deal.
Consequently, powered with the knowledge of how much investment each previous campaign received and how much revenue they all contributed towards, budget controllers can determine which campaigns delivered greatest ROI investment, which delivered negative ROI and therefore, how future budgets should be allocated to maximise ROI.
Arriving at the point at which marketing automation software can deliver these key benefits is far from simple and takes a lot of work, but any company is capable of doing so with the right expertise and integration setup with CRM.
A crucial point is that, as marketers, we are not the sole beneficiary and instead each benefit touches one of the key stakeholders; salespeople, customers and senior management, to generate company-wide buy-in to marketing automation.