Marketing automation looks like a brilliant solution to your marketing efforts. It’s a great way for your sales team to spend more time doing what you hired them to do. Less on the grunt work they’re currently doing.
“Marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes…automatically. With marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text… Marketing and sales departments use marketing automation to automate online marketing campaigns and sales activities to both increase revenue and maximize efficiency.”SalesForce
How Can Marketing Automation Help Maximize Sales?
What specifically can marketing automation do for your business? Well, to some extent that depends on where you’re currently experiencing sales inefficiencies. In general, however, marketing automation helps businesses improve efficiency in the following 4 ways:
Prioritize leads with lead scoring.
According to HubSpot, only about 25% of the lead generation sends to sales are “legitimate,” meaning ready to buy. For salespeople, that’s a lot of wasted time following up on leads who are highly unlikely to close. Additionally, a variety of demographic and behavioral characteristics rank leads. Thus, this allows sales reps to know which leads are the best to pursue. This saves them time and increases their confidence level.
Empower your sales team with CRM.
CRM stands for “customer relationship management”. It is software that captures the details of every interaction your business has with customers and prospective customers. Certainly, with the right CRM software, your sales team will have the critically important information they need to close sales and save a lot of time in the process.
Nurture leads with triggered emails
Salespeople spend a lot of their time with follow-up phone calls to leads. With a marketing automation platform in place, much of that follow-up can happen with triggered emails. Also, the system automatically sends out these emails in response to key actions taken by the lead. For example, a lead views a product page or downloads content on your website.
For this reason, the system will automatically send them an email relevant to that action. This frees up your sales team for more important, sales-related work.
Let your sales reps know what’s working.
Members of your sales team shouldn’t need to guess which of your marketing strategies and sales approaches are bearing fruit. Owing to marketing automation, you can effortlessly measure the effectiveness of all your sales and marketing initiatives. Certainly, that helps your sales team focus on those activities which are most likely to produce results. As a result, this frees them up from having to make those determinations on their own.
Marketing automation may work for some, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need a marketing team still running your efforts to ensure that everything is going right and that you are actually converting leads into sales.
It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, in a lot of cases it is too good to be true.
3 Big Reasons Why Marketing Automation Is Not Working for Your Business
“Automation” makes it sound like once your system is set up you don’t have to worry about it anymore. It is almost as if you could go hands-free. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth of the matter. Moreover, “Marketing automation programs” require daily maintenance to ensure the information is up-to-date and that all leads and efforts are being properly leveraged.
You still need to allocate at least 4 to 8 hours every day to maintain your automation, and the truth of the matter is, once businesses start using marketing automation they stop allocating as many resources to the marketing department.
This happens because they imagine that the automated platform will take care of everything for them now and they no longer need to invest resources into their marketing efforts. When the marketing budget gets slashed and resources dry up, marketing automation fails because it still requires a dedicated team to run it effectively.
Major Disconnect from Leads
Good marketing automation systems may find good leads and even warm them up a bit with initial emails and promotional materials, but from the time initial contact is made by the automation to when the sales team actually gets in touch with the potential customers too much time has elapsed.
Even if a lead was interested in what they were seeing, it can take so long for the sales team to actually get their hands on the customer information that by the time they do the lead is no longer warm and making a sale becomes that much harder. If you are going to find leads, you need to be able to strike while the iron is hot because this is when the most sales are going to be made.
You just do yourself a disservice if you let good leads go cold because you are overly reliant on marketing automation systems to keep your leads interested. Once again, marketing automation systems still require a dedicated team and focused marketing effort if they are going to be effective for your business.
Today’s consumers are savvy. They do not want to be sold necessarily. However, they want their lives to be enriched especially by online content and marketing materials. Too often businesses and brands put all of their focus on promoting themselves or their products and they quickly lose the interest of their target audience because no one really likes to see advertisements.
Marketing automation systems simply do not have the marketing expertise to create engaging and thoughtful content that keeps leads, customers, and target audience members engaged and excited about learning more.
Today’s consumers are savvy. They do not want to be sold necessarily.
The Pitfalls of Marketing Automation
Automation still requires a lot of time and resources to maintain.
Although commonly thought of as robotic, nothing is farther from the truth. Nothing can be “fully automatic.” Somewhere along the way, human beings are required to manipulate the system. In the case of marketing automation, human beings are expected to provide information, do some housekeeping, and maintain records. The system is as effective as the data it contains.
Businesses do not allocate enough resources to marketing once they have an automated system.
Despite being in the information age where mobile phones and social media are as essential as air, most businesses are still operating in mid-21st-century paradigms. Automation systems are seen as nice-to-haves in order to seem hip and relevant but not necessary. Thus, during budget allocation, marketing automation tools and mechanisms are left the smallest cuts of the pie.
Marketing and sales efforts are disconnected and disjointed by marketing automation
Demonstrably, not only do businesses reside in the early half of this century but also their employees. Whether it’s a generational thing or management, no one can surely tell. Most employees are educated in pre-Internet models of thought. Hence, when they enter the modern workplace, they have a hard time reconciling what they learned in school with how things are in reality. In the end, automation efforts are underutilized if not totally set aside.
Brand messaging suffers.
On the other side of the equation, when businesses fully rely on automation, the “human person” is lost. It is a human need to be treated with care as a person. In this regard, when customers are treated as mere numbers on the screen, branding is lost. Customer satisfaction is lost. Messaging is lost. That special inexplicable thing that makes humans human is lost. As a result, customer reviews go down. Sales go down.
A dedicated marketing team is far more beneficial to your business than a marketing automation system. However, you can use both at the same time. Just be sure that you do not make the common mistake of cutting the marketing budget; or allocating the marketing team fewer resources because you have a marketing automation system.