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Embrace the Era of Marketing Automation

Blog post by on May 20, 2013 No Comments

Want to increase qualified leads more than fourfold? What used to be a vapid sales pitch is now a quantitative reality – over the past decade, enterprise technology has exploded onto the scene and fundamentally changed organizational processes and management. Departments outside of IT have embraced technology, with Finance leveraging ERP to improve accounting and billing processes, Sales taking advantage of SFA to better connect with and manage prospects, and more recently, Marketing turning to marketing automation to streamline, automate and measure the efforts needed to reach, nurture and convert the increasingly empowered consumer at scale.

In light of our new partnerships in the space, most recently with marketing automation leader Marketo, I’ve had the chance to dive more into this crucial aspect of marketing. If you’re not with me on the marketing automation train yet, hop on – Raab Associates predicts that B2B marketing automation revenues will grow by 50% this year. And for good reason, as Marketo found that successful marketing automation results in a 45% increase in the percentage of sales prospects sourced from marketing, 22% more time spent selling, and 25% better revenue plan attainment, while The Lenskold Group found companies that implemented marketing automation experienced much faster overall growth. It’s time to start using marketing automation to build reactive nurture campaigns, program unique messaging tracks, match content to a potential buyer’s lead stage and more.

Figure 1: Benefits of marketing automation

Figure 2: Year-over-year company growth with and without marketing automation

Effective companies know that they need to optimize each and every aspect of their business, from their supply and distribution chain, to their expense accounts, to their revenue. Marketing is no exception, but until recently it often escaped the hard numerical data requirements found in other departments. Not any more.

Marketing controls more of the purchase journey

With buyers often 60% through the buying process before ever engaging a sales rep, and those same buyers subject to 3,000 brand impressions each day, the role of marketing has shifted towards a more central revenue-driving one. This means consumers are spending a larger portion of their information discovery and purchasing cycles under the purview of marketing. Marketing automation solutions such as the one provided by industry leader Marketo combine the artistic aspects of marketing with the scalable replication and analysis needed to see hard ROI – according to Bulldog Solutions, companies that utilize marketing automation solutions cut sales cycles down by 70% while increasing quota achievement by 54%. And while many companies haven’t yet embraced marketing automation, its adoption is rapidly increasing – Sirius Decisions predicts that adoption rates will increase by 50% by 2015, and Marketo’s President and CEO Phil Hernandez claims that 30-50% of marketing automation activities will expand beyond customer acquisition to include customer lifetime value, cross-selling, upselling and retention this year. This increased adoption of marketing automation drives real results – Nucleus Research found that 95% of companies surveyed last year reported seeing marketing automation benefits including increased productivity across sales and marketing.

Integrate for maximum benefits

Marketing automation holds enormous potential for companies who understand and take advantage of it – as I mentioned in my presentation, The CMO Imperative, Gartner predicts that marketing automation will lead CRM application segment growth with double digit compound annual growth through 2016. However, to achieve its true promise marketing automation requires tight integration with other critical business critical systems. In The Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation, Marketo calls out the importance of integrating CRM and automation processes, and this importance extends to all business systems – Ventana found that 55% of businesses consider data integration to be critical for information management, and The Lenskold Group reported that companies with integrated marketing efforts improved lead conversion rates by 38%. On that note, I couldn’t be more excited to help Marketo provide fully integrated offerings with Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, and more through our new partnership to bring customers the most comprehensive solutions and the best outcomes.

If your company has implemented marketing automation, what are the top benefits you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.

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