Every small business owner knows the dread of launching a “full-scale marketing program” (whatever that is). The design and production and launch… on top of the twelve other things that need to get done right now. Wearing multiple hats requires prioritization but don’t make the mistake of conflating urgent and important. De-prioritizing marketing (time spent building your business) over other deliverables can hurt you more over the long term. But don’t fret yet – there is affordable, easy to use technology to create and manage your marketing.
It’s the multi-billion dollar software sector called marketing automation that helps businesses of all sizes to quickly create, deploy and track targeted campaigns. We’re talking about software that allows businesses to harness the power of smart targeting and automated workflows to scale your productivity and deliver a more compelling customer experience. This is why 49% of companies are using marketing automation, with more embracing the technology every day.
Unlike email automation systems which only offer basic/bulk emailing features, marketing automation tools offer a wide variety of advanced features especially popular with small business owners – things like lead scoring, triggered emails (if this, then that), and the ability to perform A/B tests to help hone campaigns.
More often than not, marketing automation technology is integrated with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, which secures all of your customer data – every detail, every datapoint. CRM software surfaces your hottest leads and helps busy business people prioritize. Companies that leverage CRM data can deliver a highly personalized customer experience, and generate actionable insights from complex relationships to make better business decisions. The marriage of CRM and marketing automation software drives better customer engagement and improves overall satisfaction (it also drives revenue).
Need more reasons to believe?
1. One + One = Three
Modern CRM and marketing automation software are one of those combinations that are greater than the sum of their parts. If you centralize contact data and leverage past purchases to derive a more holistic view of the entire customer relationship. Identify common attributes and build targeted promotions. Understanding your clients in greater detail, can yield greater engagement. It also paves the path to targeted, timely customer outreach – and because so many communications are ‘set it and forget it’, your business can scale outreach beyond your resources.
2. Mind Your KPIs! (find your ROI)
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Making the most of marketing means focusing on what works, and testing what might. Robust marketing automation can leverage campaign performance data to better inform pipeline projections, shape more accurate forecasts, and present a better picture of performance through key performance indicators. Leverage your learnings to build better campaigns and unearth more opportunity. Carefully measure – and better manage – all of your lead stages. Quickly see what tactics drive demand, and where a little attention (or the right content) can accelerate conversion. Effectively monitoring performance is a key responsibility for any manager – it’s what finds problems, eliminates waste, and identifies aspects of the operation that are working well and worthy of scaling.
3. It’s All About the Customer.
The personalized communication that marketing automation enables is what customers are yearning for. Whether you choose to build buyer personae and customize campaigns triggered campaigns targeted to appeal to those characteristics… or you just want to set up quarterly outreach based on some basic customer types… marketing automation enables you to chart a course for every customer lifecycle. Talk to clients when, how and where they want – without contorting your business process. Enhanced experience means happier customers, and happy customers stay longer.
4. Supercharge Sales!
Smart goals start with data. Setting reasonable expectations, and gauging performance, is the key to maintaining velocity across a sales team. Features like lead scoring can help the team focus first on more likely candidates. This builds confidence and should yield the most return. Enabling the sales team to participate in the scoring process, define buying cycles and tweak segmentation gets them invested in the process. Exposing the segmentation to them empowers them to target communications and account strategies which should accelerate conversions (and commissions!).
Marketing automation has the potential to bridge the metaphorical gap between the sales and marketing within your business. It can also automate and optimize the targeted campaigns and personalized promotions to delight your customer base while growing it.
Really, it’s the “great field leveler” for smaller business. With a little time and thought, this can be the differentiator SMBs need today. Seem smarter to your clients, look bigger as a business – embrace this tech and unleash (and automate) your inner marketer!