What’s the Difference between Marketing Automation and Voice-Based Marketing Automation?


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Most marketers today are familiar with marketing automation. So it may come as no surprise that a question I frequently get asked when I talk to marketing and demand gen professionals is “What’s the difference between marketing automation and voice-based marketing automation?”

It’s a good question. If you aren’t familiar with traditional marketing automation, it’s a very popular technology that marketers use to capture, score, nurture, and report on web leads. And while you can certainly import non-web leads (like those you bring back from a trade show) into a marketing automation tool to nurture them, the primary benefit of the technology is derived from online lead interactions with your web site and emails.

Marketing organizations today are gaining tremendous value from traditional marketing automation. When implemented and used correctly, these tools like Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, and HubSpot enable marketing teams to:

  • Hand off more qualified leads to sales reps at a lower cost
  • Better understand which campaigns are working, so you can optimize spending
  • Get credit for the impact your campaigns have on pipeline and revenue

Voice-Based Marketing Automation Is Like Marketing Automation for the Phone

While traditional marketing automation tools work great with online interactions, they simply don’t work if a lead picks up the phone and calls you. That event is lost – you can’t track it back to the ad, keyword search, email, social media site, or marketing asset that drove it. So you can’t get credit for it, and you aren’t able to include it in your analysis of what marketing programs are working and what aren’t.

That’s where voice-based marketing automation comes in. Voice-based marketing automation is like marketing automation for the phone. Thousands of marketing teams today use it to generate, track, score, nurture, route, and report on phone leads.

To help illustrate the difference between the two, below is a table comparing some common functionalities and how each technology facilitates them.

Functionality Traditional Marketing Automation Voice-Based Marketing Automation
Lead Generation Uses emails and web forms to generate web leads Uses voice broadcasts, phone surveys, and SMS texts to generate phone leads
Lead Tracking Tracks email success, web downloads, and web site activity Tracks voice broadcast success and inbound phone leads
Lead Scoring Uses web forms to score web leads Uses inbound IVR to score phone leads
Priority Lead Alerts Sends sales an email when high-scoring web leads come in Calls the right sales rep immediately when high- scoring web leads come in and then calls the lead to connect the two in conversation
Lead Routing Routes web leads to sales Routes phone leads to sales
Lead Nurturing Uses emails to nurture leads Uses voice broadcasts, phone surveys, and SMS texts to nurture leads
Lead Reporting Generates real-time reports on web leads Generates real-time reports on phone leads
CRM Integration Shares data with CRM tools like Salesforce.com Shares data with CRM tools like Salesforce.com

Many businesses use voice-based marketing automation as a standalone tool without traditional marketing automation. But the two can also be used together to create closed-loop marketing where every lead is captured, responded to properly, scored, nurtured, and tracked through the sales process. You get a complete understanding of which campaigns are working and how they are impacting pipeline and revenue.

If you wish to learn more about voice-based marketing automation, check out our new eBook, The Definitive Guide to Voice-Based Marketing Automation.

Blair Symes
Blair Symes is currently the Demand Generation Manager at Ifbyphone. In the past 15 years he has published numerous articles, white papers, eBooks, and blog posts on a wide range of topics, including B2B marketing, marketing automation, and demand generation.


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