Marketing and sales, in theory, go hand-in-hand. In an ideal situation, both departments will coordinate their plans to make the most of their time and efforts and increase the company’s profitability. If you’re sitting here thinking, “That would be great, but I am both departments in my business,” then marketing automation might be the most efficient way to enhance your sales efforts and improve your bottom line.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is the use of focused platforms and technologies to coordinate marketing efforts across various systems. This business component includes software programs to schedule email, prepare and plan Web and blog content, and harmonize social media accounts. These programs allow you to plan and prepare for your content months and even years in advance. On social media, marketing automation can help you publish the same or similar content or separate pieces of information on the different networks when the situations warrant unique material.
An excellent way to kickstart your marketing automation is to jump in and master one platform, and creating a free Automate your Social account can help. This tool can save you hours of time on your social networks by programming months of posts in minutes, and can help you plan the follow-through that can close a potential sale.
Make Friends with your Marketing Tools
The programs and platforms available for marketing automation are just that, tools. They can provide you with valuable information that can help you plot your next steps, but taking those steps will be up to you. They will almost always be worth it. One study shows that there is an increase in their number of leads and that 77 percent increased their conversions.
What information can a marketing automation program provide to help you close the sale?
Analytics and reporting
The primary data provided by marketing automation platforms and programs is critical in uniting the marketing and sales departments, and helping your small business integrate your individual marketing and sales goals. By monitoring the most-liked and responded-to posts, emails and blog entries, you can design and curate compelling content. You’ll also be able to offer a greater consistency to your messages, which will allow your customers to get a better picture of your products or services.
From introducing your potential customer to your products to analyzing why and pinpointing where in the sales pipeline they are getting stuck, your marketing automation can give you the resources and data you need to schedule and send welcome emails and multi-tiered drip campaigns to move them through the pipeline.
Most importantly, the data you receive about where your customers fall in the sales pipeline can guide your conversation. If your client has already passed through each step your team has identified, the reporting tools can point you toward the perfect time to make a phone call or send a more personalized method to close the deal and ask for the sale.
Many companies have found that marketing automation tools have helped them begin a more successful lead nurturing program. Lead nurturing is the process of meeting customers where they are and providing the information and relationship-building communication that they are seeking at all sales levels. Each point of contact is a new opportunity not to sell, but to get to know them more.
A marketing automation overhaul can give you the background deals you need to attract potential customers and bring them closer to the actual transaction. Standard e-mail service providers will offer you the tools necessary to send and schedule an email campaign; marketing automation can give you the technology to take the relationship further, by tracking frequently-visited pages and responding accordingly. Perhaps this could be sending a tailored email based on whether or not a Web site visitor has opened, clicked on or not taken action on a previous campaign. It might include pre-populating a form with the information you already know about a potential customer; saving them time and increasing the odds of that customer finishing that step.
Integrating your social media can help close the information loop, by giving your potential clients the specific details they are seeking before closing a deal. Test the marketing automation waters by creating a free Automate your Social account.
By watching which emails your clients are opening to tracking the first media that attracted customers to your brand, you’ll be able to generate and give them the content they want on the platform they prefer. Say a client clicks on 100 percent of their Facebook posts, but hasn’t yet visited their Web site. Sending a generic email won’t necessarily bring them to that next step, but a multi-faceted approach that combines SMS marketing and e-mail could encourage them to seek out more information. Building marketing automation into your sales and marketing plans can help you avoid a one-size-fits-all approach while a tailored marketing automation program that invites customers to take the next step might direct them to the next step in your sales pipeline, building a relationship that increases your time, sales, and the potential for additional customers.