In 2011, Raab Associates Inc reported that the B2B marketing automation industry would reach $325 million at the end of 2011, which was a 50% increase from 2010 (2010 also doubled in revenue from 2009).
Forrester’s B2B Marketing Trends report from Feb, 2012 stated that 19% of B2B organizations are planning to implement marketing automation in 2012 while another 17t% plan to expand their usage.
Why is Marketing automation important even though it isn’t sexy? If you’re looking to move prospective leads into qualified leads, marketing automation should be playing a significant role. Marketing automation at its core, should be set up to send relevant messages to existing leads that are triggered by some type of action. For instance, if an existing lead were to view a page about marketing analytics, that could trigger a personalized email from your marketing analytics expert offering a free eBook on marketing analytics as well as offer to answer any questions.
Gartner Research projects that “by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.”
With lead interaction becoming less and less personal at scale and more CRM/automation focused, the goal of a marketing automation campaign should be to try and provide the most relevant, targeted and insightful data to each lead as possible, such as the preceding marketing analytics example. Prospective leads aren’t opposed to automation as long as what they are receiving is relevant to them, concise and helps show how you can help solve the specific problem that they have. Identify the pain point, and show how you can help.
Below are a few things to keep in mind in regard to Marketing Automation:
Customer Serving – Relevancy is essential to customer happiness and success. If you see that a lead has an interest in SEO, don’t send content about anything else except SEO. Make the connection and show that you can solve each specific problem that arises, but don’t overwhelm leads by just pushing them into a demo.
Pressure Free – Gleanster reports that 50% of qualified leads are not ready to purchase immediately. An effective way to continue to move prospective leads through the funnel and closer to a sale is to provide them with relevant content. Relevant content shows thought leadership, expertise and an interest in helping to educate leads on a problem that they have, not just push them a generic demo or free trial offer.
Customer support – Just because a sale has closed, that doesn’t mean marketing automation ends. Customer happiness and success will help reduce customer and revenue churn so continuing to provide relevant content, updates and events that pertain to customer goals will help improve long term customer retention rates.
The reason marketing automation isn’t sexy is because it takes time to set up and manage. Post launch, the “automation” element will take over, however the set up process (when done correctly) can certainly be time consuming. Investing the time and efforts though will enhance your sales process. Keep in mind that your marketing automation efforts act as a potential customer’s FIRST view into your company. If you’re automation efforts are lagging or even non-existent, what type of a message are you sending about your company?
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