The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation
Learn all about the features, functionalities, and overall value that Marketing Automation can provide to you and your organization.
<br>THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MARKETING AUTOMATION
<br>Learn all about the features, functionalities, and overall value that Marketing Automation can provide to you and your organization.
AN INTRODUCTION TO MARKETING AUTOMATION
WHAT IS MARKETING AUTOMATION?
Marketing automation is a category of software that streamlines, automates, and measures tasks and workflows, not just for the sake of increasing operational efficiency, but to provide personalized experiences at scale.
Beyond time-saving and efficiency benefits, marketing automation enables marketing operations that are essential to modern business processes (e.g., lead nurturing and lead scoring).
Marketing automation platforms or MAPs perform tasks and processes based on certain criteria that marketers define and set within the software.
Imagine you're organizing a webinar and you want to treat your webinar registrants a certain way (e.g., send them confirmation emails and event reminders).
You can then set your MAP to "listen" to every single time a visitor signs up for your webinar (e.g., via form fill-out on your webinar landing page), which could then trigger a series of actions. For example:
- Send a confirmation email immediately after the visitor registers
- Send a webinar reminder email 3 days before the event
- Send a thank you email 1 hour after the event
...and it doesn't stop there.
Marketing automation is, after all, more than just email marketing.
Based on a lead's actions, demographics, or other types of data that a MAP stores about your leads, you can do a variety of different things: assign leads with "scores" (to define how ready they are to be passed to sales), re-target dormant leads, cross-sell or upsell products to existing customers, integrate your MAP with your CRM, and so much more.
IN SHORT, MARKETING AUTOMATION IS DESIGNED TO...
by their interests, demographics, and behaviours,
to test and optimise specific aspects of marketing campaigns; and
and push leads to sales!
THE KEY COMPONENTS WITHIN A MAP
Every MAP typically has these three key components:
The central database, where all the data related to your leads, prospects, or customers are stored. This includes both demographic and behavioural data that helps marketers better segment and target their audiences with the right messaging.
The engagement engine, where all the creative assets and automated work flows are stored. The engagement engine allows you to set different campaign triggers, filters, and automated actions, as well as different communication assets.
The analytics engine, where all the analytics and data dashboards can are stored. This section is crucial for the marketer's ability to measure and optimize their marketing efforts against revenue and ROI.
Fills out form, clicks link in email, abandons cart
Age, industry, country, valid phone no., product interest
||Send email, alert sales, assign lead score, change lead status
Emails, landing pages, forms, images, files
IS MARKETING AUTOMATION RIGHT FOR YOU?
If you don't have a MAP yet and are wondering if you should, try the survey below to check your organizational readiness for Marketing Automation.
CHOOSE ALL THAT APPLY.
- We want to improve the way we attribute revenue to our marketing efforts.
- We don't have the bandwidth to personally follow up with all our leads.
- Most of the leads we generate aren't ready to buy until they interact with us across multiple touch points over longer periods of time.
- We need to improve the way we analyze and use data to drive our marketing decisions.
- We have multiple products, buyer personas, and segmentations that require personalised messaging.
Checked of 4 or more.
You definitely should be using marketing automation.
Checked 2 to 3.
Marketing automation sounds right for you, and it will definitely become more important the more you scale your operations.
Checked 1 or 2.
Marketing automation is probably not right for you just yet.
WHY MARKETING AUTOMATION IS IMPORTANT IN TODAY'S BUYER CLIMATE
Nowadays, buyers are increasingly independent and educated. They are no longer reliant on companies to supply them with information. Buyers can find their own information anywhere and at any time.
The self-empowered buyers of today expect only the most relevant and personalized buyer experiences that fit within their timeframes and their preferred digital and non-digital touch points.
This means that they often don’t need or want to engage with sales until they know at least as much as your sales representative does. Sales' job has never been more tough. And it has forced marketing to play a greater role in the revenue generation process.
That's where Marketing Automation can help.
Keeping track of and interacting with so many leads and prospects can prove incredibly difficult to manage, especially the bigger a company’s reach gets. Marketers need all the help they can get from technology to do better than ever at attracting, engaging and satisfying their audiences.
Sales' job has never been more tough. And it has forced marketing to play a greater role in the revenue generation process.
STILL UNSURE IF MARKETING AUTOMATION IS FOR YOU?
Try the survey to check your organizational readiness for Marketing Automation. If you can’t honestly say yes to any or most of those points but would like to, then it's high time you started taking Marketing Automation more seriously.
CHOOSE ALL THAT APPLY.
- We can efficiently identify, track and, engage with our buyers online.
- We can segment and prioritise our audience based on product fit/interest and likelihood to buy.
- We can personalize the way we interact with leads or prospects based on their level of engagement, demographics, and other behavioural data.
- We can measure the revenue contribution of our marketing campaigns.
- We have an automated process that supports Marketing and Sales alignment and collaboration.
HOW MARKETING AUTOMATION IS DIFFERENT FROM CRM SYSTEMS AND EMAIL MARKETING
HOW IS MARKETING AUTOMATION DIFFERENT FROM CRM AND EMAIL MARKETING?
If you aren’t using a MAP yet, then you’re most likely using a solution for email marketing and/or a CRM system.
It's all too easy for Marketing Automation novices to get confused with how these things differ. However, they are incredibly different.
- Develop customer relationships.
- Automate marketing.
- Measure marketing ROI.
- Track opportunities and pipeline.
- Manage contact and account info.
||Via groups and segments
||Via individual communication
Workflow orientated based on
Database orientated based on transactions
CRM and marketing automation tools can seem very similar, and they can certainly be integrated so that they feed each other valuable information.
However, they are two completely separate things that serve different purposes and audiences.
CRM systems hold valuable information (particularly for Sales) about their prospects, opportunities, and existing customers. However, CRM systems do not carry out email marketing, prospect behaviour tracking, or program management like MAPs do.
A lot of people mistakenly think MAPs are mostly about email marketing, but marketing automation is much more advanced than that. More on that later in the Ebook (link)
Email marketing is simply not enough for marketers who want to deliver their messages in multiple formats to multiple devices in a relevant and timely way. Much of today's email marketing is un-targeted, ill-timed and poorly formatted, resulting in decreasing engagement rates.
What’s more, email marketing is often pushed into its own silo as many other types of marketing tools (e.g., CRM systems, landing pages, social media) traditionally don't work well with email marketing solutions.
For email marketing to do well, that silo needs to be broken. This means coordinating with other tools and channels, delivering conversations that build better relationships, and interacting with prospects when it suits them.
That’s where marketing automation comes in.
YOU SHOULD UPGRADE YOUR EMAIL SOLUTION TO MARKETING AUTOMATION IF…
1. You're sending email blasts but not continuing conversations based on your leads' interactions.
Blasting emails without knowing who you're talking to and where they are in the buyer’s journey isn't going to cut it in today’s world. Up the game by creating multi-step drip campaigns, which helps nurture leads towards purchase.
2. You are unable to tell what the impact of your emails is on revenue.
Email marketing platforms can tell you about open and click-through rates. However, they can’t tell you about the impact of your emails on company revenue. MAPs help you calculate ROI and therefore improve your marketing efforts, ultimately generating more revenue.
3. Sales isn't impressed with the leads that marketing sends them.
If your salespeople are struggling to identify which leads are worth following up, then this often means that sales and marketing aren’t aligned enough. A MAP can help improve the way you qualify leads, ensuring that sales only gets the ones that are ready to engage.
4. Your email marketing stands alone.
When your email marketing exists in a silo it decreases your visibility on how your audience is interacting with your company. This makes you prone to lost opportunities and underserved audiences. Viewing email marketing as a stand-alone tool is like starting a conversation with someone without referencing previous conversations you may have already had with them.
5. Your segmentation and targeting options are limited.
One of the consequences of siloed email marketing is that you miss key information that would otherwise improve the way you target and communicate with your audience. Marketing automation listens and monitors online behaviour such as website visits, keyword clicks, and social media activity to help you better identify and engage with your audiences.
6. You aren’t able to effectively respond to triggers, let alone at scale.
Triggers (e.g., website visits, form fill-outs, lead score changes, etc.) within MAPs are what enable companies to better listen and respond to their buyers based on their online behaviour. Being able to respond with personalized messages in real-time and at scale can boost pipeline and customer satisfaction in ways that email marketing and CRM systems cannot.
COMMON FEATURES OF MARKETING AUTOMATION
MAPs offer many functionalities to support an omni-channel marketing strategy. These include:
- Triggered email sending to automate email sends based on actions taken by leads/prospects (e.g., fills out a form)
- A/B testing to identify which attributes of an email perform better with your audience
- Personalisation and dynamic content to customise several of an email or landing page based on different lead criteria (e.g., location, industry, product interest, etc.)
- Advanced analytics and reporting to provide insights into your buyers' behaviours and interests
- Landing pages to host information dedicated to a specific campaign
- Forms to capture essential buyer data that feeds into your database
HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION
IT'S SO MUCH MORE THAN AUTOMATION
Truly effective and efficient marketing automation that has a positive impact on revenue is so much more than the technology. Marketing Automation also requires deep organizational examination and readiness.
Anyone looking to apply MA needs to have a deep understanding of their existing processes relating to both sales and marketing; the relationship between the two; the gaps in that relationship; KPIs and business goals that define success; data quality; and, finally, organizational culture.
New technologies always demand change and adjustments –new ways of seeing and doing things. Use the start of your Marketing Automation journey as an opportunity to realign your revenue engine and marketing campaigns.
Anyone looking to apply MA needs to have a deep understanding of their existing processes... New tech always demands change and organizational readiness.
IMPROVE YOUR LEAD MANAGEMENT
Lead management is defined as the process by which marketing acquires, evaluates, nurtures, and hands off leads to the sales team. (Marketo)
You can apply lead management to potential, existing, and dormant customers.
However, lead management should not be confused with lead nurturing or lead scoring, which are more specific parts of lead management that take place towards the end of the process. (BigCommerce)
- Lead nurturing is defined as the process of developing and reinforcing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel. (Marketo)
- Lead scoring is defined as a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. (Marketo)
By implementing lead management, it enables you to improve the way you:
ENHANCE YOUR OTHER MARKETING EFFORTS
There are many different types of marketing, and certainly many ways that MA can improve the way you do them.
The truth is, your prospects are constantly telling you what they're interested in and where they are in their buyer journey.
They're just not usually doing it with so many words, but more by the way they behave online: what they open, click, watch, or even ignore, and more.
You want to be able to listen to these behavioural signals, and Marketing Automation is what can help you do it.
Some of the key benefits of Marketing Automation include being able to identify and monitor such online activities, as well as to trigger actions and build buyer databases based on them.
With these insights, you can improve the way you attract audiences (via Inbound Marketing), communicate with them (via Content Marketing), directly interact with them (via Event Marketing and Social Media Marketing), and overall deliver better experiences to them that ultimately lead to purchase.
Inbound Marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. (Hubspot)
Content Marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. (Content Marketing Institute)
Event Marketing is the promotion of a product, brand, or service through in-person and virtual events or interactions. (Bizzabo)
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN STARTING OUT WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION
1. SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT
Questions to ask:
What defines a sales ready lead? How do you nurture leads that aren't sales ready? What happens with sales leads that don't move forward? What are the SLAs around lead follow up?
Sales and marketing alignment is key to getting the most out of any marketing automation platform.
2. BUSINESS GOALS, SMART OBJECTIVES AND KPIS
Questions to ask:
What are the key metrics that will define your success? How is campaign ROI measured?
With marketing automation, marketers can look beyond traditional metrics such as opens and clicks and see marketing's impact on current and future pipeline, revenue and profit.
3. DATA QUALITY
Questions to ask:
How accurate is your data currently? How will you make sure your data is clean before you start feeding it into a MAP?
Questions to ask:
Do you have content for each stage of the buyer's journey and for each buyer persona? Have you performed a content audit, and if you have what are the gaps and needs?
Content is a must-have for consistent and effective lead generation and nurturing. It should be based on a solid understanding of your company's different personas and stages to ensure relevant and timely communications to your audience at all times.
Questions to ask:
Is your marketing team equipped to align on demand generation efforts with the modern buyer's journey? Do you have internal champions who can can analyse, visualise and make data-driven decisions? How comfortable is your marketing team using technology? What adjustments have to be made culturally?
ARE YOU READY TO START SCORING YOUR LEADS?
Don't have a steady stream of leads coming in? Take a step back. To see returns on your lead scoring efforts, you will need a steady stream of leads to score. Start by getting leads into your database and working out what the gaps and needs are regarding your inbound marketing and content strategy.
Marketing and Sales are not aligned? If marketing and sales aren't aligned it's hard to determine what it means for a lead to be sales ready, let alone to take action on it. Sales and marketing have to work together to come to a score that will actually give sales leads that convert.
Don't know enough about the leads in your database? A prospect's fit with the organisation is almost as important as their level of interest. Acquire the data that's important to your organisation and its sales structure, such as company size, location, job title, and more.
Aren't tracking leads' behaviours online? Behavioural data is key to gauging a leads interest and readiness to talk to sales. Tracking a leads behaviour trough website visits, email open and clicks, form fills, and more as well as trough third party intent data can tell you if how interested your lead is and if you should be reaching out to them.
Not sure about your buyer personas? Before you can score your lead, you need to know what your ideal customer profile looks like and who the key buying personas are within that profile. Marketing and sales should work together to figure this out.
CHOOSE ALL THAT APPLY
- Do you have a steady stream of leads coming into your database?
- Are sales and marketing aligned?
- Do you know enough about the leads in your database?
- Are you tracking your leads' behaviours?
- Do you understand your buyer personas?
ARE YOU READY TO TAKE YOUR MARKETING AUTOMATION JOURNEY TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION
At LeadFabric, Marketing Automation is our bread and butter.
Our veteran consultants and technologists knew all about Marketing Automation before any of the major MAP providers like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot or HubSpot even had their own presence in Europe.
We’ve had countless projects helping B2B organizations around the globe to best select, switch out, learn, optimize, and integrate their own MAPs.
Are you one of those B2B organizations in need of a hand?
Do you see any of your objectives listed below?
- Replace my current MA solutions partner.
- Upskill and train my team to use MA.
- Secure external support after losing our in-house MA specialist.
- Optimize the way we use our MAP.
- Outsource daily MAP operations in general.
- Deploy different advanced programs/campaigns.
- Execute/improve our lead management (or lack thereof).
- Integrate our MAP with a CRM system/other system.
If you hear yourself in any of these statements, we’d love to hear from you!
CONTACT US FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION