Marketing Automation – the next tool to be introduced without success or to bring real added value?
Marketing automation promotes efficiency and the huge time savings they bring to marketing and sales. But is it a must-have, is it just another tool implemented into processes without delivering results or does it add value for your company? We reveal whether the hype is justified and what prerequisites are involved in using automation.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a software tool to automate marketing and sales activities. This includes, for example, tracking and analyzing customer communication. For this purpose, leads are categorized according to various parameters that enable direct recognition of interest in closing a sale. Furthermore, automation can be used to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.
What is it needed for?
Eliminating manual activities naturally means time savings. But what does this mean in concrete terms for marketing automation tasks? Depending on the lead scoring, the next activities are planned or leads are not considered at all because they have a very low score, e.g. due to non-response. Automation is also useful for lead nurturing, i.e. to better qualify leads by providing them with more information. This mainly consists of sending automated emails. Other content can also be planned, such as campaigns for the website, blog, and several social networks. All content delivered has a maximum impact on both existing and new customers. In addition, automation contributes to the evaluation of ongoing activities: Does what I am doing make sense, and what results does it lead to, or what do I need to change to improve results?
Just checking the sales funnel is enough to realize the benefits of marketing automation. Without automation, salespeople have to perform a lot of additional tasks that do not directly contribute to the business objective. Such tasks can easily be automated to allow the sales department to only have to take action on leads with clear buying intentions. In this way, they save a lot of time and can spend it on the most promising leads.
What does it take to be successful?
The advantages of marketing automation seem obvious, but to make it successful, certain requirements are necessary: a database and an analysis of the target group. The first one is the basis on which marketing automation activities are developed with a clear understanding of the target group and its needs.
Target group analysis
It is useful to consider what measures should be carried out for each segment, both in terms of content and time. Do not lose focus on the goal - to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. In addition, scoring must be set up correctly, i.e. each lead or each data entry is assigned a score in the CRM. For this, leads are scored for each activity in which they show interest in buying, while points are subtracted again for activities that indicate that they are not interested in buying. For example, downloading a white paper earns more points, while visiting the jobs on the website earns fewer points, as they turn out to be an applicant and not a potential lead. When a certain number of points is reached, a lead with real buying interest has been identified. Depending on this classification, the sales department takes action with such customers. The marketing automation should be capable of doing the classification itself based on the customer's activities and reactions by means of artificial intelligence.
Having the data of a promising contact person is crucial. Besides the name, you should also include the position and the email address or a telephone number. The contact data should be continuously updated so that you also know, for example, when the contact person has a new employer. It is also necessary for sales colleagues to perform manual segmentation based on the information they have about customers. This may be industry, company size or product interest, where customers vary from one another and communicate differently as a result.
The perfect duo: Marketing automation and CRM system
Using a CRM system serves as the basis for the data. The platform for managing contacts and sales collects all customer-related information: Product interest, turnover, communication with the sales representative, scheduled activities and other relevant data. Since marketing automation systems work based on data, it only makes sense to set up automation if it is linked to a CRM to ensure that the systems complement each other. A study by Oracle and Beagle Research Group indicates that sales reps do not like manually maintaining data, which is a time-consuming process:
“66% of salespeople would rather clean the bathroom than update their CRM system.”
But how do you keep your CRM up to date? There is a solution to avoid this problem that affects data quality: automated data maintenance. Numerous tasks, such as entering trade fair or visit reports, business cards, email signatures, data from legal notices or LinkedIn contacts, can be performed automatically. In this way, it is only necessary to manually assign attributes, change the status of a customer or set new deadlines.
The synchronization effects can be exploited by combining the marketing automation system with the CRM. The basis is the common customer data used by both platforms. The data is updated in the CRM by sales and, in the best case, by automation tools such as snapADDY DataQuality. As for the marketing automation system, the marketing department is responsible for configuring the measures. In addition, through a defined workflow, the two systems are constantly synchronized to ensure that all activities in one of the two tools result in a certain reaction in the other. For example, the assignment of attributes, such as active or inactive customer, in the CRM system can trigger a mailing in the marketing automation through a previously defined workflow. All automation activities are recorded and, depending on the customer's reaction, the score is adjusted. As soon as a certain score is reached, a new sales activity is triggered in the CRM system. This allows the sales rep to decide whether it is worth contacting the customer personally.
Marketing automation saves a lot of time and effort for sales and marketing departments if they are used correctly and, as a result, offer great added value to the company. If you want to set up marketing automation, it is important to focus on the interaction with a CRM system in order to use automation effectively. This allows sales and marketing to work more efficiently and use the time to contact customers who are really interested in your company.
The foundation of both systems is an updated database in the CRM system. With snapADDY DataQuality you can automate the maintenance of your data quickly and easily.
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Carina Hoßfeld works in marketing at snapADDY GmbH since 2020 and is completing her master's degree in the same field. She has successfully completed a business training course and a bachelor's degree in business administration. In addition, she has acquired practical experience in project organization and marketing in other positions and internships.