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There are two ways to increase sales: attract more leads or close a higher percentage of leads. Marketing automation helps you do both.
Marketing Automation as a Sales Tool
At its core, marketing automation is focused on marketing, not sales. It sends the right message to the right people at the right time and place.
The goal of marketing automation, however, is all about sales. When potential customers receive relevant, educational information, they are more likely to buy. Similarly, when marketing information is quickly published to multiple locations, more people will find it and become leads.
Most importantly, marketing automation not only shares the information, but it also measures what works. Knowing the content that best attracts and converts leads enables a marketing automation user to adjust their content creation around success. Using marketing automation data leads to informed strategy and increased sales.
Attracting More Leads with Marketing Automation
Marketing automation software enables quick publication to a variety of platforms. From social networks to email, landing pages to blog posts, content distribution is streamlined with marketing automation.
What makes marketing automation different than other publishing tools like Hootsuite or WordPress is that it can automatically share the information across platforms and time based on customer data.
As an example, if you are a hospital and write a blog post about OBGYN services, you can automatically tweet the article or email that article with a variety of tools. If you want people who have shown interest in OBGYN services to only receive that email, marketing automation can do that for you.
What's more, the email or even landing page can change based on the person receiving it. This is known as “smart content.”
Someone starting to think about having a baby could receive different messaging than someone who is already 20 weeks along.
This personalization of content doubles email opens and clicks. That means more leads and ultimately sales.
Increasing Sales Conversion with Marketing Automation
When your business has a lead, marketing automation really shines.
Marketing automation tracks a lead's behavior on your website. That means you will know when they are looking at your pricing page and when they are just browsing. Based on their behavior, your sales team will be ready to talk to the lead.
They might decide to call the lead if they are showing interest or could send an automated email about the content they are browsing on the website.
Marketing automation qualifies leads based on their behavior so the sales team can only talk to the leads that are truly interested.
Additionally, marketing automation can “warm up” leads that are not ready to buy. It might not be worth your sales person's time to call or email all the leads in your database. That's where marketing automation steps in. It can send an automated series of email personalized for that lead. If it is their first time to the site, they might receive a list of helpful articles. If they visited more than a year ago, marketing automation could reach out and ask if they are still interested.
These check-ins bring customers back into the buying cycle and move them closer to purchasing. The automated messaging will also help weed out people who are just browsing versus people who are worth the time and effort of a salesperson.
Combine Marketing and Sales for Smarketing
The key to using marketing automation for sales is to have open communication between the two departments.
Sales reps should tell the marketing department the characteristics of a quality lead. Then the marketing team can use marketing automation software to move contacts towards that goal.
Similarly, as leads are sent from marketing to sales, the sales team can tell marketing the questions they are being asked on the phone. Then marketing can help answer those questions through automated content so the sales person has a faster path towards closing the sale.
Marketing and sales have to create the information based on the characteristics of their best customers. Once that is complete, marketing automation can take over.
Six Ways to Know You're Ready for Marketing Automation
According to marketing automation software platform, HubSpot, there are six questions to ask before you start using marketing automation:
- Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads? If not, you should think about how to generate leads before getting started.
- Is your sales team overwhelmed with the number of quality leads you’re passing along to them? If not, they can probably do the work manually.
- Has marketing and sales agreed on what conversations should happen with marketing and which with sales? This is important to make sure customers don't slip through the marketing automation cracks.
- Do you have an efficient content strategy mapped to your buyer’s journey? Marketing automation works best when you know what to send and when to send it.
- Are you tracking your leads’ digital body language across every touch point and marketing channel (not just email)? If you know how customers are interacting with you and others on social media, online viewing and email, you will know if they are a potential customer.
- Do you have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale? Scaling is marketing automation's forté.
Choosing a Marketing Automation Platform
Marketing automation can help your sales process if you are ready to scale and grow your efforts. In the end, marketing automation is only as good as the content you put into it and the data you can collect about your customers. If you need help with either of those, that's what we do.
When choosing a marekting automation platform, consider not only price but also what the tool will eliminate. Our favorite marketing automation platform is HubSpot because it brings all of the data into one place and eliminates the need to maintain additional tools. It is also easy to use with a great support team if you get stuck.
You can install HubSpot on your site free for 30 days and see the power that marketing automation could bring to your company. Just click here to get started.
If HubSpot doesn't fit what you need, you can take a look at this list of the top ten marketing automation platforms (HubSpot is rated number one). Let us know what worked best for you.