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Five Reasons to Use Marketing Automation to Generate Sales Leads

Marketing automation and inbound marketing have been out a lot longer than most would think. The terms really became popular in 2016.

The purpose of inbound marketing is to put out regular quality content that will lead prospects to you consistently. If you put out one blog post on social media, it can be shared hundreds of times within a year.

1. The importance of Marketing Automation

Increase the bandwidth of your marketing team

Most companies cannot afford to employ an entire marketing team. They usually are stretched thin, because they have other projects and priorities. By implementing marketing automation, you can double your team’s ability to market by taking vital communication obligations off of their plate.

Provide more content

Content is king to search engines and social media. The concept behind Inbound Marketing allows your marketing efforts to extend your online presence, bringing prospects to you, instead of having to find them. A company that is putting out content consistently can triple their sales. Approximately 47% of buyers viewed three-five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Stay on schedule

During busy seasons we get bogged down from time to time and tend to forget about marketing and focus on work that needs to be completed. Marketing automation allows you to stay on track with your marketing efforts and provide communication to prospects.

Inbound marketing reporting and scoring

Your content may reach not only your followers but your follower’s followers, organic prospecting. Essentially, you are making your followers lead generators. You can then start gathering information on prospects and pull reports on your “reach.”

Your reach will tell you how well your advertising, content, and marketing efforts are doing so that you can make adjustments for improving your reach.

Lead scoring allows you to track prospects and attach a score to leads based on their activities. This information tells your sales reps, which leads are more interested in your product and how ready to closing they are.

Convert more sales

Shops that implemented automated marketing were able to recover 24.33% of the 67% abandoned carts, which gained an additional 5.48% in revenue per month. Automated marketing is the bridge between your sales team and marketing team. They work together to fill the holes and bring you more sales.

2. How to determine and implement Marketing Automation

Budget

Review your marketing budget to choose the right marketing automation software. If you have a lower budget, then you may want to use Mailchimp, Sharpspring or Constant Contact. Their automation is basic, but it will do the job for cheap.

If you want an increased return on your investment (ROI), you may want to invest in a marketing automation software that will build lasting campaigns. Hubspot, Act-On, Infusionsoft, Sharpspring, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact are great.

Consider how much one sale from automation can bring in. For some companies, one sale will pay for your software three times over, making the software an excellent ROI. On average, B2B marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Purpose

Choosing the right marketing automation software comes down to how you plan to use it. If you don’t care about lead scoring, social posting, lead converting pages, etc.. then you should go with a simpler/cheaper platform such as Sharpspring, Mailchimp or Constant Contact. If you want all the features to improve your lead funnel, then go with a robust platform such as Act-On or Hubspot.

Contact Relation Manager (CRM)

Marketing automation software should not be entered into lightly. There is a lot of development that goes into the onboarding. No system is plug-and-play, no matter what your sales rep tells you.

You’ll need to connect the platform to a Contact Relationship Manager (CRM), through API coding. You can develop APIs by contracting a programmer or using an API service such as Zapier.

Even if you use an API service, the person that is connecting all your systems and websites will need to have a fair amount of tech experience.

Don’t put a copywriter in charge of connecting your systems. You need an experienced developer. After everything is connected, you can have a marketing person manage the system. There will be on-going maintenance.

Content

Creating content on a consistent basis may be challenging for even the most seasoned writer. Before choosing a platform, decide on topics, themes, writer, and distribution schedule. Without content a marketing automation software is useless.

3.   How to prepare for implementation

Strategize for connecting your CRM

As I mentioned before, a marketing automation system is used to build your sales funnels.

A CRM is needed to house that data, historical reference, and reporting. No matter what marketing automation system you choose make sure that it will connect with your CRM, and then begin strategizing your lists before programming your API connections. Then budget for the API programming or service. Do not use a spreadsheet to manage sales funnels.

Strategy Mapping

A good plan is mandatory for using marketing automation. You don’t just log into a system and begin building out a campaign. You first decide the steps that will funnel your lead to closing.

Your strategy map should include:

Content
Emails
Event invites (Webinars)

Lead pages
Linkedin connection requests
Reporting to sales team
Tasks assigning
Text Messaging
Webforms

Scoring Leads Strategy

Before you begin building, decide what steps from your strategy are the most important to closing, then assign a number to each activity.

For example, my campaigns will assign 1 point for opening an email, 5 points for clicking on a link, 10 points for watching a video, 20 points for filling out a form, etc.. This point system will tell the sales team how close the lead is to close on the sales funnel.

Process for Closing Inbound

Your marketing automation is only good as your closers. Make sure you have a plan for what happens with a notification of an interested lead comes in. You have 24 hours to respond. If your team cannot respond that quickly make sure to setup automated messaging to immediately communicate the expectations, and give them more information on your product/services.

4.    Common mistakes in implementing and using Marketing Automation

Under-Estimating Cost

Marketing automation systems are not cheap. They can run anywhere from $50.00-$1,700.00 a month. That’s why budgeting, purpose and ROI strategy are so important when deciding on a platform.

Manager doesn’t implement correctly

Many times companies will love the concept of marketing automation and purchase it before they realize they need a developer to build all the connections out. It takes months to learn a new system, so expect there to be some growing pains for your manager.

Lack of Strategy

Implementing marketing automation without a strategy will ruin your investment. Before you sign up for a system, build the strategy for developing campaigns and connections. This process may take weeks, if not months.

Lack of Growing Strategy

So you are up and running! So exciting! What’s next? Your campaign strategy shouldn’t stop there. It’s time to build new campaigns and perfect the old ones. One word in a subject line can improve your open rate for emails.

Thinking marketing automation is the winning ticket

Yes, I understand that this system isn’t cheap. Yes, I know you want to see an immediate ROI. Unfortunately, this marketing strategy takes time to begin rolling, time to develop, time to see results. Don’t get discouraged and pull the plug too early. Just keep developing strategy and content.

5.    Best practices in successful Marketing Automation environments

Create a Mindmap of your strategy.

Visual representation of your strategy is needed to convince the people that will pay for the system. It also will help keep the manager on track to developing more campaigns. I use Vizio. However, Bubble.us is a free platform that is easy to use.

Create the Content Professionally

Sometimes progress is better than perfection. Unfortunately, content doesn’t fit this rule. Make sure that you have a copy editor to review your content before implementing. Grammar can kill a lead faster than you can add them to your funnel.

Create a strategy for your strategy.

Start a content calendar. Implement new campaigns every three months. For low hanging fruit, I recommend Cold Campaign. Once I have the sales department taken care of, I begin internal campaign building. Internal communication is VERY IMPORTANT to have a healthy culture.

Don’t be a sociopath

If you scrape email addresses, which I do not recommend, make sure you immediately ask them if they want to continue to get your communication. Be sure to brush up on email etiquette with CAN-SPAM tips.

Develop a strategy that only keeps the interested parties. If you haven’t sold within your longest funnel time, then you should let your prospect out of your automation.

Set-up once a year drop-ins, but don’t continue to market to someone who never opens your emails. We all get way too much junk mail. I have an email account dedicated to junk mail. To date, there are over 30k unopened emails.


Do you have a tip for automated marketing? Tell us! We would love to hear how you generate leads using automated marketing.

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