Automation is the future. Marketing automation, in particular, can turn a lean marketing team into a force to be reckoned with, allowing startups and growing businesses to compete with large-scale enterprises in the war for customer attention. The number of options is vast, though, and it can be a challenge to find the ideal mix of software as a service (SaaS) automation tools.
As you explore your options, start from the business’s most immediate goals. Then, gain buy-in from your peers with quick wins, and consult experts. Performance improvements are real, and there is plenty of evidence that companies can achieve their growth goals by maximizing the efficiency of SaaS while minimizing operational costs. Let bots take care of the day-to-day, and give your team a chance to be creative.
What would you picture upon hearing the term automation? A factory floor staffed with industrial robots or a corporate office where workers have been replaced by machines? Maybe even the post-work world? You might be right, but what people don’t usually think about is a growing business in need of a scalable way to grow. Marketing is just as important for mid-size businesses as it is for large enterprises. However, smaller businesses are often unaware of the simplicity of integrating SaaS automation into their workflow. It all starts with tossing out old assumptions and taking a closer look at your needs.
What Is Marketing Automation, And Why Does It Matter?
Most businesses love the concept of SaaS — the challenge is in executing a proper implementation. Remember the story of the tiger and the tennis shoes? Two rivals on a jungle excursion woke up in the middle of the night to cries of “Tiger in the camp! Run!” The first ran out of the tent, but the second sat up and started putting on tennis shoes. The first came back and said, “No time for that, you can’t outrun a tiger with those!” The second said, “I don’t need to outrun the tiger. I only need to outrun you.” In the business world, this means that taking advantage of the right tool is often the best way to succeed. SaaS marketing automation is statistically correlated to improved financial performance. Even a small investment in marketing automation tends to bring outsized returns that can propel your business to the top. Since we are data-driven, here’s a review of some of the most relevant metrics to help you wear the shoes.
According to Salesforce (registration required), 67% of marketing leaders rely on marketing automation and 21% plan to implement a new marketing automation platform in the year ahead. What’s more, 82% of marketers recognized a positive return on investment (ROI) from marketing automation and said that it makes them more efficient. While most marketers were challenged by generating leads and building brand awareness, top marketers using artificial intelligence (AI) and SaaS marketing automation had already moved on to tasks with stronger financial impacts, including improving the hand-off of marketing-qualified leads to sales and retaining existing customers.
How To Get Started With Marketing Automation
Start small and define your success metrics early. Key performance indicators (KPIs) like open rate, conversion and sales will help you navigate the plethora of options that you are going to be facing as you make your choice. The easiest and potentially most effective tactic to tackle are your email campaigns. The easiest technique that does not involve coding or setting any type of programmable logic is to utilize the specialized features available to you like drip campaigns that can manage transactional aspects of conversational commerce.
Generate, manage and track your marketing. Content marketing is hot, but most companies simply post innocuous content and are surprised when their efforts yield zero sales. It is more important to produce quality than to produce a high quantity. Once you figure out the appropriate messaging in the form of whitepapers, case studies and industry reports, you can then optimize your content for conversions. Look for software that amplifies engagement with contact cadence schedules, testimonial request forms, etc. The data you gather needs to be filtered in order to understand the revenue generating opportunities you couldn’t see before. Use the integration toolkits and application programming interfaces (APIs) for tasks like connecting customer relationship management to ticket handling. Look for areas where legacy software can be upgraded, replaced or eliminated — all of these tools can be tested and integrated into your environment, with one caveat: you need a technologist to oversee the implementation.
The Impact Of Marketing Automation
The results should be noticeable in less than 30 days after implementation. For instance, for a company with sales in the low millions per year, the increase in sales should be about 10% annually. The investment in automation to get to this point should be between 2% to 5% of total revenue. As the process gets implemented, the C-Suite will have to be ready to handle the change management issues rapidly and empower employees to go from handling repetitive marketing tasks to thinking strategically. Remember that an automated system without human supervision is just a faster hamster wheel, and you are aiming to make a rocket ship.
Antonio Altamirano, Forbes