The ‘Driving Sales with Marketing Automation’ series of 3 articles has been developed by Rishad Sukhia, Director of Brightlabs and Sue Barrett, Founder and CEO of Barrett. Rishad and Sue will present ideas, concepts, research and findings about how to make the most of marketing automation and sales activation.
Because marketing automation has become the new digital buzzword, with many adopting it under the impression that it is a quick fix for lead generation and repetitive tasks. While its popularity is evident you will find it is not the silver bullet to more sales in of itself. Like anything, we need to factor in marketing automation and digital lead generation into a prepared purposeful sales system for it to function at its best.
Over the next 3 articles we are going to look at what marketing automation actually means, and how can you incorporate it into your marketing and sales strategy making sure you avoid the hurdles along the way. Specifically we will be addressing:
- What marketing automation is and how can it drive more sales
- 5 ways to implement marketing automation in your business
- 5 things to be wary of with marketing automation
What is marketing automation?
Rishad provides a good overview here of marketing automation.
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and digital technologies designed to enable organisations to automate, streamline and track particular marketing processes.
Marketing automation does not merely assist with email marketing. Part of its appeal is its cross-functionality – it connects various marketing channels including social media, email marketing and content marketing.
As businesses grow, they compete with each other to engage with customers more often, convert more leads and expand their presence on multiple platforms. Marketing automation has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses go about achieving these goals.
Here are a few marketing automation platforms to consider:
With marketing automation software now readily available to B2C and B2B companies of all sizes, it’s really about finding the right one for your company and customers.
Here quality, not quantity comes first. You need to factor in which one will suit your needs as a business and help you deliver the best experiences for your customers.
Getting started with marketing automation
Sue points out that before we do anything we need to understand the differences between Sales and Marketing.
In one of her posts 7 Differences between Marketing and Sales, Sue points out that, simply put, marketing talks to groups and sales talks to Individuals. Sales and Marketing need to work together and understand that one helps enable the other to get up close and personal with clients. This is critical for people to see that it is not an ‘either or’ scenario. Instead, it is a ‘we’ partnership that delivers real returns.
Speaking personally, Sue points out that with her own business, 35% of Barrett’s revenue in the last 2 financial years came from inbound leads delivered by a digital content marketing strategy underpinned by marketing automation. She also points out that this did not happen by chance. Barrett’s results were underpinned by deliberate and integrated Sales and Marketing strategies.
So before jumping in to invest in just any marketing automation platform the first thing you need to do is develop a robust sales strategy that tells you the following:
- What is our purpose as a business?
- What are our target market segments
- Who are our customers in each segment? and What do the ideal customer look like? i.e. company size, turnover, decision maker role, etc.
- What are our customers looking for and what do they value?
- How do our customers want to/like to buy?
- What is our value proposition?
- What is our competitive advantage in each segment?
- How do we need to sell in each segment?
- What resources and tools do we need to use to sell better?
- What results do we expect to achieve in each segment?
These are just some of the questions you need to get answers to before you can figure out how you are going to use digital content marketing and marketing automation to get better leads and opportunities for your business and sales teams.
If you are unsure where to start or what to do, here are some tips: First avoid any ‘sales or digital content gurus’ who promise you ‘silver bullet solutions’. Brutal fact: There are no silver bullets
Instead find an experienced, strategic business consultant who specialises in sales strategy, sales process and selling in general to help you develop an integrated sales strategy and go-to-market action plan. Then find a digital agency with an understanding of the digital content marketing and marketing automation landscape who can take your sales strategy information and help you in developing content and choosing a platform that offers you the right features in line with your sales strategy and then assists you along the way with the implementation process.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.