Marketing automation can push your sales and promotion efforts into the fast lane — but only if you’re prepared for it.
That’s a point many companies miss in their hunger for sales. They want marketing automation software because it seems so powerful in principle. Who wouldn’t want to digitize repetitive chores to free marketing people up for more strategic work?
The core challenge is twofold — implementation and cost. Marketing automation is inherently complex because it must coordinate sales, customer relations, analytics, social media, and content. And it can be difficult to generate an attractive return on investment if you can’t mine the software’s most attractive capabilities.
Hence, your company needs to be ready to pursue marketing automation. You need enough expertise to get the software running at full strength and enough progress in your digital marketing journey to make it all worthwhile.
Here are four clues that you’re poised to pursue marketing automation:
1. You’re pinched for budget, time, and marketing resources.
The first one is more nuanced than it looks at first glance. Every company wants more money, time, and people for marketing, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for automation.These signs suggest you should try automation:
- Your ambitions exceed your budget.
- Your marketing staff is already stretched to the limit.
- You know marketing could drive more sales if your people weren’t tied up with manual chores that could be automated.
The core function of marketing automation is to create a rich database of current and potential customers, and to create digital processes that send them a regular stream of valuable content — emails, blog posts, webinars, etc. If you get it right, you move them closer to buying.
Marketing automation requires a strategic decision: investing in the software in the hope that higher sales deliver a profitable return. If this seems doable, it’s a good first sign you’re ready for automation.
2. You have a solid base of content and strategy.
Agencies like ours often see clients who are eager to take the plunge with a marketing automation platform like HubSpot, but we advise a “look-before-you-leap” approach. Marketing automation is more of a “Phase Two” project. You start it after you have:
- Fine-tuned your content strategy
- Developed buyer personas
- Published several months’ worth of blog posts
- Started an email program
- Built a list of contacts to engage with
These are not trivial tasks. You need skill, patience, a process, and adequate budget to get them all up and running smoothly and efficiently.
Mind you, it’s not imperative to complete all of these steps to be ready for marketing automation, but you should be well on your way through most of them.
3. You’re feeding ALL your content to ALL your contacts.
Segmentation is another critical component of marketing automation. It lets you send content customized to customers where they are now — at the beginning, middle, or end of their buying journey. For example:
- A current customer needs messaging that reaffirms the wisdom of buying with you and nurtures that continued relationship. And you need offers and content that nurture upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
- A potential customer needs helpful information early on to help gain their trust. As they get closer to buying, they need more product- or process-focused content to help them make up their minds.
- Somebody who might buy from you next year but knows nothing about your company today needs yet another variety of content, like high-level blog posts or social media updates.
You can also segment based on any number of factors — locations, vertical, interests based on what they’ve viewed on your website. You can further refine your content strategy using these segments and create content that’s Goldilocks-level “just right” for your target.
You hate getting spam in your inbox, but if you’re sending emails that are irrelevant to the lives of your recipients, you’re a spammer. That’s not helpful for brands trying to strengthen their reach and reputation.
4. Your marketing and sales teams are well aligned.
Marketing automation digs deep into your CRM system to find opportunities to engage with buyers. To make this happen, your marketing and sales teams must be on the same page.
- Marketing teams must understand how sales teams engage customers.
- Sales teams must trust marketing people to develop messaging and produce strong leads.
- Marketing and sales should be targeting the same buyer personas and giving each other feedback throughout the process.
Marketing and sales teams always differ because they approach the customer from different angles. Marketing automation is designed to close this gap: It can document campaign goals, track the value of leads, and create feedback mechanisms to keep marketing and sales moving in the same direction.
Thus, if your marketing and sales teams already work well together, you’re in a prime position to embrace automation.
Getting started with marketing automation
Platforms like HubSpot can be difficult to navigate on your own. And getting them to coordinate with your other software packages can be a major challenge in its own right.
At Blue Star Design, we have certified HubSpot experts who can help you figure out if you’re ready for marketing automation. Give us a call for a free consultation.