Marketing automation is the latest buzz in the world of marketing. It’s not that easy to harness, hence not everyone’s cup of tea.
Numerous people fail to execute marketing automation effectively merely because of laziness. Marketers buy lists of email addresses to process. These bought lists will never fetch you desirable results. In fact, the most effective list of email addresses is the one that is generated on our own from reliable sources, such as from social media activities or from your own blog or site. In short, these sources are known as inbound leads.
Before proceeding with the best practices to utilize this successful marketing method, let’s have an overview of what exactly do we mean by marketing automation.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation consists of a set of tools that processes inbound data using different techniques to market the products to existing and potential users in a better way.
One of the best examples of marketing automation software usage is Amazon. It tends to provide enhanced user experience to its potential customers across online channels, which further leads them to make an initial purchase. Loyal customers further spread the word through ‘word of mouth’.
Today, a customer researches about a product online through various sources before buying it. These sources include targeted emails, videos, related ads and social media contacts. A positive response from these sources pushes the customer to buy the product.
A good marketer would always capitalize on these sales channels for a positive and satisfactory customer experience. As the customer enters in this funnel of sources, utilize further tools to track their purchasing behavior so as to prompt them to make more purchases in time to come.
Generally, market automation software would consist of tools working on email marketing, data collection and storage, data analysis and reporting, and campaign programming and management. However, features on offer vary from vendor to vendor.
The biggest challenge that comes with a new essential software is to train the staff to work on it. It can be a time-consuming task to install and configure the software correctly at first place.
The advantage with big vendors here is they often provide training sessions on complementary basis. However, on the whole, there are several challenges and troubles that most of the businesses need to undertake before going for any marketing automation software. These include:
- Way out to train the staff if the software vendor does not provide it.
- The foremost need of the software depending upon the leads that your company currently generates.
- How the current marketing and sales strategies would change after installing marketing automation software.
- Automation software solutions vary greatly in price depending upon the features. Identify the features requires and its cost.
- Would the vendor provide a demo about the functionality of the software before its implementation?
Why go for marketing automation software?
Not every business needs marketing automation software. Generally, large businesses with widespread operations need such a tool to simplify their processes. It will be waste of money and energy if a business installs it merely because its competitors have done so.
The marketing automation software industry has seen a sharp rise in its sales in the past one decade. In 2013, its sales doubled, growing to $750 million.as compared to sales figure in previous year.
While there have been several success stories of companies implementing the software effectively, there have also been cases of failure in effectively utilizing it. Businesses fail to make the most of automation software mainly because of 3 reasons:
- Poor collection of data
- Improper utilization of the software
- Lack of coordination between marketing and sales processes
- Budget constraints
Out of these four, budget constraint is the most widely faced obstacle behind poor utilization of the automation software. Most of the software solutions would require you to buy additional licenses or add-ons to utilize all its features. This is something that companies don’t plan in their budget before buying.
No doubt, installing and utilizing marketing automation software gives you an edge over your competitors. But you require trained staff to work over it effectively for best results.
In the best possible scenario, you will experience great lead generation and fabulous customer management over a period of time. Make sure the vendor gives a demo and include all your staff members in that meeting. This will clear the potential issues that they would have in mind.
Plan well and you can experience an increase in sales, plan badly and you would see wastage time and money in Marketing Automation.