The scales have shifted. Buyers have evolved in the ways that they prefer to purchase. Technology, digital channels and non-stop connectivity continue to empower today’s buyers with more immediate information and many more choices than ever before. We, as marketers must change to adapt to these changes.

As marketers, we have to acknowledge this change by changing our approach to one of less persuasion and more education. There is a mix of inbound and outbound strategies that when used in balance, will help you create a new approach to your buyers. Marketing Automation is key to helping you accomplish this balance.

In distribution, marketing automation is not widely used. In fact, only about 10 – 15% of distributors are using it, but those that are using it have a definite competitive advantage.

But, what is marketing automation?  It depends on who you ask.

Forrester Research prefers the term “lead-to-revenue management automation solutions” and notes that such systems were developed to “bridge a gap between lead generation activities (e.g., trade shows, direct mail, telemarketing, and email campaigns) and selling activities (e.g., closing the deal) that were managed by a customer relationship management (CRM) system.”

Sales Lead Insights defines it as “Marketing automation is the use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales using customized, multi-touch marketing communications that are tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behavior, or place in the buying process.”  In essence it enables true one-to-one marketing capability.

What’s Included in Marketing Automation?

  • Marketing automation systems offer most or all of the following:
  • Email message and campaign creation
  • Automated email campaign deployment and measurement (e.g., drip and nurture campaign)
  • Triggered emails
  • Lead management and routing
  • Automated lead nurturing
  • Automated lead scoring
  • Creation and hosting of landing pages and forms
  • Website visitor tracking
  • Social media marketing and sharing, including blog integration
  • Inbound marketing, including some SEO capability and account-based marketing
  • Database with segmentation capabilities
  • CRM integration and automatic data synchronization
  • Web events/webinar integration, registration, and management
  • Tracking, reports, and analytics
  • Third-party app integration
  • Data capture of demographic, firmographic, and behavioral information
  • Alerts that notify sales and/or marketing when a specific person or company visits a specific page on the website

But What is the Value of Marketing Automation to Your Company? What Can It Do For You?

Companies that have adopted marketing automation are out-performing those that haven’t.

Consider these facts:

  • 80% of marketing automation adopters saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase. (VentureBeat Insight, “Marketing Automation, How to Make the Right Buying Decision,” 2015)
  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. (Harvard Business Review, 2014) And how do you increase retention? Try the personalized, consistent relationship marketing that automation excels in.
  • Marketing automation benefits

Done well, marketing automation can:

  • INCREASE overall sales, both for new and repeat customers
  • SHORTEN the sales cycle by 50% or more
  • INCREASE deal sizes
  • INCREASE sales quota achievement rates
  • LOWER the cost per lead
  • LOWER overall sales and marketing costs across the company
  • INCREASE alignment of sales and marketing teams
  • DECREASE churn

How do I use these benefits and this information to convince my company that we should adopt marketing automation?  Check out our next blog to find out more.