Marketing Automation software one of the fastest emerging subcategories in the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) space. Adoption is increasing rapidly, especially among B2B marketers. Jordie van Rijn, a thought leader in the space, has aggregated the research on adoption for his “The Ultimate Marketing Automation Statistics Overview”. He has determined that 49% of all businesses are using some form of marketing automation while over 55% of B2B companies have embraced the software.
What is Marketing Automation?
It’s challenging to summarize the concept in a short paragraph, but Technopedia provides a very good definition. “Marketing automation is the use of software and Web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance.” Vendors and solutions vary in the specific capabilities that they provide, but common elements of a system include:
- Email Marketing
- Web Tracking
- Lead Scoring
- Nurture Marketing
- SMS Messaging
- Campaign Tracking
- Form Capture
- Landing Pages
- Social Discovery
- Event Management
Why Businesses Are Investing in Marketing Automation – Greater Revenues and Competition
There are many reasons, but the big ones are revenue and keeping up with the competition. The easiest way to get funding for marketing is to tie an investment to revenue. Gartner Research has found that companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. The next best way is to point to investments being made by the competition – especially market leaders. Competitors are either using marketing automation or strongly considering adoption. Google reports that searches for “Marketing Automation” are at all-time high. Aberdeen Group surveys have found that 70% of businesses are using or currently implementing marketing automation technology. Lenskold and Pedowitz published a statistic that 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation. As the saying goes “Correlation does not imply causation” – either marketing automation is making those companies more competitive or the smart companies are using marketing automation.
Impact on the Business as a Whole – Boost Customer Value, Productivity, Creativity, Innovation, and Employee Retention
By automating upselling, cross-selling, and customer follow-up, companies using marketing automation can realize more incremental revenue and larger average deal sizes driving an increase in customer lifetime value. Automation of repeatable and rote activities drives significant increases in employee productivity and enables the company to scale the marketing and sales functions to grow with less overhead costs. When you replace manual repetitive work with automated rules and campaigns, you naturally free up your staff’s time to focus on more creative elements of campaigns and spend more time on new innovations and projects that add value to the organization. While the shift in focus has clear benefits of staff productivity and organizational effectiveness, there’s a softer and less tangible benefit of creativity and overall happiness that comes from focusing your staff on more interesting and satisfying work instead of mundane repetitive tasks that can improve morale and employee retention.
Impact on the Marketing Function – Vastly Improved Efficiency, Content Usage, Targeting, Visibility, and Insight
Clearly, the most visible impact is the increase in productivity of the marketing organization. The increase in individual and team productivity can drive increases in both the quality and volume of campaigns and projects. This is enabled not only by the technology tools supporting employee tasks but by the integration of advanced scheduling capabilities with database management. Content can be reused and delivered automatically through different channels and at different times during the buying cycle. Generally, marketing automation will be integrated with the CRM system. This integration provides the opportunity for very focused delivery of content and customer touches by target segment. Marketing automation systems can give marketing leaders a much higher level visibility and insight. Marketers can better identify which channels and campaigns deliver the most revenue and highest ROI.
Impact on the Sales Function – Better Focus, Productivity, Follow-Up, and Timing.
Lead scoring is a key benefit of marketing automation. Rules and criteria are configured in the system to automatically and objectively score incoming leads based on a combination of prospect behavior and information they provide. Only leads that are sales ready (generally referred to as Sales Qualified or SQL) are routed to sales people. This means higher priced sales resources are focused on converting qualified leads into opportunities and closing them to drive revenue rather than chasing down less or unqualified leads – which will reduce lead conversion time and drive higher sales productivity. When Thomson Reuters implemented marketing automation software, they found that their lead conversion time dropped by 72%, contributing to a 175% overall increase in revenue attributed to implementing the software. A few years ago, a study on the Harvard Business Review suggested that you’re 60x more likely to qualify a lead if you follow up within one hour, compared to waiting 24 hours. Marketing automation systems can ensure immediate lead follow-up. Many systems also provide real-time website monitoring so sales can be alerted and follow-up with prospects while they are considering a purchase.
Consensus Among Analysts
When there is a consensus among the major analysts, generally there is a real trend. There’s consistency among the analyst community with regard to marketing software payback. A Forrester lead to revenue study found that marketers that had implemented marketing automation software sourced 44% of their company’s sales pipeline, compared to marketers without marketing software who contributed only 34%. Aberdeen research reports that companies that adopt marketing automation see 53% higher conversion rates (from initial touch to MQL) and 3.1% higher annual revenue rates than do non-adopters. And, again, according to Gartner, companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6 to 9 months.
At SBS Group, we partner with ClickDimensions to provide a Marketing Automation solution with native integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Microsoft Dynamics 365. Unlike many alternatives, our solution is easily managed maintained by non-technical business users and natively integrates with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office 365. Visit our website to learn more about SBS and all of our solutions based on Microsoft Business Apps.
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Why Everyone Needs Marketing Automation
Thursday, November 10th
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