The Fundamentals of Marketing Automation

You’re either in the throes of deploying marketing automation, researching your options or learning what it is. Most people (that read this blog at least) are not clueless to its existence.

It’s perhaps the hottest marketing technology right now. Many businesses have deployed it, many even migrating to new platforms, and others are evaluating how it can help improve their marketing operations. If you’re curious if marketing automation will work for your marketing and sales operations,, this post will provide a basic understanding of the of how to use marketing automation.

As a seasoned marketing automation and demand generation practitioner, I’ve been involved in dozens of marketing automation platform deployment. I’m going to try to distill the fundamentals of marketing automation to help you understand some of the possibilities marketing automation offers. My own experiences using MA combined with the clients I’ve served have helped me understand the most useful aspects of marketing automation.

Your primary marketing strategy is probably invested in digital marketing. Marketing automation is a great addition and necessary element for any digital marketing strategy.

By using a mix of digital marketing tactics fed into your marketing automation, you, too, will be able to grow brand awareness, generate leads, market with greater relevance, enhance your sales cycle and win more business.

Here are a few simple ways you can use marketing automation to operate as an agile and successful marketing and sales program. The following techniques are mostly universal in application of any marketing automation technology.

To start, we know that qualifying prospects is necessary to increase the effectiveness of your sales team, allowing them to use their time more wisely. Using progressive profiling web forms, you can build detailed lead profiles to discover whether a lead is a qualified or not. Having these developed profiles allows your sales team to prioritize top prospects and know which prospects to continue to nurture or disqualify.

Another benefit of marketing automation is knowing when a lead’s timing for purchase changed. After discovering a lead’s favorable buying interest, use your marketing automation’s alerts to notify your sales reps that their lead has shown a buying signal.

If a lead hasn’t shown an explicit buying signal, use nurturing campaigns for ongoing education of your industry/products/services, continuing to use alerts to watch for buying signals.

Within these advanced nurturing campaigns, use the core functionality of marketing automation: database segmentation. Using segmentation, deliver targeted messaging on a vast mix of demographic and activity-based prospect data.

For example, if you want to send a follow-up that nurtures a prospect who found you on Google, arrived on one of your white papers, filled out a form to download the whitepaper, visited 3 additional pages related to your white paper topic, you can create that deep segment and program a follow-up series to anyone that fulfills all of those criteria.

A significant function of nurturing is sending emails, which are often triggered by saved segments like the one just described. Since emails are of paramount importance to most digital marketing strategies and more emails are now being read on mobile devices, be sure to build mobile responsive emails so that you provide the ideal user experience to anyone consuming your email content. It’s important that your emails look great on all devices as you have limited chances to get a prospect’s attention – so when you do try, it needs to be a great impression.

The previously described techniques outline the ability to micro-target leads in your pipeline. You can also monitor a collection of reports around campaigns, web analytics, form/landing page conversions, sales funnel performance and more. Keep track of aggregate metrics also tells you what is working, what is not and where you need to focus. These reports are the easiest way to keep you and your team accountable. The insights these reports provide is critical to a common goal of marketing automation: to more efficiently and effectively win business.

These were just some brief and basic examples of how you can use marketing automation to improve your marketing operations and overall sales performance.

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