Marketing automation is a buzzword that has become quite popular especially with businesses that have an online presence. It simply refers to a programmed software platform that allows the marketing departments of companies to automate certain repetitive tasks. This includes turning sales leads and prospects into satisfied customers. According to statistics from Pardot, 76% of the largest SaaS and 25% of Fortune 500 companies already use automated marketing tools. Here are some of the key features of marketing automation software that you can leverage to get an edge over your business competitors:
Lead Generation and Management
You cannot hope to increase sales unless you can successfully manage the lead generation process. A study carried out by the Annuitas Group found that businesses that use marketing automation to generate and nurture leads experience 451% increase in qualified leads. With this in mind, choose a marketing software platform that can automatically create segmented lists of prospects. Such a platform should also have the capability to auto respond to inbound inquiries from prospects. Other desirable features on this front include ability to send email and SMS alerts to sales people on the ground when serious enquiries from specific clients come in as well as capability to auto update existing sales leads data.
Analytics and Reporting
Data analytics and reporting should be key features of any marketing automation software. In general, analytics calculate the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, pinpoint sales leads that are likely to become clients, and quantify client behaviors and characteristics. On the other hand, reporting turns analytics figures and statistics into easily consumable text material. Go for a platform that can generate reports in real time. You do not want to get a report about a sales lead that you should contact only to find out he/she has shifted allegiance to a competitor. Research carried out by InsideSales.com found that a vendor who responds first gets between 30 and 50% of sales from prospective clients.
Email and Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing and email are by far two of the most effective tools when it comes to reaching out to both existing and potential consumers. The good news is marketing automation software with these features will make it easy for you to personalize outbound auto response messages. You will be able to coordinate marketing campaigns across various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn from a single point. In other words, you would not necessarily have to switch from one tool to another just to post on social networking sites.
Lead scoring is quite different from lead generation because the former involves setting numerical scores for various characteristics exhibited by prospects. SalesFusion.com explains lead scoring metrics and how to read them. Sales teams can then use these scores to follow up on leads that show a high likelihood of buying a business’s products or services. At the same time, one could integrate these scores with an existing CRM database or tool.
In summary, figures from Nucleus Research show that marketing automation can increase sales by 14.5% and lower marketing overheads by 12.2%. Therefore, investing in a platform that automates your marketing campaigns is likely to increase your sales and consequently boost your business’s bottom line. Some of the key features of look for in such a platform include web analytics, lead scoring, lead nurturing, and CRM integration.