What is Marketing Automation
Start-ups and tech companies use numerous tools to automate how and when they communicate with leads, prospects and customers. With the availability and ease-of-use of MarTech tools, all businesses regardless of their age, sector or size can benefit from the efficiencies that these tools and integrations can provide. It is, however, vital before embarking upon choosing tools or employing a marketing automation service provider, that a clear and considered marketing automation strategy be developed to save wasting time and money.
Firstly, let’s confirm what Marketing Automation actually means. Wikipedia suggests:
“Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks”
The marketing automation software industry is a rising focus for marketing teams and according to a recent study by ResearchandMarkets, a 19.2% increase in spend from 2020 to 2025 is projected. It should be noted that the reports also state that there is likely to be a shortage of skilled professionals offering marketing automation services:
“The market is witnessing a shortage of skilled professionals who can guide users to get better results from web analytics solutions and can convert them into actionable insights and information.”
As a result of this increase, the number of MarTech tools available to marketing and revenue focussed teams has grown significantly and you can now find a tool for any specific use case with a simple google search. Scott Brinkler in his annual review of the Marketing Technology Landscape review indicates that the number of available tools has grown from 2019 to 2020 by 13.6% to a total of over 8,000 providers.
However, using these tools, and importantly connecting them together to create a cohesive martech tool stack isn’t as complicated as you might think nor does it require the technical expertise to make it happen.
Developing a Marketing Automation Strategy
Here at TwoËars we are big believers in making things as pragmatic and actionable as possible as you can see from our post on actionable strategy. This is definitely the case when devising a marketing automation strategy, whilst not as broad an overall business strategy should still follow the same process. Macro, equals business strategy, micro, marketing automation strategy.
What do you want to achieve? - your “Mission”
To start things off with marketing automation, you shouldn’t make this step too complex or overly grand. Take a look at one of the main pain points in your Customer flywheel and focus on that to get things started.
The great thing about marketing automation is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but there are some patterns which can help with some direction as to what the possibilities are. We will be writing a specific post on some real-life examples, and if there are any areas you would like to focus on, just let us know. In the meantime, here is an example of a problem that a customer of ours identified and we solved through some smart use of marketing automation.
The scenario was:
“We get a lot of traffic to our homepage, prospects complete the website contact form, but we just don’t get a high enough response rate to our follow-ups and definitely don’t close enough sales.”
In this scenario, let’s work with the Mission of:
Mission - to close more sales from our website contact form.
How do you want to achieve it? - your “Vision”?
Again, no need to be grand or over-complicated here, just a practical way of transferring the Mission into an actionable statement, remembering that the vision should be a tangible description of how to deliver the mission. Let’s go with:
Vision - utilise data to know more about prospects to get a response rate and turn them into customers.
Defining your goals and approach - your Strategy
We have our Mission and Vision so it’s not time for our Strategy, the part of the process where we start bringing things to life. During this stage, you should take the time to look at current numbers and reference points and how the process works. This will help in goal setting and understanding what data we need, when we need it and what we could do with it.
In this specific instance, we focussed on lead scoring and how we could arm our client’s sales team with additional data information about a business or person when they completed the contact form on our customer’s website. Essentially giving each salesperson the information they need to go into a follow-up, whether that be a call or an email with knowledge about that customer or contact.
Given this extra “knowledge” we and our client thought we could increase response, call, and close rates significantly:
- Response rate - a 40% increase in responses to email follow-ups.
- Call rates - an increase in calls booked by 30%
- Closed sales - 20% conversion rate of those calls.
Making it happen - Planning.
This is where to take the very pragmatic steps of working out the details of how you or your team are going to deliver the strategy which will, in turn, achieve the Mission and Vision.
Ultimately, our client was wanting to score leads that come into the website, so we researched lead scoring data providers and decided that Clearbit was best suited to our needs, provided the right data, has a simple to use API and, importantly, was a cost-effective option. In order to connect the data points, we decided to use every marketing automation service providers favourite tool, Zapier.
Delivering the Plan - Execution
All we needed to do now was to deliver on the plan, so we got to work.
Firstly, we connected the data coming via the website contact form and, specifically, the business name and email domain with Clearbit’s API. We could have used one of Zapier’s ready-made “Zaps” but we preferred to set-up a bespoke version, just to make sure we had some redundancy in place. This gave us a number of useful data points including, company size, industry sector, headcount, all of which gave the sales team some insight into who they were going to be reaching out to.
To make things even easier for the team we then connected this information with Slack and set-up a lead scoring channel so that the team were not only alerted when a lead came in, but they were’ given supplementary information about that lead prior to following up or having a conversation.
So did this deliver for our client? Yes, it did and it actually delivered higher numbers across the board than we expected. With some foundational thinking and a practical approach to understanding the problem, coming up with a solution, and delivering that solution had a material impact on the revenue for our client and has encouraged them and us to work on significantly more complex automation flows.
This practical approach to setting a Marketing Automation Strategy might seem simple and dare-I-say-it obvious, but it will get you started and, in our experience, that’s a great thing. You will only discover the real and tangible benefit on revenue when you get started and see the benefit of automating your customer comms. Given the plethora of tools in the market today, you can almost do anything with marketing automation, you just need to get started and iterate from there.
We would encourage you to get started on your own but if you do need some guidance or ideas on how Marketing Automation could help your business we are more than happy to help.