How can small companies use marketing automation?

Small B2B firms rarely have the same resources as larger companies, yet they need an online marketing system that allows them to keep pace with competitors. The buyer’s journey is increasing in complexity, which makes it more difficult for sales representatives to engage with and convert potential prospects. Marketing automation gives small firms a better way to capture leads, generate a preliminary score based on relevancy and nurture prospects who aren’t ready to buy yet. In addition, these platforms can cut down on the repetitive tasks sales employees need to perform. However, you need to have a firm understanding of the capabilities of marketing automation, as well as its limitations, before deciding to implement a new platform.

The Internet has generated massive amounts of data, and it can be a challenge for companies to sift through it to find what they need. Leads generate more data each time they interact with your website or other customer touch points. A marketing automation solution can help your business have better control over this information. Certain behaviors should be considered a sign that a prospect is ready to talk to a sales representative, and responding quickly can mean the difference between winning and losing a deal. If your business only attracts a small number of highly qualified leads each year, it’s important to not miss these opportunities.

Considerations before implementing marketing automation

Although there are many clear benefits in Internet lead generation and scoring that can be gained through the use of these platforms, the results may not be instantaneous. In fact, some companies fail to see the promised return on investment by not using marketing automation to its full potential, according to an article for ClickZ written by Steve Denner. There are several major myths about marketing automation, and you may not experience the complete benefits if you’re susceptible to these common misconceptions. Here are some misconceptions to consider when implementing a new platform:

  • Results will be automatic and you won’t need to analyze: While these platforms do have the potential to eliminate many manual processes that prevent your sales team from being more effective, marketing automation can’t just run by itself in the background. You need to establish benchmarks and measure your lead generation efforts and revenue funnel, Denner wrote. When you start using a new solution for lead generation, you need to have an idea of what your current numbers are so you know where improvements are needed. Regularly assessing campaign performance can also prevent your efforts from running off the rails.
  • Marketing automation is a substitute for a lack of a content-rich website: A lack of content is often why B2B firms seek to implement marketing automation. They may not be seeing a high number of leads generated from their websites without enough content. However, automation works best when you already have these resources in place, Trent Dyrsmid wrote for Groove Digital Marketing. Buyers are more interested in doing their own research, so you need to provide them with the right information when they visit your website. However, another misconception about marketing automation is that you can have it up and running in a few days. In most cases, you can produce more content while implementing the platform.
  • The platform eliminates all human work: Marketing automation platforms are great for reducing manual processes, like sending triggered lead nurturing emails. However, your employees still need to guide the program in the right direction, according to Denner. This can lead to a more developed marketing automation strategy, ensuring your company gets continuously better results over time.

Don’t forget the human element in marketing automation

When focusing on all the benefits of marketing automation for your organization, it’s important not to overlook the buyer’s journey. The ultimate goal of marketing automation should be to align your sales process to the steps buyers take to arrive at a decision. While technology can give you a new way to succeed in the sales game, don’t rely on it at the expense of customer experience, according to an article for MarketingProfs written by Mike Mothner.

By eliminating distracting manual tasks, sales reps can spend more time on human interactions with prospects. Much of buyers’ processes are independent. The majority of decision-makers begin their research online and contact the organization much later, usually when they are close to choosing a solution. Marketing automation platforms can help you build the relationship in the background. By providing enough resources on your website for prospects to make more informed decisions, leads will consider your organization more credible.

Marketing automation is a valuable tool for improving your internal sales processes, but only when used properly. You sales team still needs to devote personal attention to prospects in order to close deals.

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