Marketing automation is defined as the technology and processes that allow marketing and sales efforts to be facilitated automatically based on customer behaviors and trigger points instead of as part of a manual process propagated by people.

Sales and marketing tasks can often be tedious and time-consuming. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you may find yourself without the necessary staff or resources to own these functions. Thus, your marketing and sales efforts go without necessary oversight or that ownership is fragmented across other roles including your own. Given that these functions directly impact revenue and business growth, this is clearly counterintuitive. However, it is more common than you might think.

By their very nature, sales and marketing are repetitive and iterative processes. They require diligent execution based on customer actions, behavior, and insights. These elements combined make them prime for automation as they are most effective when they are executed consistently.

If you are reading this it is likely you are considering marketing automation already, so we’ll jump right into whether it is right for your business. Here are a few key indicators that you might benefit from the automation of your marketing and sales efforts.

  • Your prospects and customers require nurturing through a lengthy sales cycle.
  • Your prospects and customers are not engaged as regularly and as deeply as they could be.
  • Your current customers are not being cultivated for additional sales opportunities.
  • Your marketing and sales processes are complex and involve many touchpoints.
  • Your marketing and sales processes are somewhat defined and repeatable.
  • Your marketing and sales processes lack some consistency in execution.
  • Your marketing and sales teams lack the bandwidth to thoughtfully engage with the highest value leads, prospects, and customers.
  • Your marketing and sales teams don’t have enough insight into each other’s efforts.
  • You have multiple marketing channels that you are or should be engaging in.
  • You have good content but struggle to publish and promote it effectively.
  • You have access to analytical data from your website, search, social channels, and paid marketing tactics.
  • You have a CRM with good customer data but could use help leveraging it more effectively.
  • You would like clearer insights that will help improve your processes and outcomes.
  • You want a better understanding of your marketing ROI.

Your business will likely meet several of these criteria. The more you meet, the higher the likelihood marketing automation will make a positive impact on your business. Some recent studies show that 58% of respondents found the money spent on marketing automation useful, 74% of marketers feel automation saves time, and 77% saw an increase in overall conversions.

That’s the good stuff. Now here’s the honest part.

There are two important considerations when looking at marketing automation for your business. First, marketing automation is not simply the implementation of tools and technology, but a strategic initiative that requires thought, time, and financial investment to ensure the greatest return. Secondly, marketing automation won’t replace current people or resources, it will simply make them more effective and efficient.

Marketing automation requires planning and diligence to implement. It is a specialty within the marketing industry that requires experience and know-how. You need to take the time and make the investment necessary for this to work for you and not simply be another part of your business you have to manage. Choose partners and technology thoughtfully and don’t hesitate to hire a consultant to guide the project.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, marketing and sales are repetitive and iterative. Most of us immediately understand the automation of the repetitive functions. However, the real value is in allowing your team to focus on the iteration. Technology is getting better every day, but we still need our marketing and sales teams to thoughtfully engage in a process of iteration that compounds our results over time. Here’s a little something interesting on iteration.

TL;DR (too long; didn’t read): Marketing automation can be one of the best things you can do for your business regardless of size or industry. But, like anything else, you get what you put into it. A thoughtful, strategic and guided approach will build a marketing and sales engine that will bring your business lasting value and not simply immediate return.

If you are considering marketing automation or any other strategic marketing objectives, please don’t hesitate to contact your Coconspirators for help. Our CMOs and partners can help you ensure you are making informed decisions around your business’s marketing needs.