According to Forrester Research, one in five B2B organizations are planning to implement marketing automation in 2012, and a similar number are expanding their usage.
Many marketers are facing increasing pressure by senior management to demonstrate marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline and are turning to more comprehensive marketing automation solutions.
Forrester Research also reports that some companies believe their sales force automation (CRM) initiatives have maxed out and are seeking additional value by integrating them with marketing automation. Marketers can achieve better lead management and nurturing capabilities, along with improvements in the marketing-to-sales funnel process.
Some additional benefits of marketing automation include:
- More qualified sales-ready leads
- Faster sales velocity (close deals faster)
- Better marketing and sales alignment
- Maximizing Marketing ROI
- A metrics oriented culture
- Better insight into campaigns and budgets
- Flexibility to adjust marketing plans as needed
For some organizations, the first step in marketing automation may be adopting a new email marketing platform. But for today’s more complex business environment of multiple customer touch points, enhanced email systems can’t provide the necessary insights on buyer interest and interactions.
More robust marketing automation platforms are needed to improve marketing processes and lead nurturing techniques that engage and move prospects deeper into the sales funnel towards conversion. It’s imperative to send the right message, to the right customer, at the right time.
With proper funnel processes in place, content relevancy also improves and is aligned with each stage of the buyer’s journey. It’s possible to gauge relevancy by examining customer responses and behaviours. For instance, when looking at whitepaper offerings, more downloads can be expected if the information provides good value.
The sales group also benefits from more intelligence on prospect interest by examining digital online behavior for signs of readiness to buy. This is where lead scoring comes into play so that only leads which show a higher propensity to buy are handed off to sales by marketing. This type of customer insight is an extraordinary tool for the sales organization.
Foremost, marketing automation bridges the sales and marketing organization divide. When both groups work together, the lead-to-revenue process can be optimized for more sales and ongoing business success.
Chances are your organization is on the path to marketing automation. Are you achieving desired results?