Marketing Automation is a category of software designed to provide sophisticated email and web marketing capability and analytics. Popular, highly-effective products include Eloqua (from Oracle), Marketo and HubSpot.
How does Marketing Automation help a business?
Marketing Automation extends the sales funnel earlier into the buying cycle to engage with those people who have not yet considered buying, while extending marketing into post-sales to help with cross-selling, up-selling and customer loyalty. Here are four stages in the B2B sales category where Marketing Automation can help:
1. Lead generation - top of the funnel
Marketing automation uses social channels, shareable content, SEO/SEM and landing pages to generate awareness and turn unknown visitors into known prospects. Using cookie tracking, website behaviour is captured and analysed both before and after prospect conversion in order to provide a full view of engagement.
2. Lead nurturing - middle of the funnel
Marketing Automation uses a strategy called Lead Nurturing, to develop and maintain relationships with leads that are not ready to buy. In some industries, less than 5% of leads are ready to buy when they first arrive at a company. These people are then nurtured with automated emails that provide interesting and relevant content, further developing the relationship until the lead is ready to engage in a sales discussion.
3. Lead Scoring and CRM integration - bottom of the funnel
Lead Scoring is the process of measuring interaction with your leads, awarding "points" to actions that a prospect takes that indicate interest in your products or services. For example, if a prospect visits the website, they might be awarded 1 point. However, if they visit the pricing page and download a buyers guide, then they may be awarded 25 points for each action. When prospects have shown enough "buying signs" to get a score higher than a predefined threshold, the sales team is alerted and typically follow up with a phone call.
4. Retain and extend customer relationships
Marketing Automation can continue the engagement into the post-sales area by automating loyalty, up-sell and cross-sell campaigns, that adapt to the customers previous purchases as well as future behaviour.