Today, adoption and use of Marketing Automation for businesses of all size is on a tear.
As SiriusDecisions reports in their B-to-B Marketing Automation Study,
there are nearly 11 times more B2B organizations using marketing automation now than there were in 2011.
What’s more, in the Marketing Technology Strategy Report by Ascend2 | 2015, in which marketing, sales and business professionals were interviewed from both B2B and B2C organizations, the data revealed that Marketing automation was used by 42% of the surveyed companies. The report also disclosed that CRM and sales automation systems were used by 54% and Email marketing technology had been adopted by 82% of the respondents.
The rapid take up of these new strategies and technologies has been to help organizations remain competitive and foster growth.
What’s Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation—sometimes referred to as MA—drives more qualified leads and collects valuable sales intelligence to improve closing rates.
It also helps to forge rich relationships and sustained connections with both prospects and customers. The result enables you to:
- Fill your sales funnel by capturing leads with gated content delivered through dynamic forms
- Identify highly qualified and sales-ready leads with a numeric score that you monitor and set
- Develop leads that aren’t sales-ready by automatically engaging and deploying nurturing campaigns
- Instantly notify salespeople about leads that have crossed your set threshold and are more ready to buy
- See exactly when leads fall out of your pipeline and take action to bring them back in
- Know which tactics are driving revenue and what investment you made to get there
What makes MA so attractive?
As reported in the Ascend2, Marketing Automation Trends Survey | 2016, the most important goals of adopting a Marketing Automation strategy include:
- Lead generation | 61%
- Lead nurturing | 57%
- Increased sales revenue | 47%
- Improved customer engagement | 36%
- Marketing effectiveness measurement | 29%
- Better campaign targeting | 22%
Marketers that have embraced MA are drawn to its many integrated features and benefits. And one of the most attractive benefits is taking repetitive tasks out of marketers hands and allowing them to focus on more valued projects or initiatives.
In the Marketing Automation Report by Redeye + TFM&A Insights | 2014, respondents claimed that Marketing Automation also provided better targeting of customers and prospects as well as improving the customer experience.
Does certified in Marketing Automation matter?
While all of these benefits sound great, success with Marketing Automation is anything but a guarantee. Because it touches so many dimensions of an organization, it requires a unique blend of both technical and business skills to implement as a certified Marketing Automation pro.
It also requires the ability to conceive, design and deploy advanced strategies along with all of the necessary, granular tactics that often get bogged down due to outmoded or incompatible technologies, legacy relationships and resistance to change.
If your end goal is to make the cash register ring and convert a qualified lead into a sale as efficiently and effectively as possible, Marketing Automation can get you there. But success with it will require close collaboration with internal and external stakeholders such as senior executives, digital marketers, designers, database administrators, and web developers.
Do the skills and abilities measure up?
Certified Marketing Automation professionals have many roles + responsibilities in this multi-dimensional endeavor. They can include:
- Gather customer requirements
- Architect strategies
- Identify optimal solutions
- Design + implement advanced nurture programs, lead scoring models, lead lifecycle programs and complex automation workflows
- Establish data governance strategies + 3rd party integrations—like CRM
- Create forms + landing pages to support acquisition and engagement programs
- Provide lead management + life of lead strategy
- Generate reports that measure multi-channel marketing effectiveness, conversion tracking + ROI
- Lead discovery sessions, create project design documents + manage project timelines
- Proactively make recommendations to enhance use of MA tools
These significant responsibilities also require staying current with the latest Marketing Automation features, competitive offerings and technologies.
Who to turn to for Marketing Automation success.
According to the Ascend2 Marketing Automation Trends Survey | 2016, 73% of companies outsource all or part of marketing automation strategy planning. 51% uses a combination of outsourced and in-house resources and 22% outsourced all to a specialist or qualified agency.
Interestingly, only 27% use exclusively in-house resources for their MA needs. This is the result of finding enough qualified candidates that have both the experience and fluency in the many disciplines that MA demands.
Before you choose a Marketing Automation provider it makes a lot of sense to have an external 3rd-party validate their competency. That’s just what we recently did. TeamworksCom is now a SharpSpring Marketing Automation Silver Certified Partner.
This certification recognizes our Marketing Automation familiarity with core concepts including, Workflow Automation, Lead Scoring, List Segmentation, Sales Pipelines/CRM, 3rd Party Integrations—like Google Adwords, Salesforce and more. It also recognizes our expertise with content creation, integration of conversion forms, nurturing emails, hosted media, tracking codes and optimized landing pages.
While this distinction enhances our credibility and helps to differentiate our value and from others, it also helps us attract new clients and expand our existing relationships.
Show me your chops.
To earn this valued certification, we were required to demonstrate our fluency with:
- Tracking on-site web visitors
- Developing + deploying behavioral-based email communications
- Providing real-time sales team notifications
- Configuring + enabling lead scoring
- Enabling + evaluating lead activity on a timeline
- Building dynamic lead lists
All of this required creation, deployment, integration and test/debugging on our domain with our MA platform and dozens of emails, landing pages, workflows and automation tasks. In short, we had to prove, without a doubt, that we could do everything necessary to successfully make Marketing Automation work.
Is this really a big deal?
As B2Bmarketing.net + Circle Research reported in their Benchmarking Report Marketing Automation | 2015, 61% of those surveyed agreed that the implementation process of Marketing Automation was difficult or quite challenging. For those with lots of time, online marketing experience and technology proficiency, give it a go for yourself to see if getting everything right is a piece of cake.
Where to from here?
If it’s not apparent, there’s plenty of opportunity for organizations willing to invest in MA to make a real difference in increasing conversions from leads to revenue.
You just have to answer whether or not you’re ready to stop guessing about the impact of your marketing investment. Then consider aligning yourself with a partner certified in Marketing Automation.
Are you using marketing automation? How’s it going? Are you satisfied with the outcome? Or is there room for improvement? Please share.