“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

John Wanamaker, merchant and marketing pioneer, 1838-1922

Sales teams have always seen marketing as fluffy. And perhaps they have a point: those ‘Happy Friday!’ tweets are kind of cute, and that drumming gorilla sure got a lot of views , but how can you prove it’s helping the sales team in any way?

That all changed with the advent of marketing automation software like Oracle Marketing Cloud, Marketo and Hubspot. Suddenly, marketing became a science, with a clear method to follow and processes for measuring results.

What is marketing automation?

We’re going to briefly show you how to use one of these software tools and the benefits it could bring to your company.

Step 1: Targeting

Using marketing automation tools begins with understanding who you’re selling to. Many marketing automation vendors advise that sales and marketing teams sit down together to work out who their ideal customers are.

Step 2: Engagement

Now, it’s the marketing team’s job to produce the content needed to ‘engage’ these ideal customers. The right marketing automation software makes this easy – emails and social media posts can be set up to go out automatically to extremely targeted data lists.

It’s a godsend for marketers who operate in several time zones and don’t want to stay up all night to post a tweet. Or for anyone who has tried to split a data list to work out who’s read which white paper using only the power of Excel.

Step 3: Conversion

The most exciting thing about marketing automation tools? They allow the sales team to watch who’s going on your web pages, opening your emails and reading your blog.

Maybe a bit stalker-y? But also a miracle for anyone who’s tried to cold call someone only knowing their name. With all this information, beginning a conversation and working out what the prospect is looking for is far easier. In fact, many commentators believe that the sales role is changing – as people now have access to vast quantities of information online, salespeople are more persuasive in a ‘consultant’ role.

Step 4: Analysis

Marketing automation tools allow your entire team to easily measure which marketing is working and which needs work. It’s a revelation for managers who have become accustomed to massaged figures at report time – the information is transparent, and available to anyone in the company in real time.

The software can show you:

  • Which emails were opened
  • What got retweeted
  • Which white papers were read
  • Which website pages people visited, and how long they stayed on them
  • How many sales were made

Then your team can go back to step 1 and discuss how to improve the process. Perhaps Sales have discovered that the teams slightly misunderstood who your ideal customer is? Perhaps PPC isn’t worth the spend, but email is driving leads? Maybe one white paper was a big success, but the other was about a topic no one really cared about?

Sold?

Marketing automation requires your whole company to work together on one, holistic marketing programme. This can be a culture shock – particularly if you work in a business where sales hates marketing, and the ‘digital marketing’ department is separate to the marketing department.

Yet the benefits are huge – Best-in-Class companies are 67% more likely to use a marketing automation platform, according to Aberdeen Group. Marketing automation is the future – don’t miss out!

If you’d like to find out more about marketing automation, and how it could help your business, get in touch with Ricemedia today.