Marketing automation is a game changer when it comes to generating conversions, leads, and revenue. However, according to sources, only 5% of the businesses at present use this tool. Currently businesses are unsure if marketing automation is for them and the impact it will have on their business. Marketing automation is often considered as a tool which helps large organizations manage their marketing campaigns. However, small businesses too can benefit from marketing automation. It has the potential to drive business growth and provide businesses with competitive edge which they require to thrive.
About marketing automation
Marketing automation helps enterprises to create stronger business models. In the competitive landscape, businesses depend heavily on efficiency and lower overhead costs. These are all the more crucial for small businesses. Profits which a company generates will be higher if it increases efficiency. Profit margins can be increased if the overhead costs are lower. This, in turn, will ensure that businesses reinvest more capital in business growth. Marketing automation provides the businesses with the necessary tools which they require not only to improve lead generation but also bring down the marketing budget. Automated campaigns are easier for businesses to run which enable them to devote their resources and time in strengthening the business model.
CRM complements marketing automation
Marketing automation systems and Customer Relationship Management (CRM ) are complementary. Although they serve different functions, they achieve their full potential when they are paired together.
CRM is primarily a sales tool which focuses on collecting data about existing customers and managing new customers and sales opportunities. On the other hand, marketing automation focuses on lead generation and personalization. It is a counterpart to CRM. CRM purely is a database and marketing automation is a tool which helps marketers to execute on the information which is stored in the database.
How small businesses benefit from marketing automation
For small businesses, competing with big companies is always a big challenge. Let’s find out how small businesses benefit from marketing automation. Reaching new customers is imperative. Marketing automation will provide insights into the shopping habits of customers and help marketers take business decisions which are practical. It reduces the risks of business decisions as the companies aim for success. Additionally, shoppers seek a personal and intimate shopping experience. Marketing automation provides insights into the clientele which help to shape strong customer relations enhancing customer service.
Small businesses and CRM
Further, studies have revealed that companies with a fully utilized CRM can increase sales by 29%. However, one big mistake which companies make is implementing a CRM which is difficult for the employees to use. A CRM system should be complementary to what is already being used. It is essential that the employees are trained to use CRM. They should be shown how the system can be used from the tablets and smartphones. It is a good idea to identify the “super users” and give awards to those employees who use the CRM most effectively. Exporting and importing data from the CRM should be easy.
Why CRM alone is not sufficient?
You will agree that your CRM system must have already proven its value. But, no CRM system offers what today’s marketer requires to support sales and business goals. Apart from end-end visibility, attracting new leads is equally important. It is important to note that the B2B buyer has changed dramatically and so has their buying process. Majority of B2B buyers research about the company, the competitors, and also explore the solutions. Making the buyer’s journey comfortable with appropriate content marketing strategies and engagement strategies is a task which falls under the purview of the marketing team. This task is hard to scale manually.
Deploying a marketing automation system
In simpler terms, marketing automation is the marketing counterpart of CRM . In today’s “age of the customer” marketing automation enables marketers to pay personalized attention to the segmented leads. Automated programs ensure that successful campaigns are replicated and are run at scale with minimum effort and with greater accuracy. If you decide to opt for a marketing automation system, the following considerations must be taken into account:
- It should integrate with the existing CRM
- Should require minimal IT support
- Should be able to synchronize data automatically from the CRM system
- Should enable you to execute marketing tasks without a steep learning curve.
- Should be able to guide you through successful lead generation.
- Should deliver marketing functionality which the CRM does not
Integration of CRM and marketing automation
Marketing automation platforms help businesses to automate marketing processes. But businesses which aim at taking marketing automation experience to the next level need to integrate marketing automation with CRM . This integration will enable them to transfer lead information seamlessly between sales and marketing while ensuring that right messages are delivered at the right time. The integration between CRM and the marketing automation system should be bi-directional. Integration of the CRM with the marketing automation system can impact the business in eight important ways:
- Ensures better leads and help establish stronger relationship with customers
- Customers are better-informed and are more likely to make bigger purchases
- Offers visibility into customer behavior by assimilating information related to browsing habits and web activities
- Based on previous activities, leads are prioritized by giving them scores
- Most relevant information is sent to the leads which shortens the sales process
- Previous leads are revitalized by retargeting email campaigns
- Saves time as only sales-ready leads are sent to the sales team
- Analyzes results thoroughly and reasons for success are identified
- Gives sales reps instant information which they can use to close more deals
These are just a few ways your marketing can benefit when CRM is synced with the marketing automation platform.
If you plan to integrate your existing CRM with a new marketing automation platform, make sure that you are informed about how to prevent the common roadblocks and also how to get the most of the new integrated system.