What do sales enablement, content marketing, lead management and social marketing have in common? The right answer to that question should be only one: marketing automation. For years, marketing automation solutions have been perceived as nothing but a tool for automated email marketing campaigns. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Marketing automation doesn't just save you time, energy and money by automating manual tasks. It also helps you improve your relationship with your contacts and eases lead nurturing strategies. Don't be fooled by the term – it's more about solutions than automation.
Solutions for Marketing
Online marketing forever changed the way marketers engage with prospects. It seems like ages ago that marketers were primarily relying on more traditional advertising methods like paid ads. Аs people got tired of aggressive marketing techniques and developers (thank you, AdBlock) coded browser extensions to block those annoying pop-ups and banners. Мarketers had to adapt to completely new ways of operating. They had to adapt to the philosophy and ethics of content marketing. Content marketing doesn't aim to sell; it aims to educate, inform and communicate. Marketing automation solutions aim to support those efforts and enable marketers to nurture customer relationships and make the most out of content marketing.
But how exactly does marketing automation provide solutions for modern day marketers?
Imagine your company is releasing a new product or service and your long-term perspective is to educate your audience and generate high-quality leads.
You plan, implement and launch a marketing campaign.
This campaign may be composed of the careful creation of valuable content assets: blog posts, infographics, how-to guides, case studies, white papers, videos etc. They all aim to inform, educate and nurture your target audience. But simply creating these assets won't be enough – such valuable information needs to be targeted at the right people at the right time.
Effective social outreach is almost as important as the creation of high-quality content.
So how exactly does marketing automation fit into this entire process?
Well, it not only provides a single platform for the creation and publishing of content collateral. It also provides in-depth monitoring and analytics behind it. Those enable marketers to see which content assets are performing best – priceless information that could determine future content marketing efforts. Such data can determine whether a particular marketing campaign is successful and point out the gaps that need to be filled in order to improve its effectiveness.
On the social side, marketing automation platforms enable marketers to customize landing pages in order to encourage visitors to engage with the provided content assets. The common community-style elements like social sharing, commenting and related content suggestions will keep visitors more engaged. And behind the scenes: analytics will monitor the visitor's behaviour and activity overview - an information that will significantly help later lead scoring.
Solutions for Sales
Sales representatives are not (or at least shouldn't be) detached from the overall marketing process. Marketing automation is not only designed to provide solutions for marketers - it is also a valuable port for all the troubles that modern sales reps face. It is estimated that sales representatives spent 1/3 of their time preparing for sales calls and looking up the necessary information for educating prospects. That's...just wrong.
First of all, nowadays there's rarely an excuse for wasting time on cold sales calls. Marketing automation platforms and their in-depth analysis and highly accurate lead scoring will direct sales reps to the leads that are ready to take the next step in the sales-cycle. By providing top of the funnel content assets and contact analytics, marketing automation technologies ensure that sales reps can sell more effectively. And again – the time and cost effectiveness of marketing automation solutions will save time and effort for sales reps. Otherwise they would have to navigate the necessary content assets across multiple disconnected channels and spent valuable time in searching and/or analyzing prospect activity data.
Marketing & Sales Alignment
One of the most valuable things about marketing automation technologies is the ability to finally align marketing and sales departments. Marketing automation platforms are not only designed to deliver valuable solutions for both marketers and sales reps. They also integrate marketers' work and enable a closed-loop marketing and sales cycle. Now, with marketing automation solutions, marketing and sales have a single platform that enables them to work together for their mutual benefit. You hear that folks? No more excuses and finger pointing. At the end of the day, marketing automation platforms provide more solutions to common problems that B2B organizations face on a daily basis, than automation.