Marketing Automation Software (MAS) seems like it should be a slam-dunk for companies: You build a campaign, automatically send it out, track responses, and reap rewards. “Companies that use marketing automation source more pipeline from marketing, have more productive sales reps, and experience better revenue attainment (Marketing Pilgrim, 2013)”.
So why have 49% of companies stated they were “unsure” about whether their investment in marketing automation was worth it (Venturebeat, 2014), even though 75% of companies using marketing automation see ROI within 12 months, 44% within 6 months? What about MAS makes it so difficult to perceive a positive return on investment? What can the software do to enhance your business?
One of the largest facets to uncertainty about MAS investment is that companies do not utilize the system to its full advantage. Different companies achieve different levels of ROI from marketing automation because of different levels of maturity in their processes, systems, and skills (Marketing Pilgrim, 2013). The companies who see the best ROI are those that adapt to take advantage of the capabilities of MAS.
Many companies do not attempt to compare the state of sales & marketing before and after MAS implementation. Without having a baseline, it is very difficult to attach concrete numbers to the efficacy of a system. But even without discrete figures, the usefulness of marketing automation is difficult to dismiss.
One of the major disconnects between marketing and sales is the passing of qualified leads. “61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. (MarketingSherpa, 2011)”. This bloat drastically reduces the speed of the sales funnel, and forces sales personnel to spend time evaluating leads manually.
Marketing Automation Software can greatly reduce such efforts by automatically scoring potential leads, and then prioritizing the leads for the sales department. Knowing which leads possess the most potential increases conversion rates and minimizes time spent on fruitless pursuits.
In order to take advantage of the scoring abilities of MAS, you must come up with a scoring system to automatically rank incoming leads. Yes, this requires analyzing your sales and marketing trends, but it can be done in an on-going manner to optimize your results over time.
Increased Conversion Rates
The purpose of marketing is to generate leads, which can then be converted into actual sales. The more leads which can be converted, the higher your company’s income. A simple formula, which is often difficult to implement efficiently. “Automation users have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing-qualified lead than non-users (Aberdeen Group, 2012).” Marketing automation drives conversion rates through several methods. Along with prioritizing leads via scoring, MAS aids in lead nurturing to help turn prospective one-time customers into long-term opportunities.
Increased Productivity & Reduced Overhead
“Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead (Nucleus Research, 2012).”
By automating marketing campaigns, MAS reduces the amount of manual labor required to contact prospective customers. The time savings are even more apparent for routine or repeatable campaigns, as information reuse increases.
Another major facet of automation software is aligning sales and marketing personnel. By storing information in a central location and providing common access, the various players in the sales lifecycle can work from a unified base. Additionally, MAS enables collaboration, communication, and documentation, which accelerates sales processes.
Insight into Marketing Campaign ROI
Further, marketing automation software provides a very useful feature: the ability to track the ROI of marketing campaigns. Determining just how much response a campaign receives and the level of sales attached to those responses can be daunting. Even for PPC campaigns which provide source tracking, there is a lot of work involved in figuring out if those leads led to actual sales. MAS provides an end-to-end view of the funnel, which enables marketers to enhance future campaigns based upon historical efficacy.