5 TellTale Signs You Need Marketing Automation

Today, marketers communicate with their customers via email, social media, blog posts, landing pages, and advertisements. Because they use multiple channels at various stages of the sales funnel, it’s pretty much impossible to manually keep track of all these communications. That means you’re missing out on qualified leads or wasting time with a prospect who really isn’t interested in your product or service.

Thankfully, marketing automation can help schedule a comprehensive campaign, move prospects through the marketing funnel, use data to send customers the information they want, and make the appropriate adjustments to your campaign in real time. No wonder VentureBeat found that 80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw their number of conversions increase.

Hopefully, you’re sold on the power of marketing automation. But how do you know that your business needs it? Here are the top 5 signs.

1. You don’t have a CRM tool — and you need one.

CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, is one of the most powerful tools you can have for your business because it is used to store the contact information of your customers and prospects, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities in one convenient location. For example, when a website visitor completes a form, they’re automatically added to your CRM and then emailed a personal follow-up within the next week or two.

Previously, CRM tools were used exclusively by a sales team to close sales. Today, however, CRM tools are an integral part of marketing automation. For instance, if a customer’s contact information changes, it can be shared across multiple departments so each of your team members are sending emails to the new email address.

By integrating CRM and marketing automation, you’re not only nurturing leads, you can convert those closed sales into brand evangelists.

2. Your sales cycle is too long.

There are several reasons why your sales cycle is taking too long. Customers may be comparing prices, a customer doesn’t know exactly what they want or need, or the sales process started too late. Regardless of the reason, having too long of a sales cycle is frustrating and can ultimately slow down your cash flow.

With marketing automation, you can shorten the sales cycle by addressing the needs of your customers while targeting them at various stages of the sales funnel. For example, you could use an autoresponder to thank new email subscribers for signing up to your newsletter and provide them with helpful information regarding your organization, or share tips on how to get the most from a recent purchase.

Marketing automation platforms can also assist you in lead scoring, which is simply identifying and managing leads as they come into your business and progress through your sales funnel.

2. Your marketing efforts aren’t as effective as you would like.

Without marketing automation, it can be extremely difficult to obtain the proper data to determine whether your marketing efforts are effective or not. But a good marketing automation platform allows you to make true data-driven decisions about marketing strategy. That’s because marketing automation software comes equipped with reporting tools like the number of leads you gathered, which campaigns have resulted in the most sales, and revenue attribution — providing insights into which marketing campaigns and initiatives did or did not work, enabling you to quickly adjust and optimize marketing campaigns.

3. Your leads are falling through the cracks.

Did you know that 58% of sales opportunities end with the buyer not doing anything? Automation makes it easier for you to nurture leads because it allows you to send prospects relevant content that they care about and to create an ongoing dialogue that can guide them to the decision-making point. If they downloaded an ebook, for example, then they have demonstrated an interest in your business. So where do you go from there?

Failing to send that prospect a follow-up email detailing how your organization can provide them with value, solve a problem, or ameliorate a pain point, is one of the most common ways to let a prospect fall through the cracks. Marketing automation makes it easy to keep your leads on track. By sending that follow-up email, you show a prospect that you are “listening” and eager to engage with them — a powerful message they’ll remember when they are ready to make a purchase.

4. Your lists are one-size-fits-all, but your customers aren’t.

How can you send customers personalized messages if you haven’t segmented your lists? Marketing automation software allows you to categorize your lists by, for instance, demographic, location, shopping behavior, and where they are in your sales funnel.

By using marketing automation, you can easily segment leads and target them on a more personalized basis — which can eventually increase your rate of conversion from a marketing response to a qualified lead.

5. You have a hard time managing your leads.

No matter how amazing and talented a marketer you are, it’s an uphill battle to manage leads, especially when you have a small sales or marketing team — or, as in the case of many small business owners, you are a marketing team of one: you. That means some of your leads may not get the attention they need and will never progress through the sales funnel. Losing a couple of leads may not sound very bad, but when you’re dealing with maybe just a few dozen leads, each and every one becomes more valuable to your business. For example, a major retailer like Walmart has such a large customer base that it can afford to lose a lead here or there. But for an SMB, losing a lead can have a more direct impact because they have a relatively smaller base to work with. Every lead really counts.

With marketing automation, you can capture more leads, segment your lists so you’re targeting the right person at the right time, and start shortening that sales cycle.

Do you think your business needs marketing automation? Find out — take automation for a spin. Try iContact Pro, FREE for 30 days, no credit card required.

This article originally appeared on iContact and has been republished with permission.