January 23, 2012
5 Steps to Making the Most of Marketing Automation
By Jacqueline Lee
Many businesses do not understand marketing automation, how it works and how to get maximum benefits from the process. MarketingAutomation.com, in an effort to address this problem, has created a Marketing Automation infographic, displaying how the ideal marketing automation should work. If implemented correctly, MarketingAutomation.com publisher Joe Martinico suggests that companies can double and triple their sales in short order.
Planning and Ideation
Planning and ideation comes from an analysis of available tools, such as campaign management tools and social media monitoring. Online research, online surveys and keyword research tools can all be sources for idea generation. The key to this stage is to visualize both prospects and the sales cycle leveraging a CRM system. For the CRM system to function properly, personnel must keep good marketing records, and those records must be easy both to access and to manage.
Organizations have a variety of tools at their command for generating leads, particularly if the organization embraces technology. Webinars, social media marketing, call centers and direct mail promote products, as do field sales, print advertising, banner advertising and infographics. Strategies like optimized websites and landing pages, search engine optimization and pay-per-click are additional methods to get products or services in front of both current and potential customers.
With lead management, companies need to balance automation with personal contact. While autoresponders, mobile marketing tools and loyalty program communication can often be automated, businesses should never forget the value of phone and field follow-up with leads. Good automation software can put follow-up on sales force calendars and can automate certain processes to save both time and money.
Many of the tools in the sales closure process can be automated, including e-commerce websites, shopping carts and tracking numbers. Many e-commerce websites are making use of languages like PHP to create dynamic content that displays pages and objects to users based on their previous shopping or viewing behavior. However, old-fashioned copywriting and field sales still play an integral role in closing the sale.
Marketers are familiar with A/B and multivariate testing methods to see which campaigns worked and which campaigns did not. Good analysis should tell companies how to build relationships with customers and how to make sales closure easier. Continuous analysis of results will lead naturally back to the planning and ideation process.
The foundation of the five steps is a good CRM system. Martinico mentions salesforce.com and zoho.com as CRM tools that provide functionality for most companies. However, he points out that no system will succeed without buy-in from all levels. Companies have to go through the hurdle of implementing a large program before they begin to see results. This requires support, Martinico says, “from the boardroom to the beat.”
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration, click here.
Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.Jacqueline Lee is a TMCnet contributor who produces web content, blogs and articles for numerous websites including wikiHow.com. Her background is in business and education.
Edited by Jennifer Russell