Search “lead management software” on Google and there’s a big chance it will return results that tie in with marketing automation. It’s no secret that many growing and established business organisations are moving to marketing automation due to the overwhelming volume of inquiries and leads being received every day. The big question is: can marketing automation do more than manage leads and is it reasonable to think that marketing automation can improve customer relationships?

Most marketers today are evaluated on their ability to generate leads and manage them well at the same time. When we say manage, we mean keeping customers engaged with the brand being pushed. There were ways of achieving this a few years ago, but implementing a marketing automation platform can play a critical role in the whole scenario. Marketers can automate campaigns for different audience segments to keep them engaged and warm them up to a possible sale, whether its an online purchase or through a sales representative.

 

Marketing automation is more than lead generation. If it’s used correctly, it can be part of the whole customer lifecycle and yet, there are a number of businesses that aren’t employing marketing automation to its fullest potential. They see the platform as a tool for generating and nurturing leads. These businesses are missing a big opportunity by not taking advantage of marketing automation for all their existing customers.

Let’s Check The Statistics

It is expected that the marketing automation industry will grow by 50% this year, thus it’s very hard to ignore. More top-performing companies and business organisations are adopting marketing automation solutions because present day customers have specific needs as stated by Sirius Decisions. If you’re still not convinced about MA, lets check some MA statistics below and let the numbers speak for themselves.

  1. According to DemandGen Report there is, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities with nurtured leads as compared to non-nortured leads.
  2. 61% of B2B marketers are sending all leads directly to sales, but only 27% of leads are qualified as per MarketingSherpa.
  3. A fourth of all B2B Fortune 500 companies are already taking advantage of of marketing automation along with 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies, according to Pardot.
  4. A report presented by Gleanster stated that 77% of CMOs at top performing companies indicate that one of the main reasons they implemented marketing automation is the increase in revenue.
  5. As stated the Annuitas Group, businesses that implemented and used marketing automation in nurturing prospects and establishing customers experienced a 451% increase in qualified leads.
  6. The average sales cycle increased up to 22% in the last 5 years because more decision makers were involved in the buying process, as reported by Sirius Decisions.
  7. 84% of the top performing companies started to use or were already using marketing automation between 2012 and 2015, as stated by Gleanster.
  8. Marketing automation made a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a reduction of 12.2% in marketing overhead, as stated by Nucleus Research.
  9. 63% of the survey respondents indicated that the ability to set measurable objectives for their campaigns was the largest value-driver of marketing automaton, as per Gleanster.

Beyond Nurturing And Lead Generation

There are a number of ways to apply marketing automation in order to improve customer relationships:

1. Post-sale Engagement

Customer engagement is the basis for a solid and profitable customer relationship. Implementing marketing automation can provide marketers and businesses with the information needed to identify who is engaged and who is not. It can help in building strong foundations with new customers as well as keeping accounts engaged all throughout the customer’s cycle.

2. Cross-sell or Up-sell

Marketing automation can help generate more sales from your existing customer base. A customer who has already purchased from you is more likely to purchase from you again. The platform uses the customer’s information as well as product and purchase history to make personalised and relevant product suggestions, locate the appropriate cross-sell products and send triggered re-order emails.

3. Customer Service

Using surveys and other tools allows businesses to get feedback on how they’re doing. These insights are very critical because it allows the enterprise to improve their customer service processes and create more personalised interactions. Scoring customer behaviors can also help identify both positive and negative customers and automatically target them with the right messaging.

4. Retention

Customer retention is also an important part of any business strategy. Marketing automation can identify a customer who is likely to continue buying as well as those who want to end their relationship with the brand or business. Retention scores that are based on engagement, purchase history and latency can be used to automatically initiate customer win-back campaigns. Personalised nurturing will go on until the customers are ready to engage and buy again. Marketing automation allows a customer’s most recent experience to be counted into any interactions.

Image credit: www.slideshare.net

Image credit: www.slideshare.net

In closing, marketing automation should be a part of the whole customer cycle. It will be counter productive if it’s only used in generating leads and nurturing. After all, it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to find new prospects. Decades of marketing studies have stated that selling to existing customers is more profitable than attracting new ones.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.