Marketing automation is currently on everyone’s lips: everyone who deals with marketing has heard of it. But what exactly is marketing automation and what has to be considered during the introduction and implementation?
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation is a software-based approach to lead potential customers (leads) as individually as possible through the sales funnel by means of automated processes and workflows up to the point of purchase. Marketing automation can be used especially in the funnel phases of evaluation and engagement.
The acquisition and collection of (customer) data enables companies to automatically play out content that is as personalized and event-driven as possible for potential customers and that fits the individual information requirements in the respective situation as well as possible.
The aim is to improve both the quality and quantity of the leads that are handed over to the sales department.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
Marketing automation consists of four essential components: Marketing databases, campaign management, lead management and reporting & analysis.
- Transfer of lead data into the marketing automation software: Leads can be generated via different channels and media: Newsletters, websites, surveys, whitepapers etc.
- Continuous data maintenance and completion
- Connection and comparison of data with CRM
- Creation of profiles of prospects based on roles, interests and behaviour
- Possibility of multi-level campaigns via different channels (e.g. email, social media, website download, etc.)
- Automated distribution of campaign content based on freely definable workflows
- Display of individual text modules, images, landing pages, CTAs, etc.
- Evaluation of the campaigns and transfer of the knowledge gained into the interest profile of a lead
- Classification and evaluation of leads
- Automatic scoring based on individually definable criteria. The information received and the behavior of the lead are used as a reference. In this way it should be determined when a lead is “sales-ready”, i.e. can be handed over to sales
- Lead Nurturing: systematic maintenance of leads by playing out specific content at defined times on the basis of prospective customer profiles in order to take leads through the sales funnel step by step
- If defined criteria are met, the lead is transferred to sales, otherwise it is maintained in lead nurturing
- All campaigns are constantly analysed and reported in order to derive optimisation potential and improve effectiveness
Advantages of Marketing Automation:
- Improved efficiency: Automated workflows and optimized campaigns through detailed tracking
- Improved probability of closure: through individually selected information that meets precisely defined information requirements
- Lower costs per lead: Only passing on qualified leads to the sales department
- Reactivation of inactive leads: inactive leads remain in the tool and can be further maintained
Marketing Automation in Practice
In practice, silo thinking is often encountered in marketing and sales. However, when introducing marketing automation, close coordination between these two departments is essential in order to create efficient processes and meet the requirements of both departments. After all, marketing automation serves not only to relieve the marketing department of routine tasks, but first and foremost to be able to hand over more and better qualified leads to the sales department.
The introduction of marketing automation requires a well thought-out concept and sufficient content: in addition to the desired functional scope of the automation platform, concepts for campaign management must be developed that describe which leads in the sales funnel have which information requirements and when. Buyer personas can also be extremely helpful here.
Content is King! Another important aspect, which is often underestimated in advance, is the need for sufficiently high-quality content, which is based on a solid understanding of the buyer personas and can be played out in the context of the campaigns. Here it must be decided whether content should be created internally or externally by an agency. Internally, resources are tied up, external content is often costly and agencies often lack the appropriate technical expertise.
Furthermore, the introduction of marketing automation is not the same as the rationalization of marketing employees – on the contrary. Automation eliminates many routine tasks, allowing marketing staff to focus more on their core tasks. In addition, the data acquired in the context of marketing automation must be evaluated and interpreted in order to further optimize campaigns and workflows.