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Marketing Automation: Before and After

Marketing Automation Before and AfterIf you’re on the fence about marketing automation, it might be best for you to take a look at how it can transform your business by comparing the before with the after.

First, you may be wondering how a move to marketing automation will benefit your business financially.  It’s a fair question and one with an interesting answer. On average, marketing automation costs less than what it would cost you to hire three to four employees to do the same job.  Combined with payroll taxes, health insurance, and other benefits – this could mean huge savings for companies.

Marketing automation is also able to make a significant impact in small to medium sized companies.  For the most part, those marketing departments are relatively small, so it’s difficult to devote the time and energy to daily tasks let alone things like updating databases and tracking content performance.  Marketing automation can make a major impact in these areas by doing that work for you.

Marketing Automation: The Before

When we start getting into the before of larger, multi-national companies, the impact that automation can have becomes even clearer.  Large companies are often running campaigns and social media accounts for several locations or departments, all at the same time.  As an example, Unilever owns more than 400 brands worldwide.  They have a variety of marketing campaigns for different brands, in different parts of the world, for different products; at any given time.  Marketing automation would help a company like Unilever manage the activity on all of their social media sites, including scheduling content, tracking interactions and followers, and delivering real-time data to see how a strategy is performing overall.

Working the Demographics

Besides tracking how well your campaigns are performing, marketing automation gives you the ability to target them to specific demographics.  If you’re targeting clients of all kinds, marketing automation can help you specify where they fall in the buying pipeline.  Are they marketing managers themselves or are they business owners?  Automation can help you keep that information straight while sending targeted messages to all of your clients.  Most companies will see an increase in sales and conversion rates once they implement marketing automation solutions.

Beyond all this, marketing automation will create a more predictable revenue cycle and align your sales and marketing teams, which will substantially increase your growth.  Some experts say that by using marketing automation, a company can expect a 29% increase in won deals as opposed to 19% won deals, without marketing automation.  Your sales department will benefit as well.  For a majority of companies, 73% of the leads that the sales department receive, go nowhere.  With marketing automation, you’re able to identify and cut out the 73% ahead of time, which means that your sales team is able to focus on high-quality leads.  Not only that but since nurtured leads tend to spend about 47% more than non-nurtured leads, you don’t have to wait around for your sales team to establish relationships.  Marketing automation has already done that for you, with targeted, personalized messages and content.

These are only a few of the ways that marketing automation can benefit your company and transform your sales team.  If the after looks better than the before to you, contact us today to get started with your marketing automation solution!

What Companies Provide Marketing Automation?

Marketing Automation CompaniesIn the never-ending list of software options that business owners consider when trying to improve efficiency and save money, marketing automation ranks high.  In fact, marketing automation software has become one of the most in-demand tools for marketers.  In all that noise, it’s difficult to navigate what companies provide marketing automation software, and which one is best suited for your particular wants and needs.  Let’s take a look at some options.

First, there’s a key distinction to make. 100s of companies claim to provide marketing automation. Case in point, many email marketing companies say they’re a marketing automation provider. There are only a handful of pure-play marketing automation companies that focus deeply on key areas of automation, including lead qualification, lead nurturing, lead distribution and sales intelligence. What it really boils down to is the size of company you’re looking to work with, public or private, and how fat your wallet is. Here are some pure-play vendors to keep in mind:

Oracle Eloqua

With more than 50,000 users, Oracle’s Eloqua software ranks at the top of the list of marketing automation software.  Robust and allowing for considerable customization, Eloqua is appropriate software for businesses that focus on email marketing and data cleansing. Eloqua also offers pre-designed templates for landing pages as well as the option to block free email addresses on contact forms, which provides better quality leads to sales teams.

Before choosing any marketing automation software, you need to decide what your priorities are.  You should be aware that high technical skills and knowledge will be required to use Eloqua.

Marketo

Marketo’s marketing automation software has evolved since its introduction several years ago. Marketo has expanded to include B2B personalization and marketing management (budgeting software)solutions.  Marketo’s platform allows users to stream their overall marketing process and efforts.  In general, Marketo has seen extraordinary growth since introducing their software and was ranked the 78th fastest growing business in 2012.

Marketo has its ups and downs – one of its obvious downs being as a company of its size, individual attention may be limited. The novelty of going with a boutique firm in this space never wears off.

Pardot

Pardot introduced their marketing automation software in 2007 and was acquired by ExactTarget in 2012. Ranked the 172nd fastest growing business in 2012, Pardot experienced a 2,001% increase in growth over a three-year period.  Offering an email design interface including multiple pre-built templates, Pardot allows users to configure email content that’s driven by date fields or sales rep assignments.  Additionally, many users claim that Pardot is able to improve inbound marketing strategies while letting companies focus on the most promising leads.

Developing a wish list of features and requirements and then choosing the tool that best suits your needs is the best way to choose a marketing automation program. This way, you’re likely to spend your budget on the best software out there while embracing the technology that will likely improve your business processes.  Marketing automation is becoming mainstream and with it, the list of companies who provide this software is growing.  Research carefully, include your sales and marketing teams, and choose software that will best drive revenue and covert leads into customers.

Better yet, take a look at Lead Liaison’s offerings and work with a company that is not clamoring to satisfy Wall Street, can  meet your individual needs, and give you more in-depth training than anyone else on the market. You’ll need a fat wallet for Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot, and you’ll have plenty of money left over to eat lunch with Lead Liaison. We can help you take the next step in considering marketing automation solutions!  Feel free to ping us to learn more!

Is Marketing Automation a Good Idea?

Is Marketing Automation a Good Idea?Have you been asking yourself, is marketing automation a good idea? Or maybe, is marketing automation worth the hassle? To run an effective marketing campaign and gather appropriate leads, marketers should take advantage of marketing automation.  Marketing automation gives you the ability to manage the targeting, timing, and content of your outbound messages in the most effective way possible.  By implementing marketing automation, you’ll be able to personalize your marketing to each prospect’s wants and needs based on where they are in the buying pipeline.

Of course, everyone knows that increased revenues are the number one reason most businesses decide to incorporate marketing automation.  In fact, out of top performing companies, 70% are found to use marketing automation.  But what you might not realize about marketing automation is that it also helps companies build and improve internal communications, making your sales and marketing teams more effective.  When marketing and sales teams come together, their mutual decisions are most effectively implemented through marketing automation.  This improvement results in effective lead nurturing, scoring, and a handoff process designed to meet both the marketing goals of the organization and sales requirements.

Marketing Automation: Is It a Good Idea?

Many times, marketing automation is the solution to specific challenges an organization has. For example, if you’re having issues capturing appropriate and solid leads, marketing automation can help solve this by accurately targeting leads.  It also gives you, the marketer, the advantage of sending out effective and personalized messages but automating this process so you’re able to focus on more important aspects of your campaigns.  Marketing automation will provide you with real-time data and analytics, letting you know what’s working and what’s not.  It takes the guesswork out of marketing and allows you to nail down the details that draw in your targeted audience.

Marketing automation works best for companies who are in specific situations, such as:

  • Companies in a large market with numerous leads;
  • Organizations with a longer sales process;
  • Businesses with sites that are content heavy;
  • Processes and systems already in place, to coordinate.

Will Marketing Automation Work?

Marketing automation is not a magic wand or a quick fix.  It’s a process that will take work, time, and adjustments.  Marketing automation strategies will be tested and adjusted continuously based off the information it gives you.  It will take initial effort on your part but your long-term workload will be lessened, if the system is implemented correctly.  For companies who are producing quality content and getting a steady flow of leads from their sites, marketing automation could be a solution to effective and timely follow-up.

If you think that marketing automation might be an effective tool for your campaign and you’re ready to talk, contact us today for a quote!

Improve the Efficiency of Your Sales Team

Improve the Efficiency of your Sales TeamIf the primary function of your business is to provide a product or service to customers, you must ensure that you improve the efficiency of your sales team.  No matter how top notch your products or services may be, if your sales process is incompetent, eventually your business will suffer or fail.  We’ve collected and compiled some top ways to improve your sales processes.

Sales Pipeline Management: A Key to Success

Measuring your sales pipeline and its ROI are a challenging for any business.  But it’s the first step in the process of making sure your sales team is working smarter and not harder.  First, make sure you’re delivering attractive content to generate online traffic.  Keep track of metrics and data to track any stagnation and to calculate how long you expect each of your prospects to spend in your sales pipeline.  Identify each type of customer in your sales pipeline – this way you can tailor up-sell offers based on a prospect’s individual behavior.

Lead Sourcing

Make sure you’re spending time tracking which leads are likely to close.  Training your sales team on the three primary ways of calculating lead sourcing can lead to a more successful sales process:

  • A conversion rate will tell your team which sales sources are converting leads to opportunities.  Using a simple formula will assist you in comparing current sources with ones you hope to use in the future.  If you find that sources aren’t working for your leads – strategize with your marketing and sales team as to why this is the case.  Are you approaching the leads from this source in the wrong way or is this simply a case of the source being unattractive to the right customer?
  • Figuring out your lead to close length will give you information on how long a lead source takes to close.  Each source that you’re using will bring your company leads at different steps in the purchasing process.
  • Average value per lead calculations will tell you which sources provide you with the best customer fit, for the best value.  Do you want several smaller sales per month or one or two big sales?  Average value per lead will help you start devoting your time and effort into sources where the best leads are active, providing you with the type and frequency of sale that you want.

Sales and Marketing:  Working Together for the Best Leads

Collaboration between sales and marketing teams takes more than just a few monthly meetings.  Encourage your sales team to give marketing feedback on the leads received on a regular basis.  This will give your marketing team the chance to make adjustments to their marketing automation program.  Products marketers should share new product features with the sales team – this will make your sales team more knowledgeable on the products.

Pinpointing deficits in your leads funnels, using metrics to measure your lead sourcing, and ensuring that your sales and marketing team are working well together are all vital ways to ensure your success.

Marketing Automation: Why Does Lead Nurturing Make Sense?

Why does lead nurturing make sense?Lead nurturing, the marketing process of developing relationships with leads regardless of their current timing to purchase, is a straightforward concept. But many don’t realize the importance of lead nurturing or how it can help. Let’s look at lead nurturing and how it relates to marketing automation.

Why Lead Nurturing Makes Sense

One of the biggest pros for lead nurturing is the ability to market personalized messages to prospects. These messages can be generic in nature but personalized to an audience that’s only in Lead Stage 1 of marketing automation. These leads have only just entered the market and do not have a current timeline for purchasing.

It’s important if you’re looking into automation not to just send leads cold emails. Your first objective for beginning lead nurturing is to establish permission to stay in contact with the lead. If your audience loses interest in your messages, they’ll unsubscribe from your mailing list or mark emails as spam.

Target Your Leads

Make sure you’re creating content that your visitors want to see. The more you can find out about a lead who’s visited your website, the better. By creating high quality content that is relevant to your leads, you’re increasing the possibility of converting leads to customers significantly. Make sure that when sending out your messages, you’re not overdoing it. Ask yourself: when’s the best time to send messages so you can ensure your prospects will see them? Answer that and then tailor your messages to be sent out at the best possible time.

Another best practice for lead nurturing that might seem like it’s coming from the stone age, is using plain text emails instead of HTML. A few lines of content and a personalized signature go a long way toward establishing an individualized message, which is targeted to your audience. HTML based emails are fine when sending out training tips or when the emails are clearly coming from the marketing department and not the sales department.

When Lead Nurturing Works

Lead nurturing is a powerful way to use marketing automation to stay in touch with prospects. When it works, you’re able to establish purchaser preference while also gaining useful knowledge about your prospects timing. If you’re ready to take the next best step with lead nurturing and marketing automation, contact us today! Lead Liaison staff would love to chat with you about your company’s individual marketing needs.

Why is Marketing Automation so Popular?

Why is Marketing Automation so Popular?You may be wondering why is marketing automation so popular.  After all, you already have leads – why should you invest money into a product that may not work for you?  Simply put, adding marketing automation to your repertoire of business solutions will help you turn your leads into customers while growing your sales from your existing database. However, marketing automation can do much more.  Let’s explore why marketing automation is so popular and how you can leverage it to generate profits.

Building Better Relationships

With marketing automation, the customer experience is optimized and able to be measured throughout the entire experience.  You save money because you’re able to track each prospective customer’s activity from the first engagement through lead conversion, making adjustments to revenue whenever you see fit.  Instead of guessing what your leads are doing, or where they’re at in the process, marketing automation provides you with that information – as it happens – so you’re able to simplify your customer engagement.

As your company grows, it’s impossible to maintain 1:1 customer relationships.  This is even more of an issue when you take into account the high-tech world we’re living in.  No longer are customers just down the street or in the same town – you’re dealing with leads from different countries, time zones, and cultures.  Marketing automation assists you in managing your marketing program in a way that makes sense for you.   Automation software will streamline your approach and measure tasks and workflow so that you’re operating at top-efficiency.

Communicating Effectively

A common myth is that automation means the messages you’re sending to your leads are cold, impersonal and ineffective.  This is simply not the case.  Marketing automation means that you’re actually able to personalize your messages to your targeted audience.  You’ll be collecting individualized data on leads, thus strengthening your communications and adding personal touches to your campaigns.

Marketing automation isn’t spam, either.  You’re not blasting messages to a wide range of people.  Instead, you’re focusing on leads and looking at website patterns to get a clear picture of what they’re doing.  That way, you can focus on molding communications around personalized experiences.  You’re nailing down your leads and audience, while nurturing them and guiding them into your sales funnel.  In a world where leads are getting blasted with ads and communications, sometimes on an hourly basis, it’s imperative that your communications are personalized to stand out from the crowd.

Let us help you take the next step to marketing automation.  It will change the way you do business and how your leads and customers communicate with you!  Contact us so we can take a look at how marketing automation can revitalize your business today.

How to Choose a Marketing Automation Vendor

How to Choose a Marketing Automation VendorMaking an informed decision regarding your marketing automation vendor can be the turning point of lead management and execution for your small business. Many marketing automation platforms offer a host of similar features that move towards a common goal: capturing leads and creatively persuading them in your direction. With so many cloud-based solutions available, selecting one marketing automation tool over the others can certainly be a daunting task. There are many things to carefully consider when looking at how to choose a marketing automation vendor that will meet your needs best.

To start off, we’ll take a look at the top ten marketing automation platforms according to Capterra, a business software search-and-compare site:

  1. Eloqua
  2. Infusionsoft
  3. HubSpot
  4. Teradata
  5. Unica
  6. Marketo
  7. SimplyCast
  8. Silverpop
  9. Pardot
  10. Act-On

Capterra rated the above list on the premise of popularity, with metrics including number of customers, number of social media followers, and Google searches. But we know it’s not always just about the numbers—how do you choose a marketing automation vendor that is the best solution for your needs? This list only touches on much greater list of solutions, each one with their own strengths and weaknesses. Lead Liaison is another marketing automation platform that caters to small to mid-sized businesses with an flexible business model that rivals its competitors and boasts personalized and intimate support. Although they may not have 22K Twitter followers, their solutions might actually be a better fit, with all of the automation features the bigger platforms offer but with a more personalized feel. Getting used to a new system is never easy, and it’s important to consider the amount of time you’ll spend learning how to use the platform—does it seem intuitive from the beginning? Everyone interacts with interfaces in their own unique way. Don’t set yourself up for frustration. Make sure whichever platform you go with has a solid customer support reputation.

Each with their own unique solutions (such as the Streamer), the various marketing automation platforms are meant to cater to your business. All of the options must be weighed according to the purpose you want it to serve.

Outline your goals

When determining how to choose a marketing automation vendor, the first task is to outline your goals. Each company will have vastly different needs and an equally diverse set of prospects. The end goal is ultimately the same for companies big and small—to drive your prospects’ interactions with your brand. What numbers do you expect to hit after implementing the new system after six months, nine months, or one year? How many team members will you be able to allocate to managing this process? How much time per week will be spent gathering analytics or scheduling emails?

Select the most effective marketing tools

Each platform offers a variety of marketing tools that can draw prospects in. How you choose which marketing automation vendor will be best for your company depends on how your audience prefers to gather knowledge. Each industry is different—social media may be where many of your leads come from, or maybe the warmest leads are a result of diligent visitor tracking and lead nurturing. Determining the preferred route of communication is a crucial stepping stone to selecting the right marketing automation platform for your needs. Consider the following: email marketing, visitor tracking, lead nurturing, database segmentation, lead scoring, lead generation, analytics, social media, and content creation.

Find a solution that fits your budget

Finding a good fit can be like hiring another employee (who actually does the work of an entire team), and it’s important to choose a marketing automation vendor that you have carefully vetted. Pricing schemes may not be readily available to simply do all the research on your own. This is due to the endless possibilities and a la carte options you can select from to create a plan that matches the needs of your business. Select a few marketing automation platforms that highlight the marketing tools your audience responds to, then read reviews and references to gauge their customer service and overall quality of product. Last step: request a demo. It’s free and you’ve got nothing to lose.

Marketing Automation: Where Do I Begin?

Marketing Automation:  Where Do I Begin?Delivering the appropriate message to engage leads and customers is the biggest challenge for many marketing companies.  Marketing automation provides you with ways to generate leads and reach a broad audience.  But for those with little to no experience in Marketing Automation, it can be a harrowing journey to begin.

Understanding The Multiple Stages of Marketing Automation

If you’re asking yourself – “Marketing automation – where do I begin?” understand that marketing automation really begins with the right message at the right time, for the right audience.  Streamlining sales by delivering engaging content and advertisements targeted to your audience is the key for any successful marketing strategy.  Since marketing automation will always rely on adjustments based on how your communication strategy evolves, it’s essential that marketing professionals learn how to do this themselves, instead of relying on an IT team.

The second crucial step in marketing automation is creating lead stages.  Lead stages help you identify where your leads are in the process and how long before you can expect them to move on to the next stage.  On average, it takes a lead three times to research a purchase online before moving on to a salesperson.  Lead stages include the following:

  • Lead Stage 1:  This stage helps you find those leads that have just begun the process.  They have no identified timeline and have just started their search for solutions or products.
  • Lead Stage 2:  This second stage is a potential customer who knows exactly what he needs and wants but isn’t able to make a purchase yet.  These leads have ideas but are looking for approval from their team before moving forward.
  • Lead Stage 3:  Leads in Stage 3 are the best leads to offer demonstrations to.  Leads often have a short list of products in mind for their solution and many have already decided on which they prefer, even without a demonstration or sample.  Stage 3 is imperative for making the lead sees why they should set up a meeting with you, as opposed to your competitors.

Bringing it All Together

Making sure that content is personalized instead of generic will make your marketing automation a success.  Delivering messages that focus on your potential customer’s wants, needs, and interests while avoiding the harsh hard-sell approach is what you want.

Marketing automation makes this whole process much easier.  It will give you better insight into what your leads are doing, including content they are viewing and downloading; how they respond to emails, and where they are in sales process.  Each step of the way, you’re able to monitor and measure your marketing automation system, making incremental adjustments to ensure success.

Understanding Marketing Automation and Knowing Where to Begin

If you’re feeling lost in the process, don’t hesitate to chat with a Lead Liaison rep today! We know how and where to get you started and would love to take your business to the next level.

Donor-Member Automation – Creating Lasting Relationships

Donor-Member AutomationAlways Add Value.  Always say Thank you.

These are two messages that we are taught throughout life.

Most non-profits want to meet these simple expectations, but time and limited resources often make it challenging to do so.  It’s always easy to make time for the million dollar donor if you are lucky enough to have them.  However it’s much harder to put the same kind of effort into the $50-100 donors that are the life-blood of many non-profits.

Worse yet, these small donors often lack a sense of community with the charities they support.  Thus, in future years when donors are tightening their finances… it’s very easy not to provide gifts that were distributed in previous years.

Member-donor automation is a blessing for the non-profit world.  A well-organized donor processing system can save your organization untold dollars while also creating a path of value and inclusion to your donor-members community.

The process is simple:

  • Build an on-going individual profiles of each donor-member based on demographics and behaviors
  • Customize messaging that can be set out to individuals that care about a specific topic
  • Share a sense of “thanks” for their involvement with your charity & provide a deep understanding of the value which their involvement has had in your mission.  Not just when it’s time to ask for donations; but throughout the life cycle of the donor member.

The advantages of having a donor-member process range from organization to organization, but almost always include:

  • Freeing up internal staff resources
  • Increasing the base of the donor-member community; and average gift size
  • More passionate donor-members that will evangelize and grow the mission of the organization

The concept of donor-member automation process is relatively new; but something that all progressive non-profits should investigate as a way to better support their mission and the involvement of their community.   If you would like a free assessment of how a donor-member automation process might help your organization please contact us with attention to our non-profit group and we would be happy to share our experience with you. Feel free to also reference our section and support for nonprofits.

 

Is Marketing Automation Worth the Hassle?

Is Marketing Automation Worth the Hassle? Is Marketing Automation worth the hassle? We’ve been asking our clients over time whether or not they’re glad to have invested in marketing automation services. Time and time again we hear a resounding ‘yes’.

There’s no doubt that some work is involved on the back end after deciding to implement a marketing automation program. Different clients have different needs and it takes some time to analyze data and make decisions about what will be best. We believe – and our clients believe – the end result is worth it.

Understanding the Benefits

The first step toward understanding the benefits of marketing automation is to work with a team that can take a deep look at your business, your staff and your marketing. Not all companies need the same services. Ideally, we’ll help grow your business so much that you’ll have a greater need to automate various forms of marketing over time. However, starting out, most companies require a specialized look at what their needs are by one of our staff. Doing things in this way ensures the greatest value and builds a long and trusting relationship.

Analyzing the type of marketing automation your company needs is also helpful in terms of determining overall goals. Obviously you’ll want to increase revenue over time – but how can we best work together to analyze granular data and create a future roadmap?

Knowing where you want to go, how long it will take to scale and understanding the best ways to implement marketing automation for your business will help you understand the overall benefits. Working with a company that will come up with the systems, stay behind for the proper training and help you understand how the data can affect your decisions is critical to success.

Is Marketing Automation Worth the Hassle?

If you’re interested in establishing systems that help you understand granular data, as well as deploying marketing strategies that work on their own to establish further data and generate conversions, marketing automation is for you. The right team will help ensure there’s little heavy lifting on your end. You’ll just need to be ready to help create future goals and determine strategy as well as get your team prepared for training on how to use the systems.

Marketing automation isn’t a hassle for a business that’s ready to take the next step in onboarding and deploying advanced data information systems. These systems are easier to work with than you think with the right team in place.

To find out more, talk to us about how hassle-free marketing automation services can benefit your business today!